ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/Living Earth Reflections: Called to ActionMary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/94http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/94<div class="ExternalClassBB618612EDF44ECFA26327218A8FA6FC"><h4>July 2014</h4><p><em>​&quot;We are called to act with justice,</em></p><p><em>We are called to love tenderly,</em></p><p><em>We are called to serve one another,</em></p><p><em>To walk humbly with God.&quot;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;"><em>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </em><em>David Haas, &quot;We Are Called&quot;, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 720</em></p><p>​​​As Christians, we think and talk about what we may be &quot;called&quot; to do out of faith for our families, ourselves, our neighbors and our communities.&#160; You may be called to work against poverty and hunger, and out of that call you might work in a food pantry or send a letter to your member of Congress about cuts to federal nutrition programs. You likely signed up for these emails in part because you feel a call to care for God's creation.</p><p>If you are concerned about the future of God's creation, and in particular about the threat of climate change to our planet and to future generations, and if you feel called to act out of that concern, this summer offers a number of opportunities to act and to advocate.</p><p>Here are just a few&#58;</p><p><strong>Send your comments on the EPA's proposed carbon rule today!</strong>&#160; The EPA's proposed rule will limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from power plants, improving public health in our communities and protecting future generations and God's earth from the threat of climate change.&#160; If you'd like to comment, our <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/favicon.ico">action center</a> has tools to help you. If you'd like more information about the rule, here's a link to <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/en/Resources/Advocacy">fact sheets</a> that may help.</p><p><strong>​Write a letter to the editor of your local paper in support of the EPA's proposed rule</strong> (or if you're feeling really ambitious, write an op ed for the opinion page).&#160; For help in writing a letter to the editor, click <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Writing_A_Letter_To_The_Editor.pdf">here</a> and for fact sheets on the proposed rule click <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/en/Resources/Advocacy">here</a>.&#160; If your letter gets published, let us know!&#160; Send a note to <a href="mailto&#58;washingtonoffice@elca.org">washingtonoffice@elca.org</a> and include a link to your letter if you can.&#160; </p><p><strong>Sign a global climate change petition</strong>.&#160; This September, world leaders will gather in New York City for a Climate Summit in preparation for a year of international negotiations on a new global climate change treaty.&#160; <a href="http&#58;//salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51086/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11280">Sign an interfaith petition</a> on climate change asking our leaders to take strong action to combat climate change before it's too late. Add your voice to a growing chorus of people of faith who are holding our leaders accountable on this critical issue.</p><p><strong>Join the</strong> <a href="http&#58;//peoplesclimate.org/march/">People's Climate March</a> Sept. 21, 2014 in New York City. Join thousands of other concerned citizens marching to ask world leaders to act on climate change.&#160; If you can't make it to New York, find (or plan) an event that weekend in your own community (<a href="http&#58;//www.faithclimatepetition.org/ny-un-climate-summit.html">here</a> are some tools to help you plan a prayer vigil or other event in solidarity).&#160;&#160;</p><p><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Want to learn more about ELCA's commitment to advocating for public policy that&#160;supports the care for creation? &#160;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Visit our&#160;</em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Advocacy"><em>website</em></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Like us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/elcaadvocacy"><em>Facebook</em></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Follow us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/elcaadvocacy"><em>Twitter</em></a><em>​</em></p></div>07/24/2014Living Earth Reflections: Do We Really Need to Choose? Mary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/93http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/93<div class="ExternalClassC5BCC5E761404E0DBEF447C4E66498DB"><h4>June 2014​</h4><p><em>&quot;Neither economic growth that ignores environmental cost nor conservation of nature that ignores human cost is sustainable.&#160; </em><em>Both will result in injustice and, eventually environmental degradation.</em><em>&#160; </em><em>We know that a healthy economy can exist only within a healthy environment, but that it is difficult to promote both in our decisions.&quot;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;"><em style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Caring for Creation&#58; Vision, Hope and Justice (1993)&#160;</em></p><p><em></em><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">In early June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency <a href="http&#58;//capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63258596">proposed a rule</a> that will require states to work with power companies to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; Power plants are a major source of carbon pollution, which scientists say is causing the earth's climate to change, posing a danger to the future of God's people and to all of God's creation.