Young evangelicals demand climate action outside National Prayer Breakfast
February 6, 2020
Demonstrators from the Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA) gathered this morning outside the Washington Hilton in Northwest Washington, D.C., the site of 2020 National Prayer Breakfast.
Standing in a steady, chilly rain on the sidewalk, the youth read an open letter, signed by hundreds of young evangelicals and addressed to attendees of the breakfast.
“We write you today, as young Christians, to implore you to engage the climate crisis with the full and faithful urgency that it requires,” the letter stated.
The National Prayer Breakfast, a traditionally bipartisan event, invites political, business and religious leaders to pray together. United States President Donald Trump spoke at the breakfast, delivering a speech that bounced across issues from his recent acquittal and political opposition to the economy.
Outside, YECA demonstrators delivered a speech that focused on a topic that wasn’t brought up at the breakfast: climate change.
“As people of love, courage, transformation, and hope, climate action is not something to avoid or fear,” the letter stated. “Rather, it is a powerful and prophetic opportunity for us to be the salt and light that Jesus calls us to be.”
This sentiment was echoed by Kyle Meyaard-Schapp, YECA national organizer and spokesperson, who organized the demonstration.
“Young evangelicals take [climate change] really seriously, and we want our leaders to as well,” Meyaard-Schapp told Earth Day Network. “Acting on climate is a way to love God and love our neighbor better — it’s exactly what it means to follow Jesus in the 21st century.”
Among the demonstrators was Jessica Moerman, a climate scientist and science and policy director at the Evangelical Environmental Network. She sees the evangelical community as a vital piece to solving our climate crisis.
“Climate change is hurting people now,” she said. “The voice and action of the evangelical community is absolutely necessary to make progress on climate solutions.”
Moerman joins the ranks of scientists compelled by the urgency of our climate crisis to use their platform and their knowledge to act. As climate change intensifies, more and more scientists are expanding their roles as researchers, becoming advocates for change.
“I feel a duty of care as a climate scientist, just as a doctor, knowing that there’s a problem that you just can’t stay silent,” said Moerman. “We are in crisis mode, and as God’s people, we’re called to get involved.”
We need everyone on board to act on climate change. Earth Day Network is calling on faith leaders to bring climate action to the pulpit the weekend of April 17–19 and to turn out their community for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020.
Join Earth Day Network’s faith outreach community, and sign either the Earth Day in the Pulpit Pledge for Lay Leaders and Youth or the Earth Day in the Pulpit Pledge for Clergy.
Collectively, we can build the largest, most diverse mobilization ever.