Civilization is based on the principle of not harming the other — We could not coexist if we didn’t assure a reasonable expectation of comfort for everyone.
And our legal system is structured the same way — An individual’s rights extend only as far as they do not infringe on another’s. So justice is about freedom from harm. Our laws aim to provide protection for all.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t care about climate change.
Each time I speak with a congregation, I try to put into words what keeps me going in this work, when it would be so much less difficult not to care.
What would I have to do to not care about climate change?
First, I would have to not care about anybody who doesn’t live in the United States and is suffering the consequences of a warming climate now. I would also have to not care about anyone who will be alive after I’m gone, and may be harmed in the future. And then I’d have to not care about any other species of plants or animals, who might not be able to adapt fast enough to survive in a rapidly warming climate.
At that point I don’t have to care about climate change, but I have made my world so small … and too lonely.
In my work throughout the country, I see circumstances of compounded structural challenges, particularly for communities of color and low income communities. The drivers and impacts of the climate crisis are in the context of the drivers and the impacts of a broad set of social, political, economic inequities largely driven by the same systemic aim to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of a privileged few.
Bill McKibben gave us permission to share the video message he prepared for PA IPL’s 2014 conference Climate Justice: Faith in Action.
We’ll share lots more from Climate Justice: Faith in Action as we gather pictures and video from attendees, and the words of our generous and talented contributors. Subscribe to the blog so that you’ll get an email whenever we post something new (right-side column), or just watch our Facebook page for the links. Directly below the video you’ll find links to more on a few of the items Bill McKibben mentions within.
NOTES and LINKS:
Sally Bingham is the President and Founder of the national Interfaith Power & Light.
Pennsylvania’s history includes the first commercial oil wells* owned by Standard Oil (a Rockefeller company), and a deadly toxic smog in Donora, PA in 1948 which is credited with catalyzing the clean air movement. (Donora is in the Monongahela Valley south of Pittsburgh, where air quality and environmental justice issues are still live) .
The video below gives you a chance to hear just a bit from each of our keynote speakers. (The intro was necessary because it will play on DVD-equipped buses to the People’s Climate March on Saturday.) Speaking of the march, EVERYONE can: