By Susan Stephenson, National Interfaith Power & Light Executive Director
This is a difficult time and a scary time. COVID-19 is dominating the news and our hearts and minds.
The connections between the wellbeing of humans, other living things, and entire ecosystems are becoming clearer. The virus has shown us that we are all in this together and that the health and well being of one is intimately bound to the health and well being of all.
This crisis underscores the urgency of proactive action on climate now, to limit future disease outbreaks worsened by climate change and to save lives by cutting air pollution.
Because of this, we’re not putting our Faith Climate Voter Campaign efforts on hold. We’re making the best of the situation, adapting to our approach, and taking our campaign online.
IPL’s congregations this year are working to make sure climate change is a values voting issue and that our communities get out to vote with our Faith Climate Voter Campaign. When people of faith vote our values, elected officials take note.
That’s why we are mobilizing people of faith to vote with climate and Creation in mind. We are asking people of faith to take the pledge and and encourage other people of faith in their communities to take the pledge.
To do our part to keep the community safe, we have stopped in-person voter outreach. We’re meeting people where they are at right now – on the internet and their phones. IPL and our state affiliates are busy supporting their communities right now. But they are also engaging congregations and supporters via email, social media, and texting tools to help build the #FaithClimateVoter movement.
This crisis has brought into sharp focus how much we depend on one another to act for a greater common good. We need to come together as a unified front to protect our climate and our children’s future.
The virus – like the climate crisis – is a symptom of a much bigger structural problem, namely our relationship to the earth, the economy, and each other. We cannot have a healthy economy or healthy people, without a healthy environment. Now is the time to address this systemic problem. At the moment, fossil fuel interests and their representatives in DC are lobbying to do exactly the opposite, and double down on polluting fossil fuel-based energy. It’s time to move beyond that short-term thinking.
The pandemic has put our nation’s widening wealth gap and racial inequities on full display, compounding inequality and endangering communities of color. People who have had long-term exposure to air pollution appear to be more likely to die than others who have had less exposure to pollution.
Like COVID-19, early intervention with climate change is critical. The 2020 election will set the nation’s course on climate change. Join the Faith Climate Voter Campaign, see how you can get involved here.
If you haven’t yet, please take the pledge to be a Faith Climate Voter by clicking on the link below. We’ll remind you to vote whenever there’s a local election, and serve up other opportunities for you to engage in the campaign in the months ahead.
We’re holding you all in our prayers. Stay safe, healthy, and socially distanced and we will see you online!