Religious Leaders Awaken to Global Warming

This post is by Rev. Sally Bingham, president of The Regeneration Project and the Interfaith Power and Light campaign. She also serves on the Board of Trustees at Environmental Defense.

"…religious, moral and spiritual values are starting to take hold in the climate change discussion."

I have maintained for years that climate change is the most serious moral issue of our time, but at first few believed me or took it to heart. Having just returned from a week of traveling and giving talks on a religious response to global warming, I'm more encouraged than ever that we will solve this problem before we destroy ourselves.

Things have shifted in the last several months, and it's a refreshing, hopeful time. More people are coming to events to find solutions, rather than to question the science. The most frequently asked question is, "What can we do?" Now that the religious voice is at the table with other solution seekers, I am very hopeful that we will stop the warming trend.

Religion forms our values; religion carries moral authority. Religious voices had a role in the civil rights movement, women's suffrage and the abolition of slavery. And religious, moral and spiritual values are starting to take hold in the climate change discussion. When we are reminded that the people who contribute the least to the problem are the ones who will be harmed the most, we accept the religious value to love and serve one another. Bringing moral authority to this issue is crucial.

Voices from many religious traditions have started speaking out about climate change. Clergy are taking on what is a new idea for us: putting faith into action. We're no longer just praying in the pews for a reverence for the Earth, or praising God for all the wonder and beauty created so that we might live. We're taking our religious faith and walking the halls of legislative buildings, meeting with lawmakers, and conversing about the moral implication of inaction.

We're at a time in history where human beings have a choice. We can continue to destroy this awesome and reliable source of life, or we can take responsibility for our behavior and change our ways. We are beginning to take responsibility.

We at The Regeneration Project's Interfaith Power and Light campaign headquarters are conscious that our role is unique. We don't side with any particular political party, and we're separate from the environmental community. We are people with voices deeply rooted in a theology that calls us to be the stewards of Creation. We accept this responsibility, and accept the moral challenge of our faith – to protect what God said was "good" and sacred.

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