God our Creator entrusts humankind with the responsibility to care for creation (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:6). Just as the Israelites moved in and out of obedience to God’s covenant, we too have neglected our covenantal ties to God, each other, and the earth (Genesis 9:9-10). The prophetic voices condemn abuse of creation and mistreatment of our neighbors, calling us back into our covenantal responsibilities. Jesus embodied this prophetic spirit in his ministry to all people and creation. He is the reconciler of all creation. We are invited to participate in the preservation and renewal of God’s good creation (Colossians 1:19-20).
Grounded in a commitment to justice and sustainability, United Methodists the world over are called to pursue lifestyles that reflect our concern for God’s people and planet. Historically the world’s largest user of energy resources, the United States and its residents have a unique responsibility to take actions based on sound scientific and ethical principles of respect for and justice within the World Community. The United States should focus its efforts on managing demand through conservation and efficiency and developing renewable, cleaner alternative sources of energy. Specifically, the United States must:
• move beyond its dependence on high carbon fossil fuels that produce emissions leading to climate change,
• adopt strong global commitments to emission reductions within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,
• concentrate on reducing carbon dioxide emissions within the United States and not rely on mechanisms such as emission trading with other countries to meet our targets for emission reductions under international agreements,
• reduce our reliance on nuclear power, a technology for which there are still unresolved problems such as the safe disposal or safe storage of high level waste of nuclear reactors,
• manage demand through a high priority on conservation and energy efficiency,
• shift federal resources (both tax incentives and appropriated dollars) away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and biomass,
• support development and utilization of appropriate technologies for small-scale, decentralized energy systems,
• support expansion of the infrastructure needed for cleaner energy vehicles, public transportation and ride-sharing, and
• provide necessary support for individuals, families, and communities adversely affected by a transition away from fossil fuels, nuclear power, and large-scale hydro in order to allow for alternative economic development, retraining, relocation, etc.
While national leadership is necessary, so too is the commitment of individuals, churches, and church leaders. As a reflection of our call to be caretakers of God’s good earth, United Methodists should:
• educate our congregants on energy production and usage in relation to global warming,
• conduct an energy audit of our homes, church facilities, and camp structures to identify sources of energy waste and the potential financial savings of energy-related improvements,
• replace incandescent light bulbs with the most efficient alternative available,
• expand our use of public transportation, ride-sharing, teleconferencing, and other work and meeting technologies that reduce fossil fuel consumption,
• choose a cleaner vehicle and properly maintain its engine and tires for maximum fuel efficiency,
• study the consequences of our consumer choices and take action to lessen our impact on the environment, and
• advocate for policies that respond to the growing threat of climate change.
AMENDED AND READOPTED 2012
RESOLUTION #1002, 2008, 2012 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #6, 2004 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
See Social Principles, ¶ 160B.
From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.