Changing the Climate: Applying the Bible in a climate emergency

Changing the Climate: Applying the Bible in a climate emergency

Authors : Debbie Hawker David Hawker, Jamie Hawker
£9.99

Practical Bible-based material to use in families and churches

A series of Bible passages unpacked to show the Bible’s relevance to environmentalism, and how we can all play our part in limiting the negative effects of climate change.

Title Changing the Climate: Applying the Bible in a climate emergency
Authors Debbie Hawker David Hawker, Jamie Hawker
Description

A series of Bible passages unpacked to show the Bible’s relevance to environmentalism, and how we can all play our part in limiting the negative effects of climate change.

The climate crisis is one of the most important issues of our time, threatening lives and livelihoods. The Bible teaches us that God the creator put humans on the Earth to take care of it; to show love to all, and to care for the poor and vulnerable.

This workbook shows how the Bible is relevant to environmentalism, and how we can all play our part in limiting the negative effects of climate change. Each of the twelve chapters looks at a particular Bible passage, connects it with climate action, poses questions and suggests practical steps that can be taken.

Details
  • Product code: 9781800390225
  • Published: 18 June 2021
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • Dimensions: 148mm wide and 210mm high

A series of Bible passages unpacked to show the Bible’s relevance to environmentalism, and how we can all play our part in limiting the negative effects of climate change.

The climate crisis is one of the most important issues of our time, threatening lives and livelihoods. The Bible teaches us that God the creator put humans on the Earth to take care of it; to show love to all, and to care for the poor and vulnerable.

This workbook shows how the Bible is relevant to environmentalism, and how we can all play our part in limiting the negative effects of climate change. Each of the twelve chapters looks at a particular Bible passage, connects it with climate action, poses questions and suggests practical steps that can be taken.

The Hawkers are a Christian family who are taking action for climate justice. Psychologists Debbie and David Hawker work with Tearfund and other campaign organisations. Their teenage son Jamie also campaigns on climate issues and is part of the ‘Green Agents of Change’ initiative within the Methodist Church.

‘I wish this book had been available when my children were younger! It’s wise and informative yet wonderfully easy to read. It moves from the biblical to the practical, the local to the global, making the complex simple and succeeding in both being deeply challenging yet also life-affirming and hope-giving.’
Revd Dr Dave Bookless, director of theology, A Rocha International and author of Planetwise

‘Challenging, engaging and practical, this is a wonderful resource to journey through either individually or as a family. It provides all sort of ideas of how you can make a difference, and solid reasoning for the urgency of doing so. Read it and live it!’
Simon Guillebaud, author, speaker and international director for Great Lakes Outreach

‘Jamie, Debbie and David have written a comprehensive and practical guide to help us navigate our way through the choices and complexities of living more lightly on the planet. I love the tips and links, the quotes, the clear and challenging Bible studies, and the deep dives into the science and theology. This is one of the best and most accessible books I have read on why Christians should care about climate change, and what we can do about it. This is a book to be read and shared with your family, friends and church.’
Caroline Pomeroy, director, Climate Stewards

‘I love the fact that this book is global, intergenerational and intersectional in its scope, while still remaining accessible and full of hope. It presents a robust, biblical case for the need for Christians to engage with the work of climate justice and offers small and large ways in which this can happen. Most importantly, it provides a platform to hear from and celebrate young people who are striving to make a difference.’ 
Lynne Norman, Methodist children, youth and family team

‘The Hawker family takes on climate change! Biblical insights drive them to take action on one of the most urgent issues of our time. This book is packed with hints and tips about how YOU can make a difference.’
Dr Martin Hodson, operations director for The John Ray Initiative and author of A Christian Guide to Environmental Issues and Green Reflections: Biblical inspiration for sustainable living

‘So often we hear the question, “But what can we do, and what if it doesn’t make a difference?” This easy-to-read book offers a guide to faith-filled, faithful action undertaken as part of our discipleship. Highly recommend.’
Rachel Mander, on behalf of Young Christian Climate Network

‘This is a remarkable, timely book on a fundamental remit of all Christians. As it takes a multilevel approach, from initial ideas to complex changes, it is really accessible to people of all ages and experiences. The mixture of stories, Bible studies, statistics and next steps keeps it readable and relatable. As a missionary, minister and parent who has home-educated for years, I can see so many uses for this resource – personal study/challenge, family devotion, small group project, educational material – and I highly recommend it.’
Hannah Prosser, Assemblies of God GB mission team

‘This book is a wonderfully rich, engaging resource for meaningfully exploring and practically responding to one of the most pressing issues of our time. It facilitates intergenerational reflection on a wide diversity of environmental concerns in ways that are informative and interesting, considered yet challenging, and bold while biblical. Jamie’s (very helpful) tips at the end of each chapter have really motivated our family to up our game in terms of creation care engagement!’
Richard and Louisa Evans, En Route Course facilitators, All Nations Christian College, UK

‘Weaving together biblical insight, creative and accessible suggestions for taking action, and stories sourced from around the globe, this is rich resource for Christians of all ages wanting to engage with the climate crisis. Highly recommended.’
Jo Swinney, head of communications, A Rocha International

‘As well as this work being packed with practical suggestions on what to do about climate change, it is refreshing to find biblical reflection on the environment which focuses not on the classically obvious passages about stewardship and respect for creation, but on many Bible texts which one would not normally associate with our responsibility towards the created world, such as the story of Jonah and the parable of the good Samaritan. This leads to such challenging questions as ‘Who is my neighbour in the climate emergency?’ Written by a mother who has not driven for 20 years, a father known as the Cycling Psychologist and a son who wants to be a train driver, this book brings lessons from those who know what they are talking about.’ 
Mark Greenwood, Baptist Missionary Society World Mission, overseas team leader for South America and Sub-Saharan Africa

