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Climate activism and faith go hand in hand

On Thursday, Chief Spokesperson for the Good Steward Campaign, Reverend Rich Cizik, visited University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill to talk climate and faith with Wesley Campus Ministry.

Last week, a piece written by a student ran in the Daily Tarheel. She did such a great job that I'm reposting it here. No need for my added commentary!!

TO THE EDITOR:

On Sept. 26, Rev. Rich Cizik will be visiting UNC to give a talk titled, “For God’s Sake, Let’s Focus On the Earth.” Cizik, a minister and climate activist, will be traveling here on behalf of the Good Steward Campaign, a faith-based environmental organization that works to inform and engage students in conversations about faith, climate, stewardship and fossil fuel divestment. Yes, you read that right. Faith and climate change.

Prior to his role as senior spokesman for the Good Steward Campaign and co-founder of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, Cizik was the vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals. There, he was one of the leading figures who championed this issue as something that Christians ought to think and care about more deeply.

Now, Cizik travels the country, giving speeches on creation care and fossil fuel divestment. But these are topics he didn’t always embrace. In the Washington Post, Cizik says, “I was converted to both the ‘challenge’ of climate change as a moral and spiritual dilemma, but also to the concrete science.”

Last year, there was an active fossil fuel divestment campaign operating at UNC, but it was unsuccessful. While the campaign was ongoing, however, we didn’t hear a lot of arguments from a faith perspective. Cizik and the Good Steward Campaign work hard to demonstrate that the way we think about climate change and investments need not be separate from the way we think about other moral decisions and our faith.

The good news is that the UNC chapter of the Sierra Student Coalition’s Beyond Coal campaign is still very much alive and well at UNC. And this time around, I hope we hear more conversation about the issue coming from a place of faith.

Environmental issues, including climate change, are social justice issues that all Christians, as well as those of other religious backgrounds, can agree on. Faith gives us powerful reasons to look at the world around us in a meaningful way, and it can guide us to actions that positively impact the earth. I look forward to hearing Cizik’s well-informed insights on these issues and using this event as an opportunity to start an important conversation.

And so, we invite the entire UNC community to join us at 7 p.m. on Sept. 26 at University United Methodist Church to explore topics of faith, climate change, stewardship and fossil fuel divestment.

Molly Patterson ’14

Religious studies

Wesley Campus Ministry

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