RNS asked some of the country’s top faith leaders, scholars and activists to consider what changes the religion landscape will see in 2019. Find all their predictions here.
Climate change is happening right before our eyes. While we live in partial ignorance of the constant changes in the world around us, it is impossible to ignore the devastation that has emerged from the rising global climate. Scientists have been warning us for years that we must change our ways. They now warn us that we have only 12 years for global warming to be kept to 1.5 degrees Celsius or the risk of drought, floods and storms will worsen for millions.
My 2019 prediction is that churches and people of faith across the world will recognize the destruction of climate change and make a prophetic call to change our ways of living. This new year, the climate change problems that we have faced in 2018 will certainly worsen if we do not make conscious efforts to change our behavior and take action. Churches and religious organizations will recognize the urgency involved in changing our ways to fight climate change.
Religious groups like the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ACT Alliance are already engaged in advocacy work to fight for climate justice and sustainability. WCC works toward justice, peace and love and continues to respond to the impacts of climate change. Such groups need to work together with faith traditions around the world for interfaith advocacy and work.
Climate change is an issue of both ecological and economic justice. It disproportionally affects the world’s poorest people and displaces the most vulnerable communities. Thus religious people all over the world must unify their collective influence to fight this battle and work together to advocate for policies at local and national levels for sustainable practices.
As people of faith, we cannot continue to ignore climate change while God’s creation is suffering. We must act and invest in fighting climate change as it may be the only investment that will have direct results for a brighter and safer future. We need to invest in clean, renewable energy; reduce the global carbon footprint; reduce waste; and recycle and reuse more actively. As people of faith, we need to take seriously our theological engagement, advocacy and social action to advert a climate catastrophe.
Kim is an associate professor of theology at Earlham School of Religion and co-author of “Intersectional Theology” and “Healing Our Broken Humanity.”