Climate Climate and Martin Luther

A brief note to remind readers of my paper on Luther and climate change in the Pacific, but with application elsewhere. Available here:

‘Climate Justice and God’s Justice in the Pacific: Climate Change Adaptation and Martin Luther’


Climate change activism in the Pacific is often narrated through the concept of justice. It is unjust, it is claimed, that the small island developing states of the Pacific should face so much harm and even eradication from the effects of climate change when they have contributed so little to global carbon emissions. This is an issue of climate justice. Yet islanders, who are mostly Christian, often narrate the effects of the climate change through the concept of God’s justice and judgement. In their disaster-prone region on the Pacific rim of fire, with tropical cyclones, tsunamis, and the threat of sea-level rise and coastal erosion, disasters invariably carry religious meaning. This alternative narrative can affect climate change adaptation for several reasons, including the idea that fighting climate change is fighting God’s judgement, which must be humbly accepted. And of what use are fortifications against sea-level rise, if God is judging you? To shed light on these issues from a theological angle, the chapter engages with the medieval theologian Martin Luther and how he understood the relationship between God’s justice and human action, with surprising resonances in the Pacific today.