Faith in values: nearing the tipping point on climate change?


Sally Steenland, Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, asks if we are nearing the tipping point on climate change.

She begins as most climate change articles go: observing the trends and sharing the data. Steenland then laments that the cause used to be a bipartisan effort, but then became more partisan. After tracing the cause of the divide, and suggesting that things have been different again post-Sandy, she plays with the “tipping point” question in a different way:

These changes could be evidence of a tipping point—the moment when a number of factors came together to change public opinion. The groundwork is there: solid science, local concern and activism, moral leadership, and a dramatic event.

In terms of moral leadership, faith communities have long seen global warming as one of the most urgent spiritual issues of our time. From Catholics and Jews to Muslims, evangelicals, and others, faith communities have been working to change individual behavior and to advocate for sensible policies to address climate change.

The Evangelical Environmental Network, for instance, ran television ads in swing states during the election campaign defending the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to reduce carbon pollution. Interfaith Moral Action on Climate graded elected officials on their stewardship record and is urging responsible climate leadership. And the Young Evangelicals for Climate Action worked to make the environment a key voting issue among its followers through social media and direct organizing.

Faith groups are also joining forces with labor organizations, businesses, elected officials, and environmental, civil rights, educational, and other groups in the National Climate Summit. It could very well be that the Summit’s call for elected officials to devise a climate plan within their first 100 days in office will now gain traction in Congress. The heat is finally being turned up on the issue of climate change.

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