Recently, I've been in conversation with a local organizer from NextGen Climate who is rallying support from faith leaders in Yolo County for SB 350. I wrote this letter to the editor in response to Pope Francis' recent encyclical.
As a Lutheran, I don’t often agree with the pope. After reading Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on climate change, however, I must.
For too long in the United States, religious rhetoric surrounding the environment has been denial of climate science and ignorant arrogance with regard to its catastrophic effects on the poor and vulnerable. This must change.
For people of faith like Pope Francis and myself, there is a moral imperative to reduce and reverse the effects of climate change. Since we understand ourselves to be connected to all of creation, we are called to protect and preserve it. Pope Francis reminds us that our Scriptures, “bear witness to a conviction which we today share, that everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice, and faithfulness to others” [2.II.70].
The saying goes that as goes California, so goes the nation. It is my hope that California will pass legislation including SB 350, which will reinforce our role as a leader in the fight against climate change. SB 350 calls for a 50% reduction in emissions, a 50% increase in energy efficiency in buildings, and that 50% of California’s power come from renewable sources, all by 2030.
We have the power to make substantive changes—we must. Join me in prayer for our planet and its leaders, and in telling California’s leaders to vote yes on SB 350 and other protections for our world and its inhabitants.
Casey Kloehn, M.Div
Program Director, Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network