Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Feb. 2012 Creation Corner Column

Religious Responses in Confronting the Challenge of our Climate Crisis

"Climate change is perhaps the gravest calamity our species has ever encountered. Its impact could dwarf that of any war, any plague, any famine we have confronted so far. It could make genocide and ethnic cleansing look like sideshows at the circus of human suffering." -- George Monbiot*

Engaging efforts with the secular scientific community, religious approaches to the global issue of climate change are many and varied. The February 10-12, 2012 "National Preach-In on Global Warming" is one. Coordinated by Interfaith Power & Light (IPL), many resources are available from and their usefulness extends beyond their mid-winter religious response to global warming.

Examples include denomination-specific sermon preparation notes and guides for reflections, devotionals, Bible studies and youth activities. Hand-outs explain what global warming is, why we should care, and how it is a faith issue. Putting faith into action by encouraging safeguards for clean air quality receives a high priority of social commitment.

Of especial interest is the IPL 30-minute DVD, "Preaching for the Planet: Interfaith Messages on Global Warming," with narrators from the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist and Islamic faith communities.

This is another visual media example in the tradition of earlier efforts, such as the DVD, "Blessed Earth: Serving God, Saving the Planet" that was a simulcast on the April 21, 2010 eve of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, featuring Dr. Matthew Sleeth ( .

Prior to that were the 2006 DVDs named "ReVision: What If?" and "The Great Warming" ( narrated by Alanis Morissette and Keanu Reeves, produced in association with the National Association of Evangelicals.

Documentary films originating in the secular community include "The 11th Hour", produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, 2007 ( and, of course, the 2007 Academy Oscar Award for Best Documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" based on Al Gore's book by the same title.

No matter what your source of information on climate change, be it The Union of Concerned Scientists, the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world (; also see, or the church and climate resources from the ecojustice program of the National Council of Churches ( and their upcoming Earth Day 2012 emphasis on "The Ethics of Energy", it seems imperative that our faith communities have much to offer and apply in providing a dialogue toward a solution in confronting the challenge of our climate crisis.

*George Monbiot quote taken from the liner notes of the music CD "Rhythms Del Mundo/Cuba" produced in cooperation with Artists' Project Earth (APE), that "aims to help create a better world by bringing the power of music and other arts to 21st century challenges. It will bring appropriate action, raise funds and facilitate awareness with regard to environmental disasters, climate change and related challenges." See . The Music Rising Foundation received donations from the sale of the CD ( .