A summer heatwave across Europe elevated temperatures to heights never seen before, leaving citizens overheated, infrastructure damaged and wildfires burning out of control.
Paris reached 40.5 degrees Celsius or 104.9 degrees Fahrenheit. The United Kingdom hit a record, measuring the hottest temperature ever at 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
In London, wildfires spread to properties, burning homes and leaving families with total losses. The BBC reported that the Wennington fire brigade said 15 to 20 houses in one neighborhood had been destroyed. Fire brigades across the United Kingdom reported similar scenarios in their communities.
Flights were temporarily suspended at London’s Luton Airport due to runway damage resulting from the extreme temperatures. In addition, train service to and from King’s Cross was canceled because of damaged rails burnt by wildfires.
Two years ago, the UK’s Met Office of meteorologists predicted that by 2050 temperatures would rise to extreme levels. This week, they issued a warning, stating that their prediction for 2050 was unfolding now, 28 years earlier than expected.
In the United States, over 100 million citizens were warned of extreme heat conditions by the National Weather Service. The number increases to 265 million Americans when heat advisories are factored into the equation. In Oklahoma, where I call home, the entire state recorded a minimum high of 103 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday.
Because of the extreme heat and increased natural disasters, some lawmakers are encouraging President Joe Biden to declare a national climate emergency. The president’s environmental agenda has stalled in Congress, so lawmakers want the president to use executive powers to combat climate change. At this point, it appears the president is unlikely to make the declaration.
Since Washington will lead while the world burns, people of faith need to make their voices heard. We can declare a climate emergency to pressure the president and lawmakers to act. We are rushing towards irreversible damage as we near the increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius globally above preindustrial levels.
Climate scientist Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, talked to PHYS.org this week. His group teamed with the New Climate Institute to create the Climate Action Tracker, which analyzes nations’ climate targets and policies compared to the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Hare remarked during the interview, “It’s a grim outlook. There’s no getting away from it, I’m afraid.”
Thankfully, there are people of good faith working on getting their voices heard and real tangible actions applied when it comes to global warming.
In the Louisville Courier-Journal last month, the paper reported on climate collaboration between Rabbi Yonatan Neril and ordained minister Leah Schade.
Neril is founder and CEO of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, which “offers clergy across the United States advice and recommendations in theologically-based tip sheets written by Schade, an expert at helping clergy bridge political divides in their congregations.”
Good Faith Media board member Don Gordon launched C3: Christians Caring for Creation. C3’s mission is to “provide a platform to address the critical environmental issues of our day and to challenge Christians to act boldly in loving God and neighbor by loving all God’s creation.”
Gordon offered a presentation during the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s 2022 General Assembly about how congregations can, and should, be working to care for creation.
The John Ray Initiative, an educational charity based in the U.K., seeks to connect environmental concerns, science and Christianity.
Since 1997, JRI has been working “to bring together scientific and Christian understandings of the environment in a way that can be widely communicated and lead to effective action” and “to promote responsible environmental stewardship in accordance with Christian principles and the wise use of science and technology.”
We need more people of faith like these examples to stand up, speak out and step forward.
Good Faith Media attended the “Faith and Science 2022” conference hosted by BioLogos earlier this year. Francis Collins, the BioLogos founder and past director of the National Institutes of Health, set forth the organization’s mission: “to understand the biblical basis for caring for our planet and its people.”
As people of good faith, we need to work together to encourage lawmakers to act boldly and swiftly to address global warming. We need to double our own efforts to reduce our carbon footprints and work towards a sustainable future.
In 1984, musician Glenn Frey released his Grammy-winning song, “The Heat Is On.” For our discussion today, Frey’s lyrics are pertinent: “The heat is on, on the street … Inside your head, on every beat … And the beat’s so loud, deep inside … The pressure’s high, just to stay alive … ‘Cause the heat is on.”
I agree with Frey’s sentiment. We’re just trying to survive because the heat is on.
CEO of Good Faith Media.