Calvin College Professors Sign Climate Change Letter

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Twenty professors at Calvin College this summer signed an open letter to the United States Congress calling for action in response to climate change and in defense of people in developing countries whose lives are being adversely affected.

Calvin College is located in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is owned by the Christian Reformed Church..

The letter was also signed by 200 Christian evangelicals from colleges including Cornell University, Gordon College, Hope College, Ohio State University, and Wheaton College.

“We as a society risk being counted among ‘those who destroy the earth’ (Revelation 11:18),” the letter states in part.

“Global warming may seem to be just a climate issue,” said associate chemistry professor Douglas Vander Griend, one of the Calvin faculty members who signed the letter. “But the fallout is hardship, poverty, and struggle . . . experienced disproportionately by people who didn’t create the problems.”

Jim Bradley is a retired math professor who still teaches one class a semester at the college. “The skepticism with which many Christians have regarded global warming is precisely the reason why I signed the letter,” he said. “Responsible Christian stewardship means that we can't take the risk of ignoring the situation—the potential consequences of not limiting greenhouse gases are too serious.”

“I felt it was important to sign the letter because the U.S. is not taking climate change seriously and we are digging ourselves and the rest of the world a deeper and deeper hole,” said biology professor Dave Warners. “The longer it takes for us to begin taking serious measures to curb our emissions and increase our sequestration capacity, the more difficult it will be to turn things around.”

Geology professor Ralph Stearley teaches Calvin’s oceanography class. He said rising sea levels and melting glaciers provide “blatant physical evidence” that the climate is changing. Moreover, as more arctic ice melts, shipping companies are investing money in new shipping routes across the Arctic, oil companies are setting up to drill in previously inaccessible waters, and tour trips to the North Pole via boat are being envisioned, he said, proof that people really believe that things are changing, because they are investing money.

“Climate scientists are physicians for the planet,” said Warners. “We can choose to ignore [them], but with potentially grave consequences.”
The letter to Congress was initiated by Dorothy Boorse of Gordon College and was circulated by email.

The full list of Calvin professors who signed the letter:
Carolyn Anderson
Curt Blankespoor
James Bradley
David Dornbos
Herb Fynewever
Roger Griffioen
Loren Haarsma
Matthew Heun
Larry Louters
Clarence Menninga
Kenneth Piers
Darren Proppe
Kumar Sinniah
Ralph Stearley
Randall Van Dragt
Douglas Vander Griend
Steven VanderLeest
David Warners
Davis Young
Uko Zylstra

About the Author

Roxanne VanFarowe is a freelance writer who lives in the woods with her artist husband James and their five children in Hillsborough, North Carolina. They are members of Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham.

See comments (9)


The name of Douglas Vande Griend, as printed in this article, is misspelled.  It is Douglas Vander Griend, as is correctly indicated in the name listing below the body of the article.

I would be Douglas (Doug) Vande Griend, and my opinion is pretty much opposite that of Professor Vander Griend's.  I believe that if Congress passes "meaningful legislation" to restrict fossil fuel usage (and the signed letter advocates), only then would, expressed in Mr. Vander Griend's words, the "... fallout [be] hardship, poverty, and struggle . . . experienced disproportionately by people who didn’t create the problems."

In other words, the proposed cure in this case is significantly worse than the disease.

Now there is common ground that could be reached on this issue.  Both sides could agree on the need for more nuclear generated energy, a solution proposed by none other than James Hansen, the universally acknowledged grandfather, champion and top intellectual guru of the AGW alarmist position (the position these professors say they adhere to).  Hansen has very publically pushed for more nuclear generated energy but he can't find support in the AGW Alarmist communicty, including the signers of this letter.  Why?  Perhaps because the AGW Alarmist community, and these Calvin professors, have decided it is their priorty to stay faithful to what is an essentially "green political platform," a political and perhaps religious/worldview platform (not scientific).  Anti-nuclear is an essential plank in the "green political platform."  But as James Hansen knows, nuclear energy technology has become very mature, and real reductions in the use of fossil fuels can only be had at this point in history if more energy is produced by nuclear means. 

Apparently, these Calvin AGW alarmists don't really care all that much about actually reducing CO2 emissions.


The article has been updated.  Thanks for informing us.

You're welcome Jonathan.  Now if you could also talk some sense into Professor Vander Griend everything would really be fixed. :-)

Wouldn’t it be nice if they took Genesis (summed up in Exodus 20:11) as literal as they regard ‘those who destroy the earth’ in Revelation 11:18, as literal.


See the “Great Global Warming Swindle ( )


Excerpt from “Hot & Cold Media Spin Cycle” by Senator James Inhofe, Chairman, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Monday September 25, 2006: 

“Since 1895, the media has alternated between global cooling and warming scares during four separate and sometimes overlapping time periods:

From 1895 until the 1930’s the media peddled a coming ice age. 

From the late 1920’s until the 1960’s they warned of global warming.

From the 1950’s until the 1970’s they warned us again of a coming ice age.

This makes modern global warming the fourth estate’s fourth attempt to promote opposing climate change fears during the last 100 years.”


Excerpt of New American article by Alex Newman: “So-called global-warming alarmists are in a frenzy after the latest climate data confirmed the Earth actually appears to be entering a potential cooling trend, sea-ice cover in Antarctica is growing to record levels, tornadoes and hurricanes are at record lows, and more. According to experts, the most recent revelations continue to make a mockery of alarmist claims — debunking United Nations theories about human-caused global warming and the wildly inaccurate supposed “climate models” used to forecast doom and gloom by forces seeking carbon taxes and more centralized government.”

Green energy hypocrites seem to ignore the death toll on birds caused by their beloved ‘green’ wind farms ( ).  Some birds might not be killed outright but actually suffer in helpless agony due to their injuries for hours/days before dying.  

What about the toxic fumes when they catch fire ( ) ?

Wonder if they would like to live close to a wind farm ( )

Okay, let mankind think they can fix the climate of the earth. Who will fix the sun that is supposedly cooling, and the solar system that God made to govern the earth? (Genesis 1:14-19)

How many professors does Calvin College need to lay off due to budget constraints? Exactly how many meteorologists have singed off on man-made global warming? Are all climatoligists meteorologists as well? I remember that during my highschool days, global cooling was all the rage. No one ever went broke scarring people to death. Nice job....Good luck with the budget...

Here is the text of The Global Warming Petition Project, signed by 31,487 American scientists, including 9,029 with PhDs:  "We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

I would respectfully ask the Calvin professors to detail what they know, that enables them to make conclusions about the climate that are polar opposite to the beliefs of the thousands of scientists who signed the Global Warming Petition Project. Thank you.







Arctic ice now registering a substantial increase as continuous increases in global temperature no longer exist ... Top scientists acknowledge.    What will the Calvin Professors need to sign now? It is very understandable that straight thinking people are tired of phony scares.  God's earth is not in a bad way - but people with unscientific agendas want us to believe that the sky is falling.  It's not.

As a student at Calvin, this makes me excited about school and about my faith. It also makes me glad I attend a CRC church. Studying creation is how I feel closest to God, and preserving and caring for that creation is very important to me. The fact that my professors signed this makes me glad I am attending an institution that can combine faith in Christ and current science.