Anya Kalbeek wrote the following editorial following her work to engage presidential candidates on the issue of climate change while they toured Iowa prior to the caucuses. Click here to view the video of candidates answering questions. As a project leader she is also engaged on Dordt College's campus, helping to lead the new Eco-Defenders club that seeks to promote the stewardship of God's creation.
Iowa Organizer from Young Evangelicals for Climate Action
As a young evangelical, I want to elect a person that cares about the things God cares about. As a college student, I want to elect a person that will cultivate America into a country that future generations can depend on for life, health, and freedom. As a Republican, I want to elect someone that will support small business and work to place power in local government.
So who will best fill each of those roles? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for weeks. Becoming a well-informed voter during this season has been a daunting task.
Over the past four months, as a local representative for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, I have attended multiple GOP events and listened to a number of speeches by those interested in assuming the highest political office in our country.
I’ve heard many claims by the candidates, observed audiences become passionate about the person they believe is best, and spoken with local campaign leaders who quickly label the solutions that various candidates offer as either “right” or “wrong”. There has been one issue in particular that I have not seen resolved by any of the GOP candidates, and that is the issue of ensuring a clean and healthy America for future generations.
We all need a safe and healthy place to live, a place to call home, but it seems too easy for some individuals to sacrifice God’s creation for financial gain. I believe that we should not be taking the easy way out every time at the cost of degrading our land, air and future.
This is why I am concerned about climate change. I am concerned about how climate change is negatively impacting my neighbor and creation itself. I am concerned that my generation will inherit a world that is worse than what our parents and grandparents were given. We have been called as stewards of the Earth to care for God’s creation and use it to its best potential. This is not always the same path as making the most money, but it also does not necessarily work against the economy either. Iowa is using clean energy to its advantage, we just need to continue to push for innovations in working toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.
I have been trying to bring up issues I believe are important to the future of our country and my generation, but the responses from the candidates have been disappointing. Their responses make me want to yell “This topic matters!” It’s my future and I want to know that today’s leaders are going to do something to ensure that our country has a safe, clean environment to call home.
As I have participated in these candidate events, some think that I am a radical person just because I believe that taking care of our land, air and water is important and should be a priority. If you think about it - it makes sense to prioritize taking care of the Earth. After all, it is the foundation upon which we live.
Taking care of the Earth is a responsibility for all of us and is not always convenient. I want to hear a conservative solution to climate change and a plan for better protecting human and environmental health.
I want to vote for someone who will ensure a better future for future generations. How am I going to do that? I am going to continue to ask questions, and work to raise my concerns about climate change and environmental sustainability to future leaders so that they know this matters to evangelicals, to young people, and to Republicans. After all, our country is dependent upon its citizens to take action for the things that they believe in. As for me, I am going to continue to work with Young Evangelicals for Climate Action to raise awareness for an underrepresented issue and to fight for a better future.