The Theological Bases of Environmental Interests

Religious Movements and U.S. Support for Environmental Cooperation

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The Theological Bases of Environmental Interests : Religious Movements and U.S. Support for Environmental Cooperation - Gina Barbone

Abstract

While the evangelical community in the United States is often seen as wielding a great deal of political influence, particularly in opposing U.S. support for international cooperation to limit climate change, such a view obscures important—and increasing—differences among evangelicals. In this paper, I highlight these emerging differences, arguing specifically that tensions between “first-generation” and “second-generation” evangelical perspectives on the meaning of “stewardship” have spurred a widening split. In the context of a discussion of theological debates, their policy consequences, and coalitional possibilities, I suggest that this debate has important implications for the evolution of U.S. support for international cooperation to limit climate change.

Introduction

Over the past half century, the United States has maintained a hegemonic position in world politics, playing a leading role in economic matters and technological advances, as well as gender, cultural, and religious movements. However, one important issue that the United States is not addressing as compellingly as its influence permits is environmental policy and the increasing danger of climate change.1 In this paper, I address the role of domestic politics— and the role of the evangelical community, in particular—to explain past hesitation to global environmental cooperation as well as the emerging potential for international support. More specifically, I argue that the evangelical community has been increasingly divided over the climate change issue, and that as this division widens, it may facilitate increased U.S. support for cooperation to limit climate change.  On the one hand, I argue that a group of “first-generation evangelicals” has traditionally opposed environmental cooperation and legislation, as it diverts attention away from preferred social issues and suggests a need for population control and family planning.2  On the other hand, I argue that an emergent group of “second-generation evangelicals” have developed an environmental outlook in which environmental stewardship, reframed as “Creation Care,” is cast not only as a policy priority but also as a biblical imperative.3 Following a brief overview of the environmental shift from the Bill Clinton to the George W. Bush administrations, I discuss theological differences between the two perspectives over environmental stewardship and the necessary policy solutions that should be enacted to deter global climate change.  Then, I explain why I believe the second-generation approach offers a better policy to deter climate change and incorporate the United States into a program aimed at global cooperation. Finally, I address broader coalitional shifts, discussing how the growing momentum of the Creation Care movement and the increasing awareness of environmental responsibility may shift the Republican party’s position on climate change, and facilitate greater U.S. support for multilateral efforts.

The Evangelical Divide: Stewardship

Over the past two decades, U.S. support for environmental cooperation has varied along party lines, with Democratic administrations generally extending stronger support than Republicans for multilateral efforts aimed at curtailing climate change.  One prominent explanation for this disparity has been the role of evangelicals as a key coalitional element in the Republican party.  According to National Election Studies conducted by the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan, evangelicals are disproportionately opposed to environmental cooperation compared to the rest of the population.4  Consider that in the 2000 presidential election, evangelicals voted for Republican George W. Bush over his Democratic rival Al Gore by a 68-30% margin.  In 2004, this margin expanded, with the Republican Bush defeating Democratic candidate John Kerry by 78-21%.5   Given the role of evangelicals in the Republican party, and their wariness toward environmental issues, one might expect to see policy follow politics.6

Indeed, through the 1990s, under the Clinton administration, the United States attended several conferences and moved closer to supporting global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Most importantly, in 1998, the Clinton administration signed the Kyoto Protocol, although its ratification was never endorsed by the Senate.7  Under the Bush administration, these progressive initiatives have not simply stalled, but have arguably regressed.  For instance, Bush refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, emphasizing the damaging impacts on the U.S. economy and the unfair burden it placed upon developed countries to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The administration opposed the requirement that developed countries must reduce emissions first and demanded that all nations implement emission reductions at the same time.  Finally, the Bush administration has continued to assert that more scientific studies must take place before binding legislation or commitments to reduce CO2 emissions are enforced.  As a result of these objections, the administration has encouraged voluntary participation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but has failed to impose required reductions, which are essential according to international law.8

However, this period has also seen signs of change.  Over 2003-2007, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) introduced three versions of a “Climate Stewardship Act” in the Senate.9  Similarly, in the 2008 elections Christian fundamentalist Republican candidate Mike Huckabee affirmed “I have always been a conservationist. Stewardship of the air and land and soil is very important to me.”10  More significantly, these shifts are not the result of political positioning in an attempt to gain moderate voters.  Instead, the language of “stewardship” itself has a theological significance, reflecting an evolving debate among evangelicals that may have implications for future U.S. policy.

