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44 Adapting to a changing environment by moving, building safer structures, or erecting water tanks costs money. For example, an initial estimate of the cost of adapting to changes in the climate (activities such as planting flood-tolerant crops; building new roads, levies, and bridges; building water storage in dry areas; moving out of flooded lands; growing drought-tolerant crops; and preventing the spread of disease) was $40 to $170 billion per year, about the cost of three Olympic Games series. In 2008 alone, an estimated 36 million people were internally displaced as a result of sudden-onset natural disasters, including 20 million displaced by disasters associated with climate change. In addition, it has been recognized that more gradual changes, such as rising sea levels, desertification, water scarcity and decreased agricultural output will cause people to migrate in order to support livelihoods. As a result of concerns about heightened conflict, natural disasters and migration, as well as the costs the military bears with the threat of sea level rise and its use of coastal bases, the U.S. Department of Defense has identified climate change as a national-security issue. Climate change is a global phenomenon that affects people everywhere, but it hits the poor hardest. For example, an African farmer who barely ekes out a living with insufficient seeds, tools and other equipment may now be getting more rain, less rain, or the same amount, but in much more intense storms. There may be too much water for planting, too little water to germinate the seeds, rain coming at the wrong time and wiping out the crop. This farmer likely has no crop insurance or government assistance to fall back on, very limited savings, and little or no access to credit. So any weather shock will drive her into deeper poverty, forcing her to sell her only assets, such as her animals or tools. She may even be forced to eat the seeds she needs to grow next year’s crop. What might our response look like? 1. Pray for Wisdom Evangelicals believe in the power of prayer. We should pray for discernment as we sort through confusing messages about climate


Faith-Based Statements on Climate Change