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  • Writer's pictureGood Stewards Network

United States National Parks are at Risk Due to Climate Change, How to Help

A firefighter walks near the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park as the Washburn fire burns
The Washburn fire burns in Yosemite National Park, AP

God entrusted Americans to care for some of the rarest and most beautiful of all his creations. Our National Parks serve as a refuge for that creation.

In addition to being unique sites for visitors to experience America’s natural beauty and wonders, our national parks play a crucial role in protecting sensitive ecosystems and many of God’s magnificent creations.

National parks have historically played an important role in protecting creation as other natural areas are abused by human exploitation and climate change. They offer sanctuary for vulnerable species, preserve forests, and protect important watersheds that provide people with clean water.

As climate change produces more extreme weather events, national parks and God’s wonders within them are put at risk.

Sadly, climate change has caught up to the parks. According to a 2021 national park vulnerability assessment conducted by the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science directorate, almost 75% of national parks are at risk from gradual climate change or high-impact weather events.

National Parks At High Risk

Yellowstone National Park, the nation's first national park established to protect God’s creation in 1872, has been severely harmed by climate change. As recent as June, record-breaking floods and mudslides in Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area have destroyed numerous habitats and vulnerable species such as white bark pine trees.

Everglades National Park in Florida, a low elevation wetlands biome, is home to endangered species such as manatees, crocodiles, and panthers. Due to the park’s low elevation, there is high potential for flooding due to rising ocean levels pushing ocean water into the area, which could harm wildlife our Creator designed to live in balance with the Everglades’ freshwater.

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado has seen a 3.4 degree increase in average annual temperature in the past century, resulting in shorter winters and less water for the plants and wildlife in the park.

Many of our Maker’s creatures are perfectly designed to thrive in hostile climates, such as deserts. Joshua Tree National Park in California, known for its unique desert ecosystems and namesake Joshua trees, has had extreme winds and rain disrupt its current environment and threaten its wildlife.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, which protects 20 miles of the Cuyahoga River, is at high risk due to rising temperatures and shifting rain patterns, harming ecosystems within the park.

Protecting Our National Parks

Many national parks at risk have developed action plans to mitigate the impact of climate change and preserve the living beings they house, so our children’s generation is able to admire God’s handiwork just as generations before have done. These plans involve goals such as reducing emissions within the park and better energy management.

However, these plans are not enough. In order to protect America’s legacy, support God’s creations, and promote abundant life for generations to come, it is crucial to cut emissions across the country.

Due to the recent Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia vs EPA, limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate emissions, it is now up to Congress to fight climate change. Americans and Christians have a duty to protect our wonderful land and petition our representatives in Congress to pass environmental policy to ensure the protection of our national parks, God’s planet, and our children's futures.


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