In recent years, a rift has emerged in the evangelical community as a “second-generation” movement has proved increasingly supportive of progressive environmental legislation—even while “first-generation” evangelicals continue to resist policies that will curtail CO2 emissions.  It is important to understand that the current rift in the evangelical community is not largely based on a disagreement over the existence of climate change, but rather the degree of human responsibility and the government policies, if any, that should be introduced to address climate change.  Additionally, the majority of the evangelical community shares views regarding the significance of stewardship and the importance of helping the poor through social justice programs.  However, their interpretations and understandings of these core beliefs vary, producing the current rift.  As shown below, their conflicting views regarding stewardship, social justice, and economic development are driving a wedge within the community.

Stewardship, or the belief that evangelicals have a moral obligation to care for and preserve God’s creations, is fundamental to Christian belief and thought.  Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, explains, “Stewardship is what we ought to be about in the first place as Christians.  It’s [the] Bible[’s] mandate.  Stewardship is not simply a green, political, or scientific issue.”11  The belief encompasses the understanding that humans, at the top of the ecological system, have dominion over Earth to care for and to protect nature.  Second-generation evangelicals, such as Richard Cizik, are actively supporting environmental causes and are advocating concern for climate change risks.  In an interview, Cizik explains his views on climate change:

“The climate change crisis that we believe is occurring is not something we can wait ten years, five years, even a year, to address.  Climate change is real and human induced.  It calls for action soon.  And we are saying action based upon a biblical view of the world as God’s world.  And to deplete our resources, to harm our world by environmental degradation, is an offense against God.  That’s what the Scriptures say.  Therefore, if we are to be obedient to the Scriptures, there is no time to wait, no time to stall, no time to deliberate.”12

Through Cizik’s interpretation of Scripture, it is essential for humanity to support climate change awareness and action in order to save God’s creation.

The specific theological understanding of Stewardship is derived from Genesis 1.28.  However, this verse has been translated multiple times from different languages.  As a result, some of the language has changed significantly, which has caused various groups to interpret the meaning differently.

Genesis 1.28

Hebrew: God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on the earth.” (Emphasis added)

Greek: And God blessed them saying, “Increase and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and rule over the fishes of the sea and the birds of the heaven and all the domestic animals and the entire earth and all the creeping things which creep upon the earth.” (Emphasis added)

Old Latin: And God blessed them and said, “Increase and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, all the cattle, all the earth, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.” (Emphasis added)

Vulgate: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”13 (Emphasis added)

In this passage, God encourages humanity to procreate and maintain dominion over other life forms, such as plants and animals.  In this sense, God gives humanity a greater role in life, placing humanity above other creatures by granting humans the responsibility to preserve and care for creation.  This passage demonstrates the superiority of humanity over other life forms.  The second component of the Stewardship understanding is derived from Genesis 2.15:

Genesis 2.15

Hebrew: And Yahweh God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (Emphasis added)

Greek: And the Lord God took the man whom he had formed, and placed him in the paradise, to work and keep it.14 (Emphasis added)

Latin: And the Lord God took the man whom he had formed, and placed him in the garden of Delight, to cultivate and keep it.15 (Emphasis added)

These passages explain man’s mandate to cultivate the Earth.  However, in Hebrew, words such as evolve, cultivate, work, and till take on the meaning of serve when used in reference to a personal object, something one can own, such as a garden, and do not when used in reference to an impersonal object, something one cannot own, such as the Earth.16 The disagreement over these passages occurs because Genesis 1.28 discusses the Earth which is an impersonal object while Genesis 2.15 specifically speaks of the garden, which is a personal object.  When Genesis is read in its entirety, Genesis 1.28 and Genesis 2.15 may be combined which gives rise to the understanding that humanity has a responsibility to serve the Earth and nature.  However, if the passages are read independently of each other, Genesis 1.28 discusses the dominion of humanity and Genesis 2.15 explains humanity’s ability to cultivate the Earth. This combination of Genesis 1.28 and Genesis 2.15 explains second-generation evangelicals’ views on stewardship while first-generation evangelicals understand the passages independently, eliminating the understanding that man must “serve” the Earth. For instance, as Richard Cizik explains, “…we are commissioned by God the Almighty to be stewards of the earth. It is rooted not in politics or ideology, but in the scriptures. Genesis 2:15 specifically calls us ‘to watch over and care for’ the bounty of the earth and its creatures.”17

This interpretation of Scripture offers an explanation as to why some evangelicals view Creation Care as a movement central to their stewardship responsibilities. As a result, the community’s rift is occurring in part because of selective interpretations of stewardship.

