How to Get Evangelicals to Care About Climate Change


(Nautilus) Last year was among the three warmest years ever recorded, 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reported. The two years prior were warmer (2016 the warmest), but they had a boost from El Nino—2017 didn’t. “The six warmest years on record for the planet have all occurred since 2010,” the NOAA states on its website.

Among those who accept that the cause of this is climate change, and that human actions play a major role, such reports tend to lead to finger pointing at climate change deniers and skeptics, who are seen as obstacles to progress on important policy decisions for improving the climate. Such finger pointing is sometimes directed at religious people, especially evangelical Christians who, either because of their theology or political conservatism, are taken to make up much of these deniers and skeptics.

But after five years of surveying, interviewing, and analyzing data on what religious people think about science, we have come to understand that evangelicals’ views about climate change, and the environment more broadly, are more complex than some might assume.

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Elisabeth Soto