Climate change is a myth. Global warming is a natural cycle. The world is going to end anyway. God is in control.
On Monday, evangelical atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe spoke at Westmont College about why these “smoke screens” to deny climate change are so commonly tossed around in Christian communities — and why it is crucial that we debunk them.
With statistics, charts, and simple analogies, Hayhoe illustrated that humans are 100 percent responsible for global warming. She described how our reliance on fossil fuels has proven that we are destroying our ecosystems, weather patterns, ozone layers, sea-levels, agriculture — and ourselves.
Hayhoe also explained that white evangelicals are the most prominent group to deny climate change. She attributed this to politics, not discrepancies between science and religion. “Due to anti-abortion beliefs, Christians typically fall on the right side of the political spectrum,” she said. Thus, this group is more likely to feed into all conservative rhetoric, much of which rejects human influence on climate change.
So how does Hayhoe reach these Christian skeptics? Through the Bible. “I use our common ground to put this problem into terms we both understand and relate to,” she said. Hayhoe shows them that God has given them the responsibility to care for their planet, and that their Christian identity will not be compromised by doing so.
But isn’t righting our environmental wrongs now hopeless with the current federal administration denying climate change? Hayhoe said no, definitely not. While she commented that the new office contradicts both “Christian values and common sense,” the majority of climate change progress thus far has not been made at a federal level, but rather locally and globally. “The main reason our government should take this seriously is because soon the U.S. will fall behind in the global clean energy race,” Hayhoe said. The choices we make as individuals are what determine the future trajectory of our Earth.
To learn more about this pertinent issue in California, Hayhoe recommended visiting cal-adapt.org.