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The Nation

It's a consensus: The end is near

Evangelical Christians and scientists call for action, saying climate change could bring about doomsday.

January 18, 2007|Bryn Nelson | Newsday

WASHINGTON — In an extraordinary display of the mounting concern over climate change, an international group of physicists and an alliance of scientists and evangelical Christians each issued calls to action Wednesday aimed at preventing a doomsday that includes global environmental catastrophe.

The independent initiatives, announced at nearly simultaneous news conferences, reflect the new bonds forged from a growing consensus that human-wrought environmental damage is a moral issue for Christians and scientists alike.

At one event, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the minute hand of its famous "Doomsday Clock" to 11:55 p.m., with midnight being the figurative end of civilization. For the first time since the clock's creation in 1947, the organization's board of directors added the threat of climate change to unresolved nuclear dangers in the decision to advance the clock.

Meanwhile, a coalition of scientific and religious leaders affirmed their commitment to protecting the environment, calling for "fundamental changes in values, lifestyles and public policies required to address these worsening problems before it is too late."

Randy Isaac, executive director of the American Scientific Affiliation, a fellowship of Christians in scientific disciplines, said the "Urgent Call to Action" signed by 28 researchers and evangelicals reflected a successful search for common ground.

"Representatives of both groups have come together to rally around a common passion: the need to preserve God's creation," he said.

Carl Safina of the Blue Ocean Institute in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., said in an interview Wednesday: "We may have slightly different perspectives of where we came from, but the intensity of the problems that we face are becoming too big and too obvious, and they are making those differences [look] increasingly trivial. We're all on this boat together."

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