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton joined with Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schiori of the Episcopal Church in issuing a statement praising the new rule, noting that it will help to protect many of our neighbors and ensure a safe and healthy world for future generations.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">The ELCA Advocacy office is also working to engage our network over the course of this summer to speak out in support of these rules by </span><a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63258596" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">sending comments to the EPA</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">, speaking at a hearing, sending a letter to the editor of a local paper, or teaching others about the importance of this rule.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">But we're getting some questions about the potential impact of this rule on the economy and on jobs.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Some groups, including the </span><a href="http&#58;//www.energyxxi.org/epa-regs" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">U.S. Chamber of Commerce</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">, argue that this rule will eliminate jobs in the power sector and in fossil fuel industries, particularly coal mining.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">They say that electricity prices will increase dramatically, harming low income people and businesses.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Their argument is not a new one&#58; </span><a href="http&#58;//www.epi.org/publication/bp69/" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">frequently</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> when new environmental rules are announced business and industry representatives claim that the harm to the economy will be enormous and that the cost is not worth the impact.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">The power industry made that claim in the 1990s, when the EPA moved to regulate power plant emissions to reduce acid rain.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">They made that claim two years ago when the EPA finalized a </span><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Living_Earth_Mercury_And_The_Water_Of_Life_012012.pdf" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">rule to reduce mercury emissions</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">These arguments are based in a belief that we need to choose between a healthy future for our children and economic growth.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">But this is not only a tired argument, it also poses a false choice.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><a href="http&#58;//www.epa.gov/cleanairactbenefits/economy.html" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">For example</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">, between 1970 and 2011, emissions of common air pollutants dropped 68 percent, primarily due to the federal Clean Air Act.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">At the same time, U.S. gross domestic product grew 212 percent and total private sector jobs increased by 88 percent. Because of the Clean Air Act, our air is cleaner, our economy has grown, jobs have been created in new and innovative industries, and dire predictions about the high cost and economic impact of environmental regulation have proven to be false time and time again.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">In fact, according to a </span><a href="http&#58;//www.epi.org/publication/bp69/" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">report</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> from the Economic Policy Institute, historically the cost of complying with environmental regulations is nearly always less than estimated at the time the regulation is proposed.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Under this proposed rule, states will have </span><a href="http&#58;//www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/fact-sheet-clean-power-plan-benefits" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">flexibility</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> in meeting the emissions standards for carbon dioxide—they will have the option of investing in renewable energy sources, promoting energy efficiency measures, and switching from coal to less polluting fossil fuels (such as natural gas) to generate electricity.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">They will be able to work regionally to reduce emissions, which will help states with a heavy reliance on coal to reduce their emissions over time.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">And many states are already taking these steps to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, such as California and many of the northeastern states.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Many of the states that are already reducing their emissions have actually seen their economies </span><em style="line-height&#58;1.6;">grow</em><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> since taking those steps, even in the midst of a global recession.