MLK the RNC, and the climate gap

On the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s birth (his actual birthday, rather than his official national holiday) Interfaith Moral Action on Climate held a rally and interfaith service outside the Hershey Lodge in Hershey PA.  Why there?  The Republican National Committee was meeting there, and it is imperative that our national political leaders clearly acknowledge the growing harm coming from climate change, and move to both address the impacts and limit our continuing complicity in adding to the problem.  1

Continue on to read Rachel Mark’s remarks, and link on to a wire story about the event. Read last year’s excellent reflection on climate justice and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. written by PA IPL board president Rabbi Daniel Swartz here And re-read Jacqueline Patterson’s remarks about race and climate change at our 2014 Annual Conference here. The Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley (board member of the national IPL) has also contributed importantly to this conversation.  Read his 2013 piece from the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington here.  

Rachel Mark, Secretary of the Board of PA Interfaith Power & Light, offered these remarks:  I speak today on behalf of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light.  PA IPL is a community of congregations, faith-based organizations, and individuals of faith responding to climate change as a moral issue.

Scientists are telling us we live in a pivotal decade, at a time when the need for action is urgent.   The once cautious and worrisome reports of scientists around the world are becoming increasingly dire and are falling on the ears and hearts of religious leaders and people of faith. These warnings can no longer be ignored.

Kathleen Dean Moore moral philosopher and editor of Moral Ground, Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, says “We are reaching a social tipping point and the world is holding its breath.  It’s the top of the hill and the marble could roll either way.  Politicians are waiting to be made to the do the right thing.  Can we push this beautiful marble down the hill to the other side?   If we can, it’s going to be now.”

Religious leaders and ethicists are telling us that viewing climate change as an environmental issue is missing the point. Climate change is a humanitarian and justice issue, and to stay neutral on this fast-moving train is dangerous, foolish, and immoral. Climate change is affecting vulnerable communities now.

The year 2015 leading up to Paris will see more awareness, more resistance against fossil fuels, and a greater demand for solutions and clean energy.

When people feel overwhelmed and ask what they as an individual can do, the first step is to stop being one person.  The first step is to join with others, in organizations such as Interfaith Power & Light, GreenFaith, and Interfaith Moral Action on Climate.

PA Interfaith Power & Light works to educate and inspire people to action with resources and programs.   It starts with the faith that we are in this together, that no matter what happens, we will help and be helped by others, and we will find the strength to take care of those who are suffering, scared, and lonely. The fight for a better future will require courage and perseverance, and I believe our religious and spiritual communities will have a large role to play, and it is time to strengthen those ties and commitments.

We ask that our senators and representatives join us and help us all move forward to a just and healthy future.2

Read the Energy & Environment Publishing wire report by Scott Detrow here.

About 75 climate change activists gathered outside a two-day meeting of the Republican National Committee meeting taking place inside the Hershey Lodge.  The rally was hosted by Interfaith Moral Action on Climate and featured religious speakers included Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist faiths.  Activists were led in song by Ted Glick of IMAC.   Rachel Mark offered a statement on behalf of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light.   Organizer Lisa Van Susteren said “We are here to bring attention to the social injustice of all time:  inaction on climate change.”  She praised a number of prominent Republicans in Congress who have acknowledged the risks of climate change.  Letters had been sent to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell inviting them to attend the rally.