Faith - A Call to Action
in Washington, D.C. and Nationwide During Earth Week 2015
As a first step, we call on our leaders to enact policies that dramatically reduce wasted energy and shift our power supplies from oil, coal and natural gas to wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable energy sources. We must equitably phase-out all fossil fuel subsidies. We also call on our leaders to enact policies to help people here and abroad prepare for and withstand the terrible impacts of climate change that are already occurring and that will grow much worse in the years ahead.
We are compelled to heed Martin Luther King Jr’s call to appreciate the “fierce urgency of now” and his warning that “in this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late.”
Our call is to: Choose life, so that you and your children may live. (Deut. 30:19). We must hold forth a brighter vision for our human future within the community of creation as we seek commitment to a set of clear, widely held moral principles.
First, it is morally wrong to unjustifiably cause human suffering and death. Human-induced climate change is correlated with storms, floods, droughts, crop failures, diseases, and water and food shortages, as well as associated breakdowns in political, economic, social and ecological systems. These breakdowns compromise human security and are already harming and killing people here and abroad. The greatest impacts are falling on low-income people, communities of color, Indigenous peoples, and others who have contributed little to climate change. We have a moral obligation to rapidly reduce our carbon pollution to minimize these disproportionate impacts.
The second principle is to honor our moral obligation for equity and justice. The shift to a sustainable, energy efficient and renewable energy economy can create millions of good jobs and support healthy families and communities. We must ensure that this shift is a ‘just transition’ that protects the most vulnerable among us and prepares all of us for the impacts of a changing climate. It should spread the investments in solutions and the benefits of new approaches equitably, enable whole industries to make the changes needed, provide adequate resources for workers and communities adversely affected by the shift, and ensure that all Americans have a democratic voice in how those decisions are made.
The third guiding moral principle is to protect the Earth, which is the source of all life. Virtually all the world’s religious and spiritual traditions proclaim that we have a moral obligation to be good stewards of the Earth and all of its creatures and processes. To disrupt the climate that is the cornerstone of all life and to squander the extraordinary abundance of life, diversity, and beauty of the planet is a moral failure of the first order.
Our capacity for repentance and forgiveness inspires hope in a future where we can recover from the errors of our past, repair the damage we have done and share in the act of healing the Earth. May we rely on the guidance of our faith traditions and spiritual teachings to find the power to act with courage and conviction to create a brighter, more secure and sustainable future for all of us, our children and all future generations.