Washington D.C., Feb 8, 2019 / 18:38 pm
A joint congressional resolution for a “Green New Deal” is the latest effort aiming to apply political solutions to environmental problems. Whatever the merits of the proposal, one theologian says, Christians must think hard about what their faith says about environmental policy.
“To think that the U.S. government can be agnostic about the environment is a little like thinking it’s agnostic about faith: policies will impact the environment, for good or for ill,” Joseph Capizzi, professor of moral theology and ethics at Catholic University of America, told CNA.
“It strikes me that the Christian approach to the environment would require us to think about our policies’ impact on creation. Or, to put it differently, about whether our policies give God his due in their impact on his creation,” said Capizzi, who also directs the Institute for Human Ecology.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., have proposed a joint resolution to recognize “the duty of the federal government to create a Green New Deal.”
The non-binding resolution would not create new programs, but its passage would convey the sense of Congress and provide justification for further legislation.
The new resolution cites the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report, which said that a rise in global temperatures must not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Though Capizzi said addressing particular policies is beyond his expertise, he said Christians are a “future-oriented people.”
“We look in hope to the coming of our savior and our reflections on how to live now should always have an eye towards their long-term impact on the world into which, in hope, we bring our children,” he said. “We have justice-based responsibilities to our children to care for the creation God intends for them as well as for us.”