Covering creation care in the age of Donald Trump

Photo taken at the People's Climate March in Washington, D.C., in March 2017 by Edward Kimmel from Takoma Park, Maryland

President Donald Trump and his administration have put the United States out of step with much of the world on climate change. He pulled out of the Paris climate accord in June 2017 and, just last month, announced plans to loosen regulations on power plants.

These actions sparked an outcry from environmentalists, world leaders and many people of faith. As the Trump administration shifts resources away from environmental protection, religious and spiritual groups are often doing the opposite.

There are now creation care groups affiliated with nearly all of the world’s religions. Even evangelical Christians, who are among Trump’s strongest supporters, are becoming more vocal about a biblical call to care for the Earth.

Ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, which will take place in San Francisco from Sept. 12-14, here are researchers, faith leaders and climate change experts who can help you understand the relationship between faith and environmental activism. 

Background reading

Relevant research

Religious statements

Activist organizations

National sources

  • E. Calvin Beisner

    E. Calvin Beisner is founder and national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which describes itself as “committed to bringing a balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development.” He is more supportive of President Donald Trump’s approach to environmental issues than other faith leaders and has been critical of the value of the Paris climate agreement. The media coordinator for the Cornwall Alliance is Megan Kinard.

  • Brooks Berndt

    The Rev. Brooks Berndt serves as the minister for environmental justice in the United Church of Christ.

  • Sally Bingham

    The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham is an Episcopal priest who founded the San Francisco-based Regeneration Project, which sponsors the environmental organization Interfaith Power & Light. She has been active in the environmental community for decades and is the lead author of Love God Heal Earth, a collection of essays by religious leaders on environmental stewardship. She is now the president emeritus of the Interfaith Power & Light board of directors. Contact Susan Stephenson with interview requests.

  • Ambrose Carroll

    The Rev. Ambrose Carroll is co-founder of Green the Church and pastor of The Church by the Side of the Road in Berkeley, Calif.

  • Saffet Abid Catovic

    Saffet Abid Catovic is a Muslim environment leader. He co-founded Green Muslims of New Jersey and helped launch the Islamic Society of North America’s Green Masjid Task Force. In 2018, he shared his efforts to offset the carbon footprint of his pilgrimage to Mecca with Sojourners.

  • John Chryssavgis

    The Rev. John Chryssavgis is author of Light Through Darkness: The Orthodox Tradition. He taught theology at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and serves as theological adviser to the Ecumenical Patriarch on environmental issues. Chryssavgis lives in Maine.

  • Richard Cizik

    The Rev. Richard Cizik is president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. He seeks to bring evangelical Christians, researchers and policymakers together to work on issues such as climate change, economic justice and national security.

  • Ellen Davis

    Ellen Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C. Davis has been in the vanguard among theologians studying the biblical understanding of care for the land, and she is a sought-after speaker on topics such as the ethics of land use. She is the author of Scripture, Culture and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible.

  • Sharon Delgado

    The Rev. Sharon Delgado leads seminars and workshops on climate change, environmental justice and the relationship between spirituality and social action. She is an ordained United Methodist minister and founded the Climate Justice Action Network, which brings together Methodists interested in environmental activism.

  • Nana Firman

    Nana Firman is the Muslim outreach director for GreenFaith, an interfaith organization that promotes environmental stewardship. She previously worked with the World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia.

  • David Fisher

    David Fisher is the director of Interfaith Appalachia, a nonprofit, interfaith organization that leads service-learning trips to the Appalachian region. He holds degrees in Jewish studies and environmental studies and has researched the intersection of religion, peacemaking and environmental activism.

  • Robert “Bud” Grant

    The Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant is an environmental theology professor and Catholic priest at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

  • David Haberman

    David Haberman is a professor of religious studies at Indiana University in Bloomington. He teaches on the subject of religion and ecology, particularly in regards to South Asian religions. His books include River of Love in an Age of Pollution: The Yamuna River of Northern India.

  • Katharine Hayhoe

    Katharine Hayhoe is a professor of political science and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She is also the co-author of A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions. Hayhoe is an expert on Christian responses to global warming, and she works to reconcile science and faith in Christian communities.

  • Mitch Hescox

    The Rev. Mitch Hescox is president and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network. He is also the co-author of Caring for Creation: The Evangelical’s Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment.

