The latest U.N. report on climate change had to alarm anyone paying attention. It issues a stark warning of “severe economic disruption” in addition to environmental catastrophes if we fail to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions soon. The next generation will have to resort to drastic measures to maintain the livability of the planet.
In his State of the Union speech, President Obama highlighted again our urgent need to address climate change. The president said: “We have to act with more urgency, because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. . . . The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, we want to be able to say yes, we did.”
And thus, he once again framed the issue in the context of our moral responsibility to future generations. As persons of faith, we were gratified to hear this. We are very concerned about the effect of climate change on God’s creation, on our most vulnerable brothers and sisters and future generations. We believe that as people of faith called to be stewards of creation and to love our neighbors, we have a moral imperative to act to protect our children’s future and that of all future generations.
We’re not alone in this belief. Last week, 80 members and friends of Rhode Island Interfaith Power and Light, representing 18 faith communities, gathered to support one another in our faith-based response to global warming. As an interfaith group, RIIPL understands the power of a moral calling, and how faith leaders can mobilize communities to address vital issues.