On May 2, Blessed Tomorrow and Auburn Seminary co-hosted the 2018 National Climate and Faith Leadership Summit, a gathering of nearly 50 faith leaders exploring how to increase climate change mitigation and advocacy activities across the country. Participants represented a diverse group of faith institutions and faith-based organizations, shared best practices, and discussed how to catalyze new, bolder, and broader efforts such as committing to 100% clean energy.
Faith organizations and leaders are increasingly adopting climate change as a top priority, and embracing care for God’s creation as part of their faith identity and moral responsibility. This includes bold commitments like the 2017 Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) resolution to become carbon positive by 2035. Recent polling demonstrates a key opportunity for the faith community to continue to elevate the issue of climate change throughout the country: while only 13% of Americans identify climate change as a “faith” issue, there is growing trust among Americans when faith leaders bridge this divide, amplify the connection between faith and climate, and empower communities of faith to act on climate solutions.
Participants lifted up key insights throughout the day, particularly a desire for continued dialogue and mutual support from the network to build and sustain a faith movement on climate solutions. In order to make bold commitments to mitigate and advocate for climate solutions, participants suggested mapping the best pathway to a faith-wide commitment, identifying barriers and solutions to advancement, and setting a timeline to walk this path in the months and years to come. Discussion also centered on the faith community’s important role in leading efforts to listen, support, engage, and open dialogue with disproportionately impacted communities — like communities of color, low-income populations, and youth. There remains a critical need for mitigation funding, clear and easy to use tools and training, and a support system to navigate mitigation planning and implementation at the congregational level. The forum closed with a call to action from ecoAmerica’s president, Bob Perkowitz, for concrete commitments to work towards 100% clean energy within organizations, institutions and individual places of worship. Blessed Tomorrow will support coalition partners as they implement key milestones along their unique pathway to boldly leading on climate. Read the forum summary report HERE to learn how.