A decade ago most experts thought of global warming as the largest challenge civilization faced—but one that would happen relatively gradually. That cautious optimism has faded as one study after another has proved that the earth was more finely balanced than we’d understood. The climate crisis is bearing down on us much faster than most people realize. The temperature rise has started melting every frozen thing on earth. In the Arctic Ocean, white ice that reflected the sun’s rays is quickly turning into water that absorbs more of the sun’s heat. And, as the ice melts, there’s the very real chance of a catastrophic rise in sea levels.
As this issue of the magazine was being prepared, the House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform was holding a hearing on the way the Bush administration has treated the issue of climate change. The administration has not been very interested in the topic, and until recently didn’t allow the phrase to be uttered.
In his State of the Union address, President Bush once again sounded the alarm about America’s dependence on foreign oil, and he called for a reduction in gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next 10 years. But Bush framed the issue largely as a national security concern: dependence on foreign oil leaves the U.S.
The Amish community, which inspired the world with acts of forgiveness after a Pennsylvania schoolhouse shooting, has been named the newsmaker of the year by the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA) and Beliefnet.
Half of U.S. evangelical Christians do not support government funding of faith-based organizations, a survey shows. Newly released data from the Baylor Religion Survey show that 50 percent of evangelicals and 65 percent of the total population think federal funding of religious organizations is inappropriate.
As I write these words, the season’s first named storm—Alberto—is developing in the Caribbean. We’re now in what everyone refers to as hurricane season, which is joining winter, spring, summer, autumn, Christmas and football as a fixture on the calendar. (It probably has a brighter future than winter.)A few years ago, words like these would have been scoffed at by most mainstream Americans, treated as the unlikely emanations of radical greens. (Trust me on that.) But within the past year or so the tide has turned. Katrina had something to do with that. So did Al Gore.
Warning of millions of potential deaths worldwide from climate change, a new network of evangelical leaders has launched a campaign for government and grassroots action to reduce global warming. The network’s formation symbolizes a growing divide among evangelicals on how—or even whether—to address climate change.
Saying climate change represents one of humanity’s most dire threats, the top official of the World Council of Churches has appealed to denominations around the world to speak with one voice to alert political leaders to tackle the issue.
The killer tsunami that devastated islands and shorelines on the Indian Ocean within hours last month ought to alert political leaders to the perils of what some scientists call a much slower but earth-circling climate change, say two international church executives.