Interfaith Climate Change Training Event
The New Mexico Religious Leaders Statement
to the Interfaith Climate Change Training Event
Held October 15 and 16, 2000
We, members of the New Mexico faith community, greet you, our sisters and brothers, gathered together on behalf of God's creation. We who are dedicated to the health, well-being, and habitat of our own good state are also concerned citizens of the world. We have been heartened by the efforts of many nations to address the threat of human induced climate change. In this context, we believe that global warming is an inescapable religious and ethical challenge, dramatically reminding us of God's scriptural call to be a people of faithful stewardship of our planetary resources.
We believe human induced climate change has begun and continues to accelerate destructive forces that:
- Violates God's creation
Accelerated global warming is leading to species extinction, destruction of viable habitat, inundation of low-lying land by rising seas and increasing weather extremes that threaten the delicate web of life.
Scripture teaches: "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world and all who live in it." (Psalm 24:1)
- Afflicts God's children
Global warming diminishes our supplies of food and water. It is leading to the spread of infectious disease. It destroys agricultural livelihood. Already, we see how people are dying in greater numbers from extreme weather conditions, which are believed to be accelerated by climate change: record-breaking storms, heat waves, floods and droughts.
Scripture teaches: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself..." (Leviticus 19:18)
- Violates moral and religious principles of justice
The rich peoples of the world, the industrialized nations, are primarily responsible for the increase of "greenhouse gases" which contribute to global warming. Yet, heavy burdens fall disproportionately upon the most vulnerable of our planet's people: the poor, sick, elderly and those who will face still greater threats in future generations, should we fail in our stewardship responsibilities.
Scripture teaches: Justice must prevail. That is the only way you will be successful in the land which the Lord your God is giving you." (Deut. 16:20)
In December 1997, over 160 nations adopted the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. This agreement seeks to curtail existing and devastating potential effects of accelerating global warming. The next step calls for the President to submit and for the U.S. Senate subsequently ratify a treaty committing our nation to equitable international commitments such as those envisioned in Kyoto. And citizens of our nation will need to make known their will to those who represent them in government and serve them in commerce.
As people of faith whom God calls to be stewards, we are eager to join you in establishing the New Mexico Climate Change Campaign. We look forward to hearing from reports of your deliberations and concrete steps we all may take individually and collectively. Each of us will have different ways to act on our resolve. But we will be eager to join you in efforts to:
- Pray and consult scripture for the wisdom and strength to address global climate change as a violation of the integrity of God's creation.
- Distribute educational materials, offer sermons and convene study groups to help our congregations understand and embrace this challenge.
- Encourage our congregations and other institutions to conserve energy and to reduce excessive use of fossil fuels.
- Share religious perspectives on global climate change with representatives of key sectors in our state - labor, business, agriculture and environmental organizations, seeking ways to work together for the common good.
- Organize our communities to meet with U.S. Representatives, Senators and New Mexico legislators, including city and county officials, to share our support of domestic and international initiatives to reduce global warming.
- Guarantee that climate change policies assure a just transition to a full employment economy, which provides family-supporting jobs, now and in the future.
- Declare our support for the ratification of the kinds of equitable measures envisioned by the 160 nations of the Kyoto Protocol.
We speak not as members of an 'environmental movement,' but as people of faith seeking to be true to God's intentions for Creation. We resolve to "choose life so that you and your descendants may live." (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Signed as of October 5, 2000:
The Most Reverend Michael Sheehan,
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Santa Fe
The Most Reverend Ricardo Ramirez,
Bishop, Diocese of Las Cruces
The Most Reverend Donald Pelotte,
Bishop, Diocese of Gallup
The Rev. Ann Calvin Rogers-Witte,
Conference Minister, Southwest Conference, United Church of Christ
The Rev. Alfred Norris,
Bishop, New Mexico Conference, United Methodist Church
Rabbi Joseph Black,
Rabbi Isaac H. Celnick,
Congregation B'Nai Israel
The Rev. James M. Collie,
Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Santa Fe
The Rev. Jon Shannon Webster,
Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Sierra Blanca
The Rev. David Evans,
Area Minister, Tres Rios Area, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Albuquerque
The Rev. Barbara E. Dua,
Executive Secretary, NM Conference of Churches
Peace and Social Concerns Committee, Albuquerque Friends Meeting