Home MB HeraldColumns On climate: the global church needs to CHANGE

On climate: the global church needs to CHANGE

6 comments
“The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers” (Psalm 24:1–2, NRSV).

 

PHOTO: Tony Schellenberg

“Climate change”: these two words often generate anxiety concerning the future of not only humanity, but the entire planet.

The effects of climate change have undoubtedly become more evident. Scientific studies in the last 100 years show that if global temperatures increased beyond 1.5° Celsius, there will be negative impacts on ecosystems all over the world.

This small change causes rainfall patterns to shift, temperatures to change, and a higher risk of heatwaves, flooding, melting ice sheets and glaciers resulting in sea level rise.

Climate change poses a risk to human societies and natural ecosystems. A disruption in the ecosystem equilibrium is already measured in plant and animal species that are changing physiologically. With effects such as a decreased crop yield, climate change will cause higher rates of poverty.

While scientific evidence presents many negatives, the church can highlight positives. As a Christian currently studying environmental science, I believe we can look to science for solutions and still exalt God for his greatness because he created the world and bestowed us with the desire to understand it.

The engagement of the church is vital. Here, I offer action points using the acronym CHANGE.

Change

Many of us need to change our mindset, perspective, and attitude about climate change. This is not a problem solely for politicians, scientists, and experts. It is everyone’s problem, including the global church.

Although we hope for eternal life through Jesus Christ, while we walk on the earth, we are its custodians. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (NRSV). God instructed people to look after his creation.

How to…

The issue is not whether climate change is a true phenomenon or not, but how we as members of the global church are involved in adapting our communities to the changes. It is a global issue, one that should be tackled by joint effort rather than as individuals.

The global church, fostering a spirit of togetherness and community engagement, can help bring people closer to Christ, and steer their communities in a positive direction.

Action and Awareness

Nature photo by Tony SchellenbergAs the church, we can be a place where people look for accurate information on what climate change is, whom it impacts, and how to adapt and mitigate its effects.

The global church could help the world – not only financially, but also spiritually – to understand the dynamic between developed and developing countries. Inhabitants of developing countries will suffer the impacts of climate change more than those of developed nations. As a global body, we could be a conduit for region-specific information.

Local congregations could promote conservation strategies that start at the community level. The church could offer resources on improving efficiency in both energy and food systems, building green infrastructure, and nurturing green spaces in urban and rural areas.

Nature

Take time to appreciate nature and see God’s greatness in it. Remember that as the climate changes, so will certain aspects of the earth on which we live.

God

We must keep God as the centre. Where scientific evidence disappoints us, God’s Word remains a true guide. Prayer is a powerful tool that connects us to God and each other.

Expect anything

Nature photo by Tony SchellenbergWe are living in a world full of turmoil. Scientists rely on evidence and projections to predict future scenarios, but it can never be 100 percent accurate. However, as believers, our consolation resides in God as our peace in a time of chaos and uncertainty.

Our lives are rooted in Christ. Whatever happens, God is always with us. This is not an excuse to sit back and watch the chaos unfold; rather, it is a time to CHANGE. As the global church, we can embrace this opportunity to reach out to those who are lost.


Makadunyiswe Ngulube
is Mennonite World Conference YABs (Young AnaBaptists) representative for Africa. A member of Mount Pleasant BIC Church Zimbabwe, she is studying environmental science at Saint Mary’s University, N.S. First published at mwc-cmm.org.

Sources used:

Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report, www.ipcc.ch/sr15/
D. Lobell, M. Burke, C. Tebaldi, M. Mastrandrea, W. Falcon, and R. Naylor. “Prioritizing climate change adaptation needs for food security in 2030” in Science (2008).
Terry L. Root, Jeff T. Price, Kimberly R. Hall, Stephen H. Schneider, Cynthia Rosenzweig, & J. Alan Pounds. “Fingerprints of global warming on wild animals and plants” in Nature (2003)
6 comments

You may also like

6 comments

Rudy Hiebert April 6, 2019 - 08:35

This article reminded me of what I heard recently from a speaker, can’t recall exactly who or where but the thought of we know what we need to do about changing, caring, sharing our faith, etc. but do we get down and do it. I realize it’s a rhetorical question/statement but when a possible solution comes to our attention basic excuses surface that point us to an easy way out – even if it’s simple procrastination. Great article, will need to revisit it.

Reply
Dick April 9, 2019 - 04:57

The church faces the challenge of witnessing to the world. More energy needs to be put into that agenda above social justice or any politicized movement. To really know about the “climate” you will need to do some research on what the deniers are contributing to the conversation. There is no correlation between CO2 and rising temperatures. Climates change constantly, that’s what makes them climates. At some point the professors of “environmental science” can be ignored being that they have their own agenda and it isn’t about helping anyone but themselves.

Reply
Frank April 9, 2019 - 21:55

You ddon’t need to be a member of the Mennonite Church, or any church for that matter, to realize that we are all going to have to make changes in our lives to accommodate the change in our climate. Every little bit that you can do will help — refrain from air travel; if you need a car, consider going to an electric model; add some solar panels to help reduce the amount of commercial electricity you use; check out the insulation in your home, check for drafts; and, for heaven’s sake, in the next election vote for someone who promotes political changes that will reduce pollution and the use of fossil fuels.

Reply
Terry June 17, 2019 - 15:04

I am concerned about the political nature of this column, the Herald should not be means for subscribing to political views or votes. As Christians we should be acting responsibly regardless of what the world is telling us, our bigger responsibility as commanded by Christ is to be looking after the less fortunate and focusing on feeding the hungry, this is what we will ultimately be held responsible for. The focus on climate change is a distraction from the more important human crises happening world wide.

Reply
Karla Braun June 20, 2019 - 00:04

Hi Terry
Thanks for your comment.
Christ has indeed called us to look after those with less and to feed the hungry: climate change most greatly affects those with the least resources to mitigate its effects (who have also had the least to do with causing it) and exacerbates hunger by causing droughts or destroying crops and livelihoods in floods or other extreme weather events.
Although this article calls for collective action, it does not take a partisan stance (after all, the author is from Zimbabwe, and is writing to the audience of global Anabaptists, not specifically Canadian MBs).

Reply
Chipper Block July 9, 2019 - 05:40

Here’s a Biblical perspective which I believe is what we should strive for. Good Info. https://www.thechristianworldview.org/topic-creation-stewardship-vs-environmental-idolatry/

Reply

Leave a Reply to Rudy Hiebert Cancel Reply