Climate change and the resulting climate crisis affects all of us, but it’s those living in extreme poverty who are both the first and hardest hit. In recent years we’ve seen devastating cyclones across India and Bangladesh, billions of locusts destroying crops in Kenya, droughts, and the first climate change induced famine in Madagascar, leaving more than 1.6 million people in severe food insecurity.
Without urgent action, the World Bank estimates that climate change could push an additional 132 million people into poverty in the next ten years. That’s on top of the health and economic impact of COVID-19, which also threatens to undo hard-won development gains.
With s recent UN climate change report signalling a “code red for humanity,” we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to act.
For the sake of future generations, we need to act practically as well as turn to God in prayer.
A Prayer for the Environment and World Leaders
Father, we pray for all world leaders. We ask that you grant them wisdom as they work to lay out concrete plans to reach the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
Loving Lord, we pray that you will place on the hearts of every leader the needs of those most vulnerable to climate change. Amen.
Prayers for COP26
Father, we pray that the decisions made during COP26 won’t be empty words. We ask that those in positions of power be held accountable to the targets set, working with conviction to go above and beyond them. For the sake of future generations. Amen.
A Prayer for Children and the Environment
Loving Lord, your word reminds us how much you value and love children. We pray for the climate crisis and the devastating impact on children’s lives and future generations.
We thank you for young people and their passion and conviction to care for and protect your world for the common good. We pray that their actions and words will be taken seriously.
We ask that as adults, we’ll strive to protect the world that they will grow up in. We thank you for Compassion’s local church partners and for the amazing work that they are doing to protect your precious ecosystems, children, and their communities. Amen
Children and young people are also helping to lead the way in caring for their environment and raising awareness of the impact climate change is having. In the coastal region of Ecuador, youth from the local church-based Compassion project have been heading to the beaches every month armed with protective gloves and bags. The volunteers help collect plastic waste as part of a social awareness initiative which the local church is leading.
“In the church we have learned that we must take care of God’s creation, that we must be good stewards of what God has given us, so we like to care for and clean the sea,” says 11-year-old Alejandra.
The children always wear protective gloves and have been taught how to handle the waste carefully, avoiding cuts and injuries. Since they started in June this year, the children have enjoyed not only using the cleaner beach but also spreading awareness to others.
“It’s not only about cleaning, we must also tell people around the world to stop littering and recycle. Otherwise, our seas are going to be destroyed,” adds 10-year-old Gislayne.
Prayer for Environmental Awareness
Heavenly Father, we ask you to stir our hearts into action. As global temperatures increase, inspire us with ways, we can make a difference in our homes, church congregations, communities, and the world around us. We pray for your prompting where we can do more to love our neighbour. Amen.
Prayer for Environmental Justice
O God, we pray for justice and fairness for those worst hit by our changing climate. We know people living in extreme poverty around the world are worst hit by the climate crisis but have done the least to contribute to it. They also have the fewest resources to implement change. We ask for your mercy O Lord and repent when our blind consumerism has led to the destruction of our common home. Amen.
Why should I Pray about Climate Change?
We mark Earth Day, Global Recycling Day, World Water Day, Great Big Green Week and World Environment Day, among many others. But why should Christians care about the state of the environment and pray for its maintenance and sustainability?
We believe Scripture commands us to do so. And here are some reasons why.
Climate Justice is about honouring God
First, caring for our environment is a way to honour our creator God. Throughout Genesis 1, as our powerful God creates the land and sea, the vegetation, animals, and humans, He sees His creation as very good. This material world is important to God. If we aren’t careful with God’s creation – if we neglect it or abuse it – we damage His work and something that He considers to be very good.
Caring for our common home is commanded
Secondly, Christians should care for the environment because, in Genesis 1:28 and 2:15, our creator God commands us to look after what He has created. We’re to work the land and all that is on it. We’re called to take care of it – both His living and non-living creation. By caring for our earth and being good stewards, we’re enabling it to be fruitful and being faithful to God’s command.
It’s good stewardship of this creation and the next
Thirdly, how Christians treat the environment reveals how we’ll treat the new creation. Scripture promises a time when the earth will be renewed – when there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (Isaiah 65, Revelation 21). But Christians must not abandon the care of our current world because of the confident hope of a renewed one.
What does the Bible say about climate change?
The Earth is the Lord’s
Psalm 24:1-2 states:
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.”
Many have highlighted when we fail to see the world as God’s creation, we’ll be more inclined to abuse it. While the Bible doesn’t call out the dangers of human-induced climate change, it does call on Christians to honour God’s creation.
Therefore human-induced climate change and the loss of biodiversity should not be merely a material concern but a moral one.
Following Jesus Christ’s command to love our neighbours
The warming of oceans, melting ice caps, extreme weather patterns and temperature rise is evidence that the world’s climate is changing rapidly. Some have stated we’re in the middle of a climate crisis and that the environment should be a Christian concern. But caring for God’s creation is not just about the environment. It’s about caring for people too.
In Matthew 22:39, Jesus Christ commands us to love our neighbour. We love our neighbours by responding to their needs. We’re to care and provide for them as we would ourselves.
The effects of environmental degradation can be devastating for people. Malnutrition from drought-induced food shortages, high rates of diseases, and conflicts over natural resources are just some of the ways it affects lives.
Climate change impacts the poor and vulnerable disproportionately. They often don’t have the financial buffer to deal with crop failures or physical damages to their homes. They are less likely to have the funds to adapt to the changing climate or mitigate some of its effects. They are more likely to be displaced and feel the impact of conflicts the most.
Climate Change and its Impact on Children
Children are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and as it worsens, so too do the effects on children’s lives. As water sources become scarce, it is often children who must walk further to fetch water. As parents lose income, children’s illnesses go untreated. And as family resources disappear, children are pulled out of school to work or the family migrates, taking children away from the safety of their community.
A recent report from UNICEF makes it clear that the climate crisis is also a crisis for children’s rights. “Almost every child on earth is exposed to at least one climate and environmental hazard, shock or stress such as heatwaves, cyclones, air pollution, flooding and water scarcity.”
Children are more adversely impacted because they are more physically and psychologically vulnerable than adults to the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss, and increasing levels of pollution in the air, soil, water and oceans. And they face a difficult future as “…any deprivation as a result of climate and environmental degradation at a young age can result in a lifetime of lost opportunity.”
If you’ve been inspired, here are a few more actions you can take:
- Organise a litter pick in your community.
- Make ethical swaps. Discover how to turn your cup of tea and coffee carbon neutral.
- Learn more and find out how Compassion is responding to the impact of climate change.
- Spread awareness by sharing this blog with your friends and family using the buttons below.