Faith leaders can be key influencers in the climate change debate. While the fate of America’s stance on climate change still hangs in the balance, leaders from over 20 interfaith organizations have united to motivate President Trump to preserve American support for the Paris Agreement.
In a sincere and precise letter, dated Tuesday, May 9th, leading faith organizations objected to the postponement of the Paris Agreement decision and professed their priorities for climate change legislation and action.
The need for global leadership could not be more urgent. We believe that the United States can and must play a leadership role in addressing the environmental challenges which threaten our planet, our security, the health of our families, and the fate of communities throughout the world.
What inspired these organizations was their religious conviction, morale, and values. It is these same characteristics that all devoted parties may look to, as a way to help care for the “divine creation” that we call Earth. Leaders and advocates from faith communities should adopt the following devotional duties from the letter:
- Commit – How can I incorporate honoring creation and caring for my neighbor into my daily life and work?
- Advocate - What role should my commitment to human welfare play in my climate change advocacy?
- Act - What can I do to help and how can I motivate stakeholders to do their part?
Commit to Creation Care
Creation care is more than simply caring for the planet. Scripture commands believers to honor all of God’s creations and keep them well. This means caring for the earth, and its inhabitants, even yourself.
The Earth is in a delicate state as a result of years of pollution and limited efforts to end the damage. This has caused a slew of other problems that many don’t realize are related.
Did you know that many of the world’s biggest challenges can be linked back to climate change? This is why, as a leader of faith, you should always consider; who or what is affected and how can this be fixed?
Advocate for the Vulnerable
Various communities experience a lack of environmental care more personally than others. In major U.S. cities and remote reservation lands, the actions of manufacturing, transportation, and fossil fuels companies leave individuals with bad air to breathe and fewer plants for oxygen and food.
Neglecting the environment is hurting all of God’s creation; humans, animals, and plant life. We are all vulnerable to the destructive realities of climate change. To care for the Earth – God’s divine creation – is to care for one another.
Nearly all faith traditions include a call to protect those less fortunate. When we work to eradicate poverty, sickness, and hunger, our efforts must include addressing climate change.
Being a leader on the issue of climate change means speaking up and taking action. Informing your community from the pulpit of your church, mosque, synagogue or temple is one step, but what you do next could be equally important.
Faith leaders are the voice of their communities, and must, therefore, ensure that their government meets the needs of their people. This is called accountability. Know your needs, as they are instructed to you in your holy book, and hold the government to account on all issues of importance, just like these allied faith organizations who wrote;
"We join together to urge you, as the President of the United States, to remain in the Paris Agreement and to meet our commitments in that agreement. The Paris Agreement will safeguard God’s creation, protect the vulnerable, address the impacts of climate change and fulfill our moral obligation to future generations."
Some faith organizations have already joined the creation care cause. The Let's Lead project invites these active religious leaders to share their stories, in hopes to guide and inspire others to do the same. Learn more here.