How the Gospel helped Republican Bob Inglis to champion climate action

Bob Inglis, former Republican congressman and current climate activist | Photo by Travis Dove

In Australia as a guest of Canberra-based think-tank The Australia Institute, former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis had initially assumed that climate change was nonsense.

From South Carolina’s Republican heartland, Bob Inglis tells Adam Morton in a Fairfax interview:

“I didn’t really know anything about it except that Al Gore was for it, and, as I represented one of the most conservative districts in the most conservative states in America, that was really the end of the inquiry.”

Talking to Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast, Bob Inglis was asked to tell listeners about his climate change conversion.

Fran Kelly: “You didn’t always believe in climate change, did you? Tell us about your conversion.”

And as Bob Inglis tells it —

For six years, I thought climate change was nonsense. That was my first six years. Then I was out for six years doing commercial real estate law again.

I ran again in ’04. My son had turned 18. He’s voting for the first time. He’s the oldest of our five kids. He came to me and said “Dad, I’ll vote for ya, but you’re going to clean up your act on the environment.”

It was the first of a three-step metamorphosis for me.

The second step was going to Antarctica and seeing the evidence in the ice core drillings.

Third step was right here in Australia.

Aussie climate scientist Scott Heron showing us coral bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef and I could tell Scott and I shared a world view, before any words were spoken.

You know, St Francis of Assisi said ‘preach the gospel at all times. If necessary use words.’

And so I could see Scott was preaching the gospel, that he was loving God and worshipping God in what he was showing us. Later, he had a chance to talk, he was telling me about conservation changes he was making in his life in order to love God and love people, and I got right inspired — I want to be like him, loving God and loving people.

So I went home and introduced this Carbon Tax that we’ve been talking about.

Bob Inglis is addressing the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday February 22. Tickets are available from the National Press Club of Australia.

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