Top 6 faith + climate events of 2020
6. March 2020: COVID Pandemic shows how we are all interconnected. It also provides a terrifying preview of the disease spread that could occur as global warming worsens. Meanwhile, the drastic curtailment in travel cuts emissions and gives parts of nature a much-needed break from human presence.
5. June 2020: Uprisings for Racial Justice around the country underscore that systemic racism cannot be disconnected from climate change impacts and climate justice. Pollution and the impacts of global warming have always disproportionately harmed communities of color, and consensus that climate solutions must be centered in justice for frontline communities builds.
4. August 2020: Presidential candidates showcase their faith, and expand on their pro-climate agendas, most notably Cory Booker (Baptist), Pete Buttigieg (Episcopalian) and Joe Biden (Catholic). Joe Biden seals the Democratic nomination with the support of African Americans, particularly southern Black leaders who find him the most trustworthy champion of their rights and values.
3. October 2020: Massive wildfires in the West and record number of hurricanes in the Atlantic demonstrate nature’s awesome power, while we knowingly ignore our planet’s life support systems. Churches and other faith communities step up to provide support to evacuees and storm victims.
2. November 2020: Biden and Harris win the White House pledging climate justice and to put the U.S. on a path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to promising to re-join the Paris climate accord on Day 1, the President-elect begins to put together an experienced climate team, with appointments announced for a new international climate envoy (John Kerry), domestic climate policy advisor (Gina McCarthy), and similarly capable EPA, Energy, Interior, and Transportation picks.
1. December 2020: COVID Relief bill includes provisions to expand renewable energy, shore up Amtrak and local transit systems, cut super-pollutants, and protect Americans from utility shutoffs. In all it’s the most significant climate and energy legislation passed by Congress in more than a decade. A hopeful note on which to end the year!