The religious community's moral imperative to combat climate change and protect those living in poverty was discussed yesterday at a U.S. House of Representatives briefing.The Rt. Rev. James Jones, the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, England and the Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, associate general secretary for justice and advocacy at the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) joined forces in addressing a Capitol Hill audience. Bishop Jones, traveling for a week in the U.S. to speak with religious leaders about global climate change, articulated the need for the world faith communities to take action on the issue of climate change. "The Bible calls us to care for all of God's creation," said Bishop Jones. "The science of anthropogenic climate change is incontrovertible. It is the poor who are most immediately impacted by changes in our climate; it is the poor who are least able to act to change our world. The wealthy nations still feel little of the effects of climate change, yet they are most able to act for the sake of the poor and for the sake of the earth. We must act at three levels--personally, parochially within our communities and publicly through our policies," said the bishop.The Rev. Girton-Mitchell echoed the bishop's sentiments; "It is our call to help our faith communities understand that climate change has a huge impact on those things that we see as more immediate concerns. Climate change impacts health care, food availability, our homes, and our families."Both Bishop Jones and the Rev. Girton-Mitchell articulated the need to protect those living in poverty around the world from the effects of climate change. "As Europeans and Americans, it is our responsibility to act first to ensure that we protect those who are least able to adapt while empowering the rest of the world to make the necessary changes to prevent climate change," said the Rev. Girton-Mitchell. The briefing is part of a national effort by the NCC and other nationaland regional faith organizations to educate elected officials, congregations, and people of faith about the moral need to address climate change. The decade-long work of the U.S. faith community has enabled religious leaders around the country to vocalize their concern and conviction that the U.S. must act now to prevent irreparable damage."Leaders of the faith communities have a special responsibility to teach about the earth, to change hearts and minds so that when politicians put proposals to the electorate they will meet with a ready response," said Bishop Jones.
The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of 35 of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American andtraditional peace churches. These NCC member communions have 45 millionfaithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.---NCC News contact: Philip Jenks, 212.870.2228,firstname.lastname@example.org or Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,NCCnews@ncccusa.org