Extreme drought. Extreme heat. Freakish storms with names I've never heard of -- a "derecho" -- that knock out power for millions, leaving us sweltering.
If you want to know what living with climate change looks like, look outside or keep abreast of current events. And as temperatures continue to rise, things will get worse.
Global emissions need to peak during the next presidential term, yet neither candidate is talking about what they will do to address the greatest moral challenge of our time.
Into this leadership vacuum steps a group of young people -- young evangelicals to be more precise: Young Evangelicals for Climate Action or Y.E.C.A.
Their Call to Action states:
We believe that God is calling us to take action towards overcoming the climate crisis. For us, this means living as good stewards of God's creation, advocating on behalf of the poor and marginalized, supporting our faith leaders when they stand up for climate action, holding our political leaders accountable for responsible climate policies, and mobilizing our generation and the larger church community to join in.
That's a pretty tall order, but they believe with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26; Philippians 4:13).
As an example of how God is working, here is the story of one of these young leaders named Brittany:
Climate used to seem like an unchangeable thing to me ... I was homeschooled ... I was taught about the numerous famous scientists who were also Christians, and how important science is to society. Yet, when I got to my senior year in high school, my textbooks ended by describing evolution and global warming as two major hoaxes pre-occupying modern science. Though I wasn't quite convinced, I was discouraged. I decided to pursue education in teaching, and join in community at a nearby Christian college. I came to know scientists and science students who were also Christians ... I was still critical though, and avoided really thinking about climate change until my final year ... I had conversations with a man living in Bangladesh, whose country is experiencing the literal first waves of climate change...
I'm concerned about climate change because of how people are affected by it...
I hope that more young people and evangelicals will take a rooted and energetic stance in these challenges. I hope that our presidential candidates are paying attention to the needs arising from climate change. The candidate I can give support to will be one who shows strong commitment to addressing these needs.
Brittany's story -- a homeschooled Christian taught that climate change is a hoax who now helps lead an effort to overcome it -- might strike you as improbable. But it is actually a fairly common one for the young Christians leading Y.E.C.A.
When those who should lead don't, God finds a way. And we still have hope that, with Y.E.C.A.'s encouragement, our leaders will lead on climate action.
In the meantime, we could use your help. Share the good news about Y.E.C.A's existence with others, especially any young evangelicals you may know so they can join up. Thanks.
The Rev. Jim Ball, Ph.D., is author of 'Global Warming and the Risen LORD.'