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
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”).
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.
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.