Climate Leader Query: Gerald Durley

The 2017 American Climate Leadership Summit (October 25-26) will feature conversations with prominent climate experts and advocates.  ecoAmerica offered some of our guest speakers an opportunity to answer up to three questions related to climate change and what we can do about it.

The Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley is Pastor Emeritus of Providence Missionary Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia. He became intensely involved in the climate change and environmental justice movement while serving as pastor. He now combines the disciplines of faith and science with the lessons learned as a civil/human rights advocate during the 1960s.


Dr. Durley is a member of the Leadership Circle for Blessed Tomorrow, ecoAmerica’s program for faith leaders. He will be speaking on the “Justice and Inclusion” panel on Day 1 of the ACLS.

What do you wish more Americans knew about climate change?

More Americans need to know that faith and science are not at odds when it comes to what is causing climate change. Americans should be aware that resolving the climate change, environmental justice, and global warming concerns are all moral issues which require a collaboration among business, politics, education, science, and faith.    “Profits over people is not acceptable.”

What are current climate initiatives or efforts that inspire you or give you hope that we will effectively address climate change, even with the dearth of federal leadership on the issue?

As a civil and human rights activist for more than 50 years, I’ve found inspiration, encouragement, and hope when I see the masses begin to comprehend that they have the power to enact change. I am currently witnessing daily numerous grassroots groups and nonprofits challenging energy companies and federal regulations, as well as misguided politicians. I find strength in believing that the will of an enlightened populace about what is really causing climate change will always be successful for positive change.

What do you hope/believe the American Climate Leadership Summit will accomplish in moving the needle on climate action?

The American Climate Leadership Summit is critical in coordinating vast diverse groups, with  various interests, to not only seek but acknowledge and implement strategies to reverse climate change. The American Climate Leadership Summit  can evolve into “the conscience of the environmental movement,” which was what the Civil Rights Movement was to challenging the Constitutional rights which were not being implemented for all Americans. We must continue to push the needle.


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