The San Diego Coalition to
Preserve our Common Home
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Information on the coalition and Interfaith forum: www.sdclimatejustice.org
Interfaith forum celebrates Pope’s message on climate justice and seeks to apply lessons locally
Local faith, labor and environmental leaders urge San Diegans to recognize the moral necessity of a rapid and just transition to a sustainable future
San Diego, CA. - From 7 to 9pm tonight at Answering Earth’s Call: An Interfaith Forum on Climate Justice, eleven speakers representing the San Diego Coalition to Preserve our
Common Home and drawn from the local faith, labor and environmental community spoke to a packed house of over 300 focusing on the message that we must, as a moral imperative, care for our common home and address climate change.
In doing this, they echoed Pope Francis’ message from his June encyclical and his address to a joint session of Congress this morning. The Forum also brought together and empowered clergy, parishioners, youth, community and social justice organizations, and union members to be leaders in the climate justice movement and establish a moral framework for climate action.
The forum was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Bankers Hill. It opened with a formal welcome by the Very Reverend Penny Bridges of the host Cathedral, St Paul’s and a procession of clergy, accompanied by music by The St. James Vocal Academy youth choir and an invocation by Rev. Jeanette
Ham of Foothills United Methodist Church.
The Very Reverend Penny Bridges stated, “For millennia the Judeo-Christian faiths have taught that we must care for the poor, the stranger, and those who lack resources of any kind. Science is clear that our misuse of the earth’s abundance has led to climate change causing drought, famine, and extreme weather. In addition, humankind’s pursuit of power through the control of natural resources has created appalling poverty and oppression across the globe. People of faith must now come together to repent and to restore dignity, freedom, and abundant life to every human
Kent Peters, representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said “The visit of Pope Francis to the United States is a welcome opportunity to begin a dialogue with many Catholics about global warming and our moral imperative to identify solutions that elevate social and economic justice.”
Nana Firman, representing the Islamic Center of San Diego and recently named a “White House Champion of Change” for Faith Leaders on Climate, said that Muslims around the world are being heavily impacted by climate change. “Our collective future is at stake, which makes it even more important that Muslim voices are lifted up. It is imperative that we take both practical and spiritual steps towards addressing the imbalances and the injustices in our world, as part of being God’s vicegerents upon this earth. Islamic teachings endow us with invaluable sources of
ecological consciousness. We must act now!”
The coalition is urging San Diegans to sign on to its statement on climate justice, which calls for changing personal behavior as well as asking affiliated institutions and national and international leaders to: limit greenhouse gas pollution; change our economic system from being solely profit-driven to one that is more ethically sensitive to environmental protection and the equality of all nations and individuals; take concrete measures to lower
over-production and over-consumption; and raise awareness that we are one world family, sharing the limited resources of our common home striving to live together with dignity and in peace.
The theme of social justice and climate change was taken up by Eddie Junsay of the grassroots climate action non-profit SanDiego350 who stated, “In order to have an effective and vibrant climate movement we must work towards empowering those who are disproportionately burdened by climate change to be leaders in the movement. We need to to make sure the voices of communities of color, poor communities, and youth are heard as these are the very people that are most affected by our decisions on climate.”
Jim Miller, a professor at San Diego City College and political action VP for the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931 said, “If we are really going to save the planet, we need a movement that unites economic and environmental justice and offers both a strong moral case for bold environmental action and a future that doesn’t further deepen already historic levels of economic inequality, protecting the interests of the affluent while leaving the poor behind."
The Pope’s address to Congress comes on the heels of his ground-breaking Encyclical Laudato si': On Care for our Common Home, published in June, in which he presents his case for addressing climate change as a moral and spiritual imperative, and supports it with the best science available. He speaks movingly of Earth as “our common home” and compares Earth's vulnerability to that of the powerless poor.
According to Archbishop, Bernardito Auza, head of the Holy See’s permanent observer mission at the United Nations, “The encyclical and its plea for strong international action to slow climate change have been a constant topic of discussion at U.N. gatherings, and not just in private conversations.” These upcoming climate talks represent another huge opportunity for world leaders to take serious action on climate change while there is still a chance to avoid the worst havoc that climate change can potentially wreak.
The San Diego Coalition to Preserve our Common Home came together in the last few months and represents a broad spectrum of over thirty faith, labor, social justice and environmental organizations. The coalition’s name was inspired by the title of the Pope’s Encyclical. It includes the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, SanDiego350, Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego Organizing Project, St. Paul’s Cathedral, American Federation of Teachers Guild 1931, California Nurses Association, Foothills United Methodist Church, San
Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council Environmental Caucus, Islamic Center of San Diego, St. Stephen’s Cathedral Church of God in Christ, Cleveland National Forest Foundation, Climate Action Campaign, Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Bike San Diego, and Christian Fellowship Congregational Church United Church of Christ.
Sent on behalf of the San Diego Coalition to Preserve our Common Home by SanDiego350.