ERG Colloquium: Cynthia Moe-Lobeda: Climate Change as Climate Debt: Forging a Just Future

Colloquium | March 7 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 126 Barrows Hall

 Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Recent ERG PhD Graduate, Professor of Theological and Social Ethics

 Energy and Resources Group

Climate change may be the most far reaching manifestation of white privilege and class privilege yet to face humankind. Caused overwhelmingly by high-consuming people, climate change is wreaking death and destruction foremost on impoverished people who also are disproportionately people of color. This presentation will first posit climate change as a compelling moral matter of “race- and class-based climate debt” and “Global North climate-debt.” Part Two will draw upon the descriptive task of Christian ethics as a critical discourse to frame a moral response. A brief third section will suggest keys to accepting commensurate moral responsibility. Finally, drawing upon international environmental law, the presentation illustrates implications for climate-related policy. Along the way, I propose the concepts of “climate privilege” and “climate violence” as tools for demystifying our situation, and “climate citizenship” as a tool for moral identity.

Cynthia Moe-Lobeda has lectured or consulted in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and many parts of North America in theology; ethics; and matters of climate justice and climate racism, moral agency, globalization, economic justice, public church, eco-feminist theology, and faith-based resistance to systemic oppression. Her most recent book, Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation (Fortress, 2013), won a Nautilus Award for social justice. She also is author of Healing a Broken World: Globalization and God (Fortress, 2002), Public Church: For the Life of the World (Fortress, 2004), and numerous articles and chapters. She is co-author of Saint Francis and the Foolishness of God (Orbis, 1993, 2015) and Say to this Mountain: Mark's Story of Discipleship (Orbis, 1996) and The Bible and Ethics: A New Conversation (Fortress Press, forthcoming). Dr. Moe-Lobeda was appointed theological consultant to the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and has served as a health worker/church worker in Honduras and as Director of the Washington, D.C. office of Augsburg College's Center for Global Education. She is a co-founder of Seattle University’s Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability. Moe-Lobeda is Professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She holds a doctoral degree in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminary, affiliated with Columbia University. She loves hiking in the woods and mountains, and spending time with family and dear friends. The website for her most recent book is:, 510-642-1640