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Spring 2020 · Vol. 49 No. 1 · pp. 5–17 

Nature against Empire: Exodus Plagues, Climate Crisis, and Hard-Heartedness

Ched Myers

1 The realities of climate chaos hit me personally and hard in December 2017 with the Thomas Fire. 2 California’s largest wildfire to that date, scorching 80 percent of our Ventura River watershed, it was an apocalyptic unveiling, the kind shared by survivors of hurricanes the same year in Houston (Harvey) and Puerto Rico (Maria).

Nature does rebel against imperial presumption to rule over it—sometimes slowly, sometimes dramatically, but always inevitably.

As a fifth generation Californian, I understand that wildfires are part of the natural ecology of my bioregion. But the unprecedented conditions of aridity and drought that caused this monster fire were aberrant. In an interview on day four of the Thomas Fire, a top California official called it the fastest burning fire he’d ever witnessed. Governor Jerry Brown then warned: “This is the new normal.” 3 Apparently, this is now political code for climate-related weather events. But neither Katrina (2005) nor Sandy (2012) nor Irma (2017) were normal. Like the Thomas Fire, they were superfueled by climate change. {6}

Figure 1

Above is a graph with lines rising sharply to the right—a curve now familiar to students of climate science. A 2016 National Academy of Sciences study concluded that anthropogenic climate change (ACC) has significantly increased fire-season fuel aridity in the western US. 4 UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain noted: “The [relative] humidities during the first two weeks of the Thomas fire were much drier than we’d normally see in the interior desert in the summertime.” 5 After the hottest summer on record, then the hottest fall on record for Southern California, the aridity was 1 percent—in winter!

Of course, scientific data has proven relatively impotent in mobilizing political opinion. Global temperature rise, polar ice melt, even sea level rise, are for most folks too abstract and incremental: out of sight, out of mind. But “extreme weather” at our own doorsteps surely should get our attention. Below is a graph charting the dramatic increase in natural disasters over the last four decades—note the same rising line. 6 Yet the media still won’t name climate change plainly and consistently—much less our carbon addiction—as the cause. Worse, officials speak of it as if these things are being done to us, rather than by us. So, we must turn to deeper wisdom.

Figure 2


British theologian Michael Northcott’s important A Political Theology of Climate Change argues that our modern worldview offers no frame of reference for the “politics of slow catastrophe” stalking our history through ecological catastrophe. 7 He shows how traditional cosmologies, including the biblical one, saw climate as political. That is, the actions of nations influenced the health of nature: when people behaved badly, the earth behaved badly back. Modernity, however, banished that notion as superstitious and unscientific. Humans and our technologies, we assume, are now in control, while nature is depersonalized, demystified, and commodified. That paradigm may have “worked” for a few centuries (at least for the rich), but we are now realizing that nature seems to be biting back. As eco-philosopher/farmer Masanobu Fukuoka put it somewhat more whimsically, “If we throw Mother Nature out the window, she comes back in the door with a pitchfork.” 8

Northcott rightly uses the term “climate apocalyptic.” Apocalyptic literature in the Bible was not, however, about predicting God’s cataclysmic destruction of the world, as so often assumed in popular culture. Rather, it was a symbolic discourse of resistance which arose first during Persian, then Hellenistic, then Roman domination of Mediterranean antiquity, regimes which brought profound changes to traditional lifeways. Powerful elites ruled more cruelly, extracted resources more thoroughly, imposed slavery more widely, and fought unending wars more mercilessly. All of this made life more miserable for peasants, as well as for outlying pastoralist and Indigenous peoples caught in the vortex of expanding states. Throughout subsequent history, apocalyptic has expressed the fierce imagination of people who long for the end of oppression by the imperial state. After all, for the poor, the “end of the world” is already and forever being visited upon their communities by soldiers, fortune hunters, and police.

The Greek word apocalypsis means “unveiling.” It has to do with a kind of vision that is able to see through the reigning stories of empire—the grand fictions of entitlement and sovereignty, militaristic triumphalism, seductive myths of grandeur, and severe orthodoxies of law and order. Morpheus, in the 1999 film The Matrix, describes this as “the world that has been pulled over our eyes”: the propaganda of domination that masks truth, distorts what it means to be human, and hijacks history. Apocalyptic, in contrast, seeks a “double unmasking” by (1) stripping away layers of denial and delusion that keep us distracted in order to expose realities of suffering and injustice: seeing the world as it really is from the perspective of the poor and victims of violence; and then (2) transfusing our dulled and dumbed-down imaginations with visions {8} of the world as it really could and should be from the perspective of divine love and justice. The possibilities of a different way of being are revealed, or at least glimpsed, in visions.