  • Willis Jenkins

    Willis Jenkins is a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. He works at the intersection of environmental and religious ethics.

  • Anna Jane Joyner

    Anna Jane Joyner serves as campaign coordinator for the Western North Carolina Alliance, which works to protect the state’s natural resources. She’s also co-host of No Place Like Home, a podcast on climate change. Joyner’s father is an evangelical Christian minister and she’s spoken often about what it’s like to reject her family’s environmental beliefs. She’s now a practicing Episcopalian.

  • Laurel Kearns

    Laurel Kearns is an associate professor of the sociology of religion and environmental studies at Drew University in Madison, N.J. Her main research interests are Christian responses to ecological concerns and nature spirituality. 

  • Kenneth Kraft

    Kenneth Kraft is a professor emeritus of religious studies at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., and an expert on socially engaged Buddhism. His books include The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism: A New Map of the Path, on spiritual responses to social and environmental issues, and, as co-editor, Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism.

  • Victoria Loorz

    Victoria Loorz is pastor of the Church of the Wild in Oak View, Calif., a faith community that meets in the wilderness and focuses on encountering God through nature.

  • Jane Lubchenco

    Jane Lubchenco is an environmental science and marine ecology professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis. She served as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2009 to 2013. Additionally, Lubchenco has been the scientific co-chair for many conferences on faith-based environmental activism hosted by Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

  • Sarah Macias

    Sarah Macias is co-director of the Green Seminary Initiative, which helps train seminary students on creation care. She also serves as an Alliance of Baptists representative on the board of Creation Justice Ministries.

  • Nathan Stucky

    Nathan Stucky is the director of the Farminary Project at Princeton Theological Seminary, which blends seminary coursework with hands-on training in sustainable agriculture.

  • Mary Evelyn Tucker

    Mary Evelyn Tucker is a senior lecturer and research scholar at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Divinity School and Department of Religious Studies. She also directs the Forum on Religion and Ecology with her husband, John Grim.

  • Robin Globus Veldman

    Robin Globus Veldman is a visiting scholar at Texas A&M University. She studies the relationship between religion and the environment, with a focus on American evangelicalism.

  • Pat Watkins

    The Rev. Pat Watkins is the executive director of Caretakers of God’s Creation, a grassroots ministry that encourages environmental activism among Methodists. He previously served as a missionary tasked with creation care for the United Methodist Council of Bishops.

  • Katharine Wilkinson

    Katharine Wilkinson is a writer, speaker and climate activist who studies the intersection between environmental stewardship and personal faith. She is the author of Between God and Green: How Evangelicals are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change.

  • Emily Wirzba

    Emily Wirzba is a legislative representative on sustainable energy and the environment with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a nonpartisan, Quaker organization.

  • Jessica Zimmerle

    Jessica Zimmerle is the program and outreach director for Earth Ministry, an environmental advocacy organization in Seattle. She helps lead Earth Ministry’s Greening Congregations program.

International sources

  • Elizabeth Bomberg

    Elizabeth Bomberg is a professor of environmental politics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She has studied faith-based activism around climate change and recently published a research study on Christian environmentalists.

  • Tomás Insua

    Tomás Insua is the co-founder and executive director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement. Insua grew up in Argentina and now lives in Rome. He can be contacted through Reba Elliott, the organization’s communications director.

  • Fazlun Khalid

    Fazlun Khalid is the founder of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, which seeks to increase environmental activism within the global Muslim community.

  • Jane Mellett

    Jane Mellett is a parish pastoral worker in the Archdiocese of Dublin. In 2018, she tweeted every line of Laudato Si’ to President Donald Trump to protest his environmental policies.

  • John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan

    Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan is the Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria. He took part in a 2018 conference on religion and the environment hosted by Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

  • Bastiaan Rutjens

    Bastiaan Rutjens is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Amsterdam. He studies what leads to distrust in science. 

  • Hans Joachim Schellnhuber

    Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany. He has taken part in numerous international gatherings on climate change, including a 2018 conference with faith leaders.

  • Yu Yang

    Yu Yang co-authored a 2018 study on the relationship between religious beliefs and environmental behaviors in China. Yu works in the department of public administration at Southeast University in Nanjing, China.