Today is Earth Day. A number of denominations have given their support to environmental issues, encouraging their members to be sensitive to the protection of the environment. This not only pertains to the major (and controversial) topic of climate change and global warming, but to all the small things people can do daily to save energy, sort waste, recycle, be attentive to what we purchase…
According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, the Mormon Church has decided to stay neutral on the issue. This may come as a disappointment to a number of members, in particular in the “international church”, where commitment to environmental issues is, overall, taken very seriously, certainly in countries confronted with such problems.
The Salt Lake Tribune article mentions the viewpoints of two Utah Mormons on the issue. Richard Ingebretsen, a Salt Lake City doctor, said “global warming is no different a moral issue than storing nuclear waste or locating MX missiles in the Utah desert – both proposals that LDS leaders have weighed in against.” Ingebretsen suggests that “political undertones of what to do about climate change may make LDS leaders uneasy but that quality-of-life is an issue close to heart for Mormons across the spectrum.”
Another Mormon being cited is BYU professor George Handley, who said “it would be unfortunate, though not uncommon, for people to conclude from the LDS leadership’s statement about climate change policy that Mormons dispute whether climate change is occurring or do not care about it. (…) Religion is a very effective way of helping understand the connection between individual actions and larger consequences. Mormons have the doctrine, the practices and the teachings, but we don’t connect the dots.”
I thought it would be an appropriate topic to discuss on this day. Not so much arguments pro and contra the dangers of global warming, but the dimension of responsibility of churches on the topic of environmental protection as such.