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Strengthening Local Action After the Paris Agreement

People of faith are deeply disappointed that the presidential administration is rejecting the Paris Agreement. Signed by 195 countries in 2015, the Paris Agreement is a landmark global commitment to decrease greenhouse emissions.

People of Faith gather at Climate Justice Vigil, 2017
People of Faith gather at Climate Justice Vigil

In the lead up to the Paris Climate Conference, Pope Francis authored the encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. The Pope reminded us that poor and vulnerable communities are most harmed by climate change and environmental degradation, and urgently implored everyone on our planet to work together to care for our common home.

Leaders of many different faith traditions – Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, and many more – joined Pope Francis in a chorus of “amens,” calling upon our world leaders to take swift action to address climate change.

Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement by the U.S. is a significant blow to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, it has far-reaching negative implications for global cooperation on addressing climate change, signaling that the U.S. is no longer willing to be a team player in this issue that affects everyone on our planet.

We urge President Trump and the current Administration to remember that climate change is indeed a moral issue. Our various faith traditions each state the imperative differently, but all hold in common the call for us to love and care for one another and the places where we live.

As a country that has benefited greatly from economic growth built on fossil fuels, exiting the Paris Agreement is an evasion of our responsibility to address problems that our development created. The U.S. must lead in reducing emissions and transitioning to renewable energy for the healthy and just future we want to see.

We must strengthen our actions locally to care for the Earth that we all share.

Communities of faith across Illinois have already shown their capacity to mobilize for Earth care. Together, we are conducting energy audits, changing lightbulbs, replacing boilers, and installing solar panels. We are growing local food and supporting sustainable farmers. We are restoring habitat and conserving water. We made our voices heard at the Illinois State Capitol last year, resulting in the passage of the groundbreaking Future Energy Jobs Act, which takes effect today, June 1st. We took our prayers for climate action to the streets in vigils and we marched in Washington DC.

We – diverse people of all faiths who share the commitment to care for the Earth – can and will work together to create a healthier future for the entire Earth community.

Here are some ways to take action right now:

  • Paris Pledge: Pledge to hold your house of worship to the same standards as the Paris Agreement by reducing your building’s carbon emissions 50% by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050, and encourage faith community members to make similar personal commitments. Join people of faith across the country with this program of Interfaith Power & Light.

  • Donate to Faith in Place: Your support allows us to continue empowering communities of faith to take action on pressing Earth care issues within houses of worship and out in the wider community.

  • Sign up for a free Level 1 Energy Audit at your House of Worship: Take the first step to reducing the carbon footprint of your house of worship by identifying opportunities for improved efficiency with an energy audit.

  • Non Profit Green Lending Program: Start making recommended upgrades for energy efficiency, such as replacing inefficient heating and cooling systems, changing lightbulbs, and adding insulation. If access to capital is a barrier to completing projects, this program can help.

  • Save the Date for the Green Team Summit: Join hundreds of people from across Illinois for an inspiring day of learning and connecting around how we can sustain momentum for Earth care within our faith communities.

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