90% of Protestants believe that taking care of the Earth means taking care of your neighbor

90% of Protestants believe that taking care of the Earth means taking care of your neighbor

An unprecedented survey carried out by Ifop on the environmental commitment of Christian communities in France reveals that the majority of Christians are aware of this crisis and want to act. Furthermore, while the vast majority establish a direct link between care for the Earth and love for one's neighbor, many do not see the connection between their faith and the fight against global warming. 

At the beginning of September the results of the investigation were published “Christians facing the climate: what struggles?” carried out by Ifop, with Parlons Climat and A Rocha, and supported by the FLAM Foundation, Nuances d'Avenir, and Bersier-Regards Protestants. 

“This type of survey, quite usual in certain countries such as the United States for example, is a first in France,” explains Jean-François Mouhot, director of A Rocha France. 

“The results published today, the fruit of long preparatory work, will make it possible to identify the levers of action and the points of resistance, to better communicate the importance of ecological and climatic issues to the Christian public, which is the heart target that A Rocha wishes to mobilize on these issues."

An awareness of the environmental crisis 

The results of this unprecedented study show firstly that Christians are mainly aware of the environmental crisis and the responsibility of humans in this process. However, it should be noted that among the respondents, some have doubts about the causes of global warming, in proportions slightly higher than those found among non-believers.

Among people who believe that there is an environmental crisis, the majority (85% of practicing Catholics and 80% of Protestants) declare that we must radically change our lifestyles to combat this phenomenon. In addition, 65% of Catholics and 63% of Protestants believe that climate change is mainly due to human activity. 

There are also 81% and 82% (respectively among Catholics and Protestants) who want to do more in the face of this crisis, but almost half (53% and 49%) say they do not know how to take action. 

Link between religious practice and climate

The survey also highlights the link between religious practice and the desire to take climate action, a connection that seems not to be obvious to believers. If a majority of Catholics (92%) and Protestants (90%) believe that taking care of the Earth also means taking care of your neighbor, almost half of them (50% of Catholics and 47% of Protestants) declares that they are sensitive to ecology without making the link between their opinions and their faith. And 30% and 26% respectively see no connection between the two.

Among the most advanced Catholics on this subject, the influence of the encyclical Laudato si ', the sequel to which is expected on October 4, is notable. This allows them to verbalize a direct link between Catholic faith and ecological commitment. 

On the Protestant side, this link is more complex. The results of the study indeed reveal that if the desire to act for the planet brings (almost) everyone in agreement, the role of humans and that of religious institutions in this fight seems more subject to controversial. 

Finally, some participants seem to have an unfavorable perception of the relationship between ecology and religion; these are generally respondents who expressed doubts about global warming. Thus, the presence of this environmental counter-discourse among certain believers nuances the overall picture. 

The role of the Church in the fight for climate

It is interesting to note that more than half of those surveyed are waiting for the Church on this subject since 52% of Catholics and 58% of Protestants affirm that it is the role of their community to talk about the environment and climate change. 

For the director of the Opinion and Corporate Strategies department of the IFOP, Jérôme Fourquet, these results show that, "if the link between faith and climate is not immediate, a conciliation is possible".

“Half of Christians would like the theme of the environment and climate change to be more present in the life of their community. This presence is expected in a very concrete way, in response to a need for action on the issue, to ward off a fairly shared feeling of helplessness.

A webinar organized by the CNEF, on October 5, will review these results with speakers who will also explore the biblical bases of environmental protection. Free and free participation upon registration, Click here to find out more

Camille Westphal Perrier

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