FAITH

FAITH


For many people the world over, climate change presents an existential crisis. Some fall back on faith to ground them in the face of climate change’s magnitude, even to guide them through it. For others, faith precludes an acceptance of climate change’s harsh realities. The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology has an incredible archive of articles on religion and climate change from 2009 to present

In recent history, a prominent narrative has positioned religiosity as antithetical to environmentalism and climate denialism has flourished in right-wing, white Christian communities. It has been effective -- only 24% of white evangelical Protestants agree that the US is warming due to human activity, according to a 2020 poll, compared with 64% of religiously unaffiliated adults. Politically prominent and powerful Christian interest groups, such as Focus on the Family and Family Research Council, have launched campaigns denouncing environmental movements. Despite the rhetoric from these groups, some researchers have argued that, it is the confluence of these religious movements with conservative American politics, which has determined their stance on climate change. In other words, for these folks, their political identity has affected their religious convictions as a driver of their environmental convictions.

Many people of Christian faiths have pushed back on the toxic narrative of denialism. Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, for example, is an evangelical Christian and leading climate scientist who has garnered substantial attention for her ability to bridge the political divide, profoundly explaining the way that her faith has driven her work. Climate change, she argues, is a blatantly Christian cause because of the ways it will disproportionately affect the poor and cause the extinction of so many of God’s creatures. This ethos has been reiterated in the international Christian community. Already in 2011, Pope Benedict XVI spoke strongly urging climate action. And, in 2020, Pope Francis, quoting science specifically, clarified that action was needed now.

Aligning faith with environmental stewardship is key for many in driving environmental action and believing in the possibility of a more sustainable future. The International Islamic Climate Change Symposium drafted an Islamic Declaration on Climate Change in 2015. The declaration makes clear the threat climate change poses to one of Islam’s pillars: the Hajj. A group of Jewish leaders published a Rabbinic Statement on the Climate Crisis in January 2020. In fact, statements on climate change have been released from a multitude of international and interfaith communities, including Baha’i, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. In early 2021, The Mind and Life Institute moderated a fascinating conversation between the Dalai Lama, Greta Thunberg and leading scientists.

For many indigenous communities, faith is a thread which runs through a resilient history and a pathway toward a sustainable future. The legacy of colonialism is vivid both in modern dynamics of faith and within the dynamics of the climate crisis. The struggle of Native communities to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline, is just one explicit example of this intersection. The rallying cry ‘Defend the Sacred’ was prominent in resistance to the pipeline and summarized a key legal argument that the pipeline violated the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s right to religious freedom. The integrity of Lake Oahe and surrounding areas, a site sacred to the tribes, would have been gravely threatened by the pipeline. Respect of indigenous spirituality and epistemologies, long subjected to colonialist erasure, is a key to combatting climate change and pursuing climate justice.  As of April 1,2021, the future of the pipeline is still being resolved in the courts.

The idea that religion and climate science are inherently opposing forces is myopic and harmful. On the contrary, faith is unquestionably sustaining and sustainable.

Don Cheadle Talks with Katharine Hayhoe: Faith & Climate Change

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

Let’s talk faith & climate

05/26/21
Communication Guidance For Faith Leaders

Books and Articles

04/01/21
Yale forum on religion and Ecology  

Communications Engagement

03/31/21
Our Moving Forward: A Guide to Climate Action For Your Congregation and Community provides you with information and resources to reduce energy use, to build  

Our Mission

03/31/21
Because the Earth and all people are sacred and at risk, GreenFaith is building a worldwide, multi-faith climate and environmental movement. Together our members create communities to transform ourselves, our spiritual institutions, and society to…

Mission & History

03/30/21
Vision Interfaith Power & Light envisions a stable climate where humans live in right and just relationship, interconnected with a healthy, thriving, natural world. Mission Interfaith Power & Light inspires and mobilizes people of faith…

Indigenous Environmental Network

03/30/21
www.ienearth.org Indigenous Environmental Network      

Why faith and environment matters

03/30/21
Spiritual values drive individual behaviours for more than 80 per cent of people. In many countries, spiritual beliefs and religions define cultural values, social inclusion, political engagement and economic prosperity. In 2008, the United Nations…

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Religion and Foreign Policy: The Fourth National Climate Assessment

03/30/21
The U.S. Global Change Research Program issued its National Climate Assessment in November. Three-hundred author scientists from thirteen agencies produced a 1000+ page report without censorship. Climate changes across the United States will result in…

Climate Caretakers

05/12/20
Climate Caretakers commit to care for the climate through regular prayer and action that glorifies God and loves our neighbors.

