ELCA Presiding Bishop Calls for Action and Advocacy on Global Warming
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- In a written message for Earth Day, April 22, the Rev. Mark S. Hanson (pictured left), presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), discussed the effects of global warming on people living in poverty and urged Lutherans to respond with advocacy and action.
In his message Hanson referred to the ELCA's 1993 social statement, "Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice," in which the church recognized that the "buildup of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide" is a threat to the environment.
Noting recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which point to humanity's use of fossil fuels as a major cause of climate change, Hanson said global warming "is likely to lead to disastrous consequences for all of creation," particularly for those living in poverty around the world.
"The poor and hungry of the earth are most vulnerable to rising sea levels, the spread of infectious disease, extending areas of drought, and other impacts of rising temperatures, many of which are already occurring," said Hanson.
The IPCC, established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, is a group of the world's preeminent scientists charged with studying the Earth's climate.
The Caring for Creation social statement "urges us to accept responsibility for our sinful treatment of God's gift of the earth," said Hanson. "A substantial part of the problem is our use of fossil fuels to run our homes, our churches, our cars, and our places of business."
In response to the growing threat, Hanson urged Lutherans to engage in advocacy by contacting their elected officials to urge them to address global warming. He also encouraged Lutherans to make lifestyle changes, including walking more frequently, using public transportation if possible, and changing light bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescent light sources.
"God's Easter promise of new life in Christ, made for all of humanity, also holds promise for God's creation: all the Earth and its creatures that God made and pronounced 'good,'" said Hanson. "In our celebration of the Good News of the Resurrection, we should remember that Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God's love and care for the world; that 'things were created through him and for him' (Colossians 1:15-16); and that in caring for creation we honor Christ," he said.