&#160;</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Arguments that energy costs for low income Americans will increase dramatically are equally questionable—one way that power companies will be able to comply with the carbon rules is by </span><a href="http&#58;//www.nrdc.org/media/2014/140529.asp" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">increasing the energy efficiency</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> of homes and businesses.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">This means that they will need to provide incentives for landlords to make rental properties, including those in low income neighborhoods, use less electricity.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Businesses, including manufacturers, will also have incentive to reduce energy use, which will keep costs to consumers from rising significantly as well.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; Under the rules it's certainly possible that electricity could cost somewhat more, but we will be using less, and our air will be cleaner.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Assertions that these regulations will be too costly today also ignore the future economic costs of climate change.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><a href="http&#58;//riskybusiness.org/uploads/files/RiskyBusiness_PrintedReport_FINAL_WEB_OPTIMIZED.pdf" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">A recent, bipartisan report</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> outlines the significant future economic risks associated with climate change and extreme weather.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Sea level rise, changes in temperature and rainfall, and increases in hurricanes and other extreme events will wreak havoc on the economies of coastal states and farm states alike; increased heat across the U.S. will reduce worker productivity and require significant investments in increased energy production.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Failure to act now is a recipe for billions in economic impacts in the future.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Finally, the E.P</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">.A. </span><a href="http&#58;//www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/fact-sheet-clean-power-plan-benefits" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">estimates</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> that the carbon rule will have significant public health benefits, worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion per year in 2030. This includes avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children. These climate and health benefits far outweigh the estimated annual costs of the plan, which are $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion in 2030.&#160;</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Climate change poses a threat to our most vulnerable neighbors, as well as to the future of God's children and all of Creation.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Unless emissions of carbon dioxide are reduced dramatically and soon, the threat of climate change will only grow worse; power plants account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and the U.S. is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Unless our country acts, along with other major emitters, the rest of the world will suffer the consequences, and so will our children.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">This rule is a key way to show leadership on a critical problem and deserves our strong support.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Tell the EPA what you think! Register your comments in our <a href="http&#58;//capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63258596">Action Center​</a>!​</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>-----</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Want to learn more about ELCA's commitment to advocating for public policy that&#160;supports the care for creation? &#160;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Visit our&#160;</em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Advocacy"><em>website</em></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Like us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/elcaadvocacy"><em>Facebook</em></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Follow us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/elcaadvocacy"><em>Twitter</em></a><em>​</em></p></div>06/25/2014My 7- and 9-Year-Old GurusRev. Stacy Martin, Director of Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/90http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/90<div class="ExternalClass99764D7420F54BEBB475C8A4A567F667"><h4>June 23, 2014</h4><p>&quot;Mom, are you mad at me?” my 7-year old asked, a little cautiously. The way I’d been communicating – terse sentences in a not-so-warm tone – her question was a legitimate one. And she was a brave little soul to even ask the question.</p><p>Except I wasn’t angry. And certainly not with her.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Stacy.JPG" alt="Stacy.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;218px;height&#58;233px;" /><br></p><p>In answering, I apologized for making her feel that way and told her that I wasn’t angry, just annoyed. “At me?” she asked with worry. “No, no, love bug.” “At what, then?” she asked in an exasperated tone that reminded me a bit too much of myself.</p><p>This second question gave me more pause than the first. For the life of me, I couldn’t put my finger on the source of my general state of annoyance. And, well, that just annoyed me all the more.</p><p>Why was I so annoyed? After all, it was the weekend.