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Although global warming, which has morphed into climate change, has receded as a hot button issue, a new “Young Evangelicals for Climate Action” has emerged. Spawned by the Evangelical Environmental Network, it aims to capture a new generation for climate scaremongering.
Ostensibly, the YECA has already met “many evangelical leaders, as well as senior officials at the White House,” according to a report from Jim Wallis’ Sojourners. So it’s off and running. Evidently not confident that compassion for the planet itself is sufficiently motivating, the new emphasis is on global warming’s impact on the “least of these,” as Jesus called the poor. Ostensibly poor people are or will be the chief victims as, according to lore, the earth increasingly boils thanks to SUVS driven by gas guzzling Americans.
As the Sojourners announcement frankly admitted, popular concern about the “climate crisis” has been declining. The article cites a 2006 Evangelical Climate Initiative, backed by prominent clergy, as the “high water mark” for evangelical climate worriers. “Regrettably, over the last several years, the climate crisis has largely dropped off the radar across the evangelical Christian community, just as it has within much of American politics,” Sojourners regretted. It pointed the finger at the “climate deniers” who have been “all too effective in spinning concern about this crisis into a politically toxic and culturally controversial issue.” So YECA has arisen to ensure “things need to change.” After all, “There is no time to lose.”
It’s not explained why the nefarious “climate deniers,” so reluctant to join the panic, have been successful. Perhaps it’s due to increasing members of the scientific community, which never spoke uniformly, questioning the apocalyptic neuroses of the worst climate fear peddlers. And it’s perhaps due to 4 years of economic stagnation, which disinclines the public from indulging boutique causes that villainize economic growth. YECA presumably will target idealistic young people anxious for a cause and maybe unaware that global warming as a leftist crusade has been around for 20 years now, having superseded the New Ice Age panic of 35 years ago.
A major study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology earlier this year revealed that today’s young people, the “Millennials,” are actually less captivated by or even interested in environmentalism than were their preceding generations, the Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers, at similar ages. The study was conducted mostly before the 2008-2009 economic melt-down, whose high unemployment among new college graduates almost certainly will accentuate the trend. So YECA has a large job reversing what is for climate activists an unwelcome trend. More fear about the climate is urgently needed!
The YECA manifesto declares the “climate crisis” a “pressing challenge to justice and freedom,” without providing details. But the kind of global economic regimentation required in the attempt to affect the climate almost certainly would reduce freedom. It also calls for “advocating on behalf of the poor and marginalized.” Of course, it does not acknowledge that the massive reduction in economic growth and in living standards necessary for significant reduction in carbon emissions would most of all hurt the world’s poor and deprive them of any meaningful possibility of escaping chronic poverty for the middle class.
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