Friday, March 13, 2015

Responding to Climate Justice with Faith

Dear Friends,

In January I reflected on my participation in a Presbyterian Hunger Program Joining Hands reflection/action trip to learn about the effects of climate change and environmental degradation in Peru. As a result of the trip, the group collaborated on a statement, which has been published, Statement on Climate Justice: A Faithful Response.

Photo courtesy of Joe Tobiason 
I find it a powerful statement for anyone who does work on climate justice. It resulted from a joint effort of the young adults of Peru and Bolivia, staff of Joining Hands Peru, and those traveling with the Presbyterian Church (USA). It begins with what we believe about climate change, and what we saw on the trip: “Every day we hear and see the evidence of climate change in the change of seasons, food production, availability of water, disappearing glaciers…

The statement then moves to what we need to do: “... we feel it is our duty and calling to stand in solidarity and to act faithfully for climate justice. With political will and people’s actions, we can influence things for the better.” The statement calls for action by authorities on adaptation and mitigation, adoption of climate measures, rigorous review of extractive industries, financing and research for renewable energy and energy efficient technologies, and the building up of local economies.

The statement ends with our commitments. For me, the most important is the last commitment, “Pray for one another, support one another, and call others in the church and society to join us in being conscious of the consequences of climate change and active supporters of climate and environmental justice for a healthy world for all.

There is one thing we can do right now to be active supporters: urge our representatives to oppose “fast track” legislation. Read more about it as it pertains to the Trans Pacific Partnership and contact your representative at this Action Alert from the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness.

In Christ,

Sue Smith, PEC Treasurer

Prayer: O Lord God. Your creation is in trouble. The climate is changing, affecting all that you created in the beginning, the skies, the dry ground and the seas. Yet your Holy Spirit moves among us and brings people together who support each other in the work of bringing about the new heaven and the new earth. Give us strength for the journey. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sue Smith is a member of First Presbyterian of Rumson, NJ. She is the Treasurer of Presbyterians for Earth Care and a GreenFaith Fellow. She is currently a student at New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

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