&#160; The weather was perfect and the forecast promised pleasant weather for the remainder of the weekend. I’d gotten most of the tasks I’d set out to do accomplished.</p><p>And then it occurred to me. I’d gotten my list accomplished at an expense. Both of my girls had asked me at some point over the weekend to play with them. There had been a time when I took playing with them for granted, but as they have gotten older, I’d thought I knew better than to squander those precious opportunities, as they get fewer and fewer.</p><p>I was annoyed that I had chosen to use my time in the opposite manner I had hoped I would.</p><p>When my daughter pressed me, I realized I had yet to heed the advice of the wise grandparents in our lives — who constantly remind us to slow down – to take those opportunities as they come. Even if it means a few more dust bunnies in the corners of the living room and a few more chores left undone on Sunday evening.</p><p>It occurred to me that I let the momentum of the too-busy work week get the best of the days set aside to rest, rejuvenate, reconnect. I try to make up for lost time, just not with the most important people in my life. It’s cliché, I know. But I suppose it’s cliché for a reason.</p><p>So, I went from feeling annoyed to feeling guilty. And guilt does very little in the way of making one more amicable.</p><p>I happen to be a member of a Lutheran church and it was at this point in our weekend that I reminded myself how grateful I am for my faith heritage and life. Lutherans have a thing or two to say about guilt. Mainly that guilt makes for bad company, so get over yourself and move on so that you can love and serve. Lutherans also have something to say about the fullness of the human experience. In short, Lutherans say you’re more than your profession and certainly more than a perfectly-kept house, so, again, get over yourself so that you can love and serve.</p><p>At my most frail and selfish moments, I find that my children lead me with the kind of perceptive and valuable questions I’d expect from a guru. I just hope I don’t let the frenzy of the work week and all those bothersome dust bunnies keep me from hearing and learning from them over and over again.</p><p><em style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">This blog was originally posted by the&#160;</em><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;"></span><em style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism​.&#160;</em>​<br></p></div>06/23/20142014 UN Convention on Climate Change in GermanyMary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/89http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/89<div class="ExternalClass732D5E40F04F4638914D151C31CE46CC"><h4>Backsliding</h4><h4>​​Fri.&#160;June 6, 2014</h4><p>My hotel in Bonn has a &quot;green roof&quot;--this is the view out my window of the tiny plants that are keeping stormwater from running off the roof and polluting the&#160;nearby Rhine River.&#160; Germany has a&#160;<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">lot of environmental initiatives underway--I've seen tons of solar panels on rooftops, for example--but a German colleague tells me that the laws and policies that have encouraged investment in solar and other renewable energy technologies are under fire from politicians who consider them a waste of taxpayer dollars. Sounds familiar!&#160;</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Green%20Roof.jpg" alt="Green Roof.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;240px;" /> &#160;​<img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Earth.jpg" alt="Earth.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;120px;" /><br></p><p>Although a number of U.S. states have led the way in pushing for wider adoption of renewable energy technologies like solar and wind, efforts are underway to undermine state renewable standards. Just last week in Columbus, the <a href="http&#58;//www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2014/05/ohio_legislature_approves_two-.html">Ohio legislature passed </a>legislation that&#160;proposes to freeze all the state's renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. &#160;A similar effort to roll back a state renewable standard is underway in Minnesota, which has been a regional leader in fighting climate change.&#160;​</p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Renewable energy standards like Ohio's are one way that states could implement the carbon standards for power generation that were proposed this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency--expanding sources of clean, renewable energy is one way to reduce the use of coal and other fossil fuels to generate power. &#160;The proposed carbon rule is getting a lot of positive attention in Bonn this week--it's seen as the U.S. showing real leadership in the fight against climate change and a positive step as parties begin to negotiate a new climate treaty. &#160;However, if states (and countries like Germany) scale back their commitment to renewable power it sends an unfortunate message--that we don't consider renewable energy an important investment in our future--and jeopardizes our leadership on climate change.&#160;</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/bonn.JPG" alt="bonn.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;300px;height&#58;200px;" />​<br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="color&#58;#bfbfbf;text-decoration&#58;none;"><em>​​​Skyline of Bonn, Germany</em></span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">​---<br></p><h4><strong></strong>The &quot;High Level&quot; Meeting&#160;That Wasn't</h4><h4>Wed.