Persons of faith can sincerely differ over matters of public policy, and deep concern for creation's plight recognizes no political boundaries. Religious communities engage environmental policy with diverse approaches and priorities. Advocacy is only one part of the spectrum of religious response. However, it can express powerfully that the faithful do care; that caring must lead to action; and that efforts by individuals, families, and congregations -- though essential -- are not, by themselves, enough.
Whether by holding community forums, writing letters, visiting state or national representatives, making public statements, or meeting with business leaders, people of faith play a unique role in bringing out the moral and religious dimensions of environmental policies and laws.
Public Policy Positions, Priorities and Principles
- Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life:
- The Environmental Policy Agenda of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, available on its website, is formulated through the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, which develops consensus positions on a wide range of public affairs issues for the organized Jewish community.
- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- Environmental Justice Program:
- The public policy framework, priorities, and focus of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's Environmental Justice Program can be found on their website.
- "Naysayers and Doomsayers: How Do We Sort Out the Differences in the Ongoing Environmental Debate?" offers perspective and guidance in dealing with controversial environmental issues. Included in And God Saw That It Was Good: Catholic Theology and the Environment, eds. Drew Christiansen and Walter Grazer.
- Global Climate Change provides an overview of the USCCB position on the issue of climate change and why action and advocacy are called for.
- Catholic Climate Change Justice and Health Initiative offers climate change advocacy opportunities at the state, national, and international levels.
- Global Climate Change and our Catholic Response (PDF) from the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services' Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative outlines the criteria which morally acceptable climate legislation must meet.
- USCCB's Environmental Justice Around the Country offers a broad consideration of many environmental issues within the context of Church teaching.
- National Council of Churches -- Eco-Justice Program:
- A group of theologians and ethicists convened by the National Council of Churches developed an ecumenical statement of theological and ethical principles for environmental policy, "God's Earth is Sacred: An Open Letter to Church and Society in the United States."
- Individual member denominations of the NCC have issued statements setting forth principles for environmental policy and taking positions on particular environmental issues.
- "Public Policy Action," by Shantilal Bhagat, gives reasons for moving from being personally concerned about the environment to becoming politically active. One of twelve adult education sessions from the congregational kit God's Earth, Our Home.
- Evangelical Environmental Network:
- EEN's website addresses the moral and religious implications of policy issues such as mercury pollution and climate change, and its " What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign site covers issues of transportation and fuel consumption.
- Creation Care, EEN's bimonthly magazine, published six times a year, features articles on current environmental issues from an evangelical perspective.
- Advocacy Helps
- Sign up for legislative action alerts from The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life on the Alerts section of their website.
- Some mainline Protestant denominations have advocacy offices that help their members to keep up-to-date on the issues and to communicate their concerns to lawmakers, government officials, corporate executives, for example:
- The Episcopal Public Policy Network
- The Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)
- The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office
- The United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society
- The United Church of Christ Take Action Center
- "Advocating for Environmental Legislation" offers advice on empowering congregants to write letters to elected officials and connect with the Jewish community's advocacy efforts. Available on COEJL's website in the Program Bank under "Advocacy" and in To Till and to Tend.
Advocacy by Issues
Examples of public policy statements on specific issues are available on this site:
- By Partnership Group:
- By Issue Area: