Entire EPPN Creation Care Series
This introduction begins a series of articles addressing different parts of the enviro-political movement and how we, as the Office of Government Relations and Episcopalians engaged in advocacy, have been charged to tackle some of the issues facing our environment through better policy.
The Office of Government Relations has been charged to support legislative efforts that include a carbon fee or other means of accounting for greenhouse gas emissions, recognizing the need for sound policy, but also the need for timely action in our first step towards reclaiming our call to care for God’s creation.
As Christians, we are responsible for balancing the call to care for creation and to love and respect our neighbors around the world. Climate change is real and we must address our reliance on fossil fuels. However, plans to swiftly transition from fossil fuels cannot be comprehensive if those regions, communities, and families that depend on fossil fuels for roofs over their heads and food on their tables are not included and supported as part of that transition.
While local action serves an integral role in mitigating further damage to God’s Creation, we must always keep a global perspective as those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the majority of emissions are beyond the United States. We must utilize direct and indirect international agreements to move the world’s community of nations forward together.
The U.S. federal government bears the duty to be a leader for institutions within the nation. When it comes to environmental degradation, it is not only important that the government implement policy to address the crisis, but also that our government lead by example with direct energy and environmental reform in federal agencies and their facilities, vehicles, and overall operation.
Water is one of life’s most vital resources. Water pollution, however, is devastating to the environment and to the health and well-being of people in every nation and community. The federal government invests annually in water pollution mitigation and water treatment; however, the current funding is not enough to conduct even routine maintenance and clean up pollution.
Climate change is driven in large part by changes in human behavior over the last centuries related to carbon emissions and agricultural practices. This change is due, in no small part, to human reliance on fossil fuels, deforestation, and our failure to implement alternative forms of producing and distributing energy. For so long, the answer to climate change has been made to seem clear and simple: we switch our energy systems to renewable energy now to prevent extreme weather from getting worse.
In 2018, The Episcopal Church affirmed that no community - especially poor communities, those who live closest to the land in subsistence cultures, and members of marginalized ethnic groups - should bear a disproportionate risk of environmental pollution or degradation. The Church pledged to be an advocate for policies that protect these populations, their communities, and the livelihood of their future generations from the disparate impact of climate change, environmental degradation, or unfair land use and pollution.