Kyle Meyaard-Schaap | Environmental Evangelism

When Kyle Meyaard-Schaap joins a climate march or calls a senator to talk about his concerns about climate change, he sees it as an act of evangelism. His new book Following Jesus in a Warming World: A Christian Call to Climate Action tells the story of how he came to understand that acting on climate is necessary and urgent and that it fits within the call to follow Jesus. He tells some of his story here and also talks about parenting, imagination, and the role a pastor can play in bringing about the change we hope to see.

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This was one of my favorite podcasts in a while. Though I think this last season has been my favorite.

I liked that they brought up how diet is actually a serious issue. I try to bring it up every now and then but I don’t want to always bring it up.

The majority of land dedicated to food is actually mostly for livestock. This is combining crops for livestock feed and pastures for them to live their short lived in. Animal farming also contributes a lot to byproduct waste escaping into the land. It’s a pretty big contributing factor to climate change. Though it’s known for the “western diet” it’s growing more and more globally. These diets high in animal products and byproducts seem to be a factor in disease of affluence.

Plus, it’s a diet based in cruelty. We can’t escape it. We all contribute to animals dying. From cat food we buy, to animals dying during harvesting crops and so on. But we have more control over how we use the power of consumerism. We don’t need the flesh of animals to live. Even if someone does most of those that eat animals could drop how much they eat. If you ever watch videos on slaughter houses you see just how much terror they must go through. So a diet that’s primarily plant and fungi based is more compassionate towards creation, more environmentally sound and is more beneficial for your own health and the health of future generations.

Though this was not particularly the main focus on the convo, I’m glad he and his brother realized this and applied it to their stances.

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Times are changing and not always to the wrong direction. It is obvious that Christians need to wake from a sleep in environmental matters. If not for other reasons, then because the young generations are more aware of the urgent needs to act. Those who follow old-fashioned thinking in environmental matters will become representatives of a declining group.

The good side of planetary diet is that the body gets used to plant-based foods. My daughter has a plan to turn the rest of the family to mainly vegetarian diet. She does it by preparing most of the food we eat. It works. Previously I enjoyed eating good beefsteaks. Not anymore, I have lost the desire to eat beef almost totally. Game, reindeer and lamb are still on the list (occasionally) but otherwise, we do not usually eat red meat at home. This is a positive example of activism among the young generation.

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Worrying about the climate is utterly pointless. Unless you’re the top companies responsible for all the pollution being dumped out into the world, or the government with the power to force change. Good luck losing sleep, for that’s all you can do.
Besides, it’s become too politicized now to take seriously. It’s untrustworthy and full of alarmist propaganda.
I’m going to keep living my life the way I always have. If it all turns out to be real, well, those who passed the bunk onto the regular citizen, to distract from the real culprits, can burn.

We know the idea of a carbon footprint was an idea by BP to put the blame onto the regular citizen, so they could keep doing what they’re doing and get away with it.

I’m not playing along. Like everything else the government ever gets behind, it’s about control. The regular citizen is only going to lose something. You think the President of the US is going to give up Steak? HA! You’re not going to take meat away from me, take away the Cows and I’ll just start kidnapping and eating your pet Dogs.

Americans… shakes head

https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2022/04/16/climate-despair-christian-scientist-finding-hope/

This recent post from Rick Lindroth talks about how he knows that what he’s doing doesn’t make a dent, but is still a part of living in a way that he thinks is right. There’s nothing wrong in trying to decrease your consumption, food waste, energy usage, even it’s just a way for you to live our your convictions.

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I don’t suggest to stop eating meat to help with the environment. I suggest it as a choice of compassion. Not everyone has the will power to place the well being of other animals over their tastebuds. You mentioned not worrying about something that as an individual you can’t do much about. But that’s very backwards and not taking into account history. Marginalized groups bring attention to issues until more and more are gathered to it until legislation is written up and passed. In the last 50 years consumption of milk has dropped by almost half. Since 2003 dairy farms have been cut in half.

The plant based industry is growing significantly. A decade ago not many places had it. Nowadays, even most fast food places have a few meat alternatives. As the human population triples in the next century potentially, and land becomes less available, there will probably be even more pushed for healthier, more environmentally sound choirs.