Interfaith Power and Light – Congregational Solar Directory

05/12/20
The number of congregations with solar has more than doubled since the last survey in 2016 for a total of 770! Their combined efforts equal 45 megawatts of installed solar...

A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions (2015)

02/14/20
Drawing on the two authors' experiences, one as an internationally recognized climate scientist and the other as an evangelical leader of a growing church, this book explains the science underlying global warming, the impact that…

Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

02/14/20
We are young evangelicals in the United States who are coming together and taking action to overcome the climate crisis as part of our Christian discipleship and witness.

Faith for Earth Initiative

02/13/20
Spiritual values drive individual behaviours for more than 80 per cent of people. In many countries, spiritual beliefs and religions define cultural values, social inclusion, political engagement and economic prosperity.

20.’25: The Global Evangelical Clean Energy Initiative

01/31/20
In the pursuit of its objectives, WEA Creation Care Task Force, the WEA Business Coalition, and the WEA Sustainability Center have partnered to work with Smart Roofs Solar to support WEA’s Project 20.’25 to assist…

World Evangelical Alliance Sustainability Center

01/31/20
The WEA Sustainability Center connects 600 million evangelical Christians around the globe with global efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Sustainable Development Goals); provides impetus for broader engagement of evangelical church communities…

MORE NEWS

Finding common ground between faith and science on climate change

By Pamela McCall and Elaine Clark  Photo: Renee Bright   11/08/21  
In June, 90% of Utah was in “extreme drought.” Gov. Spencer Cox asked Utahns to cut back their water use — and to pray for rain. That drew ire on social media. Some said the…
RNS

Caught between hope and despair on climate change

By Thomas Reese  Photo: AP Photo/Alastair Grant   11/04/21  
As world leaders meet in Glasgow, Scotland, I am depressed by the inability of nations to deal with the coming climate catastrophe. The fault is not entirely on the heads of world leaders. They are…

As COP26 conference gathers, faith-based environmentalists fight ‘eco-grief’

By Elizabeth E. Evans   11/02/21  
There’s a word for climate disaster fatigue: It’s called “eco-grief.” As the United Nations Climate Conference (known as COP26) gathers world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland, over the next two weeks to discuss climate change, and…

Faith groups increasingly join fight against climate change

By Luis Andres Henao And Jessie Wardarski   11/02/21  
On a boat ride along a bayou that shares the name of his Native American tribe, Donald Dardar points to a cross marking his ancestors’ south Louisiana burial ground — a place he fears will…

Demonstrators Hold Multi-Faith Rally for Climate Change Action

By Ben Kern and WORT News Department  Photo: Phil Haslanger   10/18/21  
Dozens gathered around the Wisconsin Capitol Building today for one mission: improving global climate health. The event, called Prayers for the Planet, was coordinated through Greenfaith — a worldwide, multi-faith coalition that seeks a better…

‘Destroying the planet is against our religion,’ say Colorado Springs religious leaders at climate protest

By Debbie Kelley  Photo: Christian Murdock   10/18/21  
When religious leaders speak, people tend to listen. That’s why about 40 people representing different faith traditions gathered on the steps of Colorado Springs City Hall Friday to reiterate a theme common to the beliefs…

Biden to Discuss Climate Change With Pope Francis at Vatican

By Justin Sink  Photo: Filippo Monteforte   10/14/21  
President Joe Biden is expected discuss the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change with Pope Francis at the Vatican later this month, ahead of international summits in Rome and Glasgow, Scotland.

