Local Action, National Purpose: Five Ways To Take Action Now on Climate

Faith communities around the world are becoming more vocal and visible on climate change, elevating it as a moral issue. We can see this in the faith leaders and faith institutions who signed on to our coalitions’ MomentUs statement, calling for ambitious climate solutions that halve carbon emissions each decade going forward. But the rubber meets the road in local communities. Sustained local action and advocacy provide success stories for other communities and federal policymakers to bolster their efforts to pass and implement climate solutions at scale. The good news is that faith communities, like our recent Let’s Talk Climate guests, are doing this work and want to see their successes replicated around the country. 

On last Thursday’s episode, we heard from Meg Mall, Executive Director of the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions in Fairfax County, VA, as well as Jeff Levy-Lyons, Steering Committee member for the Jewish Climate Action Network of NY. They each shared five ways they would encourage people of faith to engage on climate right now.

WATCH the full episode here

Meg’s recommendations:

  1. Don’t Wait: Act on your values now and model behavior and values for others wherever you are in your climate journey. Personal behavior change, reducing carbon emissions and consuming in a sustainable way are all easy options.
  2. Join: You’re not alone in this work. Find others in your community, whether in your faith community or other environmental organizations working on climate change and join their efforts. If one doesn’t exist, create a group!
  3. Talk: We must avoid the spiral of silence. Most of us are concerned about climate but don’t think others are. Talk about climate and let others know you share their concerns.
  4. Vote: While we can take actions in our own homes and communities, it’s policy-level action that will achieve the greatest impact. Vote your climate values, and hold elected officials accountable.
  5. Lead: Invite others to join you in climate action and advocacy and share your successes. Lift your voice and faith values on climate with your local, state, and federal policymakers.

Jeff’s recommendations:

  1. Act like it’s an emergency: Voice your alarm, speak to your values of justice, share your personal fears for yourself, your community, your descendants, ecosystems, wildlife, sacred creation. Find your own personal prophetic voice, with bold humility. 
  2. Take a big, loud personal action: divest from companies (especially banks) that help fund fossil fuel projects. Let them know why you did it, and then let everyone else know you did it (word of mouth, faith testimony at your congregation’s pulpit, social media). 
  3. Take nourishment from your spiritual tradition: learnings, traditions, practices: it’s a sprint and a marathon, but we have the technologies to sustain us and build our capacity.
  4. Deploy your own unique skills and passions
    1. Skills/passions from more obvious to less obvious: speaker, writer, meeting/event planner, meeting facilitator, social media expert, graphic designer, artist, dancer, musician, social connector. Even better, redeploy what you already do, but apply it to climate solutions. Make bigger ripples.
  5. Do election work: Think of election work as climate work: ally with a group working on voter suppression/access, hold elected officials’ feet to the fire regarding their climate ambition statements, and, of course, vote.

Want to learn more about faith and climate action in 2021? Join us for the National Faith and Climate Forum on April 27th, as part of this year’s American Climate Leadership Summit. Register today, and use the code ACLS50%OFF for 50% off the all-access pass.

Resources mentioned during the Episode

People of Faith Worldwide Rise Up for Climate Justice, ecowatch 

Faith Climate Action Week – April 16-25, Interfaith Power and Light

Ecumenical Advocacy Days April 18-21

The race to zero: can America reach net-zero emissions by 2050?, The Guardian

Americans May Feel Isolated in Their Climate Concern 

Moving Forward Guide (in English & Spanish) 

How Faith Communities Lead Social Movements

Jewish Climate Action Network NYC (JCAN NYC) 

Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions 

Interfaith Power and Light

“What the Election Means for Climate Change”, Let’s Talk Climate episode

Faith in Place, a 2020 American Climate Leadership Award finalist, building climate action and advocacy in Illinois 

Let’s Talk Faith and Climate: Communication Guidance for Faith Leaders

American Climate Perspectives Survey report

Sign the MomentUs statement here  

Subscribe to watch our previous episodes on ecoAmerica’s Youtube channel

Register for our upcoming episodes in the Let’s Talk Climate webcast series 

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