Guest column: Evangelical clergy say addressing climate change is pro-life
Posted: October 13, 2014 – 11:18am
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For us, being pro-life includes not only defending our unborn children but also the biblical mandate to care for all life.
While the threats may be different, the injunction to protect life is the same.
We are called to protect this seamless garment of life.
Toxins and other pollutants foul our water, air and soil, impacting the purity of life God intends.
FLORIDA IS GROUND ZERO
Children are especially vulnerable to many of these pollutants because their small bodies are still developing.
A few years ago, pro-life evangelicals spoke out on the impact of mercury on the unborn.
One in six children in the U.S. was born with too high levels of mercury in their blood.
Because of the efforts of pro-life evangelicals, the United States is taking a leadership role in reducing the impact of mercury on the unborn.
Another important issue is water.
As a recent USA Today op-ed put it, if you care about life, pay attention to what’s happening with water.
We believe climate change to be a profound pro-life issue.
And Florida is ground zero when it comes to climate change.
Cities across the state are already spending millions in taxpayer dollars to install new sea level pumps, bolster sea walls and protect from salt water intrusion.
While it is good to respond to current challenges, it is even more cost effective to spend funds ahead of time to prepare for present changes in the climate, including extreme weather events.
Let’s upgrade Florida’s water pumps and building codes today before we have to clean up a bigger mess tomorrow.
WE MUST BE GOOD STEWARDS
Given the dollars already being spent and the scale of the cost, if you care about taxpayer money and limited government, you should care about climate change.
We are also concerned about worsening air pollution under climate change.
Duval County alone has almost 18,000 cases of pediatric asthma.
That number would be dramatically lower if we were better stewards of God’s world.
When we see the present impacts, our pro-life ethic kicks in.
Let’s empower individuals to take the lead when it comes to entrepreneurial business solutions that create a cleaner environment.
We need to see climate not as an issue about politics or partisanship but as a moral concern.
God has given us all the tools to be good stewards of God’s creation.
TIME FOR A REAL PLAN
It’s time for Florida to come together to come up with a plan to address climate change.
The church in Florida is already starting to take the lead.
As the church starts to take on climate change more directly, it’s also time for clean businesses to take the lead.
The cost of solar has plummeted, yet Florida is still well behind where it could be when it comes to clean energy.
We need to do what we can to transition away from expensive fossil fuels and toward cheaper and healthier technologies.
These actions should include putting together a plan to play Florida’s part in achieving the Clean Power Plan.
And finding conservative solutions to addressing carbon pollution.
Our poor stewardship of God’s world is a reflection of how seriously we take God’s teaching.
That’s why creation-care remains integral to being pro-life.
■ The Rev. Joel Hunter is senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, Longwood, FL.
■ The Rev. Mitch Hescox is CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network.
■ Alexei Laushkin is vice president of the Evangelical Environmental Network.