During the week leading up to Earth Day, more than 130 faith leaders from across Iowa signed a statement calling for action on climate change. Five of the leaders spoke Thursday at a press conference at the Iowa State Capitol releasing the statement to the public. The statement was signed by 132 clergy and faith leaders representing 15 different religious traditions, 95 congregations or organizations, and 43 faith communities in Iowa.

Organized by Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, the statement begins, “As religious leaders representing diverse faith
traditions in Iowa, we believe that global climate change is one of the most pressing moral challenges facing our world today.”

The Rev. Susan Hendershot Guy, Executive Director of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light acknowledged that, “Every faith tradition has something to say about caring for Earth and about caring for our neighbors. Climate change impacts both. It is a threat multiplier, exacerbating conditions about which people of faith care deeply—issues such as hunger, clean water, immigration and refugees, disaster relief, and conflict.”

“In this divisive time—when we live with so many deep disagreements—I find a whole lot of hope in this diverse coalition; different people coming together to say one thing: Addressing global climate change is an urgent moral imperative,” said Rev. Dr. Matt Mardis-Lecroy, Senior Minister at Plymouth Church in Des Moines.

The Rev. Dr. Beverlee Bell, Senior Minister at Walnut Hills United Methodist Church in Urbandale said growing up in Iowa taught her to respect and care for the land. As a person of faith she said, “We believe God’s Creation is to be restored and cared for, not destroyed and abused for our own gain.”

The statement calls for the promotion of sustainable energy policy, for clean energy solutions that will lower our carbon emissions, and for all people of faith to provide leadership and act in the interest of the common good.

“We know that we do not need to sacrifice jobs or the economy to care for our environment. We are proud of the bipartisan support here in Iowa for wind energy, which has created more than 6,000 jobs in our state,” said Hendershot Guy.

This year’s statement is the sixth annual Statement by Religious Leaders in Iowa on Global Climate Change.

You can read the full statement here.