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BY EMILY DOUGHERTY
GOSHEN -- Does global warming exist? Some people don't think so, said Paul Steury, education coordinator of Goshen College's Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center.
A mix of people met at Rieth Interpretive Center, Goshen, for Sound of the Environment, a monthly meeting on sustainability issues related to business and the community.
Some in attendance were professors, students and business leaders. Most were concerned citizens, but all were there to discuss ways to improve efficiency and hear Steury's presentation on how to implement Nobel Laureate Al Gore's documentary film, "The Inconvenient Truth."
"We face a true planetary emergency," said Steury, quoting Gore. "The climate crisis is not a political issue; it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."
Steury, who attended October's Climate Projects Faith Community Training led by Gore, described the importance of making sustainability a faith issue. "Al Gore personally went over every slide from his motivational movie ... and discussed ethics, scripture and strategy of how to engage people on the 'enormous, controversial and environmental issues,'" Steury said.
He cited Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" and Isaiah 18:3: "All you inhabitants of the world, and you dwellers on the earth, when a banner is lifted up on the mountains, look! When the trumpet is blown, listen," as Bible verses that should get people interested in how faith relates to the environment.
Steury's presentation featured data, graphs, trends and images documenting climate change. He referred to the continuous increase of carbon dioxide levels, evidence of glacial retreat around the world, and the recent abundance of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters as evidence of humanity's impact on the environment.
"The nine hottest years on record have been in the past 10 years," he said.
Steury maintained that, to reduce energy needs and Elkhart County's carbon footprint, initiatives have to be taken
Audience members suggested keeping heating low in the winter, biking instead of driving, getting involved in politics to get proposals in the hands of legislators and putting taxes on petroleum-based fuels as ways to make a difference in global climate change.