Can Faith Leaders Transform Climate Education Through Missionary Work?

If asked, most Americans would likely know something about climate change. Which made the recent news that 40% of the global population has never heard of climate change all the more shocking. And, as a strange twist of irony, those people unaware of climate change will most likely be the greatest impacted by it. While these numbers may sound bleak to some, I see them as an opportunity for American faith leaders  to educate those unknowing communities about climate change. 

Missionary trips are a familiar task for a many religious communities, proselytizing to a great number of people around the world, often partaking in socially beneficial projects along the way such as a securing drinking water, building schools, etc… What if faith leaders incorporated creation care into their witnessing abroad, both spreading the gospel and information about climate change simultaneously? Imagine the reach American faith leaders could have on the global community.

This Factor Predicts What People Think About Climate Change

Justin Worland | Time Magazine

Education affects climate change beliefs differently if you live in the U.S. 

Around the world, people with higher levels of education are more likely to understand climate change than their less-educated counterparts, according to new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Using data collected by Gallup from 119 countries, researchers found that education level was a key determinant of climate change risk perceptions in 62% of countries around the world. But all bets are off when it comes to education and views of climate change in the United States, along with a select few English speaking countries. Political party and ideology predicted views of climate change in the U.S., not education alone. (Information on political ideology and climate change beliefs was not available for countries outside the U.S.)

“[For Americans] just having higher education does not mean that you understand or accept the science,” says study co-author Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. “[Americans] who have attained higher education are better at cherry picking evidence that seems to validate what we already believe.”

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