As a faith leader, you can help inspire your congregation to care for God's creation.

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Changing Congregational Behavior to Help Our Planet

By Nichole Tucker
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Human behavior affects the world in many ways. We cultivate the land, build communities, and consume resources to sustain our needs and lifestyles. There is new evidence that all people will be required to change the way they live, work, play, and worship; for the greater good of our planet. People of faith have an opportunity to lead the way as good stewards of Creation.

A recent study published in the journal, Nature Climate Change, shows that human behavior will play a critical role in helping to reduce the Earth’s temperature; the cause of many climate impacts today. This science is a confirmation of how humans gave birth to the issues we are facing and according to Brian Beckage, Ph.D. of the University of Vermont, the study provides “a better understanding of the human perception of risk from climate change and the behavioral responses are key to curbing future climate change.”

As believers look towards the future, there are two things that will assist you in fulfilling your responsibility to care for the Earth. First, learn more about climate change, then, share it with your fellow believers and neighbors.

Enjoying this article? Read “6 Way to Reduce the Carbon Footprint in Your Place of Worship,” here on the Blessed Tomorrow blog.

Know the Truth

What do you know about climate change and how it impacts the people in your place of worship and community? Educating yourself on the basics can help mitigate your own uncertainty or confusion, and help you when speaking with others about the importance of mitigating our impact on climate. The science is clear that climate change is happening now, but the unknown is the potential for human behavior change to reduce climate change impacts in the long-term

“It is easy to lose confidence in the capacity for societies to make sufficient changes to reduce future temperatures.” - Louis J. Gross, Ph.D., Director of NIMBioS

Originally, the researchers of this study simply wondered if there was hope for change in human behavior that would positively impact the Earth. Faith leaders could be that hope and it all begins with leading congregations.

Spread the News

Faith leaders are uniquely positioned to lead on climate. With a moral compass, it is easier for faith leaders specifically, to find a reason to advocate for climate solutions and show their followers how important it is to God.

Although the NIMBioS study could not fully measure the probability that humans will change their behavior toward the planet, in a press release Gross explained that “some rational basis for hope” exists. This means that certain groups are likely to change based on particular facts or because of human traditions that will inspire them to act.

The more people who know about the impacts of climate change, the better. In today’s landscape, digital media provides a quick and impactful way of sharing essential information.

Based on the “Curbing Climate Change” study, we understand that having knowledge and spreading that knowledge is how humans begin to incite change. Study co-author, Katherine Lacasse, Ph.D. predicts that minor changes to human behavior as it relates to climate will cause shifts in policy and bring about new programs that will cause communities to make a substantial impact on climate.


ecoAmerica’s latest American Climate Leadership Recommendations Report is now available. Get tips from other faith leaders on how to advocate for climate solutions.