Election Resource

Climate change is one of the most urgent issues facing modern society, and it is important to approach this topic from an informed and objective position. This online guide has been created to assist in finding additional resources that offer nonpartisan and scientifically accurate information.

Biblical call to environmental stewardship

Christian groups approach environmental stewardship from many perspectives. The Bible makes it clear that it is humanity’s responsibility to care for God’s creation, but there are different interpretations and ideas of how Christians should carry out this mandate. Genesis 1:28 states, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Some have interpreted this verse as stating that humanity can do anything to the natural world, but other verses clarify that God commands that we not misuse our natural resources. One such example is Ezekiel 34:18: “Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet?” While there is still disagreement over the causes and impacts of climate change in the Christian community, many groups, including many in Anabaptist denominations, are taking steps towards lessening the impacts of climate change.

Canadian Mennonite, “Mennonites, land and the environment”
Opinion piece from Christianity Today, “Loving Environment is Christian Responsibility”
BBC “Bitesize” entry about Christianity and the environment
Third Way Cafe: “Climate change and faith: a Christian imperative”

Some other Christian/faith-based organizations and advocacy groups:
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Mennonite Creation Care Network
Interfaith Power and Light
National Religious Partnership for the Environment
Young Evangelicals for Climate Action
Creation Justice Ministries
Friends Committee on National Legislation, Environment and Energy

Climate change in policy and the media: alarmism vs. skepticism

The vast majority of scientific studies show that climate change is a real phenomenon that is continuing to worsen. However, in the media and politics, the topic of climate change has been extremely polarizing. Some present climate change as a complete falsehood, while others present a cataclysmic vision of the near future as climate change goes unchecked. When searching for information on climate change in general, it is best to seek out resources that rely on peer-reviewed scientific studies and facts
rather than opinion.

Here are a few websites:
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)
United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
NASA global climate change
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) climate change website
U.S. Global Change Research Program
Global Weirding by Katherine Hayhoe
The Hill, climate change (U.S. policy news)
European Union climate change overview
European Union climate change policies
United Kingdom climate change policies

Renewable energy

One of the biggest challenges in addressing climate change is the use of non-renewable fuels that lead to increased carbon emissions and pollution. Worldwide, 18 percent of global energy consumption comes from renewable energy (The World Bank). In 2017, only 11 percent of U.S. energy came from renewable sources (U.S. Energy Information Administration). When it comes to caring for God’s creation, moving away from non-renewable energy sources to renewable sources is key. While many
economists agree that switching to renewable resources would benefit the U.S. economy in the long-run, there are still concerns over potential job losses in the short-term. The United States has been slow to adopt renewable energy sources, while some other nations have taken big steps in adopting alternative energy sources.

United Nations Sustainable Development, Affordable and Clean Energy goal
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (US Department of Energy)
U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Renewable Energy Explained”
World Bank sustainable energy statistics
U.S. Energy Information Administration statistics

Sustainable development

Sustainable development is a holistic strategy to ensure equal economic development for all, in a manner that does not overuse resources or harm the natural environment. In order to ensure that future generations can live in a clean and healthy environment, promoting sustainability initiatives in our communities is a crucial first step. This can be achieved through multiple avenues, but as Christians, we should strive to ensure that this development benefits everyone, particularly the most vulnerable members of society.

MCC article on UN development goals
Mennonite Creation Care Network articles on renewable energy
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations sustainable development goals
US AID sustainable development goals

Climate refugees and disaster preparedness

Over the last several years, we have seen an increase in both the occurrence and severity of extreme weather events. Disasters such as hurricanes, droughts, and floods have cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars in property damage. Often, the least privileged members of society are the last to receive help both during and after a crisis. Ecological disasters can be an underlying cause of food insecurity, political unrest, and violent uprising. Sea level rise is an enormous threat to those who live on
islands or at sea level. An increase in all of these events will likely cause one of the largest mass migrations in modern history, primarily in the global south, with upper estimates of 140 million “climate refugees” by 2050 (World Bank).

MCC migration portal
MCC: “At the Intersection of Climate Change and Conflict” (Part I of IV)
United States Geological Survey, “How can climate change affect natural disasters?”
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Climate Change
Scientific American, “Virginia Islanders Could be U.S. First Climate Change Refugees”
United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23), “The Pacific Islands”
United Nations Refugee Agency, “Climate Change and Disasters”
Norwegian Refugee Council, “Disaster and climate change”
Study on climate change and its’ correlation with the 2011 Syrian conflict
UNICEF, “Climate change, violence, and young people”

Climate change and health

Extreme heat, increased periods of heavy rainfall and drought, and air pollution can affect human health in many negative ways. Children, senior citizens, and those with underlying health conditions will have a much tougher time adapting to more extreme weather patterns in the coming years, and The World Health Organization estimates that climate change will increase healthcare spending in the United States by two to four billion dollars per year by 2030. Along with causing an increase in health issues
among vulnerable populations, warming temperatures will also increase the spread of diseases, especially in the Global South.

CSCS Climate and Health fact sheet
World Health Organization climate change and health
Center for Disease Control,” Climate Effects on Health”
National Institutes of Health, “Health Effects of Climate Change”
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, “Climate Change Impacts Human Health”

Climate change and gender issues

It is becoming increasingly clear that climate change does not impact men and women equally. On a global level, women are disproportionately affected by poverty, with 122 women living in poverty for every 100 men (World Bank). Climate change will almost certainly increase global poverty, and the associated gender gap will increase. Women are also at a disadvantage during and after disasters, as women face challenges ranging from an increase in physical violence to financial issues while trying to
resettle.

Third Way Café, “Climate Change and Women”
Government of Canada, “Women and climate change”
UNFCC, “Introduction to Gender and Climate Change”
UN “In Focus: Climate action by, and for, women”
Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, “Women and Climate Change”

Carbon Emissions

Carbon dioxide is one of the main gasses responsible for the greenhouse effect which changes the climate , and is emitted by both natural and manmade sources. Carbon emissions have drastically increased since the beginning of the industrial age, and human activities are now responsible for most of the carbon increases due to transportation, electrical use, and other industrial and agricultural activities (EPA). Decreasing carbon emissions is a common strategy proposed by policymakers to curb climate
change, and this can take various forms, including carbon taxes and mandated reductions such as those proposed in the Clean Power Plan.

CSCS carbon tax calculator
Environmental Protection Agency, “Overview of Greenhouse Gases”
Environmental Protection Agency, “FACT SHEET: Overview of the Clean Power Plan”
European Union Study on carbon emissions
Citizens’ Climate Lobby, “Carbon Fee and Dividends”
How Stuff Works, “Carbon Taxes”