This imaginary is best represented in the New Testament in the writing of political prisoner John of Patmos. The Book of Revelation is highly symbolic, full of bizarre signs and codes. But these are not unintelligible when understood in historical context. Take for example the familiar image of the four horsemen of apocalypse (Rev 6). It’s likely that the white horse signifies the conquering power of the Roman Empire that had consigned the dissident John to prison (6:2). What follows inexorably are three companion horses: the red horse of militarism, the black horse of economic stratification and oppression, and the pale green horse of the death (6:3–8).

I’ve elsewhere correlated this cavalry from hell to Martin Luther King’s infamous triplets of American empire—racism, poverty, and militarism—named in his 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech. 9 But here I want to focus on John’s curious phrase about death coming by “pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth” (Rev 6:8). This is a vision of nature going toxic, becoming a destroyer rather than a nurturer of life. While a revolt of the biosphere is something the ancients saw only through a glass darkly, it has become the defining feature of our historical moment: the interlocking ecological crises of climate change, resource depletion, habitat destruction, and species extinction. It is this last “horseman” that piques my curiosity as we try, like John the Revelator, to see through the veil—even when it’s painful, or depressing, or potentially paralyzing—in order to be bearers of good news in these hard times.


The notion of nature’s insurrection has an even deeper biblical genealogy. Its roots are in the old story of the Genesis flood, but the idea is articulated most fully in the Plagues of Egypt narrated in the book of Exodus. I believe this ancient tale of divine judgment has much to teach us as we grasp for metaphors to make sense of climate apocalyptic—especially in the Trump era, during which we’ve reached new levels of both scientific clarity and political denial about the historical ultimatums we face.

Exodus is an even older form of resistance literature, but like apocalyptic, it is full of magical tales and archetypal symbolism. Chapters 1 to 14 narrate a slave revolt in Egypt, which was the paragon of ancient empire (as Rome was to John of Patmos). The setup makes it clear this story is about socioeconomic domination: “The Egyptians set task-masters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor” (Exod 1:11). The project was to build “store-cities” into which the empire’s {9} plunder (and the tribute of subject peoples) was gathered. Interestingly, nowhere in Exodus does the arch-antagonist Pharaoh have a name; it’s as if domination is generic. The Hebrew heroes, on the other hand, not only are named but possess colorful and complex personalities. This is the story of empire told from below.

Exodus 4 to 14 unfolds as a kind of political cartoon, replete with negotiation tactics, reversals, parody, and dark humor. Yet its bitter realism about “trying to negotiate with tyranny” is all too recognizable to oppressed people throughout history—which is why this tale has been adopted by folk struggling for freedom over two millennia, not least by African slaves in American fields (think of the spiritual, “Go Down Moses”). 10 The movement commences in chapter 5, where Moses makes his first petition to Pharaoh. His people just want to practice their own ceremonies in the wilderness, he says, sounding reasonable (after all, according to the tale, he grew up in the royal house). But any concession to slaves is unreasonable to the ruler, who responds by increasing repression and workload (5:5ff)—exactly the script marginalized people have faced through the ages. And predictably the Hebrews turn on Moses, complaining that his activism makes things harder for them. Dr. King knew all about such classic dynamics of internalized oppression.

Two phrases in Exodus 6 capture, respectively, hopefulness and despair. On the one hand, the liberation movement is animated by Yahweh’s attentiveness to the bitter realities of domination. God hears the visceral moaning of a people under siege and sets about honoring ancient promises of freedom: “I have heard the groaning of Israelites whom the Egyptians are holding as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant” (Exod 6:5). On the other hand, the Israelites refuse to listen to Moses because of their “broken spirit and cruel slavery” (Exod 6:9). Poignantly, they can’t mobilize because they are just too beat down. This impasse is broken, however, by a new divine initiative: Creator will instruct Creation itself to rise up against the empire on behalf of the beleaguered slaves. So begins the series of plagues, winding through the conflict like a labyrinth, slowly escalating the stakes.