&#160;June 4, 2014​</h4><p>​Today marks the beginning of what's known as an intersessional meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.&#160; Generally the annual Conference of the Parties to the convention is held in December and the location varies; these intersessional meetings happen in Bonn, where the UNFCCC secretariat has its offices.&#160; This meeting is considered critical because the parties need to begin to agree on targets and measures for a new climate change agreement by the end of 2015, so these interim meetings are taking on a greater role.</p><p>​<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Or are they?&#160;</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Conference%20Room.jpg" alt="Conference Room.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;300px;height&#58;179px;vertical-align&#58;middle;" />&#160;</span></p><p>This meeting was supposed to begin with a two day &quot;high level&quot; meeting of ministers--senior government officials who are able to make pledges on behalf of their countries.&#160; However, it turns out that very few ministers will be in attendance and many of the people gathered here in Bonn for the next two weeks are concerned that this signals a lack of commitment to the ongoing negotiations.&#160; Oh, and the U.S. is one of the list of countries that hasn't sent a minister (or minister equivalent) to Bonn--Special Envoy Todd Stern will not be here.</p><p>Does this signal a lack of commitment to global action on climate change by the U.S. government?&#160; In a week where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its strongest proposal to date to cut US carbon dioxide emissions, maybe not.&#160; But it certainly means that people who are concerned about climate change need to continue to push our leaders to make the issue a priority.</p></div>06/06/2014Living Earth Reflections: Fear and HopeMary Minette, ELCA Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/88http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/88<div class="ExternalClass5959063BD2F34B83BE0B574BEDD44CD3"><h3>​May 2014​</h3><p>​<br></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em>​&quot;Why are you afraid, you of little faith?&quot; – Matthew 8&#58;26</em><br></p><p>Like the disciples in Matthew, we are only human and often fear the unknown, the disruptive, the strange. But as the disciples learned, faith in God can help to still our fears and generate hope even in the midst of disruption and storm. ​</p><p>Recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released <a href="http&#58;//www.ipcc.ch/">the first and second parts of their fifth assessment</a> on the current state of scientific research regarding climate change. The first part of the report once again confirmed that the majority of that research supports the conclusion that global average temperatures are increasing as a result of human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels to generate energy, and that temperature increases are driving significant changes in earth's climate. </p><p>The second section of the report, titled &quot;Climate Change 2014&#58; Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability&quot; confirms for the first time since the IPCC began releasing these assessments more than two decades ago that impacts of this human-caused climate change are now observable around the globe, and highlights the extreme vulnerability of low income people to these impacts both now and in the future. The IPCC report predicts with a high degree of certainty that climate change will have <a href="http&#58;//www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/31/climate-change-threat-food-security-humankind">significant, negative impacts on global food security</a> unless emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are cut dramatically. Rising temperatures and increased drought is already impacting staple crop yields in some regions, and those impacts will continue; the report also predicts declines in fish populations as ocean temperatures grow warmer — between 40 and 60 percent in tropical regions. It also outlines how freshwater resources are already under strain in many areas as glaciers retreat, endangering the water supplies that billions depend on for drinking, sanitation and growing crops.</p><p>Adding to this sense of urgency, on May 6 the White House released the third <a href="http&#58;//www.globalchange.gov/">National Climate Assessment</a>, a report summarizing contributions from scientists working for government agencies, academic institutions and non-profit organizations around the United States. The report outlined the current impacts that climate change is having around the country, ranging from coastal flooding to extreme drought. &#160;</p><p>These reports are pretty frightening, and they could lead us to the kind of hand-wringing fatalism engaged in by Christ's disciples in the story told in Matthew&#58; before Jesus wakes and calms the waters, they are loudly proclaiming their imminent death, having lost sight of the fact that they have the Son of God on the boat with them. </p><p>When something big and momentous (and scary) is about to happen in Scripture, God often sends a messenger to those who will be most affected. He sends an angel to Mary to tell her that she will bear the Son of God — and his first words to her are, &quot;Do not be afraid.&quot; Mary responds positively to this message, praising God and rejoicing in this gift. In contrast, when her kinsman Zechariah prays for a child, and God sends an angel to tell him, &quot;Do not be afraid,&quot; and that his wife, Elizabeth, will bear a child, he rejects the message and God strikes him mute until the event comes to pass. Zechariah, like the disciples, gives in to his fear.