Faith in clean energy

Faith and politics share a common burden. In our best moments, being a member of a faith community or political movement requires us to act in the interests of our fellow humans—an appeal that places responsibility squarely on our shoulders and demands that we take action. The best leaders—both political and spiritual—channel this responsibility to help us come together and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. They honor the platform they have been given to call for a better world, leading by example in the process. 

This week, Pope Francis’ leadership on both counts will be evident when he addresses the United States Congress and renews his call for the global community to confront one of the urgent challenges of our time—climate change. 

{mosads}With his encyclical on climate change, the Pope calls on all of us to end a culture of indifference and embrace concrete solutions. He tells us, “It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us.”   

Amongst the growing chorus calling for action, no voice has been more influential—or more compelling—than Pope Francis. His message has already resonated with millions across our country—and breathed new life into the fight for a healthier and more prosperous planet for all. More and more religious, business and military leaders across the country are answering the Pope’s call to action and joining the fight to build a clean energy future for our children. Now it’s time for Congress to join them. 

There is wide agreement in the United States on Pope Francis’ call for action on climate change. A recent poll from Quinnipac University found that nearly two-thirds of American voters agree with the Pope “calling on the world to do more to address climate change,” including 67 percent of independents.  

As people of faith—and as members of the American electorate—we have a profound duty to one another, and to our children, to care for our environment and protect the next generation. Pope Francis challenges us to look beyond ourselves and act in the interests of our fellow humans, reminding us of our moral obligation to take action on climate to create a cleaner and more prosperous future for the generations who will follow us. The risks of inaction could not be higher, but our opportunity to create a more prosperous clean energy economy has also never been more real. 

The solutions that we need to realize a cleaner future for our children are in hand. Nationally we are seeing clean energy starting to compete head-to-head with fossil fuels—and win. In the first half of 2015, renewables account for more than two-thirds of new electricity generation across the United States. But this is only the beginning.  

Our nation and our economy are transforming before our eyes—and America’s leaders must embrace this transformation or risk being left behind. This week, Pope Francis will challenge our Congressional leaders to embrace solutions that combat climate change, protect our common home, strengthen our economy, and secure our children’s future.   

We sincerely hope they listen. 

Steyer is a California businessperson, philanthropist, clean energy advocate and President of NextGen Climate. Campbell is the executive director of NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby.


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