Facing Climate Change as a Matter of Faith

Paul Douglas is an Evangelical Christian who lives in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota. He’s also a degreed meteorologist and an entrepreneur. Rounding out the list is the fact that he is a climate change believer.

I first heard about Paul Douglas through my friend Kevin Shannon who spent an eventful couple of years in Louisiana before returning to Minnesota.

Paul Douglas co-authored this book on Christians’ and climate change.

Douglas and Mitch Hescox co-authored a book, Caring For Creation, to urge their fellow Christians to begin taking climate change seriously. The overarching concept is that Christians are called upon to be good stewards of God’s creation, that it appears things have gotten out of hand, and that this creates a call for Christians to drop their skepticism and get engaged in the process of cleaning up the climate on the planet we call home.

All great spiritual traditions include among their tenets an intergenerational mandate to care for the planet so that future generations can enjoy it as they have.

Somewhere in the industrial age, this concept was lost or shoved down the hierarchy of priorities of those who have led companies, been captains of industry, investors and elected officials. Short-term thinking either obscured the long-term view that we all learned as part of our spiritual formation, or it replaced it all together. One of the most insidious notions to arise in post-World War II America was the concept of maximizing shareholder value. This Milton Friedman concept elevated profits above all other motivations and concerns for business leaders.

The concept led to a constricting of the field of corporate vision which drove companies to discount or even ignore concerns of their workers, the well-being of the communities where their plants were located, and, yes, even the impact those company operations had on the air we breath, the water we drink and the soil in which we grow our food.

Douglas is also a former cigarette smoker. During the interview he recalls how he came to learn about the disinformation campaigns waged by tobacco companies against the science which showed a connection between cigarette smoking and lung and other cancers. Douglas believes — and a growing body of evidence suggests — that the fossil fuel industry has torn several pages from the Fear Uncertainty and Doubt playbook to feed skepticism about climate change.

Douglas believes that “things are not hopeless and we are not helpless.” This is the message he takes to his fellow Christians about climate change. And it’s a recurring theme in our interview.

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Thanks to Matt Roberts, AOC’s Community Production Manager for help locating the music used in this segment.

A Foolish Game by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/55394 Ft: Snowflake