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Interfaith Moral Action on Climate

Linking Energy Conservation and Faith Communities

Looking out over the audience, I saw that the room was filled with every seat taken and a number of participants standing along the edges. It was a gathering sponsored by the White House office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, attended by more than 150 representatives of widely diverse faith groups and congregations from across the country. Their common interest? Energy savings. A dollar saved [President Obama establishing the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Photo: White House] through energy conservation is a dollar that can be redirected toward more worthwhile ends – of which the various faiths have many.

How Faith Communities Are Supporting the Earth

Historian Lynn White, Jr. kick-started a discussion of religion and the environment in 1967 with an article in Science titled “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.” Environmental disasters were accelerating in the sixties in America and helped establish an annual Earth Day celebration in 1970. White, a distinguished professor at UCLA, laid the blame for an uncaring, abusive, destructive attitude towards nature on Christianity’s door. White’s brilliance and the audacity of the claim gave rise to a host of discussions, approving and disapproving, that eventually led in many different directions.