President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech last week renewed the call to action on climate change. After stating unequivocally that “climate change is a fact,” he emphasized our urgent moral responsibility to address the issue. “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, I want us to be able to say: ‘Yes, we did.’ ”
As a priest and person of faith, I was gratified to hear this. I am deeply concerned about the effects of climate change on God’s creation, on our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, and on generations to come. I believe that as stewards of creation, it is our moral imperative to act now. The latest international report on climate change warns that if we wait and do nothing to reduce emissions for another 15 years, we will face increasingly devastating environmental catastrophes as well as severe economic disruption. If we fail to take significant action on climate change now, the next generation will have to resort to drastic measures to maintain the livability of our shared planet.
The recent holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a reminder of the power of a moral calling, and how faith leaders can mobilize our country with spiritual and nonviolent tactics to address social injustice.