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Christians speak out on the
health impacts of climate change

Arlington, Va., May 18, 2009 – Members of the faith community are stepping up and speaking out today at an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) public hearing to determine if greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that are contributing to global climate change, are a threat to public health and welfare. 

They are turning out to support the EPA’s preliminary finding that greenhouse gases are a form of pollution that threaten the health and welfare of current and future generations, and hope to encourage the EPA to move forward quickly with strong regulations on these pollutants.

According to Rev. Sarah Scherschligt of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg, Md. , “This is the work that my congregation – and countless others in the Lutheran church, and more broadly in protestant and interfaith coalitions – are called to: healing God’s earth and caring for it.  We have a mutual relationship with it – we don’t dominate it (as we once thought) but neither does it dominate us. We are partners, and the more we care for God’s creation, the more it will care for us.” 

In addition to Rev. Scherschligt, several other clergy members are testifying at today’s hearing, including Rev. Harriette Sturges of St Albans Episcopal Parish in Washington, DC. 

Later this week three clergy from various denominations will also testify at the EPA’s second hearing in Seattle, Washington and add their voices to the climate change debate.  Over 25 others from areas surrounding DC and Seattle have already submitted written testimony conveying their support for EPA regulation of global warming pollution. The deadline for written testimony is not until June 23, 2009.

This is certainly not the first time people of faith have spoken out about the need for the United States to take strong measures to address greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on God’s creation.  In March of this year, the National Council of Churches delivered a letter to President Obama signed by over 13,000 people of faith asking him to respond to the challenges of global climate change during his administration.  

“People of faith understand that climate change is one of the greatest moral challenges facing us today and that it threatens all of God’s people, especially the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Tyler Edgar, Assistant Director of Climate and Energy for the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program.  For us, climate change is an issue of justice.”

According to Allison Fisher of the Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light “Over the years we have seen multiple faith communities, including Jewish, Christian, and Muslim, respond to the climate crisis and answer their calls to be good neighbors.  We are so happy that the EPA is finally answering its call to ensure the health and welfare of all.”

The National Council of Churches is the ecumenical voice of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches. These 35 communions have 45 million faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.


NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) , pjenks@ncccusa.org

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