Global warming is one of the biggest threats facing humanity today. The very existence of life – life that religious people are called to protect – is jeopardized by our continued dependency on fossil fuels for energy. Every major religion has the mandate to care for Creation. We were given natural resources to sustain us, but we were also given the responsibility to act as good stewards and preserve life for future generations.
There are two faith organizations, Green the Church and Interfaith Power & Light, who are moving the dial in promoting and encouraging the faith leaders, through their church buildings, to become climate game changers in the fight against global warming.
“The mission of Interfaith Power & Light is to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.” In the religious community, many times the first thought when it comes to congregants and members is fellowship, sometimes advocacy and more often family. However, there is a tremendous opportunity when a faith leaders have the attention of hundreds of people on a weekly basis and sometimes more than once a week given weekday services. The information that trusted faith leader can share with licensing years is extremely monumental.
For 20 years Interfaith Power & Light (IPB) has been helping congregations address global warming by being better stewards of energy and their data shows that they have educated hundreds of thousands of people in the pews about the important role of people of faith in addressing this most challenging issue, and the carbon footprint in these congregations have reduced tremendously. IPL’s mission also includes being advocates for vulnerable people and communities that are the most heavily impacted by climate change. From air pollution to droughts to rising seas, it is poor people who are being hit first and worst by global warming. IPL’s goal is to ensure that climate policies provide adaptation and mitigation support for communities domestically and internationally whose health and survival is at stake.
“Green The Church (GTC) is an initiative designed to tap into the power and purpose of the African American church community, and to explore and expand the role of churches as centers for environmental and economic resilience.” – www.greenthechurch.org. GTC is an organization that started here in the Bay Area over five years ago, but its impact and reach has spread to various cities and states including Baltimore, MD, Detroit, MI and several other cities. In full circle, the summit returns to the Bay Area, October 7 – 9, 2018 at Glad Tidings COG, 970 Glad Tidings Way, Hayward, CA, Bishop J.W. Macklin, Pastor. The goal of the summit is to empower, educate and enlighten the faith community, faith leaders, climate change advocates and policymakers around the importance of their aggressive participation and needed voice against global warming. GTC engages congregations in the fight against climate change and helps churches serve as centers of resilience that ensure their communities survive – and thrive – in the face of disasters.
There is rarely a community conversation among faith leaders and the faith community on the subject of climate change and global warming. However, when we consider that there are hundreds of elected officials, civic leaders, corporate executives, venture capitalists, tech influencers and other highly respected individuals who attend church regularly, this is a tremendous opportunity to have their ear regularly and engage them more fully in this very critical conversation.
Some of the keynote speakers during the 5th Annual Green The Summit, October 7th – 9th, 2018 at Glad Tidings COGIC are Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, Rev. Dr. John R. Adolph, Pastor Welton Pleasant, Rev. Michael McBride, Chef Mimi, and many others. Some of the panel topics are: Social & Environmental Justice, Charging The Next Generation, African American Food Sovereignty, Theology of Light, The Future of Energy and more. Register at www.greenthechurch.org for this summit. Attendees will learn to work together to create an equitable green economy and ensure a sustainable planet.