The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) released a document on how changes to the environment affect the most vulnerable at a luncheon event yesterday at World Vision offices. “Loving the Least of These: Addressing a Changing Environment,” a 56-page discussion paper, explores the biblical basis for Christian engagement, the science of a changing environment, how climate affects the poor, and practical ways to move forward.

“Every time there is a natural disaster, we grieve for the poor who are most affected, rally behind relief efforts, and support on-the-ground disaster teams,” said Leith Anderson, NAE President. “We are concerned when we hear projections that environmental changes threaten the lives of more and more people, particularly the extreme poor.”

The NAE asked Christian pastors, scientists and relief and development experts to share their knowledge and experience regarding the relationship between the changing environment and poverty. Dorothy Boorse, associate professor of biology at Gordon College, collected the contributions into one document that was reviewed by two dozen Bible scholars, professors and evangelical leaders.

The document is to serve as a discussion starter among evangelicals who share common concern for the poor and a desire to consider the global topic of climate change.

Boorse said, “The issue of climate change can be confusing in the media. We labored to present a clear, well-supported document that can help Christian leaders and laypersons understand the science, but even more importantly to understand the way disruptions in the environment affect the poor.”

Contributing authors include Anderson; Ken Wilson, Senior Pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor; Christopher Shore, Director of the Climate Change Response Initiative at World Vision; Thomas Ackerman, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Washington; Galen Carey, NAE Vice President of Government Relations; and Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church.