In an interview with the British newspaper the Guardian, Katharine Jefferts Schori, said that responding to climate change is a moral imperative similar to that presented by the Civil Rights movement.
“It is in that sense much like the civil rights movement in this country where we are attending to the rights of all people and the rights of the earth to continue to be a flourishing place. It is certainly a moral issue in terms of the impacts on the poorest and most vulnerable around the world already.”
In the same context, Jefferts Schori attached moral implications to climate denial, suggesting those who reject the underlying science of climate change were turning their backs on God’s gift of knowledge.
“Episcopalians understand the life of the mind is a gift of God and to deny the best of current knowledge is not using the gifts God has given you,” she said. “In that sense, yes, it could be understood as a moral issue.”
She went on: “I think it is a very blind position. I think it is a refusal to use the best of human knowledge, which is ultimately a gift of God.”
The Presiding Bishop also acknowledged the difficulty of successfully addressing the issue, given the current political climate in the US, but also saw a growing willingness of evangelical churches to address the issue as a sign of hope.
“One of the significant changes in particular has been the growing awareness and activism among the evangelical community who at least somewhat in the more distant past refused to encounter this issue, refused to deal with it. The major evangelical groups in this country have been much more forward in addressing this issue because they understand that it impacts the poor.”
One strategy that many have sought to address the issue is divestment from energy companies, but she Jefferts-Schori opposes divestment because she believes those concerned have a better chance of influencing behavior by having a voice as investors.
“If you divest you lose any direct ability to influence the course of a corporation’s behavior,” she said. “I think most pragmatists realise that we can’t close the spigot on the oil wells and close the coal mines immediately without some other energy source to shift to.”
posted by Jon White
photo from Episcopal Digital Network