Climate change is arguably the greatest threat facing our children today. The decisions we make regarding the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan, for example, will alter the world we leave for future generations. Still, the issue is more immediate than previously understood with over 4,000 premature deaths and 100,000 asthma attacks occurring annually due to climate change, according to The American Lung Association.
For this reason, Christians across denominations have joined forces to care for our children by implementing practices that will ensure a blessed tomorrow. From Blessed Tomorrow leader Joel Hunter to Pope Francis, faith leaders understand that climate action today is about securing a prosperous future for our children, and generations to come.
Pope Francis' increasingly powerful statements on global warming highlight that climate action is becoming a growing moral imperative for all people of faith. Why? Because climate action is about saving people.
The pope's highly anticipated encyclical will come after a long history of the Christian community pushing for climate action. And we do so to care for the most vulnerable people — the people the Bible commands us to care about most.
Francis' many climate-concerned Christian predecessors include the Lausanne Movement (founded by Billy Graham and John Stott), Cape Town Commitment, and the Evangelical Climate Initiative (signed by more than 300 evangelical leaders, including Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and Joel Hunter). These are just a few of the Christians who recognize climate change as both the greatest moral challenge of our time and a great opportunity for hope.
The recent Vatican climate summit underscored a broad area of agreement between the Roman Catholic community and the evangelical community: Climate action is a pro-life issue.
NCR made that same point in an editorial last year after the release of the third National Climate Assessment, which, in exhaustive detail, made the case for the reality of human-caused climate change in the strongest terms to date.
Every child, born and yet-to-be born, deserves the promise and holy covenant of clean air and a healthy climate. What's more, every child deserves to reach the fullness of his or her God-given intellectual abilities. If we continue to rely on toxic mercury-emitting, coal-burning power plants, we risk harming our children's achievements.
Today, nearly one out of every six babies born in the U.S. has harmful mercury levels in his or her blood, which can easily affect developing children's brains, causing brain damage, developmental disabilities, neurological disorders, lower intelligence and learning difficulties.