"We didn't come out of the stone age because we ran out of stones," shared Paul Douglas, a Republican and evangelical Christian, meteorologist during an interview this past week at St. John's University. Douglas continued, "We've all benefited from fossil fuels, but it's not sustainable." Douglas has become known for his push of climate solutions and heavier regulations on polluters – despite his political affiliation – a conviction he claims rest in the book of Genesis. Douglas explained, "I believe in Genesis, in the Bible, that we are God's creation and have the good sense not to foul our nest….this comes down to stewardship."
Quoting the Book of Matthew 25:40, in which Christians are taught to care for the 'least of these,' Douglas explained his motivation for acting on climate change, a transition that must happen not only in our economy but within our personal values. Douglas clarified, 'this doesn't mean we all have to start riding a bike or become a vegetarian,' dispelling the myth that climate solutions imply an abandonment of who we are and how we live our lives.
While some personal changes are necessary, Douglas contends that the changes must happen within the fossil fuel industry, elaborating, "Nobody has the right to pollute with impunity."
For Douglas, climate solutions require economic changes grounded in the progress that every industry must undergo to stay alive and relevant. While his economic concerns are convincing, his principal focus remains on the "150 million people who live within 3 feet of sea level," countries like Bangladesh, which already have a large portion of land consumed by the rising ocean.
It's clear that Douglas, a trained scientist, and voting Republican, finds his true motivations for climate action in his faith. Quoting Luke 16:2, Douglas contends that God has compelled us to care for His creation, as cautioned in The Parable of the Unrighteous Steward.
Listen to the full interview below.
Dogma, ideology and money are blocking efforts to address climate change, says Twin Cities meteorologist Paul Douglas.
Douglas, a Republican and evangelical Christian, says he believes in stewardship.
He was a featured speaker at a Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, event as part of the "On Campus with Gary Eichten" series. The event was held at St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict.