How are religious communities responding to climate change?

While there is broad agreement among scientists about the dangers of climate change, cultural disagreements persist about how we should address this challenge. Faith communities play a pivotal role in shaping the conversation!

Climate Change & Faith

The accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in earth’s atmosphere contribute to a rise in global temperature, which in turn leads to increased glacial melting, severity of extreme weather, rising sea levels, and habitat disruption. Since the late 1800s, the global average temperature has risen by about 1.4°C. Economic and health impacts due to climate change greatly affect human well-being. A major driver of climate change is human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels.

Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence, action to address climate change has been hampered by public misunderstanding and policy disagreements. 

Some people may not feel that climate change is a threat or may not feel that there is anything to be done to address it. However, many people and communities of faith see climate change as an important issue for action. Based on values such as stewardship, care for the earth, and care for our fellow humans, religious communities have committed to taking action to reduce emissions, to advocate for climate policy, and to provide support for communities that have already begun to feel the effects of climate change.

The Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) has hosted several events focused on a religious response to climate change, including our 2019 Holiday Lecture “A Climate of Hope,” featuring climate scientist and evangelical Christian Dr. Katharine Hayhoe and oceanographer and Episcopal bishop The Rt. Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori. Hayhoe and Jefferts Schori spoke of the importance of connecting climate change to people’s priorities and values in order to inspire hope and positive action.

DoSER also hosted a symposium at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting entitled “Responding to Climate Change: Science, Religion, and Cultural Practices.” Presenters shared a variety of ways in which religious and indigenous communities are working to address climate change and build resilience in the face of its environmental impacts.

AAAS also has many other valuable resources about climate change. You can read more about the science of climate change at WhatWeKnow.aaas.org, and you can see how different communities, including religious communities, are responding to the challenges of climate change at HowWeRespond.aaas.org. Organizations such as Interfaith Power & Light, GreenFaith, and others work with religious communities from a variety of faith traditions on issues of climate change and environmental protection.

Related Resources

Resource Center
A Climate of Hope: Scientists and Faith Communities Addressing the Climate Crisis 1
  • Video
  • 1:44:54

A Climate of Hope: Scientists and Faith Communities Addressing the Climate Crisis

On December 17, 2019, AAAS DoSER hosted Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, and Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for a discussion on climate…

Katharine Hayhoe Encourages Conversations to Build a Climate of Hope
  • Article
  • 5 minute read

Katharine Hayhoe Encourages Conversations to Build a Climate of Hope

  • Andrea Korte

On December 17, 2019, AAAS DoSER hosted Dr. Hayhoe and Bishop Jefferts Schori for a discussion on climate change, environmental…

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