by the Rev. Jonah Davis
This blog was originally posted as a SparkHouse Blog and can be found here, along with a variety of other informative blog posts and resources.
Fires and floods are making news almost every day. We have shifted from a time of natural disasters to the present danger of climate disasters. Many of us are concerned about the climate crisis, and for our youth this time can be especially worrisome. As youth leaders, we often provide safe and friendly voices in the sea of information for those in our care. This is another topic where our teaching and support matter.
I find great joy in working toward better care and stewardship of creation. In fact, it’s our responsibility to be focused on eco-justice initiatives for the next generation. As people of faith, we can pull on biblical passages from Genesis to remind us about aiding creation and working toward reducing harm. We can highlight the ways our shared values can have a positive impact on both humanity and creation. Worship and youth gathering time are great opportunities to open the discussion about climate justice for Christians.
An often-overlooked area of climate justice is the need for marginalized voices to be heard. People who are often disenfranchised by society are also those most highly affected by these disasters. We have to make sure their stories and experiences are heard, so we can find ways to change the trajectory of climate change. One way to make sure this message is heard is to share those stories with our youth. They are searching for answers and ways to change the outcome, so we can show them opportunities.
Finding ways to not lose hope is also important. Climate anxiety is a real issue for many folks when coming across the news. As a community, allowing space for lament and action is a great way to offer emotional healing and move everyone toward change. Recognizing our impact and taking responsibility will help younger generations know we have similar values about the Earth and its resources.
There are numerous organizations that work toward environmental justice. Specifically, Creation Justice Ministries is an ecumenical organization seeking ways to join Christians together for the common goal of caring for creation. Another idea is to check in with other churches and environmental organizations in your local area. If there’s not a youth-oriented environmental group in existence, here’s your recommendation to start one today! We can all work to educate others about climate disasters, ways to help reduce our negative impact on the planet, and ways to advocate for larger-scale change. Let’s get the conversation started and not put off change for another day.
Rev. Jonah Davis is a newly ordained pastor serving at Union Evangelical Lutheran Church in York, PA. His ministry specifically focuses on Children, Youth, and Family and LGBTQIA+ ministries. Jonah resides in Lancaster, PA with his family and their cat, aptly named Marty.