‘You are making the future today’, Pope tells youth climate activists

By Angelo Amante   09/29/21  
Pope Francis on Wednesday praised youth climate campaigners for their efforts to tackle global warming and encouraged them to carry on with their work "for the good of humanity". Thousands of young activists have converged…

Baltimore is hooking up a Black megachurch with some serious solar battery power

By Maria Gallucci  Photo: David Gannon , Getty Images   09/14/21  
Empowerment Temple, a predominantly Black megachurch in Baltimore’s Park Heights area, is a place neighbors can often go for free meals, school supplies, and drive-thru COVID-19 tests. Soon, they’ll also be able to visit the…

Christian leaders unite to issue stark warning over climate crisis

By Harriet Sherwood  Photo: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters   09/07/21  
Archbishop of Canterbury, pope and leader of Orthodox church ask for people’s prayers ahead of Cop26

Religious Americans Demand Climate Action

By Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons and Maggie Siddiqi  Photo: Kerem Yucel , Getty Images   07/21/21  
President Joe Biden has pursued a bold agenda to address the climate crisis. On his first day in office, he had the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement.1 A week later, he signed an executive…

In the Midwest, faith communities are ramping up the fight against climate change

By Jena Brooker  Photo: Grist / Amelia Bates   06/30/21  
Outside the hulking limestone facade of Gesu Catholic Church and School in Detroit, Michigan, a group of fifth and sixth graders sit in the grass next to two rain gardens full of native plants —…

Church offers guidelines for response to climate migration

By Christopher Wells   05/27/21  
A new booklet published by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development “calls on us to broaden the way we look at this drama of our time” – the drama of “those driven from their…

Methodist Church dumps Shell over ‘inadequate’ climate plans

05/27/21  
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Vatican official: Church divestment from fossil fuels is ‘moral imperative’

By Brian Roewe  Photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters   05/20/21  
An official in the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development urged Catholic institutions around the world to divest from fossil fuels, calling it a moral and theological imperative and a response to Pope Francis'…

John Kerry, US climate envoy, meets pope and speaks at Vatican conference

By Cindy Wooden  Photo: CNS/Vatican Media   05/15/21  
John Kerry, U.S. President Joe Biden's special envoy for climate, met privately with Pope Francis May 15, the day after giving a keynote address at a closed-door meeting of the Pontifical Academy for Sciences and…

Spiritual leaders seek to spur an ‘ecological conversion’

By Steve Curwood  Photo: CheiWei Chang/Flickr   05/13/21  
Science and policy are vital in building a more sustainable world, but they often don’t convey the values that engage and encourage people to participate in the process. Spiritual traditions and ancient teachings, on the other…

Young evangelicals push to ‘build a bigger choir loft’ for U.S. climate action

By Laurie Goering  Photo: Kaleb Nyquist   05/12/21  
Growing up in a conservative Christian home and school, Kyle Meyaard-Schaap learned a lot about scripture and its values but "almost nothing about climate change", he remembers. The U.S. evangelical movement he belongs to has…

Le Moyne Jesuits among CNY religious leaders to call for a transition from fossil fuels

By Maddie Rhodes   05/12/21  
Around 400,000 religious members across upper New York have signed this statement. Endorsers of the statement include the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse and The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.

COP and the Cloth: Quantitatively and Normatively Assessing Religious NGO Participation at the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

By David Krantz   05/10/21  
How much is religion quantitatively involved in global climate politics? After assessing the role of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from a normative perspective, this descriptive, transdisciplinary…

Ashes to ashes: Pentecostalism, the PM and the climate crisis

By Graham Readfearn  Photo: Mick Tsikas/AAP   05/08/21  
“We are called, all of us, for a time and for a season and God would have us use it wisely.” Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister and a Pentecostal Christian, flew in on a taxpayer-funded…

I couldn’t go back to school. So I started a farm to connect with my Jewish values.

