Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis area synod bishop addresses Minnesota legislators on climate change

Craig Johnson told lawmakers that earth care is a stewardship issue

Eight legislative committees, including 90 legislators from the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate, combined to hold an extraordinary joint hearing on January 30. The topic was climate warming. Climate experts, businessmen, scientists and religious leaders all spoke.

Among those in the last category was the ELCA’s Minneapolis Area Synod Bishop, the Rev. Craig Johnson. He told lawmakers that humanity’s carelessness with the creation had moved us closer toward chaos.

“We have oppressed the earth,” he said. “The way through is to affirm and follow the biblical imperative to watch over, to steward the earth, our gift, as God intended.”

Johnson told the lawmakers that any constructive efforts made toward reversing current climatic trends would only be the beginning of what he called “a long journey.” He said it could, perhaps, take a century or longer to set things right.

Said the bishop, “I plead with you to begin this year to boldly step forward with continued scientific research, development of new clean technologies in power generation and transportation, an energy economy less depen-dent on fossil fuels and targets and timetables for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Johnson said, “We, as a mighty and affluent nation, have a moral obligation to help to protect the poor, Long journeys begin with a first step.”

On the same day Johnson spoke to Minnesota’s legislators, a news report estimated that rising global temperatures will cause billions of people to suffer water shortages and the number of hungry will grow by hundreds of millions by 2080.

Scientists made the dire prediction in a report that estimates between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people will be suffering from water scarcity problems by 2080 and between 200-600 million more will be going hungry.

The assessment is contained in a draft of a major international report by the United Nations Intergov-ernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to be released later this year.