Policy Implications

In terms of environmental policy, this rift can also be understood with respect to conceptions of social justice and care for the poor.  In order to protect the poor, specifically in the communities of developing countries, evangelical groups are divided over two different methods regarding U.S. legislation.  First-generation evangelicals call for policies that create economic growth for developing nations and reject legislation, such as cap-and-trade approaches, which will limit the emissions of greenhouse gases.  In contrast, second-generation evangelicals call for policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deter the advancement of climate change, and protect the poor from the devastating environmental damage of climate change.

Consider the cap-and-trade approach, which aims to set a ceiling on the amount of emissions that corporations are allowed to expend.  If corporations plan to produce more than the allowance, they must purchase credits from companies that emit greenhouse gases at a level less than the ceiling.  As a result, companies can sell their extra credits to produce greenhouse gases to corporations that produce more than the limit allows.18  However, if this approach takes place at an international level, first-generation evangelicals fear that developed societies will purchase credits from developing nations which will deter economic progress in developing countries.

Also, the cap-and-trade system will raise the cost of energy, which will be devastating to poorer communities.19 First-generation evangelicals claim that the increase in energy prices will affect the poor the most, and will further devastate their societies.20 Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright explains, “The programs and policies that are being promoted is that the poor are unwanted. I am concerned that evangelicals may sign onto policies without understanding that the policies will be harmful to people that are the least able to defend themselves.”21 Since communities in third-world countries continue to live without sufficient energy sources and face a myriad of health problems due to a lack of resources, first-generation evangelicals fear that a reduction in available energy will prove damaging to their economies.  As a result, first-generation evangelicals encourage social justice programs that aid the poor in their current strife.

First-generation evangelicals promote the economic development of thirdworld countries regardless of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with this development.  In their defense, they have explained that although developing nations may produce more pollutants at the start of the development process, developed societies tend to be more environmentally conscientious.  Dr. E. Calvin Beisner explains, “First, most long-term environmental trends in developed economies are toward great improvement.  Second, though developing economies may be experiencing widespread environmental deterioration, that trend should reverse as they continue to develop.”22

Therefore, although both groups value social justice and a commitment to care for the poor, the factions have adopted different methods to provide aid. First-generation evangelicals explain that economic development is the only way to promote the advancement of poor societies in the short run, and to protect them from potential natural disasters in the long-run.  For instance, if developing nations are able to advance economically, they will have greater access to resources and technologies to protect themselves from climate change threats in the future.23 First-generation evangelicals believe that by reducing the amount of energy available to developing communities, their economic growth will suffer.  As a result, if climate change poses a large threat to their societies in the future, the countries will not have the economic means to prepare for or deal with natural disasters.  Therefore, first-generation evangelicals feel that policies must be implemented to spur economic progress in developing nations in order to manage the threats of climate change.24

In contrast, second-generation evangelicals maintain that climate change will create catastrophic natural disasters that will prove devastating to poor communities.  In this sense, aid must occur through international cooperation to hinder the threats of climate change. Second-generation evangelicals desire policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deter the likelihood of climate change phenomena.  I believe that this policy offers a better solution to confront climate change immediately – before its severity increases.  While the first-generation view continues to doubt the severity of climate change, and dismisses the need for the United States to play a more crucial role in global cooperation to deter greenhouse gas emissions, the second-generation understanding addresses the climate change problem more compellingly, and desires legislation both to reduce emissions and to include the United States in international cooperation.  Since the United States is a large contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, it is necessary for it to uphold its reputation, and to commit to international cooperation.