By Remi Welbel  Photo: Claire Ivey   05/04/21  
After being sent home from school, a life of relative COVID-ignorant bliss, I arrived in the ravaging chaos of the pandemic. My mother — the head of infection control and epidemiology for the largest public…

5 Buddhist Practices to Help Tackle Climate Change

By Lama Willa B. Miller  Photo by Rich Martello   05/02/21  
Climate change can feel so immense that it hurts just to think about. Lama Willa Miller offers five meditations to help bring the truth of climate change into your awareness and lay the ground for a…

Can faith leaders shift public opinion toward climate action?

By Brian H. Smith  Photo: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters   04/26/21  
More than eight in 10 people on the planet (84%) identify with a religious tradition — including 2.3 billion Christians, 1.8 billion Muslims, 1.1 billion Hindus, 500 million Buddhists, and 14 million Jews. Just these…

Pope Francis, in Earth Day messages, warns ‘we are at the edge’ on climate change

By Brian Roewe   04/22/21  
In twin Earth Day messages, Pope Francis warned a gathering of world leaders and the global community at large that "we are at the edge" with climate change, and the time to take action is…

Meet the Jewish Activist Digging Through the Trash for Climate Justice

By Orge Castellano  Photo: Patricia Lopez Ramos   04/22/21  
A few years ago, Anna Sacks was an utterly different person. Her existence revolved around the monotonous slender buildings, high-rise cubicles, and exceedingly demanding domains of Manhattan’s corporate world. Soon, the young New Yorker’s workday…

Jewish activists take climate change fight to halls of power

By Maya Mirsky  Photo: Gili Getz   04/21/21  
What can one person do about climate change? For Grace Wallis, the answer is simple: a lot, but not enough. “Individual actions don’t create direct change, immediate change, in the areas that are most effective…

‘Within minutes I was weeping’: the US pastor using scripture to mobilize climate action

By Melissa Godin  Photo: Mike Belleme/The Guardian   04/20/21  
The Rev Scott Hardin-Nieri regularly revisits the story of Noah’s ark. “People look at that story fondly, because they focus on all the animals that were saved,” the pastor says. But for Hardin-Nieri, Noah’s ark…

Green Shoots of Hope, Part Two – Youth Climate Leaders in the Americas

By Brian Roewe   04/13/21  
One of the Earth’s most precious resources are youth leaders from many countries who are mobilizing to vocally share their demands regarding climate change. This diverse group includes Indigenous climate activists, who are rallying and protesting…

People of faith are allies to stall climate change

By Tobias Muller   04/08/21  
I am used to sceptical looks when I talk to scientists about my work with religious communities. They have reason to see science as under threat from zealots: examples abound, from the treatment of Galileo…

Catholic seminary installs a solar farm shaped like a cross

By Sarah Kennedy   04/02/21  
From their plane windows, people traveling to and from Chicago may notice the shape of a cross in a field outside the city. This cross is made entirely of rows of solar panels that help…

He’s a Famous Evangelical Preacher, but His Kids Wish He’d Pipe Down

By Nicholas Kristof  Photo by Getty Images   03/27/21  
The Rev. Rick Joyner is a famous evangelical leader who has called on Christians to arm themselves for an inevitable civil war against liberals, who he suggests are allies of the devil. But this is…

For These Young Evangelical Activists, Facing the Climate Crisis Is an Act of Faith

By Alex Morris   03/21/21  
A few years back, William Morris came to realize just how he could be a light unto the world. Before this precise moment in time, his visions of a missionary life had involved foreign climes,…

People of Faith Worldwide Rise Up for Climate Justice

By Jessica Corbett  Photo: Getty Images   03/12/21  
"We envision a world transformed, in which humanity in all its diversity has developed a shared reverence for life on Earth." So declares a new joint statement—entitled "Sacred People, Sacred Earth"—supported by religious groups and leaders…

Hard-hitting video explains the origins of climate change ‘polarization’

By Bud Ward   03/12/21  
A story “about today. That started yesterday. And impacts tomorrow.” That’s how the University of Virginia’s Religion, Race & Democracy Lab introduces its new “God $ Green: An Unholy Alliance” 19-minute publicly available “eye-popping” video.…

How a Young Activist Is Helping Pope Francis Battle Climate Change

By David Owen  Photo by Isabel Magowan   02/01/21  
Molly Burhans wants the Catholic Church to put its assets—which include farms, forests, oil wells, and millions of acres of land—to better use. But, first, she has to map them.