</p><p>So how should we respond to the big, scary news in the IPCC reports? Do we let our fear rule and throw up our hands, proclaiming that the end is near?&#160;Do we ignore the message (and the messengers) like Zechariah and fail to see that God offers us hope in the midst of troubles? </p><p>Or do we put our faith in God and live in the hope of the risen Christ, rejoicing in the abilities that we have been given to adapt and respond to this challenge? Instead of giving in to despair, can we welcome the opportunity to change our hearts and our ways, embracing what can be done to use less energy, to move to a fossil-free energy future and to help our most vulnerable neighbors adapt to weather extremes and other climate impacts? </p><p>Climate change is happening, but do not be afraid. God is with us.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">​----<br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Want to learn more about ELCA’s commitment to advocating for public policy that&#160;supports the care for creation? &#160;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Visit our&#160;</em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Advocacy" target="_blank"><em>website</em></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Like us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/elcaadvocacy" target="_blank"><em>Facebook</em></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Follow us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/elcaadvocacy" target="_blank"><em>Twitter</em></a><em>&#160;​</em></p><br></div>05/20/2014Lutheran Pastors Travel to D.C. to Advocate for the World’s Most VulnerableTia Upchurch-Freelove, ELCA Advocacy Officehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/87http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/87<div class="ExternalClass1580F88BC54B404D871DB517158690DE"><h3>May 14, 2014</h3><p>​Last week, faith leaders from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak out in support of f​​unding for life-saving humanitarian and poverty-focused development assistance (PFDA) programs. </p><p>Two ELCA pastors, the Rev. Amy Truhe and the Rev. John Backus, joined these leaders on Capitol Hill to share their commitment to promoting the dignity of all people, including the world's most vulnerable. The Rev. Amy Truhe serves as pastor for Scherer Memorial Lutheran Church in Chapman, Kan. The Rev. John Backus visited from Trinity Lutheran Church in Omaha, Neb., where he co-pastors with his wife, the Rev. Liz Backus.</p><p>I met with Pastor Truhe and Pastor Backus before their day on Capitol Hill to ask why they felt compelled to advocate for policies that provide support to those living in poverty and suffering from hunger.&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Pastor%20Amy%20Truhe_Pastor%20John%20Backus.jpg" alt="Pastor Amy Truhe_Pastor John Backus.jpg" style="margin&#58;0px;width&#58;276px;height&#58;413px;vertical-align&#58;baseline;" /><br></p><p><strong>Pastor John Backus&#58;</strong><em> My son is from Thailand and is 29 years old. When I adopted him he was between 3 and 5 years old. When I got him he was dying of malnutrition. It was a year of having enough to eat every day and having all the things he could ask for as a child growing up in rural Minnesota before he stopped hiding food in his room … before I could get him to stop stealing from his playmates. … That changed him and he is still repairing the damage done. Every child on the face of the planet that goes to bed hungry is a threat to the safety and security of those who have enough to eat.</em></p><p><strong>Pastor Amy Truhe&#58; </strong><em>We are so immensely gifted that we don't understand what we have. My sister [who was adopted from Korea] was left in a box because her mother didn't have enough and couldn't take care of her child. How horrible for a mother to have to make that decision! I am here because I feel passionate about this.</em> </p><p>Pastor Truhe went on to describe that even after working with children who live in the U.S. and have experienced extreme poverty here, it is still difficult to imagine living in a place where those who are hungry cannot even attempt to scrounge for food because there are no extras. </p><p>After the pastors met with congressional offices, I caught up with Pastor Backus to ask how his experience has helped shape or alter the way he views advocacy in the ELCA. </p><p><strong>Pastor John Backus&#58; </strong><em>I am glad that the ELCA is involved in advocacy for those who have less than they need. It is important, as we </em><em>give aid</em><em>&#160;to people and help them become more food-safe, that we ask [those in] power the question, &quot;Why do hunger and need continue to exist on a planet of abundance?&quot; </em></p><p><em>I will be telling other ELCA Nebraskans what a positive experience we had in D.C. … I will also encourage people to speak with their representative[s] and senator[s], [to tell] those folk of their concern for the world's poor.&#160;</em></p><p>We thank Pastor Backus and Pastor Truhe for their hard work and dedication to ELCA's advocacy efforts.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">​---</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Do you feel inspired to help feed the hungry and fight poverty? Your gifts are urgently needed to support out church's response to the root causes of hunger and poverty.</em></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=590"><em><strong>Visit ELCA World Hunger to donate today!</strong></em></a><em>​</em></p></div>05/14/2014