Easter, Earth Day, and What Christians Need to Know About Protecting Our Planet

Christians just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I’m a Christian, husband, father, businessman and scientist; a Penn State meteorologist by training. It’s true that all knowledge is relative; science is never “settled” and one never quite reaches solid bedrock. There’s always a new observation, a new discovery, a radical theory, more testing to do. We look at the universe through a pinhole as God gradually reveals himself to us.

Regardless of how you pray or how you vote, we can all agree that fewer toxic chemicals in our air and water is a good thing. But today, more Americans die prematurely from air pollution than traffic accidents. More than 5 million premature deaths result from dirty air every year, worldwide. Air pollution disproportionately impacts minority and low-income communities across the USA. And statistically, America’s poor are much more likely to live near toxic waste sites.

These numbers betray the ugly truth that the poor pay the steepest price for America’s toxic reliance on fossil fuels. This is not the world Jesus teaches us to create. “He will reply, truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me,” Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 24:45.

The Trump administration’s misguided efforts to roll back protections for public health and the environment puts every one of us at risk, especially those with the fewest resources. Increasingly, America the Beautiful is under siege, as the interests of polluting industries take priority over the safety and welfare of our children.

Science is not a substitute for faith; the two are not mutually exclusive. Science has no answer for the miracle of consciousness, the power of love and the promise of eternal life to come. We are here to worship our Creator and enjoy the fruits of his Creation. We are caretakers of a precious gift. We don’t own anything—everything around us is on loan. “My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world,” Billy Graham preached.

Science doesn’t have all the answers, but we would be well advised to listen to the 97% of climate scientists who tell us Earth is warming, and the rapid burning of fossil fuels is responsible. Because the symptoms of a warming planet are becoming harder to deny and dismiss.

I just co-authored Caring for Creation: The Evangelical’s Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment with Mitch Hescox, a former coal industry employee and a Methodist Minister. He is now leading the Evangelical Environmental Network, made up of conservatives focused on conserving the very thing that sustains us: a healthy, vibrant planet.

I’m proud of the many Christians who will march on April 29th in the People’s Climate March. Around the world people of faith will speak with one voice about the dangers of climate change, and the opportunities for good, renewable, clean-energy energy jobs. Environmental justice and economic justice go hand in hand. Clean energy is rapidly outpacing fossil fuels in creating jobs—the solar industry already employs twice as many people as coal.

We are called to be stewards, tending what’s left of Eden. “Man has been appointed as a steward for the management of God’s property, and ultimately, he will give account for his stewardship” says Luke 16:2.

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SOURCE: Paul Douglas 
The Guardian