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Also, what you know may not be the same as what we know. A lot of things are really not that political. We have those that see the data and they tend to accept science and vote in a certain way. Then we have those that seem to consistently reject science and vote another way. It’s mostly just political because one group rejects the science on a lot of issues.

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I thought this was a very good podcast. There are some segments I found
particularly valuable:

He was the first person who showed me that this was an attempt for him to live more deeply into the Christian values that we had been taught, rather than him rejecting it. That was really compelling for me… it required that following Jesus in the world today required that I ask questions, who is my neighbor? And what is climate change doing to my neighbor?

I see such motivated redefinition in my own camp of “neighbor” that it’s really meaningless. It becomes a church focused kind of serving that is quite different from what Jesus commanded. Really, this should be a sign to us that something is seriously wrong with the way we are operating.

Yeah, I mean I often say that doesn’t need to be your entry point, and we need all kinds of people in this conversation. For so long, it’s been the outdoor rec people, it’s been the biologists and the hard scientists, and we need those people, of course, but we also need artists, we need poets, we need historians, we need people like me who are religion majors. We need pastors that this is going to take everybody.

I love this point. I will never be a scientist. But as a parent and as someone who cares a little about justice, there is plenty of motivation for me to be involved in climate justice as well as plenty of room.

…teaching them [kids] about the way the world is and the way the world will be and the reasons for that, but also helping them understand that the way the world is isn’t expressed equally across the globe. And because of where they live and who they are, the geographic and the social realities of their existence, they’re going to be cushioned from a lot of climate impacts. And there are a lot of people around the world who will not be.

This is huge. We need to grasp for ourselves as adults, that the lives of most first world people will be least affected by climate change and experience the fewest devastating effects. We have to learn how and teach our kids how to pay attention better.

And it just strikes me that I think a lot of these theologies and these ways of being church that have been given to us, I think in a lot of ways are showing that they’ve run their course or they were never all that particularly healthy to begin with. And so, yeah, I do wonder if moving from a focus on individual spiritual salvation, for instance, toward a more holistic, embodied salvation, which has to include a deeper ecology. …I’m going to think about it more.

I think think this is one of many things I need to think about more.

Politics is the number one indicator of where somebody’s going to be when it comes to climate change, which says a lot about us. And I think it says a lot about the church that a lot of times we’re letting our politics dictate our faith and drive our faith rather than letting our faith drive our politics.

This should drive us to repentance. We have no moral high ground as Christians or Americans.

Our current status quo is climate, chaos. And what does that do that pushes people down to the bottom of society? So shouldn’t good news about the kingdom of God be about lifting up these people whose society pushes down to the bottom and flipping the status quo of climate chaos?

Yes. Period.

I think one of the fundamental failures of the climate movement to date has been a failure of imagination. So many people believe the climate movement is the scold in the room, weighing their finger at us and telling us everything we’re doing wrong, everything we have to change and give up and sacrifice without a correspondingly inspiring vision of, “And here’s the world we can create together if we do this.”

@MarkD I think you’ll like this part. But I liked it too. Maybe we should quite worrying about marketing and start thinking more imaginatively.

Finally, a beef. I really, REALLY dislike the term “Creation Care,” although it’s all over the place. Christians have more than enough silos. There are perfectly good words that everyone, including non-christian climate allies, can feel comfortable, which have been in use for ages. Ecology and environmentalism are both good.

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I’ll give it a listen soon. Got a visitor from Norway here for Lia but as soon as things settle down. Thanks!

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Destroying livelihoods. So much for compassion, or is that reserved for animals only?

Have you SEEN America lately? EVERYONE is out protesting and trying to make changes. Do you know what’s happening though? You’re tearing yourselves apart and becoming more and more controlled by your government. Violence, sickness, confusion. NOTHING is getting solved. Your country cannot even decide what a Woman is anymore! While you storm the streets marching for this or that, the government is still doing whatever they want. Do you know the only thing protests do? They bring in the riot police to mace you.

Climate change is the current big government con. I still remember acid rain and the end of the world from last time. We should all be dead now if you believed them back then. And they’re STILL burning fossil fuels. They’re STILL cutting down the rainforests, letting more carbon escape into the atmosphere. They’re STILL dumping everything into the Seas… But I’m sure your contributions will make a difference :wink:

All that comes about is more and more restriction in our lives. It’s a literal playbook for them. Create fear and panic. Offer a solution to the problem they caused. Profit. In the end, the only real change is that you lose more rights and freedoms.

