It’s time to recognize our communities of faith and what they do as a whole. In a time when political disagreement is high, they honor difference. In a time where communication between young and old is difficult, they achieve it. When members come on hard times, they pitch in to help.
On March 24 at 7 p.m. our faith communities are stepping up to help us address climate change here. The science is clear. We’ve changed the climate, and we must take action to correct it. We owe our kids and grandkids a livable world. When the people least responsible for climate change are hurt most by it, we have a profound moral and equity obligation that we must address. The resources we use for a comfortable life inflict discomfort on others.
Pope Francis wrote passionately about the challenges of this crisis: “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”
To live sustainably we must make fundamental changes in how we live and dramatically lower our carbon footprints for decades to come. We must invest to undo damage and give up some of our present comforts so that our future has comfort.
In November 2020, the Bainbridge Island City Council approved the first-ever Climate Action Plan for our community. While climate change is common knowledge, it is now time for common action; for exploring what we can do family by family, congregation by congregation, and neighborhood by neighborhood. We can do a lot by changing how we live. We can do far more by changing together how we live.
Our faith communities have long traditions of facing difficult truths, sacrificing for the greater good and ending up the better for it. Each provides us examples of how we can come together to act together to face a common challenge.
The March 24 program is titled “Our Climate, Our Faith, Our Future.” In the first half hour, Councilmember Joe Deets, Climate Change Advisory Committee co-chair Mike Cox and Gary and Marcy Lagerloef will present our Climate Action Plan and share what they learned from determining their carbon footprint.
Then a panel of faith leaders will address what they called to do about climate change. They are: Rev. Stephen Crippen, Grace Episcopal Church; Rabbi Dario Feiguin, Congregation Kol Shalom; Congregant Deb Rudnick, Congregation Kol Shalom; Rev. Zackrie Vinczen, Cedars Unitarian/Universalist; Rev. Karen Haig, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church; and Bishop Tom Bell, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
You need not have a faith to benefit from Zooming in (at https://bit.ly/march-24-interfaith) because each faith has different tools, stories and traditions for facing difficult transitions. Something that works for them may work for your community group, your business or your household. Small changes can make big differences.
Tune in to see what your faith neighbors are doing and what you can do. What we cannot face together could tear us apart. In the end this is about a faith we all share: a faith in each other.
John Kydd can be contacted at email@example.com.