It's been a long year for climate advocacy.
The road to solutions has been a winding path with turns we did not anticipate. Some good, some bad, but ultimately forward. This is the inevitable nature of the American spirit, to progress and enact the values that define us in the face of adversity. We're resilient that way.
When Donald Trump was elected President in November, there was an expected lament for the climate (among other concerns) that was quickly replaced by a compulsion to continue on. President Trump's approach to climate change is concerning, no one is doubting that, but let's not forget the astounding accomplishments we have already made in communicating the urgency of climate change to millions of Americans. In remembering what we have achieved, we can plan ahead for the new year and make 2017 the best climate year yet!
How we contributed…
Blessed Tomorrow is a program of ecoAmerica, America's most unique climate change communications nonprofit that empowers leadership in higher education, faith, health, politics, business, and local communities. We believe that through tested research, we may provide strategic communication expertise to help leaders speak to their communities, stakeholders, and board members about the importance of acting on climate change.
For years, we have helped develop programs and research that speak to the base of America's diverse population by addressing their immediate concerns of faith, prosperity, family, economic security, and health. We do this by identifying key strategies and messages that enable our leaders and programs to speak frankly and effectively about climate change. And, we accomplish this in a number of unique ways.
Through our four channels of engagement, we are able to reach people where they live, learn, work, and pray. Blessed Tomorrow alone has allied with 7 partner organizations and 18,785 local and global congregations with a combined membership of over 57 million Americans. That's over seventeen percent of the US population, but we won’t stop until we have every single American talking about climate change.
To keep this trend going, we’ve teamed with more prominent faith leaders in 2016 to add to our already amazing circle of reverends, rabbis, imams, and community leaders.
- Rev. John C. Dorhauer Reverend, President of the United Church of Christ, Cleveland, OH
- Jackie Dupont-Walker, Director, Social Action Commission, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Los Angeles, CA
- The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society United Methodist Church, Washington, DC
- John Hill, Director of Economic & Environmental Justice, UMC General Board of Church and Society United Methodist Church, Washington, DC
- Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington, DC
- Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes-Henderson, President, Auburn Seminary, New York, NY
- Cameron Trimble, Executive Director, CEO, Center for Progressive Renewal, Atlanta, GA
In 2016, Blessed Tomorrow also welcomed new partners United Church of Christ, U.S. Baha'i Office of Public Affairs, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who ratified their first-ever climate resolution at this year's annual conference. The resolution is monumental for both the church and the climate movement, with an AME church outreach of 2,500,000 members.
Faith is the focus of Blessed Tomorrow, and we truly believe that speaking to American values is the most effective way to forge lasting solutions. American climate values do, however, extend beyond the walls of our respective faith facilities, permeating every aspect of our lives including health care and local communities. That’s why ecoAmerica also maintains a steadfast outreach to these audiences through programs like Climate For Health and Path To Positive Communities.
Together, these programs have reached millions of Americans from all walks of life through a rapidly growing network of 200+ mainstream institutions and leaders who exist outside the traditional environmental movement. These efforts have engaged 1,108 American Association of Community Colleges members; gathered 1,407 U.S. Conference of Mayors members who are on the frontline of climate impacts facing their cities; and supported 25,000 Health officials, providers, and organizational leaders in the American Public Health Association. And that's just a few our collective results.
To better accomplish tasks like these in the new year, we have kicked up efforts to bring leaders together from across the US for events and collaborations spanning from Los Angeles to Washington, DC and everywhere in between. And we want you to be part of the process by letting your voice be heard. Download our free 2017 Impact Report to learn more about what we’ve been up to this past year and how you can get involved in 2017!
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.