Coalitional Implications

Since policy cannot be implemented without political support, these debates will have to evolve and reshape evangelical beliefs if they are to provoke greater U.S. support for policies addressing climate change. As environmental stewardship gains influence in the political sphere, many evangelical leaders are dividing over the severity of climate change and how the threat of climate change will affect developing societies. Of particular importance to Cizik is a potential shift among younger voters in the direction of the second-generation approach. Cizik elaborates, “The movement is given energy by young people. Young people can challenge the political order.  I happen to think what’s happening today wouldn’t happen without young people.”25

To be sure, Cizik has also stressed his own concerns regarding the resistance among evangelicals who view environmentalists with a wary eye, explaining that “there are those in my community who are concerned that environmentalists are advocates of population control, of big-government solutions, or New Age religion.”26 In keeping with the essentially scriptural nature of the debate, Cizik argues that he has sought “to reason with my community that we’ve earned our spurs in co-belligerency—collaborating with groups we wouldn’t otherwise work with, in the name of the common good. I say, if we’ve worked with Free Tibet on religious freedom, the Congressional Black Caucus on slavery, Gloria Steinem and feminists on rape, and the gay and lesbian lobby on AIDS, why can’t we work with environmentalists?”27

As a result of these domestic tensions, Cizik emphasizes the need to frame issues strategically to reconstruct environmental concerns in accordance with first-generation beliefs.  As he puts it, the challenge is to “explain it the right way,” so that it resonates with discussions of other social issues.  Considering the issue of mercury, he elaborates:

“If you reframe mercury regulations as a pro-life issue—curbing mercury emissions protects children from learning disabilities and unborn children from brain damage—that gets people’s attention. Last January, Jim Ball of the Evangelical Environmental Network and I carried a placard to a pro-life rally that said,‘Stop Mercury Poisoning of the Unborn.’ I distributed flyers showing that one in six babies is born with dangerous mercury levels, and urged protestors to demand improvements in the Clear Skies Act. People were a little perplexed at first, but they got it.”28

In sum, as the movement gains momentum among a younger generation of believers, the evangelical commitment to preserving the Earth and caring for the underprivileged, or those most affected by climate change, may be strengthened. While environmental stewardship includes biblical references and a moral obligation from Christians, the movement is demanding a political response as well, in a manner with implications for policy trends with respect to global environmental cooperation.

Conclusion

The climate change issue is gaining prominence in the U.S. political arena as a younger generation of Americans raises environmental concerns and calls for environmental action.  Among these, the evangelical community has proven influential in bringing the climate change debate to the forefront of the political arena.  In this sense, the community has proven that the masses can produce social movements and change.  As a result, the Creation Care movement is largely responsible for the environmental transformation that is occurring in the United States.29  Due to the growing concern about environmental degradation and the increase of greenhouse gas emissions, the evangelical community has successfully created a movement that portrayed the consequences of climate change to the American public.

Additionally, it is important to recognize that the current rift occurring in the community is a disagreement over the severity of the threats of climate change and the appropriate environmental policy that the United States should endorse.  This difference is largely shaped by two varying understandings of Scripture and two distinct outlooks regarding social justice programs and their effects on economic development in developing societies.  While first-generation evangelicals continue to oppose the accuracy of climate science and the importance of climate change as a political issue requiring the support of the evangelical community, second-generation evangelicals feel otherwise.  Second-generation evangelicals are calling for the continued involvement of evangelicals to deter climate change and are encouraging the United States to implement policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Therefore, it is evident that although first-generation concerns are valid, the second-generation approach is more proactive in addressing climate change directly and diminishing the environmental threats associated with climate change.

Additionally, given the magnitude of the evangelical community in American society, it is expected that the Creation Care movement will spill onto the political stage and influence policy. The current breach within the evangelical community over climate change has both social and political implications that may shape environmental practices and policies in the future.  For example, the rift in the evangelical community could prove damaging to the Republican Party’s ability to count on evangelical votes in the future, although the evangelical community typically comprises a large part of the Republican base as the two groups share views concerning abortion, same-sex marriage, and stem cell research.  However, as the Creation Care movement gains momentum and increases in numbers, a new evangelical identity is emerging among a younger generation of evangelical believers.

As environmental policies and Creation Care become dominant issues for evangelicals, it is clear that abortion and gay rights are not their only concerns. This movement witnesses a new age of evangelicalism and hints that Republican candidates may have to extend support to the second-generation approach and to programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gases or risk losing votes from the evangelical community.  Therefore, it is evident that the interpretation of stewardship is creating a divide in the evangelical community over the climate change issue, spurring a moral responsibility for Creation Care, and threatening to shape environmental policy in the United States.

Acknowledgments

I would like to extend my gratitude to Dr. Wesley Widmaier for all of his guidance and support regarding this project. Additionally, I would like to thank Wendy Wright, Jim Tonkowich, E. Calvin Beisner, and Richard Cizik for their insight and time.

