Greetings, Gentle Souls!
Our blog took a week off last week because I was attending my first week of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) in my journey toward potential ordination. This experience looks like it will be quite consuming for the next ten weeks but I am hoping to keep writing to you as time allows. Even though most of my attention has been elsewhere, I still try to make time to read the Episcopal News Service when I receive their emails. One article last week caught my eye –
“Episcopal, ELCA Presiding Bishops issue statement on carbon emissions”
The Presiding Bishops commented: “The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church are eager to collaborate with the EPA and states across the nation to ensure that the carbon rule is implemented fairly, particularly for low-income consumers. We will continue to pray that all involved in this good work will be graced with vision, hope, and the search for truth as they seek to implement the carbon rule swiftly and effectively.”
Their joint statement reads:
Joint Statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Rule on carbon emissions
Lutherans and Episcopalians collectively celebrate and support the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon rule for existing power plants. As faith traditions committed to the health, flourishing, and sanctity of human communities and God’s creation, we believe that the carbon rule is a critical step toward safeguarding the lives and livelihood of future generations.
Recent reports outline the enormous impacts that climate change is already having on our world. Multi-year droughts, sea level rise, extreme weather events, and increased flooding dramatically affect communities internationally, from the Inupiat on the north slope of Alaska to Midwestern farming families to our brothers and sisters in the Philippines. We recognize with concern that climate change particularly harms low income communities that lack the resources and technology to adapt to rapid environmental changes.
These impacts are already affecting global agriculture, and with it, food supplies and prices. Ending hunger and alleviating global poverty are key concerns for our faith traditions. Yet our work faces the daunting and interconnected challenges of addressing hunger and poverty in a rapidly changing climate. Sustainable solutions must include both poverty alleviation and environmental conservation.
Power plants are the single largest source of carbon dioxide pollution in the United States and major contributors to climate change. These emissions not only threaten the environmental stability of our planet, but also the health of young children and their families, disproportionally affecting the poorest among us. Yet there are currently no limits on power plant emissions of greenhouse gases.
The carbon rule proposed this week will reduce the carbon dioxide output from existing power plants, setting a strong standard that will modernize our nation’s power plants while limiting our contribution to global climate change. Reducing carbon emissions from power plants must be a top priority for the U.S. if we hope to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and ensure a just and sustainable world for our generation and those to come.
Our faith traditions teach us that no single person can be whole unless all have the opportunity for full and abundant life. That wholeness and collective well-being is only possible as a global community. We recognize our connections to fellow citizens and neighbors around the world who are already suffering from the consequences of climate change, and acknowledge our responsibility to those yet unborn, who will either benefit from our efforts to curb carbon emissions or suffer from our failure to address this ethical imperative. We believe that addressing climate change is a moral obligation to our neighbors and to God’s creation, so that all may enjoy full, healthy, and abundant lives.
The proposed carbon rule for existing power plants is the single largest step that we can take now to address the pressing issue of climate change. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church are eager to collaborate with the EPA and states across the nation to ensure that the carbon rule is implemented fairly, particularly for low-income consumers. We will continue to pray that all involved in this good work will be graced with vision, hope, and the search for truth as they seek to implement the carbon rule swiftly and effectively.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
It might be no surprise that we even have a resolution that reflects this concern:
D055: Advocate for Public Policy to Reduce Climate Changing Emissions
Resolved, That the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church urge the United States government to enact stricter controls on the use of carbon-based fuels, and create incentives for our nation’s transitions from dependence upon fossil fuels to safe, clean, renewable energy and thereby curb emissions of heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere and be it further
Resolved, that this convention encourage every member of the Episcopal Church to urge his/her members of Congress to enact such legislation.
The issue of protecting our planet should be a priority for each of us in response to both our Baptismal Covenant and the Five Marks of Mission which the Episcopal Church embraced in 2009. As a reminder, the 5 Marks of Mission are:
~ To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
~ To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
~ To respond to human need by loving service
~ To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
~ To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
For us to live out our responsibility as good stewards of God’s creation, we need to increase our knowledge of the issues of environmental justice and care so that we can have a voice in the conversation. This resolution from General Convention 2012 asks no less. While there are differing opinions about the place of climate change and the impact that we, as humans, may have had, there should be a united front in recognizing that we are all called to “safeguard the integrity of creation” so that we might provide a healthy planet for those who come after us.
There are many websites that can help you understand our carbon footprint and its effect. One that offers a way to calculate your own impact is http://www.climatepath.org/
Another interesting article came out last week, June 3, in USA Today reporting the EPS is asking for a cut of 30% in power plant emissions by 2030. You can find the full article here – http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/06/02/epa-proposes-sharp-cuts-power-plant-emissions/9859913/
And here’s a site that gives practical advice for what you can do individually to make a difference – http://www.carbonfund.org/?gclid=CL_w_q2V7b4CFa1cMgodRCMAFw
Finally, I found a site that provides resources for an environmental liturgy – http://www.dioceseny.org/system/doc/file_name/production/832/BCP.pdf
Let’s join our Presiding Bishop in the fight to regain health for “this fragile earth, our island home.”
God of unchangeable power,
when you fashioned the world
the morning stars sang together
and the host of heaven shouted for joy:
open our eyes to the wonders of creation
and teach us to use all things for good,
to the honor of your glorious name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(EOW, p. 52, From A New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 569)
– Judith Schellhammer, Diocesan Council Resolution Committee