Beyond Apology: Bringing Communities Together to Call for Collective Action

By Anita Fête Crews

It’s time for people of faith to shift from climate apology and lamentation to action on climate change. This was the topic of discussion on our latest Blessed Tomorrow Let’s Talk Climate episode, “Beyond Apology: We Need Climate Action Now”, co-hosted with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Leaders of the ELCA speak on how and why we must move past apology for our impact on the climate and instead take action to solve climate change today.

We were joined by Vance Blackfox, Desk Director for American Indian Alaska Native Tribal Nations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Tracey DePasquale, Director, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania; Ruth M Ivory-Moore, Program Director, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Larry Ryan, Member, Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA Creation Care Ministry Team. These leaders discussed efforts from the local to international levels that move us all beyond apology to adopting bold climate policies and actions that match the urgency of the climate crisis. They expressed the importance of working together and how the church can play a key role of bringing various communities from all different backgrounds towards a common goal.

Tracey DePasquale relayed the importance of a “just transition”, how hard these changes will be for many, and how they will impact communities and certain sectors of our economy. These transitions will require support from everyone, including the church, as we move towards more sustainable solutions. Larry Ryan conveyed the importance of seeking equity and partnership with disadvantaged communities to propel the climate movement forward. Vance Blackfox emphasized the knowledge and expertise that Indigenous wisdom can provide.

Mr. Blackfox offered a moment of reflection to all of us; to recognize our place in this world as the “least of these”, and to shift the narrative around our place in the environment and the true impact of creation care.

Guests also emphasized the importance of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26). Ruth Ivory Moore shared that this will be a more intense meeting because there is so much at stake. A move from activism to action is critical because time is of the essence to implement the solutions needed to avoid the worst case scenarios outlined by the scientific community. There must be a collaboration among faith based organizations and secular organizations that doesn’t stop at COP 26, but an ongoing partnership that will elevate the climate movement to real and rapid change.

The panelists issued a call: to actively live out your faith and hold yourself accountable for the actions that we call upon others to do. By putting your faith into practice, you can then push forward to call for action from the wider community and beyond.

Need help doing this? Visit blessedtomorrow.org and elca.org/environment to get involved.

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