Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why Christianity is Important to Action on Climate Change

There are Christian movements that are powerful advocates of responsible environmental stewardship, but there are others whose faith appears to be the basis of their rejection of environmentalism. Christian beliefs are important to efforts to combat climate change and protect the natural world. Christianity is the world's largest religion comprising 2 billion people or 31.59 percent of the world's population. The role of religion in ecological advocacy is important because spiritual convictions often fuel environmental concern. According to a Treehugger article, 67 percent of Americans say they care about the environment because it is "God's creation."

The US is the world's largest Christian nation with 225 million adherents or 76 percent of the total population, the majority (51 percent) are protestant. With such a large number of Christians in the US, (as well as Canada and Europe), the beliefs of this religious tradition have a significant bearing on prevailing social and political attitudes.

While Evangelicals, Episcopalians and Mennonites are among US Christian groups that support climate care, some American Christian groups are adding fuel to climate denial.

Research by Yale's Dan Kahan showed that there is a correlation between a person's religiosity and his or her tendency to think that global warming isn't much of a risk.

The new leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis is the most environmental pope in the Church's history. His statements, including opposition to hydraulic fracking, are an important counterpoint to Christian groups that use their faith as a pretext for climate denial.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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