Blessed Tomorrow's new report, Let's Talk Climate: Communication Guidance for Faith Leaders is finally here! Main authors Kirra Krygsman, ecoAmerica’s Research Manager, and Meighen Speiser, ecoAmerica's Chief Engagement Officer; along with contributors Shantha Ready Alonso, Creation Justice Ministries; Kara Ball, Blessed Tomorrow; and myself, designed this report to be a one-stop shop for faith leaders to get clear directives on how to effectively communicate on climate change in any faith community — regardless of denomination, size, or location.
After thorough peer reviews by Blessed Tomorrow's leadership circle, we have condensed years of research into one report, offering faith leaders trusted guidance on climate awareness and attitudes as well as successful strategies for communication. In this report, faith leaders will be shown which words to embrace and which to replace, along with key talking points and constructive responses to counterpoints. They'll also be shown 15 steps to creating a personalized message, and a sample sermon demonstrating how to preach creation care from the pulpit.
American faith leaders have a long tradition of ministering to communities on issues of social justice. Apart from an enthusiastic passion, they share a common ability to communicate effectively on the issues most important to their community. People of faith want to do what is right, but they don't always know which issues align most closely with their values. In today's world, people of faith have a lot of different messages coming at them. How will yours stand out among the rest?
Now is the time to elevate faith’s leadership role in providing inspiration, hope, and commitment to care for creation, starting with our families, children, the elderly, those with chronic health conditions, and communities of color. The truth about climate change is that while all of us will feel its impact, there are some who will bear the brunt of it — usually those least responsible for causing it in the first place.
You may be asking, “Why is faith leadership so important in raising awareness on climate change?” Climate change is a moral and spiritual issue that is impacting God’s creation, including people. Climate change is currently having and will continue to have, profound effects that will increase the frequency and severity of illnesses while displacing millions of people around the world, with the most vulnerable among them being harmed first and worst. In Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si', His Holiness explained that “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications. . . It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. . . A great cultural, spiritual, and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.”
For faith leaders such as Pope Francis, climate change poses the greatest threat to our values and our responsibility to care for the least of these. The values that we protect are not, however, restricted by doctrine, as they are found in every major tradition around the world. And in America, faith is still one of the most influential motivators.
More than half of Americans (53%) say religion is very important in their lives, according to a Pew Research Center report released last week. Among western nations, the U.S. ranks among the most religious in the world. The U.S. also ranks among the greatest contributors to climate change through the burning of fossil fuels. While scientists have tried for decades to convince the American public to implement climate solutions immediately, their motivators have not been working fast enough. America needs a cultural shift in the way we view energy, health, prosperity, and fulfilling our values. Learn how faith leaders can get us there with our full report, free for download now.
You can also listen to the complete webinar Blessed Tomorrow hosted on Jan. 26 with guest speaker Rev. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Disciples of Christ, highlighting key features of the report. Get the full recording to learn how the report was created, its intended purpose, and how you can implement its best practices today.
Ryan Smith is a writer at Blessed Tomorrow. He received his master's degree in Religious Studies with an emphasis on faith and climate change from the University of California, Riverside.