Repeated narrative refrains articulate a triangle of contestation. The Hebrew slave community is the protagonist: their agent Moses keeps insisting, “Free our people!” Pharaoh, his managers, and magicians (who seek to outduel Moses) are the antagonists: the cynical ruler continually “hardens his heart” and reneges on agreements. But the third character in this drama is nature herself: mobilized by God to counterbalance what otherwise are vastly unequal power relations in this archetypal struggle. The contest thus becomes nature versus empire. 11 {10}

This ancient tale seems to weave together multiple sources and symbolic and literary levels, as outlined in detail by Laurel Dykstra. The plagues are “blows” (Heb. negeph, as with the Gk. plēgē) to Pharaoh’s regime, but also “signs” (oth) of its impending demise. “The Nile is filled with blood just as the Reed Sea will be filled with dead Egyptians,” says Dykstra. The narrative is “a literary assault on the entire Egyptian cosmology, a ‘judgment of the gods of Egypt’ (Exod 12:12). . . . The frog, sun, cobra, cow and the Nile are all deities in the Egyptian pantheon, yet each is distorted or defeated by the superior power of YHWH.” 12

The first sign of nature’s protest is the Nile turning to blood. Countless attempts have endeavored to explain this phenomenon scientifically. One theory holds that rising temperatures caused the Nile to slow and shrink, making it hospitable to toxic freshwater algae. A bacterium known as Burgundy Blood algae has been documented widely around the globe, multiplying drastically in slow moving warm water streams, then dying and leaving a red stain in water. It is further speculated that an ecological cascade of consequences may have ensued. Any blight on the water that killed fish also would have caused frogs to leave the river and probably die (Plague 2). A lack of frogs in the river would have allowed insect populations to increase, while rotting reptilian corpses would have attracted significantly more insects to the area (Plagues 3 and 4). Biting flies in the region could in turn transmit livestock diseases, which could spark epizootic epidemics in animals and humans (Plagues 5 and 6).

I am not fond of efforts by rationalists or hermeneutic conservatives to find scientific proofs for biblical nature miracles. The archetypal power of these stories as a “war of myths” with empire is lost in modernist attempts at literalism. That said, I was at first bemused, then intrigued, when I stumbled across a 2008 article in a prestigious medical journal. The abstract caught my attention: “We propose the root cause [of the Exodus plagues] to have been an aberrant El Niño-Southern Oscillation teleconnection that brought unseasonable and progressive climate warming along the ancient Mediterranean littoral, including the coast of biblical Egypt, which, in turn, initiated the serial catastrophes of biblical sequence—in particular arthropod-borne and arthropod-caused diseases.” In other words, the authors’ “unifying causative theory” for the plagues was climate change. Moreover, they saw “public health implications . . . for the possibility of present-day recurrence of similar catastrophes and their impact upon essential public services.” 13 These scientists recognized the old biblical tale as a warning lesson about our ecological crisis.

That noted, there remain powerful symbolics of protest in these narratives. For example, the sixth plague commences: {11}

But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he would not let the people go. Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the kiln, and let Moses throw it in the air in the sight of Pharaoh. It shall become fine dust all over the land of Egypt, and shall cause festering boils on humans and animals throughout the whole land of Egypt.” (Exod 9:7–9)

Given that a kiln was the worksite for Hebrew brickmaking, throwing ashes at Pharaoh represented a defiant repudiation of his slave system. And ashes spreading over the empire like acid rain suggests that oppression ultimately makes everybody sick.

Plagues 7, 8 and 9 escalate the struggle to cosmic proportions as negotiations between Moses and Pharaoh harden. Fiery hail increases the pressure on the ruling class “from above,” causing the king to begin softening his public line. For the first time he admits “we have a problem”—but quickly retrenches his position. So, locusts (a traditional pestilence turned superstorm) ratchets up pressure. Squeezed by heaven and earth, Pharaoh yet refuses to yield—typical of autocrats, then and now. Then darkness falls, a foreboding harbinger of the finale to come (Exod 10:21ff). The rhetoric describing this penultimate plague is evocative: “People could not see one another, and for three days they could not move from where they were” (Exod 10:23). What a trope for collective blindness, denial, and paralysis so fitting to the culture of empire still today!


This sparks the final showdown, succinctly captured in a sharp exchange between a threatening Pharaoh and Moses who sees this as a green light to get out of Dodge: “Then Pharaoh said to him, ‘Get away from me! Take care that you do not see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.’ Moses said, ‘Just as you say! I will never see your face again’ ” (Exod 10:28–29).

