Exploring the gospel principles of earth stewardship

A Petition to the World’s Leaders

The following is a petition written by BYU students—endorsed and hosted by LDS Earth Stewardship:

An open letter to the delegates of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21/11) to be held in Paris, 30 November-11 December


Photo by Ralph Johnson

As concerned members and friends of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we raise our voices in an unofficial capacity to articulate our concerns about the threat of global climate change and to urge action in meeting one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. How we respond to this challenge has significant moral and ethical implications for us and for the welfare of all of God’s creatures now and long into the future.

The creation of the Earth is one of God’s greatest gifts to His children. It provides a home for our physical bodies and gives us the opportunity to exercise agency in our pursuit of developing divine attributes. The Creation is also intended to “please the eye and gladden the heart” (D&C 59:18) and, when used properly, can provide “enough and to spare” for everyone (D&C 104:13-18). God declared his Creation to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31, Moses 2:31) and gave men and women dominion—a sacred stewardship—to maintain the health and vitality of the land, air, water, and resources upon which all life depends. As ancient and modern prophets have taught, how we manage this stewardship reflects our collective spiritual health and ability to show love to each other and the other creations that share this planet (see LDS.org, “Environmental Stewardship and Conservation”).

Photo by Ralph Johnson

All inhabitants of the earth—past, present, and future—belong to God’s family. We understand better today than ever before the ways in which we are connected as a planet by global systems, both natural and manmade. This awareness compels us to extend neighborly love both geographically and temporally to all of God’s family. Repercussions of climate change include displacement due to rising sea levels, changed rainfall patterns, lack of clean water, increasing extreme weather events, reduced agricultural productivity, and spread of disease (among many others) and will have a disproportionate impact on our brothers and sisters in developing nations least prepared to cope. Our stewardship is to preserve the resilience, integrity, and vitality of what God created, to help even non-human life comply with the God-given injunction to have joy and multiply and replenish the Earth.

Photo by Ralph Johnson

It is therefore with grave concern that we consider our collective struggle to rise to the challenge posed by anthropogenic climate change. We consider it a moral duty to protect the gift of Creation, both the well being of God’s creatures and our fellow brothers and sisters. The longer we hesitate to enact policies that mitigate our environmental impact, the greater the costs will become. If we do not act now, our children and grandchildren will be left to bear the price of our indifference. We believe that our faith provides the moral and spiritual energy needed for us to overcome doubt and indecision, to accept our accountability to our Creator, and to fulfill our most fundamental Christian duty to love our fellow men and respect the gifts of God.


[emailpetition id=”1″]
  • Wait, I don’t get it. Nothing was actually proposed or petitioned? It seems like a good intro, but it doesn’t seem to demand any specific action? What purpose is this petition designed to serve?

  • Jacie says:

    I agree with Weston. This whole petition felt like an introduction to what’s actually being proposed. I agree that climate change is something to pay attention to and do something about if possible, but it wasn’t stated what you’re hoping to accomplish.

  • Jared Meek says:

    We left the “action” unspecific because the nations at the conference will be the ones deciding what specific actions need to be taken by each country. It’s more complicated than simply asking for a carbon tax or an immediate change to renewable energies because each country contributes differing amounts of pollution and experiences differing levels of economic stability. The purpose of this letter is simply to show that there are a large number of people in the LDS community that believe SOMETHING needs to be done because of, and not in spite of, our faith.

  • Brigham Daniels says:

    I think that Weston’s and Jacie’s comments are fair. However, I will say that one of the reasons I found the petition compelling is because it make the Mormon case for action. If there was a Mormon climate action strategy, it would make sense to call for a particular plan of action. I would not have signed if it used gospel principles in a way that I felt was selectively for a particular end. Had I written the petition, I would not have pushed it any further than the students did. We have had some people on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ldsearthstewardship) who think it goes to far as it is. I guess the bottom line is that it is hard to please everyone, but it worked for me.

  • Søren Simonsen says:

    Remarkable! I applaud these students. From the viewpoint of being good stewards of the earth, this is a big and bold ACTION to make their voices heard among the world’s elite leaders. I pray they are listening and receptive.

  • Tod Robbins says:

    Is a representative delivering this petition to COP21? Or just floating in the Internet ether? I’m curious how we expect it to be presented.

  • James Westwater says:

    I would like to see the petition urge some key effective actions to reduce the effects of climate change, such as a substantial worldwide tax on carbon fuels and a global push toward clean, safe renewable energy, and away from dirty, harmful and very environmentally expensive fossil fuels. We all love a healthy creation but we need strong, effective ACTION. I’d like to see the petition urge specific effective actions.

  • Lane says:

    There is a lot we can and should do including repent and come unto Christ. I fear that part of climate change is due to wickedness in the world and we are going to see obvious and subtle changes and natural disasters as the world slides more into wickedness. We need to be conservationists, environmentalists and repenters.

  • Jack Greene says:

    Deepest gratitude to those who have created and posted this opportunity for LDS members to express their support for a livable, “God created” planet. For personal and collective action, I suggest visiting the excellent LDS website http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/environmental-stewardship-conservation How might this website be publicized to the general membership as a very small % realize it exists. Perhaps on a bookmark at the visitor centers and conference center?

  • Ken Kyle says:

    The biggest long term challenge to LDS family values is the well funded climate change denial lobby. Unless there is a major course correction world wide there will be few families left to have any values whatsoever. Fortunately here in Canada the voters have started to see the light and recently threw out the Conservative Federal Government which was dragging its feet on this issue.
    Ken Kyle, Lethbridge, Alberta

  • bruce says:

    Nice petition! nice to see some Mormons on the right side of an issue actually the issue of all timegreat job thank you