We ‘Nones’ make every day Earth Day

The fact that atheists, agnostics and the religiously unaffiliated are the most likely to recognize that human activity is causing climate change is why we “Nones” must assert ourselves.

Nine-in-10 atheists understand that human activity is causing climate change, compared to a narrow majority (53 percent) of Americans overall. We must quit acting timid about our freethinking views and demand that public officials reflect our values.

A major survey by the Pew Research Center of more than 10,000 adult Americans finds that “Americans with lower levels of religious commitment are much more likely than those with medium or high levels of religious commitment to say the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity.”

And, no surprise, evangelical Protestants are among the least likely to view global climate change as a very serious problem, with only 34 percent agreeing.

Religiously unaffiliated Americans — the fastest-growing group by religious identification — are far more likely to say that climate change is an extreme or very serious problem. Seventy percent of the “Nones” overall and 88 percent of atheists believe this compared to 52 percent of religiously affiliated Americans.

Just as the “Nones” lead on support for abortion and LGBTQ rights, atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” are far more likely to say the Earth is getting warmer because of human-included activity (66 percent) than those who are religiously affiliated (47 percent).

Regardless of religious identity, about seven-in-10 U.S. adults who have low levels of religious commitment say climate change is at least a very serious problem, Pew reports.
While evangelical Protestants are the least concerned about climate change. And the report found that in none of the major Protestant traditions did a majority of adherents say human activity is the cause of the Earth getting warmer. Only 32 percent of evangelicals agreed that is the cause. In fact, about one-in-10 Americans and nearly a quarter of Republicans say climate change is not serious because “God is in control of the climate,” compared with 2 percent of Democrats.

It’s not surprising that highly religious Americans — those who pray daily, attend regular church services and rate religion as crucial to their lives — are far less likely than other adults to be concerned about climate change. They’ve been sold a bill of goods that they’re just “passing through” this life, and the “afterlife” is the real objective. This religious delusion degrades this, our only life. The only afterlife that ought to concern any of us is leaving our planet a secure and pleasant future.

That future is far from secure and looks far from pleasant, if we don’t quickly modify human behavior and transportation. Biblical edicts to “be fruitful and multiply” and “rule over” all other creatures on Earth are causing untold harm to women’s rights, the environment, other plants, animals — and our Mother Earth. The cold, hard facts are that one-third of all plant and animal species could be extinct within 50 years. Already, scientists are warning that we’re in “Code Red for the planet (and humanity),” with animal populations plummeting by nearly 70 percent in the past half century. About 160 species have been declared extinct between 2010 and 2019, in large part due to human impact. More than half of all U.S. birds are in decline, Audubon warns. A 2019 Science magazine study indicates the United States and Canada have lost more than 3 billion birds in the past 50 years, and we’re tragically in the process of “the sixth mass extinction.”

In welcome news, the Biden administration just announced an Investing in America agenda with a goal that 50 percent of all new vehicle sales be electric. This could make a huge difference in tackling what is the greatest contributor to climate change in the United States: transportation using fossil-burning fuel.

Seven-in-10 atheists say we should think less about ourselves and more about the impact of our decisions on future generations. Almost all atheists (90 percent) and agnostics (84 percent) say humans can slow global climate change. Fundamentalist religious dogma needs to get out of the way so that this kind of thinking and resolve can save our planet.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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