Pope’s adviser says Covid has highlighted ‘existential’ climate risk

By Karen McVeigh  Photo: Noah Berger, AP   01/15/21  
The pope’s newly appointed scientific adviser said the coronavirus pandemic has forced world leaders to face up to the “existential risk” of the climate crisis.

The Dalai Lama In Conversation with Greta Thunberg and Leading Scientists

Photo: (left) Christopher Michel, (right) Anthony Quintano.   01/09/21  
The president of the Latin-American Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CELAM) said Europeans need to leave behind a “poetic” understanding of climate change to begin combating it effectively.

How Taiwan uses Buddhist literature for environmental education

By Natasha Heller  Photo: Getty Images   12/01/20  
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges that the world faces. A United Nations report has cautioned that greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity are at a record high, “with no signs of slowing…

Through their faith, these CCLers commit to care for creation

By Flannery Winchester   11/24/20  
Recently, two CCL volunteers wrote an essay for their church titled “Our Faith Commitment to Care for Creation.” Corey Becker is a parishioner and student, and Bill Stigliani is a parishioner and professor emeritus of…
TED

Our Moral Imperative To Act On Climate Change – And 3 Steps We Can Take

His Holiness Pope Francis  Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media   10/10/20  
Delivering a visionary TED Talk from Vatican City, the spiritual leader proposes three courses of action to address the world's growing environmental problems and economic inequalities, illustrating how all of us can work together, across…

Five Years After Speaking Out on Climate Change, Pope Francis Sounds an Urgent Alarm

By James Bruggers  Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty   08/07/20  
When Pope Francis issued his landmark teaching document on climate change in 2015, his words went straight to the heart of Susan Varlamoff.

Young climate activists and the language of God in ‘A Children’s Bible’

By Amy Brady   06/20/20  
Author and conservationist Lydia Millet captures the spirit of those young activists in her latest novel, A Children’s Bible, a slim but poignant (and often darkly funny) account of a group of kids and their…

Vatican urges Catholics to drop investments in fossil fuels, arms

By Philip Pullella   06/18/20  
The Vatican urged Catholics on Thursday to disinvest from the armaments and fossil fuel industries and to closely monitor companies in sectors such as mining to check if they are damaging the environment.

For many young evangelicals in Iowa, climate is front and centre

By Teresa Krug  Photo: Teresa Krug/Al Jazeera   02/01/20  
As Iowa kicks off 2020 US presidential primary and caucus season, young evangelicals are demanding climate action.

For evangelicals, climate change causes a split between young and old that could hurt Republicans

By Laura Krantz   12/28/19  
Cornfields flank the highway that forms the main road here and grain elevators tower overhead, constant reminders of how farming permeates this rural community in the state’s northwest corner.
NPR

Powered By Faith, Religious Groups Emerge As A Conduit For A Just Solar Boom

By Avery Ellfeldt  Photo: Mhari Shaw/NPR   12/15/19  
Minnesota winters are long, brutal and gray. Minneapolis resident Keith Dent has endured 38 of them. But over the last several years, he's experienced what he calls a "reintroduction to the sun."

Solar Light of the World: Evangelicals Launch Global Clean Energy Campaign

By Griffin Paul Jackson  Photo: Education Images / Contributor / Getty   12/11/19  
The initiative aims to convert 1 in 5 WEA churches and institutions to renewable power by 2025.

Latin American Church Calls for ‘Incisive’ Action Against Climate Change

By Thomas D. WIlliams, Ph.D.  Photo: Getty Images   12/09/19  
The president of the Latin-American Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CELAM) said Europeans need to leave behind a “poetic” understanding of climate change to begin combating it effectively.
CNN

How green theology is energizing the black community to fight the climate crisis

By Nicollette Higgs   11/22/19  
Black churches across the country are embracing sustainability through Green The Church, an initiative that empowers congregations to use sustainable food and energy practices to fight the climate crisis and strengthen their communities.