Climate change and the Church

By April 18, 2024

Middle East/North Africa (MNN) – What happens when the desert gets even hotter?

The cause of climate change is controversial, but its impact means even the Middle East and North Africa are getting hotter. Fadi Sharaiha of MENA Leadership Center says that as temperatures rise and weather patterns change, ecosystems and cultures suffer.

Sharaiha says there are four different categories of culture affecting climate change in the Middle East and North Africa.

  1. Water scarcity: “The Middle East is known as the most water-stressed region in the whole world,” Sharaiha says. Rising temperatures cause higher evaporation rates, making water sources more scarce. Communities that rely on those water sources could face conflict or economic problems.
  2. Extreme heat waves: In the summer, temperatures can jump above 122 degrees Fahrenheit. These heat waves can cause heat-related illness and death rates to rise as well.
  3. Desertification: Best described as extreme drought, desertification can change the land that was once used as farmland into barren, cracked deserts. This means economies that rely on agriculture face collapse, and food shortages threaten to follow in the wake of these droughts.
  4. Sea level rise: Some communities thrive off of the sea. However, bodies of water such as the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Arab Gulf, and Persian Gulf are rising. This throws off ecosystems reliant on these seas and endangers communities built on their shores.

“Regardless of whether this is a natural cycle or this is a man-made one, this is what is happening,” Sharaiha says. “This is what we are facing right now.”

So what should the Church’s response be? Sharaiha says the Church needs to watch crises like these and be proactive in responding to them. “If we have cities disappearing, then people are going to go somewhere else,” Sharaiha says. “We need to have the churches being prepared [on] how to handle refugees, food security issues, [and] wars.”

MENA Leadership Center helps communities prepare to meet some of these concerns. They have courses on working with refugees, strategic problem-solving, and Gospel-focused innovation.

“We are training leaders on how to use the digital church and how to do discipleship programs for that,” Sharaiha says. “There are opportunities for the Church to shine and to serve the community and thus bring more people to the kingdom of God.”

Learn more about the MENA Leadership Center here. And pray. “Pray for the Middle East. Pray for the Church to be ready to take its own position and role in terms of being light and salt to the world.”



Header photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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