This will be my second year joining the PA IPL cyclist team to Washington, D.C. I believe strongly in PA IPL’s mission to unite communities of faith against global environmental degradation and the realized and imminent impacts of climate change.
While joining a great team of riders last year, I was continually reflecting on my past relationship with faith. I grew up in a very faith-centered environment of Evangelical Christianity—my parents committed their lives and their family to this faith. My father often served in pastoral roles, and religion was fundamental to my early education of the world and how to live in it compassionately and responsibly. As an adult I’ve become frustrated with the lack of a response—and, even worse, the explicit and often vehement downright denial— of the global dilemma of climate change by many Christian religious leaders.
While my immersive, religious upbringing applauded and demanded “concern for the least of these” and sought to bring a more perfect kingdom and unity to a broken world, when the realities of damaging systems that put poor communities at greater risk and harm (not only from climate change, but also from lack of basic necessities such as clean air and water) were more than apparent, many religious leaders stood squarely politicized, rejecting scientific consensus and not supporting legislation to protect people and the Earth.*
In the United States alone, and in just the past few years, we’ve seen devastating effects of a warmer climate—drought and decimating wildfire in California, more damaging and intense atlantic hurricanes such as Sandy, and increase in high precipitation events and flooding in the Northeast. These disasters remind us of our shared environment, yet demonstrate our unequal vulnerabilities. It is our moral responsibility to act collectively to mitigate these impacts, for future generations, and for the most vulnerable in our country and in the world today.
I’ve learned, now, that there are religious organizations and communities that are responding to climate change—like many have for hundreds of years in times of disaster and need. The release of Pope Francis’ encyclical has also given the Christian community direction by recognizing climate change and calling for action. PA IPL spearheads this mission in our community and supports churches and people of faith in measures to make places of worship and homes more efficient and cost-effective. I am always eager to ride my bike—it is my main mode of transportation and source of joy—and am especially excited to speak to our elected officials. As people of faith, we work to build communities centered around values of stewardship and responsibility; as citizens we can and must act in the face of injustice when our Representatives will not.
*Editor’s note: many evangelical Christian leaders are very vocal in the need to do something about climate change. See for example: the Evangelical Environmental Network, the Lausanne Covenant, A Rocha, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, and Dr. Katherine Heyhoe.
or send a check, memo: bike 2016 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801
MANY THANKS to our 2016 silver sponsors Sun Directed, and Beth Richards, KBB Realtor, to our 2016 bronze sponsors the Bicycle Shop and West Arête, and the Rock Ethics Institute for their support! for their support! (Become a sponsor)