"Growing up in a conservative Christian home and school, Kyle Meyaard-Schaap learned a lot about scripture and its values but 'almost nothing about climate change', he remembers.
The U.S. evangelical movement he belongs to has long stood out in public opinion polls both for its backing of conservative Republican politicians and its doubts about climate change, in a nation where views on the issue remain deeply partisan.
But in Meyaard-Schaap's religious community in Michigan, 'climate change wasn't explicitly maligned - it was just ignored', said the now 31-year-old. 'My overwhelming experience was silence,' he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
That changed when his brother returned 'transformed' from a semester studying faith and ecology in New Zealand, convinced environmental action was 'not a jettisoning of the values we had been taught but an effort to live more fully into them'.
Today, Meyaard-Schaap is among those at the forefront of efforts to win over a bigger share of the politically powerful evangelical movement to supporting climate action as an expression of their faith."
Laurie Goering reports for the Thomson Reuters Foundation May 12, 2021.