When I was ordained more than 21 years ago, climate change was not an issue that was even remotely on my mind. Throughout my years of ministry in local churches and as an organizer, there was one key issue that occupied my heart and mind, and which led me to specific acts of charity and justice. That issue was hunger.
I encouraged the congregations I served to engage in local hunger ministries, such as support for food pantries and feeding programs. I encouraged participation in community gardens. I encouraged support for global relief efforts to alleviate hunger and poverty. I advocated for federal budget dollars to be directed to anti-poverty and hunger efforts both domestically and globally.
And then I learned about climate change. I remember reading an article on the geo-politics of food that connected the dots for me between the loss of crops (due to heat waves and wildfires caused by drought) and rising temperatures, the resulting food shortages in the Middle East and the rise of conflict in that region. The realization that hit me was that if I care about hunger, I need to care about climate change.