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.
In 2015, President Obama issued an executive order which required federal agencies to comply with new environmental standards, including a significant reduction of energy and water use in many federal buildings. Federal facilities were required to either construct new green buildings that would be energy, waste, and water net-zero buildings or to upgrade buildings to meet the same standard. In May of 2018, President Trump repealed that executive order with a new executive order that only asks agencies to set their own sustainability goals. While the order maintains a commitment to sustainability, it does not mandate any action from agencies other than offering a guideline to decrease energy and water use.
The Administration’s decisions to repeal substantial sustainability rules fail to address the responsibility of all people to care for God’s creation. The Episcopal Church has long stood for the adoption of a permanent federal renewable energy standard through incremental progression in energy and water conservation. In a 2009 resolution, the Church called the Office of Government Relations to support federal policy that includes programs that exemplify this dutiful stewardship of creation at a federal government level. The Episcopal Church, therefore, supports policy that would call for the conversion of public buildings to renewable energy, using renewable energy to operate public transportation, and the implementation of water conservation practices in public buildings. It is crucial that our government find ways to lead the United States and our planet to be more conscious of the impact we have on the environment and the ways we can institutionally mitigate our damage.
Just as legislators have been called to serve their nation in its best interest, we have been called to serve the world in Christ’s name. Serving the world in Christ’s name is risky. The immediate reward is not always evident, but the eventual yield is always great. We are disciples of a master who risked everything in order to redeem the world, and at times we too must embrace the risk to achieve redemption. Sometimes it may feel crazy, but as our climate changes, it is even crazier to think that we can allow everything to remain the same. Our potential to make a substantive change is far too great.
- Derived from “Resurrection Matters” by The Rev. Nurya Love Parish
Can you think of a time where you took a risk and had to give it time in order to reap the benefit? Why was this challenging and why was it rewarding?
What do you think holds you back from making substantive changes in your life? Do you think the same thing affects our governing institutions?
Read the rest of the EPPN Creation Care Series here.