A Witness for the Creator (Part Two): Ideas and Resources to Help You Care for Creation
Stewardship of the Earth can be a winsome witness to both unbelievers and the next generation of Christians. Here are ways to take action.
Christi Huizenga Renaud and Lynne Marian
In a recent blog, we shared that believers are the most well-equipped to lead in the face of a global climate crisis because of our faith in Christ. Many people read that article and asked, "what should I do?" This article is the second of a two-part series that provides a framework and helpful tips for getting started. (Part one is here.)
Samaria (outside your immediate community/national concerns)
Because of the amazing regenerative cycles that God created, our earth will heal if we stop sending greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere (net zero) and clean up some of the excess. That is excellent news. However, we must act fast to limit irreversible damage to the earth's fragile ecosystems and the subsequent impact on people.
Advocate for policies that prompt action for adaptation (helping us deal with the effects) and mitigation (achieving net zero). To get there, we need the collective efforts of government, business, and civil society. Yes, we know this starts to get sticky, but remember that creation stewardship is not a partisan issue. It affects us all, and action will need to be taken by all. We urge you not to relinquish your opportunity for influence.
Find a policy guide to help you advocate for effective solutions. The Gerontological Society of America provides a concise and helpful beginners guide to governmental advocacy. We like it because it doesn’t say what to advocate for, just how to do it. Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA) tracks and vets climate policy ideas that align with Christian principles, which is helpful if you’re looking for ideas on what to advocate for.
Support initiatives that drive business solutions. Businesses are taking a leading role in climate action. Follow companies that are part of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Support organizations who pledge to reforest the Earth as part of the trillion trees community. Invest your retirement funds in a portfolio of ESG funds or use a tool like MSCI to identify companies who are making a positive impact. These are just a few ideas; we encourage you to find one that motivates you.
Ends of the Earth (global concerns)
As Jesus taught in Acts 1:8, our call is not an “either-or.” It is a “both-and.” As we steward the earth, remember: the people worldwide who have contributed the least to climate change suffer the most.
Our organization, Plant With Purpose, works with small-holder farmers in some of the world’s most vulnerable places. Ironically, while the average American family contributes 48 metric tons of Carbon (CO2e) to the atmosphere each year, these global farming families each sequester seven metric tons annually. By helping them, we are also helping ourselves. When we support organizations that plant trees, promote regenerative agriculture, clean the oceans, and work towards other critical "nature-based solutions," we join God in His global kingdom mission and bring relief to the world's most vulnerable people.
In Christ, we can face difficult challenges with trust, not fear. A big theme throughout the Bible is that human understanding is limited, but God generously offers wisdom. Let's take a posture of humility and catch a renewed vision for building a hopeful future and loving our neighbors well.
It may not be easy or comfortable, and comes with some sacrifice, but we can consider it joy because we know God is with us. We have an opportunity to do something honorable. Just like Americans rallied during World War II around rationing and collecting scrap metal, we can pull together for a cause greater than ourselves and have it bring out the best in all of us. As Christians, we can be proud to be on the leading edge of these efforts.
The global organization Renew Our World is a network of Christians advocating for climate action.
For Offsetting your Carbon Footprint:
Climate Stewards, a division of Global Christian conservation organization A Rocha, helps individuals, churches and businesses calculate and offset their carbon footprints.
For Hosting a Prayer Vigil:
Aside from personal prayer to align our hearts with the heart of God, and to plead for his intervention in the face of global suffering, consider organizing a “climate vigil” prayer event. Climatevigil.org offers free resources and ideas.
The Better Samaritan blog is produced by the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, which offers a M.A. in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership and a Trauma Certificate. To learn more and apply, visit our website.
Christi Huizenga Renaud, vice president of development and marketing, and Lynne Marian, director of marketing, serve with Plant With Purpose. Plant With Purpose is a global Christian organization working at the intersection of global poverty and environmental degradation. They’ve worked alongside almost half a million people (who have planted more than 50 million trees) in some of the world's most vulnerable communities.