Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On the White House Event with Faith Leaders on Environmental Stewardship and Climate Change

Melissa Rogers, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, opened the meeting at the White House yesterday. I was a little too far away to get a clear picture of her with my phone.

The meeting addressed the moral imperative for people of all faiths and philosophies to respond to the challenge of preserving a hospitable and inhabitable environment for future generations. The event brought together a diverse group of leaders from across the country representing multiple faith groups with the intention of uniting them to address climate change.

Melissa and other administration representatives called attention to President Obama's June 2103 speech at Georgetown University on Climate Change.

The major address was given by Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who insisted that "We have a moral obligation to live within the resources of this country" and added that "We have a moral obligation to protect this planet and the people who live in it."

McCarthy called attention to the "Congregation Resources" at the Energy Star website. The Congregation Resources are designed to assist houses of worship in meeting the goals of President Obama's Climate Action Plan which calls for all commercial buildings, including worship facilities, to reduce energy costs and related greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

Participants heard two panel discussions at the meeting. One focused on uniting to address climate change and environmental justice. The other highlighted pulpit leaders taking action on the climate.

One of the pulpit leaders, Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, discussed the work of the Interfaith Power and Light which is a national organization providing resources and networking for a religious response to global warming. Another pulpit leader, Rev. Mitch Hescox, discussed the work of the Evangelical Environmental Network which provides resources, networking and training for evangelicals concerned about creation care and environmental stewardship.

The conference was broadcast live in streaming video. Whenever the video is permanently posted online, I will add a link to it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

On Covenant Marriage with Clean Energy

The Sierra Club held a press conference today to encourage OG&E to break up with dirty, toxic coal this Valentine's day. Here is what I said at their press conference:

We are here today because we want OG&E to give up its harmful relationship with coal and commit to a healthy, wholesome covenant marriage with our environment.

Coal is harming our people and our environment. It levels mountains and gouges the earth. It pollutes our air and water and it is a major contributor to the climate change that threatens to make the world that my grandchildren inherit completely different from the one in which I grew up.

OG&E has been flirting with clean energy but has been reluctant to make a firm commitment. It is time for OG&E to put an end to its toxic relationship with coal and make a lasting covenant to preserve the purity of our environment.

Clean energy is abundant in Oklahoma. Sweetheart deals are readily available for energy produced by wind, solar and natural gas.

We want OG&E to put an end to its toxic, expensive, and downright dirty relationship with coal and commit itself to providing clean, pure and renewable energy to the people of Oklahoma.

As a minister and someone who cares deeply about God's creation, I can't think of a more loving thing to do than committing to clean energy, clean air and clean water for Oklahoma.

In fact, I'd be happy to join OG&E and clean energy in holy matrimony today. We have signatures from 1300 people who think that would be a match made in heaven.

At the conclusion of the press conference Whitney Pearson, Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, delivered a box containing a paper chain with the names of the those who signed their petition asking OG&E to stop using coal to generate electricity. The Press conference was covered by Fox 25 News and the story may make the 9:00 PM news this evening.