|Climate & The Black Church|
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Statement DRAFTERS: Dr. Samuel Tolbert, Jr. (President, National Baptist Convention of America), Dr. Jessie Bottoms (Vice President, National Baptist Convention USA), Bishop Seth Lartey (AMEZ), Bishop Ronald Cunningham (CME), Dr. Carroll Baltimore (Global United Fellowship), Dr. Leonard Lovett (COGIC)
As leaders in the Black Church, we view climate change as a moral issue and one of the greatest public health challenges of our time, particularly for black and other marginalized communities. Breathing dirty, carbon-polluted air, that causes climate change contributes to thousands of asthma attacks, hospital visits, and premature deaths every year. Black and lower income communities are often hit the hardest by climate change in the United States. In Genesis, breath is declared a God given right, yet, almost 40 percent of the six million Americans living in close proximity to a coal power plant are people of color.
We value responsible stewardship that provides healthy neighborhoods and connects people to jobs that promote vitality and economic security. We believe that President Obama’s Clean Power Plan can help address these issues by providing guidance for reducing carbon and other pollution in our communities; the plan also has the potential to encourage the development of cleaner industries to power our everyday activities that provide much-needed job opportunities for our constituencies
We affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind. We will work as leaders of the Black Church to educate and empower our own congregations. Similarly, we will work actively to engage and collaborate with other marginalized communities in our advocacy efforts. We urge our national, state and local decision makers to craft policies that strengthen black communities.