Notes & References

  1. In the past fifteen years, several global conventions have been held to initiate thereduction of various greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2.  Although many countries have agreed to adopt programs aimed at diminishing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, implementation has been slow.  In 2005, the Kyoto Protocol, established in 1997, became international law.  Although the United States is solely responsible for releasing 5,410 million metric tons of CO2 annually, therefore producing almost a quarter of total emissions worldwide, the United States has refused support for the program due to the negative impacts CO2 reductions would have on the U.S. economy. British Broadcasting Corporation. “Climate Change from the BBC Weather Centre.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/climate/policies/usa_policy.shtml. (Accessed October 23, 2007)
  2. Key first-generation figures most prominently include James Dobson of “Focus on theFamily,” a leading evangelical group.
  3. The most prominent of these figures includes Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals (with whom Focus on the Family is not formally affiliated). For the means of this paper, I use the term “firstgeneration” evangelicals to demonstrate the group’s environmental views and policies which are closely aligned with the political right.  “Second-generation” evangelicals portray a second group’s views and policies which are aligned with the political left. These explanations serve to distinguish the differences in environmental views only and are not extended to include other political views.  Additionally, I credit Dr. Wesley Widmaier for these terms.
  4. For data regarding evangelical conservatism toward the environment, see AndrewKohut et al., The Diminishing Divide: Religion’s Changing Role in American Politics (Washington DC: Brookings University Press, 2000), 47-49.
  5. On poll data, see Pew Research Center, “Religion and the Presidential Vote: Bush’sGains Broad-Based,” December 6, 2004, http://people-press.org/commentary/ ?analysisid=103. (accessed June 15, 2008).
  6. George W. Bush is a practicing evangelical and support of his candidacy and presidencyto a large extent is due to evangelical followers.
  7. Matthew J. Hoffman, Ozone Depletion and Climate Change (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005).
  8. British Broadcasting Corporation. “Climate Change from the BBC Weather Centre.”http://www.bbc.co.uk/climate/policies/usa_policy.shtml, (accessed March 11, 2008).
  9. Pew Center on Global Climate Change, “Summary of the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act.” http://www.pewclimate.org/policy_center/analyses/s_139_summary.cfm, (accessed July 25, 2008)
  10. On the Issues, “Mike Huckabee on Environment.” On the Issues.org http:// www.ontheissues.org/2008/Mike_Huckabee_Environment.htm, (accessed July 15, 2008)
  11. Richard Cizik, Vice President of Non-Governmental Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, Phone Interview, April 14, 2008. Richard Cizik is committed to the reduction of greenhouse gases as the only way to deter climate change, safeguard the environment, and protect the poor from catastrophic natural disasters. Cizik describes his commitment to environmental stewardship as forming through a conversion experience which has influenced him to act by educating evangelicals on their moral responsibility to care for and preserve the Earth.
  12. The Great Warming, “Interview with Richard Cizik.” The Great Warming.com. http: www.thegreatwarming.com/revrichardcizik.html, (accessed October 30, 2007).
  13. “Genesis 1.28.” http://www3.iath.virginia.edu/anderson/bible/gen1-3/genv1.28.html, (accessed April 10, 2008).
  14. “Noteworthy Differences between the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text inGenesis.”http://www.geocities.com/r_grant_jones/Rick/Septuagint/spC_Gn.html, (accessed April 10, 2008).
  15. Miner, Early Roy, and William Moeck, Steven Edward Jablonski. Paradise Lost, 1668-1968: Three Centuries of Commentary. (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2004).http://books.google.com/books?id=SuXWhYuz3NsC&pg=PA297&lpg=PA297&dq =vulgate+genesis+2.15&source=web&ots=wya4-qypDV&sig=h2me-xqKEfXSyAifz 286EKuCgNA&hl=en#PPA297,M1. (accessed April 10, 2008).
  16. Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, Founder of Cornwall, Phone Interview, April 5, 2008. E. CalvinBeisner, a former professor at Knox Theological Seminary, has taught ethics and environmental stewardship and has been published extensively on environmental issues.  Also, he testified before the United States Senate and rejected the consensus of the severity of climate change, as presented in the media.  He remains committed to social justice by providing poor communities with clean drinking water, access to medical supplies, and the ability to strengthen an economic infrastructure. E. Calvin Beisner. Home Page. http://www.ecalvinbeisner.com/, (Accessed April 18, 2008)