Do you know what the government recently did in my region? They poisoned the water with PFAS chemicals, lied about knowing how harmful it was for over a Decade and then when they got caught after 50 people died of cancer along ONE road, they fessed up. But do you know what ended up happening? Nothing.

Hey, if you don’t want to eat meat, that’s your choice. But don’t pretend you’re making a lick of difference in the world. Humans have eaten animals throughout history. The government no longer lets us kill our own food (largely) and so you get cruelty in slaughter houses. If we could go to a farm, pick our own Cow, kill it and prep it then take it home, that would be the best way. I’d make it quick. No cruelty. Just nature being true to itself. The Bible states we are to dominate and use the animals as we will. Responsibly, yes, but Cows are not off the menu for me.

Do I feel pity for the dairy industry? No. I actually feel joy that it’s collapsing for the previous reasons given. You seem a bit trollish honestly. Sometimes I just block people quickly. Sometimes I don’t. I don’t have a savior complex and so I don’t think I need to suffer through the insights of people I just don’t care to know. So I won’t be reading or responding to you beyond this.

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I’m not trolling, I’m passionate about this topic but I’m on a different side.

If the government isn’t concerned enough to bring about real change to the real problems, then it either isn’t as big of a problem as they want you to think it is, or they have a solution in the works.
Probably another pandemic and a massive world war in 2030 leading to a huge hit to the global population.

I mean, the current system is struggling because the population is too big for it, not that the population is too big for planet Earth. The current way of doing things is not sustainable, but the rich and powerful are not going to go without. No, they’re going to get rid of you and I. They love their system, they dedicate their lives to it. YOU and I are the problem.

Why not invade South America to protect the Amazon? Instead of invading the Middle East or Ukraine? It’s not about what is best for you or me. It’s not about the health of the planet! They never actually fight for “freedom” or “justice”. Just more control and profit.

The reality is, if you want the current system to stay in place, even if you get rid of certain industries you don’t like, collapse is inevitable. Something is going to give. The WEF knows this, Bill Gates knows this, that’s why he’s criminalizing all the beef and dairy farmers and then buying up their land for himself. The next Ark is going to be made by the rich, for the rich. And we can’t afford the ticket.

Look at France right now. Look at the farmers in Europe. The changes the rich and powerful want, the changes YOU want, can only come about by destroying the lives of Millions. Maybe Billions, depending on how ambitious you are.

The worst thing to ever happen to planet Earth was the industrial revolution. It caused more problems than it fixed. And today, the only problems getting “fixed” are problems the revolution caused in the first place. And if you want to bring God into it, I don’t think He intended it to be honest. The garden of Eden never had combustion engines…

God said, be fruitful and multiply. But He said this before we sinned and ruined His plans for us. However, it’s the ONLY command we still all follow. And it just can’t work out for good if we ignored all the others that were supposed to go along with it. If you want to make a change that will end up having an effect, do not breed. Stop having children for a generation and no one might have to die to make things better for you. A restriction on children being born is my solution. Lower the population without genocide by simply preventing new life. Maintain the population at a certain number. Then you can have your cake and still eat it. Let us see just how “responsible” the people are. Do they have the courage of their convictions?

Somehow this reminds me of what happened in the car industry. Companies were building greater cars with combustion engines and neglected warnings about the climate change. Then the reality hit their face and many companies were in big troubles. At least in Europe, the companies building cars with combustion engines are still struggling to get new electric models to replace the old ones with combustion engines. EU almost banned combustion engines when it decided that new cars should have zero carbon dioxide emissions after the year 2035. Cars with combustion engines were not totally banned but the idea is that they can only use synthetic fuel, not fossil fuels.

Proactive companies were winners in these decisions, those that just reacted to the reality when it hit were the losers.

But I’M not responsible. I’m a victim to whatever the rich and powerful decide to do. I’m a peasant living in a tiny home with nothing to my name. It’s not even MY home. I’m renting. My car runs on fumes, it’s TINY. My vege garden in my backyard provides some of my needs. I have plants everywhere to bring in the wildlife. My idea of a holiday is camping in the forest. I imposed a two child restriction on my family. I’m the man with the domestic-terrorist view of just wanting to be left alone. But it’s illegal for me to be anymore self-sustainable where I live. Funny that huh? I’m not the problem. But you know what? I’m sure not the solution either.

