Moyers and McKibben Discuss Global Warming and Evangelicalism


As we've followed closely the debates within the American evangelical community about global warming and "creation care," we were pretty excited to learn that PBS' Bill Moyers was writing a book on the subject. That book, Welcome to Doomsday, is now available with a forward by Bill McKibben. Tuesday night, both Bills discussed the various responses to environmental challenges coming from evangelicals at the New York Public Library. Jeremy Hsu covered the event for Scienceline's Sci-Blog, and notes that Moyers and McKibben see possibilities for collaboration among treehuggers and conservative Christians. According to Hsu,

If the climate change debate involves a battle of competing values, then evangelicals seem ideally placed to act as movers and shakers. While Moyers described "the power of fantasy" as being both compelling and disturbing in much of the evangelical movement, he also conceded that evangelicals possess a "power of moral imagination to awaken people" to issues such as climate change.

McKibben also stressed the need to involve the evangelical coalition in order to see any political action on climate change. He often sounded more frustrated with the rest of America's inaction, stating that "not giving people anything to do about climate change" was the primary "failure" of the environmental movement.

In a sense, progressive evangelical leaders and people such as Moyers and McKibben have something in common; a burning desire for action. Regardless of differing views on whether the end of the world is a good or bad thing, it would seem that some people are finding common ground in caring for the Earth.

While environmentalists and evangelicals still seem wary about openly courting each other, it's hard to imagine a more potent force for change should major alliances form: neither groups is shy about voicing its positions and the moral and/or ethical foundations underlying them. We're encouraged to see intellectual heavyweights like Moyers and McKibben address this topic objectively, and perhaps even a bit optimistically (though McKibben claims he's "...given up on optimism and pessimism"). Finding common ground should only make both movements stronger. ::Scienceline