But escape requires one last plague (Exod 11), the one we all know because it lies at the heart of the Passover liturgy, a persistent tradition that helps keep this amazing story alive and subversive. 14 The stark lesson of this longest and deadliest of the plague episodes: the powerful respond only when their own children are threatened—though sometimes not even then.

Meanwhile, nature’s partnership with the Hebrews continues as they organize their “labor walkout.” Moses’s march is led by a pillar of fire, and when Pharaoh changes his mind one last time and pursues the Israelites into the wilderness, the sea famously opens up to escort the escaped slaves to freedom, only to close up around the Egyptian militia. Fire and water: primal elements of nature, and archetypal to boot! Creation has {12} conspired in liberation, setting a theme that will recur many more times throughout our scriptures. 15

So why is the nature-versus-empire narrative still so marginal in our churches?

To be sure, Exodus is a difficult story, for at least two reasons. For one, the revolt of the earth generated many victims, human and nonhuman. This is not a fairy tale or superhero story. People and critters die en masse—something with which later Jewish midrash often wrestled. And the issue of ethical responsibility is thorny. The biblical narrative, consistent with the cosmology of Jewish monotheism, imputes agency ultimately to Yahweh, who summons the plagues and hardens Pharaoh’s heart—the sole director, so to speak, of the whole drama. But we must resist simplistic theologizing. This story is predicated on the deep prophetic assumption in Scripture that imperial hubris brings destruction upon itself. In Exodus, nature’s revolt is generated by the groan of oppression and extended only because of the duplicity of Pharaoh’s administration. This tale is ultimately about the liberation of slaves despite determined efforts of an oppressor to keep them locked down—in other words, about the divine execution of justice.

Nor need we take the plague tales literally to see how they articulate historical reality mythically: namely, how over-exploitation of human and natural resources led to ecological collapse among ancient empires. Jared Diamond has explored how irrigation agriculture in the Fertile Crescent over two millennia resulted in silt and alkaline degradation that doomed history’s first empires in Mesopotamia. 16 I have looked at how deforestation was a major factor in eastern Mediterranean ecological politics, which we see reflected in the biblical prophets. 17 Nature does rebel against imperial presumption to rule over it—sometimes slowly, sometimes dramatically, but always inevitably. Even the theologically uncommitted can speak of this in terms of “judgment”—like well-known scientist James Lovelock, who understands climate crisis as the “revenge of Gaia.” 18 The resonance between the diagnoses of ancient Scripture and modern science is both stunning and sobering.


This brings us to the second reason this is a tough story, at least for affluent North American Christians and Jews. The late Robert McAfee Brown contended that people like us could only read Exodus from a vantage point “within Pharaoh’s household.” Canadian Dykstra’s aforementioned commentary on Exodus takes precisely that approach: “I must identify with the Egyptians, the villains of the story.” 19 The systems from which we have historically benefited economically have brought about a climate {13} crisis threatening all life on the planet, under the rule of those Rabbi Arthur Waskow calls “the carbon Pharaohs.” 20 Environmental impacts, like wealth, are unequally spread across the globe. Unsurprisingly, the economically affluent in the US have by far the largest ecological footprint, and responsibility for per capita CO2 emissions lies disproportionately with the industrialized First World. 21

Indeed, it is not “humanity in general” (as Anthropocene implies) that has brought us to this endgame. Climate crisis is rooted in historic and persistent systemic inequality. It is not Australian Aborigines or Mexican farmworkers or Filipino contract laborers but the affluent global minority which has both driven and profited from the globalization of industrial capitalism. Some have proposed the rubric Plantationocene to describe our era, because “exploited, alienated, and often transported labor” used by the “slave plantation system was the model and motor for the carbon-greedy machine-based factory system that is often cited as an inflection point for the Anthropocene.” 22 And Naomi Klein names the racial corollary: “The reality of an economic order built on white supremacy is the whispered subtext of our entire response to the climate crisis, and it badly needs to be dragged into the light.” 23

The Exodus plagues help us understand our climate crisis in such ways. Nature is rebelling against empire today as the consequence of modernity’s relentless resource exploitation, overconsumption, and carbon addiction. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was a wake-up call for both global warming and racialized social disparity, as chronicled by Michael Eric Dyson’s Come Hell or High Water. 24 But the hearts of our political and industrial pharaohs were too hard to change. Superstorm Sandy in 2012 was a wake-up call for rising oceans, as analyzed by Adam Sobel’s Storm Surge. 25 The pharaohs’ hearts were somewhat moved—after all, this time the Washington-New York corridor was impacted—but soon hardened again. And Maria, Irma, and Thomas in 2017 seem to have elicited unprecedented sclerosis from our new pharaoh-in-chief, who continues to blame California for its wildfires and infamously lobbed paper towels to residents in Puerto Rico so they could get on with mopping up after the hurricane. 26