I LOVE Milk and Beef! I would eat Rabbit and Deer, but hey, I’m not allowed to own a weapon, I’m not allowed to hunt. My yard isn’t big enough for my own Cow, or Goat, for milk. And it’s illegal to own them where I live anyway. I suppose I could win the lottery and buy some land… I guess I’m just lazy.

You can take that attitude. The same attitude is common here in Finland where the populist parties claim that the share of Finland of the global emissions is so small that we do not need to restrict emissions more than the other countries - the change has to happen in the countries that produce most carbon dioxide, like China and USA. In other words: citizens of USA should reduce carbon emissions, only after that is the time for us who live in ‘less guilty’ small countries.

I am not speaking for a radical change in our life - no need to live as a hermit. I still eat meat, drive with a car and even sometimes fly abroad when my wife needs sunshine. What I say is that we can make small changes in our life, like reducing the amount of meat in our diet, changing the car to a less polluting one (we changed from two cars to one plug-in hybrid model), reducing the amount of flights, or improving recycling. All these save money, so these are also economically wise decisions. It is like ants building a nest - a single ant does not play a visible role but when most ants work, the nest grows.

As Christians, we should think what the biblical scriptures teach and what kind of message our lifestyle broadcasts to the world. Unfortunately, Christians have not shined in this respect, at least not in the small Protestant churches. There are more and more young people, especially young women, who get a negative impression and do not want to hear the gospel because the acts speak louder than words.

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Mate, I’m not necessarily arguing with you. I’m just stating that it wont make a difference. Nothing you or I do will have ANY impact on the planet at large. China will still be the worst offender in regards to pollution. India will keep breeding outside their means. America will keep pushing “solutions” onto the little guy. And we can’t do a thing about them.

It wont matter if our personal lives are green and pure, the fire will still consume our little slice of “paradise” as the rest of the world burns. I’m afraid to admit it, but death and destruction for those who didn’t necessarily cause the issue is unavoidable. The rich will get away scott-free. Just watch. Like I said, the new Ark will be made by the rich and powerful. Neither you or I can afford the ticket price. Whether we go green, buy an electric car, dismantle our air conditioners… Doesn’t matter.

Companies that sell consumer products are sensitive to the voice of consumers because their profit depends on it. When there are enough of active consumers speaking for something, the companies respond. You can see that in how the companies respond to racism or issues relating to sexual orientation - companies are not really interested in these matters but they fear getting a bad reputation that would reduce their profit.

I can see the same happening in forestry here. Consumers in the EU want environmentally friendly products and therefore the factories only buy forestry products that have been grown in forests that have some kind of certificate telling that forestry is environmentally friendly. The certificates do not always reveal the reality but because the consumers demand, the companies react. We just need some loud activists and companies will listen - not because they really want to do good but because they are greedy.

I do not believe it is possible to organise people to be effective in anything except causing chaos nowadays. The struggle for rights, for better… It always devolves into chaos and madness. Some of the loudest, most effective voices today should have been eaten by Bears before they could ever “share” their voices… Sadly, society protects these weak links and allows them to thrive. Then Twitter gives them a podium…

Thank you for this podcast. I found it edifying.

Another good resource is this podcast with Dr. Sandra Richter: Sandra Richter | We Are Only Renters Here - Podcast Episode - BioLogos

It can be overwhelming thinking of what we can do personally to be good stewards of the environment. Thanks to people that posted how they approach environmental stewardship.

There is much more that I could do, but I find that a mindset of care about the environment goes a long way. If we just stop and think, we can do things like use reusable water bottles instead of one-use plastic ones. Not to mention reusable bags instead of plastic. One thing I did was to promote the use of compostable dog waste bags within a service dog organization that I volunteer with. Maybe some took note. A dent could be made in the amount of plastic that is thrown away if that idea takes off among dog caregivers. (Of course it is best to have access to a municipal composting program for that one).

One thing that was mentioned in the podcast is the idea of community, and that we can encourage one another in the task. This is a role that BioLogos is doing something to fulfill. Thank you for that.