Monthly Archives: September 2013

Evangelical Scientists Answer Rush Limbaugh on Climate Change and Christian Faith

BY KATHARINE HAYHOE AND THOMAS ACKERMAN

Rush Limbaugh doesn’t think we exist. In other words, that evangelical scientists cannot subscribe to the evidence of global warming.

Specifically, during a recent segment on his radio show Limbaugh stated, “If you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming.”

Talk radio personalities often make hyperbolic statements. It is what their listeners expect and want to hear. But in this instance, Rush’s uninformed rhetoric is demeaning to Christians who care deeply about what humans are doing to God’s Creation and ignorant of the consequences that future generations will face if we don’t respond quickly to the challenge of climate change.

We are both atmospheric scientists who study climate change, having earned advanced degrees in our respective fields and having devoted our lives to increasing knowledge through scientific research. We know climate change is real, that most of it is human-caused, and that it is a threat to future generations that must be addressed by the global community. We are also evangelical Christians who believe that God created the world in which we live.

Picture3From the very beginning of the Bible, the goodness of God’s Creation and God’s love for people is front and center. In Genesis, humans are tasked with stewardship of the earth and its creatures. The Psalms praise the beauty of the earth. The gospels exhort us to love our neighbors as ourselves. The epistles emphasize the importance of caring for those in need. It is hard to read through Scripture and not be convinced that caring for people and for the environment in which we live is part of our vocation as humans. It is something we are called to do in order to live faithfully in the world.  Continue reading

Proclaiming the Good News to a Forest?

I don’t know many churches that will fight to protect a forest. Until now, I don’t think I knew even one.

But loving God compels us to love the stuff he made.  And loving our neighbors demands that we love the natural world they depend on. In the small Kenyan town of Kijabe, Christians seem to have figured this out, and in the West, we’d do well to take heed.

Kijabe is home of one of the most important mission hospitals in Africa, perched on the rim of the Great Rift Valley, halfway up the steep escarpment that rises thousands of feet from the valley floor into the East African mists. For thousands of years, thick forests have protected the escarpment from washing into the valley during the rainy season, regulating water flows and sustaining the microclimate upon which the community relies for food.

Rift Valley escarpment forests hold soils inplace

Rift Valley escarpment forests hold soils in place

At first glance, Kijabe’s forests still appear lush and green. But a closer look reveals a shocking reality: 80 percent of its forest cover has been destroyed by firewood poachers in the last 30 years.  And in 2012, Kijabe’s church leaders began sounding the alarm. They warned of the threat of catastrophic mudslides and the loss of fertile soils. They warned of crop failures due to a microclimate no longer protected by the felled trees. And they warned of malaria outbreaks in the hotter local weather.

But they were dealing with armed forest poachers, and the entire community feared them. It’s hard to picture pastors and elders rolling up their sleeves to fight for the creation, but Kijabe’s Christian leaders took up the challenge.

“We have to fight, even if it means forgetting that we are pastors and become radicals,” said David Mwangi, an elder in the African Inland Church (AIC) last AprilContinue reading