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Loving the Least of These: Addressing a Changing Environment

Over the last several months, World Relief has partnered with the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) to release an updated report — Loving the Least of These — which details the impacts of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable and highlights the need for action right now. 

A lot has happened in the world since the report was first released in 2011

The world population has increased from 7 to 7.9 billion. The first anti-malarial vaccine was produced. In many places across the globe access to disposable income increased, and millions of people were lifted out of poverty — that is, until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down economies, killed more than 6 million people and reversed years of progress in poverty alleviation. 

And all the while the earth has continued changing too.

Heat energy contained in the oceans and atmosphere increased. Massive wildfires broke out in Australia, Russia and North America. Giant sequoia trees in the Pacific Northwest began to die from drought and heat. Unpredictable rain and larger storms have increased flooding, and rising sea levels have caused human displacement. 

Today, the effects of our changing climate are more apparent than ever. And sadly, it’s the world’s poorest who are the most negatively impacted by the effects of climate change. 

At World Relief, we’ve seen these impacts directly. For example, Turkana, Kenya is experiencing its fourth consecutive season of drought, which is affecting livestock and putting people at risk of starvation. In Haiti, a country that is already extremely vulnerable to extreme weather events, climate change is increasing the frequency and impact of those events, putting people at even greater risk. And at the U.S. border, climate change is exacerbating the root causes of mass displacement, driving more men, women and families to leave their homes and seek a more sustainable future in a new country.

In this newly updated report from the NAE, you’ll read more about these effects through four different sections that cover:

  • the biblical basis for Christian engagement
  • A look at changing environments around the world
  • insight into how environmental variability and extremes affect poverty conditions
  • thoughts on what Christians should do about our rapidly changing environment. 

As you read this report, we hope you continue to see environmental stewardship as an integral part of our mission to serve the world’s most vulnerable. None of us is exempt from Jesus’ call to love and serve those in need. Together, we can be people who realize that what we do has ripple effects on the most vulnerable people in our world, and then choose to change how we live.  

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