The obstinacy of the overdeveloped world ensures that our climate plagues will continue and keep intensifying—just as in the Exodus story. Extreme weather has spawned a less euphemistic phrase, “Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters”—of which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information listed no less than thirty in 2017-18. 27 The harbingers keep coming, and the hearts of our rulers grow colder, as do ours, as we keep {14} driving and consuming like there is no tomorrow—thus increasing the chances that there won’t be.

The choice facing Christians is increasingly stark: ignominy or Exodus. Either we take refuge in increasingly overwrought denial, or we embrace a more radical discipleship. 28 As noted, the purpose of biblical judgment oracles is not only to unveil inconvenient realities, but to stimulate repentance, which means the struggle to turn our personal and political history around. Climate crisis gives new meaning to the old Baptist ultimatum, “Turn or Burn!” But I prefer the old adage of St. John Chrysostom: “Sin is followed by shame; repentance is followed by boldness.”

We cannot afford to be stuck in shame responses that paralyze us. Repentance, on the other hand, can animate bold ecclesial initiatives to

  • become demonstration projects of how to nurture Beloved Community with Creation;

  • embrace disciplines of recovery from our deeply entrenched individual and collective addictions and compulsions;

  • stand with the poor and communities of color who are affected first and worst at home and abroad by climate plagues; and

  • resist and transform the fossil fuel economy—and our entitlement within it.

Two notable examples of people of faith explicitly reappropriating the Exodus story in dramatic public witness around climate justice occurred in 2018. In April an action was organized by Interfaith Witness for Climate Action in Boston during Holy Week and Passover entitled, “Let My People Go! Exodus from Fossil Fuels,” which sought to halt an invasion of oil and gas pipelines into nearby low-income neighborhoods. 29 In June a group of Presbyterians made a 1,200-mile Exodus pilgrimage to their General Assembly in St. Louis to try to persuade their denomination to divest from fossil fuels. These are the sort of animating public liturgies that churches can bring to this struggle. 30

As in the scriptural story of old, breaking our servitude to the carbon pharaohs is a demanding but life-and-death prospect today, and the divine call is urgent. May followers of Jesus be guided by apocalyptic clarity, inspired by Exodus liberation, and empowered by God’s conspiracy with Creation to take bold action, that we might embody the good news of “turning around” our captive history! {15}


