Changing the Climate

“By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!”

With those words, the environmental superhero announced his arrival on every episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. That weird cartoon from the early 90s, which both of us watched at least a couple episodes of as kids, tried to inspire the next generation of environmentalists. Episode after episode conveyed the message that, by working together, humans could halt the ecological destruction of the world. 

Yet, the show’s premise undermined its own agenda. Human efforts alone were not enough to save the planet from the “eco-villains” threatening to harm it. The major crises required a blue-guy in red undies and boots to come to the rescue. Actually saving the planet took more than human effort alone. 

That’s a scary thought because there is no superhero actually arriving to solve climate change. As our world heats up, destroying ecosystems and altering weather patterns, humans are the only ones capable of responding. Nobody else will rescue us from this looming disaster of our own making. 

As world leaders prepare to gather next week in Scotland for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), this edition of A Public Witness mines what this international effort entails and why Christians spend time advocating in such meetings. We’ll also illuminate how Christians bring a different, complementary perspective to this common cause that could determine our shared futures.

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