Virtual Voices

Obama links faith, environmentalism

Campaign 2008

On October 23, a Global Carbon Project study announced that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have risen 35% faster than expected since 2000. Last week at an interfaith forum on climate change, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said that there's a religious response to climate change: "We are not acting as good stewards of God's earth when our bottom line puts the size of our profits before the future of our planet."

Obama, a member of the United Church of Christ, wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 % before 2050. Obama said cleaning up the planet takes faith: "Not a blind faith, not a faith of mere words, not a faith that ignores science, but an active searching faith."

E. Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, told WoW he agrees that Christians should care for the earth: "We should use the resources that God has given us in the earth in a way that serves the needs of our fellow men and would be sustainable over a long period."

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Beisner added, however, that the Bible "does not tell us all of the empirical facts needed to figure out how best to do that." Christian debate over environmental policy has to focus on facts, and Beisner said his study of the facts suggests that climate change is "overwhelmingly natural, not man-made." Trying to stop climate change is a waste of resources that could help elsewhere, and will have "no significant effect on future temperatures."

But Obama believes "it is our responsibility to ensure that this planet remains clean and safe and livable for our children and for all of God's children. … Science has made it undeniably clear that our generation is not living up to this responsibility. Global warming is not a someday problem, it is now."

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