The climate change communicator George Marshall reminds climate activists, people do not listen to messages; they listen to messengers with whom they can relate. That is why I am thrilled to learn about Anna Jane Joyner and her personal journey to embrace climate change as an issue very much in line with her Evangelical beliefs and identity. Joyner is featured this week on Yale Climate Connections.
Anna Jane Joyner was raised in a conservative home with a well-known evangelical minister for a father. But her family never talked about environmental issues.
JOYNER: “They were totally outside of my radar except to maybe lump environmentalists in with hippies and liberals and all the other people who were probably going to hell.”
But a semester abroad in New Zealand during college made her rethink her values.
JOYNER: “So I came home and I switched my major to environmental studies which caused a lot of havoc in my family.”
In fact, her dad stopped paying her tuition. So in an effort to bring him around, she wrote her thesis on biblical scriptures that address the moral reasons to care for the environment.
But that did not stop Joyner. She has pressed on, speaks out, and tries to reason with her dad. Back in May 2014 in her Open Letter to My Daddy Who Doesn’t Accept Climate Change, she writes to her father, Pastor Rick Joyner heads MorningStar Ministries, a global group with over 100 churches and partners in dozens of countries.
As you know, combating climate change is my life’s work. I believe it is the greatest challenge of our time. I feel a deep duty, to both my faith and my generation, to spread this message. We are the first generation that knows how serious the stakes are, as well as the last to be able to do something about it in time.
I learned from you that we are called on to protect God’s creation and to love our neighbors. I write you today because we need your leadership to achieve a bright future for all of us — and our children.
Fossil fuels have brought the world many wonderful things, but now we know they come with a high price — an unimaginably high price if we don’t act soon to start transitioning off of them. We need to create a world where our energy needs are met without depending on fossil fuels that make us sick and heat up our planet. We can only do this together.
Wow even our own Elizabeth Jeremiah has been making a similar point–fossil fuels has brought tons of good into the world, but sadly it is also bringing about a world of woe, so time to change.
Have a listen to the Yale Climate Connections feature on Anna Jane Joyner (1 min 30 sec)
See video of Anna Jane featured in the Showtime special Years of Living Dangerously