Gearing up to fight climate change
The United States has seen its share of environmental movements, each mostly resulting in significant changes in how the government deals with nature. From the creation of national parks such as Yellowstone in 1872 to the creation of the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the 1970s, voices promoting the importance of conservation have echoed through to the government.
Specific publicized events related to contaminants or pollution – like the Lake Erie fire, oil spills in California, and pesticide toxins – became public rallying points that captivated the country during the 1970′s. However, a new issue has crept up on our communities, and it magnifies these single issues. It takes aim at the structure and cause of all of these climate issues: human induced changes to climate. This time, the issue is greenhouse gases and the temperature increases caused by their trapping heat in our atmosphere.
The White house recently released a Climate Change Assessment, full of the already vast effects of greenhouse gases on weather and resources in America. The report, put together by some of the top scientists in the country, verifies the human impact on climate change and the need for all – especially including faith communities – to respond. Most staggering is the fact mentioned by Justin Gillis in a May 6 New York Times article:
“Such sweeping changes have been caused by an average warming of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit over most land areas of the country in the past century, the scientists found. If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees by the end of this century.”
The impact of these human-induced changes in climate is already making itself obvious: droughts, fires, hotter
summers, and colder winters. Some of these are innocuous changes in our climate. Some, however, are dangerous, expensive and life threatening. Climate change is an issue that religious communities cannot afford to ignore, if only because their individual members’ lives are being altered significantly in economic and general ways.
Religions for Peace USA is happy to announce a webinar on May 29th at 3pm (Eastern time) addressing the challenge of climate change. Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith will join RFPUSA to talk about how local congregations can begin working against climate change in order to secure a greener future. GreenFaith is an interfaith organization that works to inspire, educate, and mobilize people around the issue of climate change. Its Greenshield certification (a practicable toolkit that denotes congregation buildings which have taken proactive steps to make their buildings and congregation more environmentally friendly) is lauded as one of the foremost and important toolkits for interfaith education.
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