  1. This is an edited and updated version of a talk given to the Alliance of Baptists Annual Gathering in Dayton, Ohio, on April 27, 2018.
  2. An overview of the devastation of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties is available at Wikipedia, s.v. Thomas Fire, Thomas was quickly eclipsed by the Ranch Fire (over 400,000 acres) in September 2018 as the state’s largest on record—yet another sign of climate crisis.
  3. Ruben Vives, Melissa Etehad, and Jaclyn Cosgrove, “Southern California’s Fire devastation is ‘the new normal,’ Gov. Brown says,” Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2017,
  4. John T. Abatzoglou and A. Park Williams, “Impact of Anthropogenic Climate Change on Wildfire across Western US Forests,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (website), October 10, 2016, figure 5,
  5. Cited in Joseph Serna, “Why is Southern California Burning in December? A Climate Scientist’s Answer,” Los Angeles Times, December 7, 2017,
  6. Petra Löw, “Natural Disasters: The Year in Figures,” Munich Re (website), March 27, 2017, See also “Weather-related Disasters Are Increasing,” The Economist, August 29, 2017,
  7. Michael Northcott, A Political Theology of Climate Change (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013).
  8. Cited in Satish Kumar and Freddie Whitefield, Visionaries: The 20th Century’s 100 Most Important Inspirational Leaders (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2007), 74.
  9. The text of King’s most consequential oration is available on the African-American Involvement in the Vietnam War website, For my correlation with the Horsemen, see “ ‘The Fierce Urgency of Now’: Comments to the Cal Pac Methodist Federation for Social Action,” Ched Myers (blog), June 18, 2017,
  10. For a history of how this tale has animated social movements of resistance, see Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution (New York: Basic Books, 1986). For an engaging contemporary African American reading of Exodus through an antiracist lens, see Andre Henry, “Exodus (Pt.2): The N*gger Prince of Egypt,” Andre Henry (website), June 19, 2018,
  11. Notably, Creator employs natural forces to restore as well as to inflict. See Exod 10:13, 19, in which winds are conjured both to bring on and drive out locusts. {16}
  12. Laurel Dykstra, Set Them Free: The Other Side of Exodus (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002), 103, 113.
  13. N. Joel Ehrenkranz and Deborah A. Sampson, “Origin of the Old Testament Plagues: Explications and Implications,” Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 81, no. 1 (March 2008): 31–42,
  14. A moment in the famous Passover drama has been important to African American Christians: “It was for the Lord a night of vigil, to bring them out of Egypt, a vigil to be kept by all the Israelites throughout their generations” (Exod 12:42). “Watchnight” vigils were held in Black churches on December 31, 1862, just before the Emancipation Proclamation took effect. Worship services continue today in many churches on New Year’s Eve to commemorate the ongoing struggle toward freedom, a tradition which, like Pesach, preserves the Exodus story as a living one.
  15. Three New Testament examples are worth noting: (1) We see echoes of Exodus “nature solidarity” in Luke’s account, under a later empire, of Jesus’s nonviolent “siege” of Jerusalem; it commences with Jesus’s reminder that “the stones” will cry out even if the people are silenced (Luke 19: 39-40) and concludes when darkness descends on Calvary’s cross (Luke 23:44f); (2) Paul uses the Exodus language of “groaning in bondage” in his depiction of Creation’s captivity to human exploitation in Rom 8:20-22—a trope rightly significant to contemporary ecotheology; and (3) most directly, John the Revelator recontextualizes the Exodus plagues narrative in his visions of “three plagues killing a third of humankind” (Rev 9:18, 20; Gk. plēgōn), the “seven last plagues” (15:1, 6), and the judgment on Babylon (18:4, 8).
  16. Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (New York: Penguin, 2005).
  17. Ched Myers, “ ‘The Cedar Has Fallen!’ The Prophetic Word versus Imperial Clear-Cutting,” in David Rhoads, ed., Earth and Word: Classic Sermons on Saving the Planet (New York: Continuum, 2007), 211–23.
  18. James Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity (New York: Basic Books, 2006).
  19. Dykstra, Set Them Free, 51.
  20. Arthur Waskow, “Facing Carbon Pharaohs in the Spirit of Passover & Palm Sunday,” The Shalom Center (website), March 18, 2015,
  21. Global Footprint Network,, and Hannah Ritchie, “Global Inequalities in CO2 Emissions,” Our World in Data (website), October 16, 2018,
  22. See Donna Haraway, Noboru Ishikawa, et al., “Anthropologists Are Talking—About the Anthropocene,” Ethnos 81, no. 3 (2016): 535–64. Jason Moore argues that climate crisis is capitalogenic, in “Name the System! Anthropocenes & the Capitalocene Alternative,” Jason Moore (blog), October 9, 2016, For an overview of the current debate, see Janae Davis, Alex A. Moulton, et al., “Anthropocene, {17} Capitalocene, . . . Plantationocene? A Manifesto for Ecological Justice in an Age of Global Crises,” Geography Compass 13, no. 5 (May 1, 2019),
  23. Naomi Klein, “Why #BlackLivesMatter Should Transform the Climate Debate,” The Nation, December 12, 2014,
  24. Michael Eric Dyson, Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2007).
  25. Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future (New York: Harper Wave, 2014).
  26. “Trump Blames California Wildfires on Forest Mismanagement Again,” The Guardian (international edition), November 16, 2018,; Mark Landler, “Trump Lobs Praise, and Paper Towels, to Puerto Rico Storm Victims,” The New York Times, October 3, 2017,
  27. “Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Events [US: 1980-2018],” National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA), and “Weather Disasters and Costs,” Office for Coastal Management (NOAA),
  28. Much of my education and organizing work focuses on offering a constructive, critical, and contextual framework for such discipleship. See Ched Myers, ed., Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2016), and
  29. “Let My People Go! Exodus from Fossil Fuels: An Interfaith Witness for Climate Action,” Water Is Life Movement (website), (site discontinued).
  30. “Let My People Go.”
Ched Myers is an activist Mennonite/ecumenical theologian with Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries in southern California. His most recent book, Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice (Cascade 2016), proposes a constructive ecojustice under climate crisis.

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