Changing the Climate is a comprehensive, challenging and highly practical book that uses the Bible well with latest scientific evidence stating the case for us all to be more engaged in addressing climate change. The chapters are easily accessible, offering practical tips of things we can do to embrace creation care, interspersed with contemporary global examples where people and nations are suffering because of the current crisis they are experiencing. With space for personal reflection throughout, this book will help individuals, groups and families learn, adapt and change their behaviours as together we tackle one of the key issues of our time.’
Phil, director, AWM-Pioneers

‘The book challenges its readers to engage both spiritually and factually with one of the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Its clever, interactive and logical style makes it attractive to all ages. I enjoyed that each chapter was divided into sections. This made it easier to read and also easier to refer back to as needed. I really enjoyed Jamie’s tips, which are full of interesting facts and easy steps that anyone can take as they journey to make their lifestyle more environmentally friendly. A very enjoyable and informative read.’ 
Simone Formolo-Lockyer, Latin Link

‘An extremely thoughtful, well-written yet practical book. Accessible and useful for all ages of your family and your church. It relates having a Christian faith to taking an action on climate change. If you are a Christian (or even if you are not!) and you’d like to know what you can actually do to help save our planet – then this is the book for you.’
Richard Jackson, youth leader

 

Dr. Joel Callow, Zero Carbon Building Engineer

What an excellent guide for Christians wrestling with this most serious of modern subjects. Rooted in a clear-thinking, biblical world view, the Hawker family has a refreshingly positive and hopeful take on responding to climate change. They present the difficult reality without pulling their punches, illuminate this from the bible, then move on to practical steps we can take to make the future better than the present. Having read this for myself, I am now looking forward to reading it with my teenage children, and to choosing which of the many excellent charities they recommend to support as a family. Thank you Hawkers for writing a book of hope in challenging times.

 

The John Rae Initiative (JRI) blog. Review by Hannah Gray, June 2021

This is a straight-talking, down-to-earth book written by a married couple and their teenage son. Debbie and David Hawker are psychologists who work with mission organisations and their son, Jamie, is a teenage climate activist. The book has two subtitles ‘Applying the Bible in a climate emergency’ and ‘A resource for families and churches’.

Each chapter profiles a different Christian charity working to alleviate the effects of climate change amongst vulnerable communities around the world and highlights an inspiring testimony from a young climate activist in diverse cultures and contexts.

These real-life stories feature along the way, as the authors take the reader on a journey from the roots of the climate emergency, through the creation care narrative of the Bible, to the call for all Christians to wake up to the urgency and scale of action required. 

Applying the Bible in a climate emergency

The writers frame the climate emergency problem around our spiritual condition, beginning Part 1 with two chapters (Waste and Want) that describe how our collective greed and wastefulness has created global environmental problems. In Part 2 they explain the Christian imperative for creation care, in four chapters organised around core Biblical themes of Faith, Love, Hope and Wisdom. The final section, Part 3 ‘What we can do?’, takes inspiration from scripture to suggest changes to travel and diet, to boost biodiversity, and to consider politics and protest.

The whole book is grounded in scripture. Apparently, every book of the Bible is referenced somewhere in the text – but I will take their word for it! Each chapter begins with a Bible passage that has relevance to the topic addressed, and sometimes the authors offer a modern adaptation of the passage to suggest how it could read for society today. I found these climate-nuanced translations of familiar verses and parables particularly thought-provoking.

The book is also grounded in science. Evidence is laid out from around the world to show how planet and people are suffering from climate change. The information is clear and accessible; the colourful diagrams, photos and ‘Did you know?’ boxes make the pages visually interesting as well as aiding comprehension. For those who want to dig deeper, there are boxes for ‘deep thinkers’, an appendix that explains the science of climate change, and another which sets out carbon emission and climate vulnerability data for different countries.

A resource for families and churches

Changing the climate spells out the urgency of the environmental problems we are all facing, whilst also making a compelling biblical case to take action. Yet the greatest strength is the practical ideas and tips listed at the end of each chapter. They range from quick and easy changes (eg re-use wrapping paper, be vegetarian once a week) to the more challenging lifestyle choices like how we heat our homes and whether to take a no-fly pledge.

Small groups could effectively journey together through the book, discussing issues highlighted in the green question boxes that punctuate the text. There are videos and websites mentioned in Appendix D for extra content in group study settings. Each chapter finishes with a box to write what you will attempt to do in the next month. Being accountable in a small group should be an effective tool for embedding change. 

A humble tone and a brave attitude

The tone is informative, without being preachy, and encouraging, without being naïve. Importantly, the authors are humble, sharing what they could have done differently and how even determined eco-warriors can always do more. They acknowledge that individual change will not be enough to combat the climate emergency; there needs to be system change.

The chapter ‘Moving mountains: large scale action’ bravely faces up to contentious topics like nuclear power and population growth – ‘having one less child would reduce greenhouse gases 75 times more than adopting a vegan diet’. The controversial group Extinction Rebellion (XR) features as well: ‘members of XR have upset people, but so did Gandhi, civil rights activists, suffragettes and Jesus’. I think sometimes as Christians we tiptoe around these issues and I appreciate the refreshing assertiveness found throughout the text.

The book finishes with a reflection on 1 Corinthians 12, the Body of Christ, pointing out that some parts of the body are already suffering from climate change. They assert that each Christian needs to play their part towards a solution, whether that is praying, protesting, fundraising, innovating… what will your part be in fixing the climate emergency? This book offers plenty of inspiration.

Reviewed by Hannah Gray for JRI