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American Climate Leadership: 2017 Recommendations from Faith Leaders

By Nichole Tucker
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This past year saw faith leaders achieve many successes in taking up the mantle on climate and catalyzing progress on climate advocacy and action. At ecoAmerica’s 2017 American Climate Leadership Summit (ACLS 2017), many of these influential leaders shared news of their accomplishments but also recognized the need to do more. There, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, faith leaders gathered with nearly 300 multi-sector leaders to brainstorm recommendations for increasing climate leadership, action, and advocacy in the upcoming year.

Recommendations for Taking Up the Mantle

ecoAmerica’s 2017 American Climate Leadership Report (ACLS) summarizes the ideas of leaders in health, business, government, and faith. After two powerful days of discussion and learning, the faith forum at ACLS 2017 envisioned recommendations, which they hope will expand, accelerate, and increase the impact of faith-based climate leadership. They recommend the following actions:

  • Map existing programs and supports for places of worship, identifying synergies and gaps.
  • Expand training for clergy to overcome barriers to communicate and lead on climate solutions.
  • Increase funding and support for climate solutions.

How to Lead on Climate

Recognizing that well thought out recommendations cannot manifest without a solid plan, the ACLS 2017 faith forum dove deeper and returned to the conference room with a course of action that would help guide faith leaders to advocate for climate solutions more effectively.

Provide a non-partisan narrative. The subject of climate change does not belong to any specific political party. Climate change is an issue that affects every human-being and faith leaders should present it as such.

Identify clear and achievable advocacy goals. It is important that faith leaders set goals that are understandable and realistic. Doing so will make it easier to measure success.

Use teachable, relatable moments. People respond better to stories and ideas that reflect their own lives. Faith leaders can use such stories as examples that will inspire the faithful to advocate and take action.  

Identify and support new climate leaders. As individuals are activated in the connection of faith and climate, identify and support those who can then lead and advocate for solutions. People who are prepared to speak out about the changing climate will lead others to action and even engage policymakers.

Start where people are and provide multiple pathways to engage. Different faith communities are at different levels of activation to move to advocacy on climate solutions. Paving many ways for all people of faith to get involved is a key to increasing the number of voices speaking up and out on climate change.

As 2018 approaches, Blessed Tomorrow is eager to work with our partners to put the thoughts and plans of American climate leaders of faith into action. We invite you to join us and begin with reading the 2017 American Climate Leadership Report in full.

Stepping away from the science of climate change can bring to light the many issues embedded in our society’s infrastructure. Revealing these problems is one of the many things that leaders accomplished at the 2017 American Climate Leadership Summit. Read “Leaders Take Up the 'Faith Mantle' for Climate Action,” here on the Blessed Tomorrow blog.