Care of Creation
Special Calendar Dates
March 22 is World Water Day
April 22 is Earth Day
November 19 is World Toilet Day
*Special* September 21, 2014 is the People's Climate March
Join the history-making People's Climate March & Mobilization in New York City, or one of many related events worldwide calling attention to the critical need for action against catastrophic climate change. In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution. Hundreds of grassroots, civil-society and faith organizations are joining 350.org and other environmental advocacy campaigns to raise awareness and demand action of world leaders.
Carbon Footprint: How Do We Contribute to Global Warming?
As fossil fuels like coal and oil are burned for energy, carbon pollution increases. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached approximately 390 parts per million (ppm), significantly higher than the 350 ppm threshold scientists agree is needed to maintain a healthy global temperature. With the world population now at 7 billion, reducing carbon pollution is essential. Yet developed countries such as the U.S. contribute a disproportionate amount to global warming. Both China and the U.S. emit around 6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year—much more than any other country. However, with one-fourth of China’s population, the U.S. per capita rate of pollution makes it incumbent that we take responsibility for our disproportionate role in global warming.
Climate Change and the Environment
However, even if we changed our fossil-fuel based economy immediately, the compounding effects of current global warming will continue to heat the planet, so it is necessary also to find—and fund—ways to adapt to the effects of climate change. The effects of atmospheric warming do not remain within the borders of industrialized nations, but instead have the greatest impact on countries that are least responsible for climate change. Worse off are countries with high poverty levels, those who depend directly on local food production, or whose fragile ecosystems are highly susceptible to changes in sea and weather patterns.
For example, the melting of the polar ice caps affects small Pacific islands most significantly. Rising sea waters have substantially eroded coastlines, devastated mangroves and other essential habitats, salted wells and other freshwater sources, and in some cases swallowed whole villages, forcing displaced communities into crowded population centers or to leave their island homes altogether. If sea levels rise as predicted, low-lying countries such as Bangladesh will lose most of their land mass, islands in the Pacific will disappear, and coastal marshes such as the Everglades in South Florida will be under sea water. For plants and animals, global warming means that many will not adjust in time and will become extinct.
Climate Change and Global Poverty
Expectations for an effective international agreement to control carbon emissions in the near future have virtually disappeared. While the need to reduce the massive levels of carbon pollution remains urgent, attention has shifted in the meantime to initiatives that would help communities adapt to the emerging consequences of climate change.
Because they are poor, those most impacted are also least able to adjust to these effects of a warming planet. Many will lose their homes or be unable to grow food for their families. Communities will have to adapt to increasing natural disasters like flooding, stronger hurricanes and changes in rainfall patterns. Climate migrants—those displaced due to climate change, will add stress to already overcrowded urban centers and exacerbate the current global food crisis.
Since climate damage cuts across all borders, an international strategy and mechanisms for international financing are needed to assist all countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change. U.S. foreign assistance should include programs aimed at helping communities suffering the consequences of climate change, and programs that invest in clean technology and in disaster risk reduction. Failing to do so will cost more in the future when environmental disasters are cataclysmic and an even greater number are in need of emergency assistance. The U.S. must provide international leadership toward climate adaptation and must do its part. It is only fair that those who have benefited most from using the earth’s resources now take responsibility for ensuring the world to come is still livable and that there is enough for all.
What can you do?
- Calculate your carbon footprint and make energy-saving choices like buying less and buying local at home, in your workplace, and in your congregation. Cut back on driving and flying.
- Contact your elected officials at every level. Tell them that preserving God’s creation and doing justice to “the least of these” affected by global warming are issues of faith and that it is urgent we enact smart public policies not only to reduce carbon pollution, but also to help communities around the world adapt to a world made warmer and wetter by increasing effects of climate change.
- Learn more about climate change and what we all can do, at home, at church, in your community and through government advocacy
- Support projects that improve environmental awareness
- For more information:
Mining and Resource Protection
Water and Sanitation
More than a third of the world's population, 2.5 billion people, do not have adequate sanitation. Learn more.
|Missionaries on Climate Change Issues|
|News and Events|
APECA Newsletter for August 2014
July 29, 2014
Water and the World We Want
April 30, 2014
Plant peace. Plant hope. Plant a tree.
March 31, 2014
Learn more about climate change and what we all can do, at home, at church, in your community and through government advocacy: