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Opinion: Latter-day Saint missionaries have a deepened perspective on climate change

What can a worldwide perspective do for climate action?

SHARE Opinion: Latter-day Saint missionaries have a deepened perspective on climate change
Receding water from the Great Salt Lake with exposed lake bed.

Record low water levels are seen in the Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island on Friday, July 22, 2022.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The shriveling of the Great Salt Lake has prompted swift action to conserve water and mitigate the effects of drought in Utah. Unfortunately, a warmer climate makes droughts like this more frequent and severe, not just in the U.S. but worldwide, and people in developing countries are often more vulnerable than we are. Those problems, though thousands of miles away, strike close to home for returned missionaries.

I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cambodia, a country that has in the past been plagued by famines caused by political violence. Now, a hotter climate threatens to cause crop loss through increased drought, a serious concern for a nation that depends largely on agriculture and forestry.

We are blessed to live in a country where we take for granted things like air conditioning, sturdy homes and a secure food supply. Cambodian families do not always have those amenities, yet many report they are ready to make lifestyle changes and even change jobs to lower carbon emissions. The difference this would make to global carbon emission is minimal, especially while countries like China continue to pollute seemingly indiscriminately the environment. If America leads on climate, we can promote solutions that help all of the world.

As Sen. Mitt Romney has noted, the best way to address global climate change is to rev up the American innovation machine and export new, clean technologies to developing countries so they can lower their harmful pollution. To do this, we need to put a price on carbon pollution that applies to imports from places like China. There’s no downside to this policy: It will help American families and protect our loved ones overseas.

Nathan Redd