Monday, February 20, 2006

Goshen College president signs on to evangelical call to action on global warming


GOSHEN, Ind. – When 86 American evangelical Christian leaders came together with one voice to express a faith-driven commitment to curb global warming and to call for legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Goshen College Interim President John Yordy was clear he wanted to be part of this group.

Yordy, a professor of chemistry at Goshen College before becoming provost in 1997, was one of 39 presidents of Christian colleges to sign. He was also one of five presidents of Mennonite-affiliated institutions, which included D. Merrill Ewert from Fresno Pacific University, Larry Nikkel from Tabor College, Ron Sider from Evangelicals for Social Action and Loren Swartzendruber from Eastern Mennonite University.


The statement, “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action,” which was released on Feb. 6, 2006, makes four points: 1) “Human-Induced Climate Change is Real;” 2) “The Consequences of Climate Change Will Be Significant, and Will Hit the Poor the Hardest;” 3) “Christian Moral Convictions Demand Our Response to the Climate Change Problem;” and 4) “The need to act now is urgent. Governments, businesses, churches, and individuals all have a role to play in addressing climate change starting now.” Signatories pledged to act on the basis of these points and to “seek ways to implement the actions that follow from them.”


Read the full text of the statement.

View a full list of the signers.

The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities recommended last fall that presidents of its member institutions consider signing the initiative. In doing so, Yordy gave several different reasons why it was important for him to be part of this group.


“I signed because the issue of the impact of human activity on climate is so critical to the welfare of our country and the world that all should engage in the conversation regardless of where we may be on the religious or political spectrum in our nation,” he said. “The environment is an issue that cuts across political, social and economic lines, as well as national boundaries. In the end, I recognize that people of goodwill can and will differ on how this and other critical issues should be addressed.”


As well, Yordy said that he signed because he is “committed to learning what is known from research in the area of climate change, and the evidence suggests a link between human activity and climate change.” He cited recent research by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which conclude that climate change is connected to human activity.


And most significantly, Yordy signed this statement because of its faith perspective. “I have signed because I believe that we are stewards of God’s world, and called to love our neighbor as ourselves in our towns and in all lands,” he said. “Thus, if we damage God’s world, we are not as responsive as we should be to following the way and will of God.”


Goshen College takes environmental concerns quite seriously and continues to work at finding ways to increase the campus’ “greenness.” The college offers a major and minor in environmental science. And one of the recent campus environmental initiatives is Rieth Village, a collegiate facility located at the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College, which will be Indiana’s most environmentally-friendly building project, consuming only 40 percent of the energy a conventional building would require and produce over 30 percent of its own electrical energy and purify its own wastewater. As well, through a computerized energy control system and other conservation measures, the college continues to work at lowering its energy usage and becoming more energy efficient.


Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or




Goshen College, established in 1894, is a four-year residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit

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