  17. Amanda Griscom Little, “Cizik Matters: An Interview With Green Evangelical LeaderRichard Cizik,” Grist: Environmental News and Commentary (October 5, 2005) http:// www.grist.org/news/maindish/2005/10/05/cizik/index.html (accessed April 11, 2008).
  18. Michelle Manion and Jason Mathers. “Cap-and-Trade Systems.” Catalyst. Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 2005. http://www.ucsusa.org/publications/catalyst/ page.jsp?itemID=27226959 (accessed, April 10, 2008).
  19. Dr. Jim Tonkowich, President of Institute on Religion and Democracy, Office Interview,April 4, 2008. Jim Tonkowich is committed to religious and moral issues pertaining to the sanctity of life, marriage, and family life.  Regarding climate change, he testified to the Environment and Public Works Committee of the United States Senate and dismissed solutions that encouraged population control and the reduction of energy to developing economies.  He ardently supports economic development in third world countries which will improve the standard of living in third world societies and will eventually create progressive environmental habits. The Institute on Religion and Democracy, “Jim Tonkowich.”http://www.theird.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=183&srcid=-2, (accessed July 19, 2008) The Heritage Foundation, “Beware of Cap and Trade Climate Bills,” December 6, 2007.http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/wm1723.cfm, (accessed August 20, 2008).
  20. Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, Founder of Cornwall Alliance for Environmental Stewardship,Phone Interview, April 5, 2008.
  21. Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, Office Interview, April 4, 2008. Wendy Wright is extremely active in the political sphere and is committed to issues regarding the sanctity of life, family preservation, and population control. Additionally, she advocates for the rights of humans, women, and children.  One of her main concerns regarding climate change is that policies initiated to deter climate change may insinuate a need for population control. Concerned Women for America,“WendyWright,” http://www.cwfa.orgarticledisplay.asp?id=2107&department=CWA&categoryid, Accessed April 9, 2008.
  22. E. Calvin Beisner, “What is the Most Important Task Facing American ChristiansToday?” Mount Nebo Papers, No. 1, Spring 2008, p. 9.
  23. Dr. Jim Tonkowich, Testimony to the Environment and Public Works Committee of theUnited States Senate, June 7, 2007. http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=5448d7c8bf13-4db2-96b0-d5612dd53114, (Accessed April 3, 2008)
  24. E. Calvin Beisner, “What is the Most Important Task Facing American ChristiansToday?” Mount Nebo Papers, No. 1, Spring 2008, p. 12.
  25. Richard Cizik, Vice President of Non-Governmental Affairs for the National Associationof Evangelicals, Phone Interview, April 14, 2008.
  26. Amanda Griscom Little, “Cizik Matters: An Interview With Green Evangelical LeaderRichard Cizik,” Grist: Environmental News and Commentary (October 5, 2005) http:// www.grist.org/news/maindish/2005/10/05/cizik/index.html (accessed July 15, 2008). 27 Amanda Griscom Little, “Cizik Matters: An Interview With Green Evangelical Leader Richard Cizik,” Grist: Environmental News and Commentary (October 5, 2005) http:// www.grist.org/news/maindish/2005/10/05/cizik/index.html (accessed July 15, 2008). 28 Amanda Griscom Little, “Cizik Matters: An Interview With Green Evangelical Leader Richard Cizik,” Grist: Environmental News and Commentary (October 5, 2005) http:// www.grist.org/news/maindish/2005/10/05/cizik/index.html (accessed July 15, 2008). 29 The Creation Care movement is strongly advocated by the National Association of Evangelicals which comprises 60 different evangelical denominations with 30 million followers. Additionally, the movement has also gained influence due to the efforts of former Vice President Al Gore and his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” which illustrates many of the dangers and threats associated with climate change.  As scientific evidence, such as the increase in category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the past thirty years and the melting glaciers in Greenland, increase, the Creation Care movement gains support.  Therefore, the tireless efforts of the NAE, Al Gore, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and scientists worldwide are all contributing to the creation care movement because scientific facts encourage the supporters of the secondgeneration approach to deter climate change. The National Association of Evangelicals, http://www.nae.net/, (accessed August 20, 2008). An Inconvenient Truth Official Site, “The Science,”http://www.climatecrisis.net/thescience/ (Accessed August 20, 2008). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, http://www.ipcc.ch/, (accessed August 20, 2008). 
Gina Barbone is an International Relations and Italian major and Economics minor at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. Her research interests address the interplay of international relations, theology, and environmental justice. She is currently engaged in cross-national research on the influence of religious actors on politics in the United States and Italy.