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Earth Day Network Co-Hosts National Prayer Breakfast on Climate Concerns
Religious Leaders Meet with Congress, Honor Dr. James Hansen 

WASHINGTON, DC, February 22, 2010 – Earth Day Network partnered with The National Religious Coalition on Creation Care (NRCCC) to host a National Prayer Breakfast today in Washington. The interfaith coalition and guests gathered to prepare for a week of meetings with Congress and government officials to address the impacts of climate change from a religious perspective. The NRCCC also honored climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, with the annual Steward of God’s creation award.

“As stewards for the environment, religious leaders help us to broaden and diversify the environmental movement, and they are critical advocates for the urgent need to address climate change,” said Kathleen Rogers, President, Earth Day Network. “We are honored to support the Washington Week program and the coalition’s aggressive agenda to pursue long-overdue legislative action on climate change.”

At the breakfast, Kathleen Rogers addressed the pressing need for Congress to pass a comprehensive climate bill in 2010. Pursuing the passage of strong, fair climate legislation in 2010 is an important focus for Earth Day Network in the U.S. for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

The breakfast also featured organizational leaders from the Jewish, Catholic, Evangelical and Orthodox Christian communities who guided attendees in prayer and spoke about the moral and ethical dimensions of climate change as related to creation care.

“We are called by our religious traditions to serve as a bold voice for justice,” said Rabbi Warren Stone, co-chair for the NRCCC. ”Climate change will have a dramatic impact on hundreds of millions of the poorest people on our planet, especially those who live in coastal areas.”

“Climate change is one of the most serious issues that society faces,” said Reverend Owen Owens, co-chair for the NRCCC. “Pursuing a wise and responsible lifestyle becomes a moral and ethical issue on which churches have a responsibility to speak. Every major religious organization has a statement on the importance of addressing climate change. These statements are forming a unified voice that call citizens and elected officials to do everything possible to hold off climate change.”

As part of the annual prayer breakfast, the interfaith coalition honors individuals who exemplify principled action in protecting and stewarding forests and all parts of God’s creation because of their religious and spiritual values. This year, Dr. James Hansen received the Steward of God’s Creation award for defending his convictions on behalf of global climate change. Dr. Hansen is the Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
“Special interests have mounted a massive campaign against science, because scientists are connecting the dots to help define energy policies that benefit the people and preserve creation,” said Dr. James Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “We must pressure Congress to place a rising price on carbon emissions with proceeds distributed 100 percent to the public.” 

About The Washington Week Program
Since 1999, Christian and Jewish organizational leaders have convened in Washington, DC annually to pray for the health and well-being of God’s creation, and to advocate to the Congress and the Administration the formal statements and policies of America’s religious institutions. This has become known as “Washington Week.” Each year the Washington Week program opens with a National Prayer Breakfast for Creation Care.

Initially the focus of these annual gatherings was on religious responsibility to conserve and protect our nation’s public forests. Over the years, the Washington Week program has included the importance of holding off global climate change, protection of endangered species, wilderness preservation, ending mountain-top removal as a method of coal extraction and protection of national parks from commercial development.    

About Earth Day Network
Earth Day Network was founded on the premise that all people, regardless of race, gender, income, or geography, have a moral right to a healthy, sustainable environment. Our mission is to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide, and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle for promoting a healthy, sustainable environment. We pursue our mission through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer activism campaigns.

Our campaign and programs are predicated on the belief that an educated, energized population will take action to secure a healthy future for itself and its children. Earth Day Network has a global reach with a network of more than 20,000 partners and organizations in 190 countries. Earth Day Network is a 501(c)3 organization located in Washington, D.C.