A Religious Campaign for Clean Energy/Water
The NRCCC has initiated a pilot program to demonstrate the ability of religious organizations to promote the use of clean renewable sources of energy.
This campaign has already begun in three states with populations receptive to environmental policy: Maryland, North Carolina and Connecticut. Underneath this campaign is the premise that climate change is a moral issue. As religious groups teach the seriousness of climate change, it follows that they must begin to provide solutions through clean energy usage.
Across America there are roughly 350,000 churches, temples and houses of worship plus numerous schools, convents, monasteries, hostels and other facilities, most of which use now rely on dirty forms of energy. The strategy in this campaign is to enlist religious leaders and activists who oversee coalitions concerned about climate change or some aspect of environmental justice and encourage them to promote and demonstrate the value of using clean energy. They will also encourage religious examples of clean energy, and encourage state and national policies that support clean renewable energy. This fits neatly into religious organizations because our national ability to address climate change requires a change of heart and behavior in both individuals and society. By invoking moral and ethical reasons for using clean energy, religious organizations can provide leadership in the challenge to change in the way America fuels its society. The first campaigns are now underway.
A Clean Renewable Energy Future
It is clear from our scripture and faith traditions that God has created the earth we live upon with sufficient resources and energy for vibrant life for humans and other creatures without any necessity to despoil or plunder. As people whose faith is in the Creator God, we must resolutely press in to align ourselves with God’s creation purpose. And that purpose includes God-created clean, renewable energy.
We need to lead societies in developing national energy policies that are clean, sustainable, renewable, and that provide a high quality of life. The way through to this future is increasingly becoming clear as studies are showing. What is needed is public policy change that will drive forward this new future. And public policy change will require strong grassroots organizing to educate and mobilize the population.
Preserving our Forest Heritage
Moral and ethical principles shape society’s attitudes and behavior toward the land. The present mentality toward forests and forestry is based upon greed, arrogance and spiritual ignorance. To correct the exploitive attitudes which have dominated forest practice, religious leaders gathered in the Pisgah National Forest in 2000, exactly one hundred years after industrialist George Vanderbilt established America’s first school of forestry.
At the exact location where this school began, they issued the following declaration to correct the errors of the past and establish a new ethic and vision of forests.
Toward an Ethic of the Seas
Increased human population magnified by modern technology is endangering the seas to the serious detriment of all life on Earth. Religion must step up to address this serious threat to God’s creation, a task that the NRCCC feels called to.
At this time, groundwork is being laid to develop an “Ethic of the Seas” that will do forward to develop within the religious institutions and their people an ethos of nurture, protection, and appreciation of the ocean. Advocacy for regional, national, and international public policy will be better developed and implemented as with religion leading support. Our present tasks, then, are to (1) uncover the spiritual values inherent within God’s creation that is the seas, (2) to develop an ethic consonant with our faith, (3) to understand both science and society within the context of the seas, and (4) to implement a faithful response through education, public policy advocacy, and our own personal and corporate lifestyle.
The Interfaith Ocean Ethics Campaign is now up and running. NRCCC is pleased to be a partner with this Campaign. We refer you to its website
for news, information, and how you can assist.
The Defilement of Creation
Biblcially speaking, pollution is the defilement of creation by human agency. This raises the pertinent principle that pollution stems first from a polluted heart. Covetousness, greed, apathy, ignorance, unjust exploitation, and carelessness are sinful behaviors that spill out onto other people and to God’s creation with devastating results.
Christians and Jews alike find special meaning in Wilderness. The Israelites were in the wilderness for forty years. Moses and the prophets were in the desert wilderness, not the town square. In the Christian era, John the Baptist began in the wilderness. Jesus spent forty days, not in the temple, but the wilderness. The first monks went to wild desert places to better practice their faith. The saints speak often of the unique lessons of wilderness. Despite this legacy, the spiritual values of wilderness are poorly articulated by modern religion. A direct consequence is that church and synagogue members understand little of the role which wilderness historically exercised in shaping their faith and how it can help us to grow spiritually today.
For almost ten years the Religious Campaign for Wilderness, a branch of the NRCCC, has conducted special programs to articulate the spiritual values of wilderness. This can bring new constituency and political advocacy to the challenge of preserving public lands as federally designated wilderness.