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Loving People>Loving Earth

I love winter, and every year I get to be reunited with it. When the first snowflakes fly every fall, my heart beat starts to race a little faster and my excitement for the ensuing season grows. It’s the crunch of the snow under my ski poles and the tingling feeling when my lungs fill with cold air. Winter makes me feel alive. Winter is a season that takes me to new places and teaches me new things. But as our earth’s atmosphere continues to warm due to rising levels of greenhouse gases, it’s more than just enjoying great times on snow that are put at risk. Saving the environment is more than protecting our hobbies, it about saving lives.

This week President Trump announced the US will be withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, a historic global agreement negotiated and signed by 195 different countries in 2016. Now, I’m not going to go into a lengthy political rant about why it is important for the US to be part of this accord because I think that would be missing the point. Climate change is no longer a political issue, it is a life issue that is affecting the lives of everyone. We only have one earth and we need to take care of it, but we also only have one body.

This fall, God really started to show me how fighting climate change was fighting for the children He loves. I had always saw value in taking care of the environment, but never really looked at it through an eternal lens. Most of the time we fight climate change to help save created things; lakes, river, trees, soil. But it’s not about saving the trees, rivers, and soil, it’s about saving souls. When we ignore the damaging effects of greenhouse gases and other toxic chemicals that are pumped into the atmosphere, we are not loving our neighbors as ourself. It’s just like in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. The story talks about a man who was heading to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers, beat, stripped of his clothes, and left half dead. When a priest came walking down the same road and saw the man, he passed along the other side, avoiding the man who had been attacked. Soon after Levite did the same, avoiding the man by walking on the other side of the road. But when a Samaritan man came he took pity on the man, bandaged up his wounds and took him to an inn. The next day the man went to the innkeeper and took out some money and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

One may wonder why the Samaritan crossed the road and helped the man out. He didn’t even know the guy but still gave his time and money to help the man. But maybe he saw something different than the priest and the levite. He didn’t see an inconvenience, he saw another human. He saw value in another human and was willing to give his time and money because he saw the value as higher than the price he was paying.

So who do we want to be? When thousands of homes are put at risk due to rising sea levels, are we going to take action or walk across the street like the priest in the parable? When children are exposed to unsafe lead levels due to contaminated drinking water, are we going to cross the road to help them, or do what is convenient and continue on our way. So my call to action is not to save winter, it's to save people. I want to be able to look into the eyes of others and say, “I will fight for you and your family’s health and well being, because I love you.”

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