According to Reverend Susan Hendershot, President of Regeneration Project and Interfaith Power, climate change is a moral issue. Her group responds to global warming by proposing energy conservation through faith based congregations. She spoke to the Tri-Valley Climate Change Lobby on video last week.
Hendershot reported that the Regeneration Project climate bill reintroduced to Congress has recently received endorsements from the Silicon Valley leadership group, including 300 companies, and from the City of Chicago, the State of Maryland and Steven Chu, former Secretary of Energy.
A survey on what makes people take action on climate change ranked the following as the two top reasons: future for children and grandchildren, and protection of the earth. She noted that climate change disproportionately impacts those who are the most vulnerable in the world, those subject to food shortages because of crop losses. Concentrating on the issue of hunger caused by climate change shifts some of the politicization of the issue. Talking from a faith perspective allows focus on personal values.
The mission of Hendershot’s group is to inspire and mobilize people of faith and conscience to take full and just action on climate change. Forty state affiliates now work with communities, and at state and national levels. They have created a set of faith based principles around proposed federal legislation, including transitions for workers out of jobs that are closed because of harm to the environment, as well as assurance that low income and communities of color are not left behind.
A program called Cool Congregations explains to churches how to lower their energy use as an act of faith. By helping them measure energy use and how to reduce it, more money will be left over for the church’s missions. In San Francisco, ten congregations are being taught the exact steps needed to put solar on their buildings, ways to develop fuel switching in their facility and how to buy carbon offsets.
Another program, Cool Harvest, teaches the food choices that affect climate change. A carbon offset program is available that supports tree planting in Tanzania.
Hendershot stated, “Climate change can be solved; the question is, ‘Will we act soon enough to implement solutions?’ Transitions to clean energy benefit everyone’s health, now and in the future. The leadership of faith communities adds moral perspectives to the climate change movement.”
Next steps by the Tri-Valley Climate Change Lobby will be to contact leadership in the interfaith community to support them in their endeavors to save the climate.