About this blog: Discussing religion, spirituality and values. About the writers: Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. Janet Marshall is the religion editor for The Free Lance-Star.
Yesterday, faith and environment leaders came together to talk about global warming, the Chesapeake Bay and how congregations can go green. Check out today’s paper for the story. There were a few details that didn’t fit into the story:
1. The link between global warming and poverty. The Rev. Jim Ball, president of the Evangelical Environment Network, gave many facts about the link. He pointed out that global warming affects "the least of these," those Jesus called his followers to help. Global warming will lead to droughts, hurricanes, floods and disease, he said. And struggling nations with low literacy rates, few civil rights and little peace will find themselves in even more desperate situations, Ball said.
2. Some local church leaders said the global link first got them into going green. Steve Aycock, head of the Fredericksburg Area Baptist Network, said a mission trip to China really showed him how pollution was hurting other countries. His wife was sick for more than a month because of pollution in the air, Aycock said. Area churches with connections to congregations in Africa and Latin America also see how climate change affects missions.
3. Scientists and faithful don’t seem like the most natural allies, but speakers repeatedly emphasized the natural connections between the two. Alexei Laushkin, director of major programs and church relations for EEN, said people must learn more about the environment they live in. "It’s hard to praise the creator for what he made if you don’t know what he made," Laushkin said.
4. Speakers also emphasized that creation care–the religious term for environmentalism–is a natural extension of Jesus’ calling to take care "of the least of these." Not only because of the impacts on poverty, but those on wildlife and everyone who lives on the earth. Speaker Melanie Griffin said, "As followers of Jesus, we are called to take action and to speak out for the poor and the powerless–and to love not just the powerless but also the voiceless."