Georgia faith leaders echo Pope Francis’ call for climate action

This blog entry was written by Allie Brown, former Clean Energy Advocacy Manager at SACE.

Guest Blog | June 29, 2015 | Climate Change, Energy Policy, Solar
Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley voices his support

Last week, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light and Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign hosted a press conference in response to the Pope’s encyclical on the environment. Pope Francis’ newly released Encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, addresses the many environmental issues facing the planet today.

The press conference brought together diverse members of Georgia’s faith, scientific, business, environmental, and academic communities in support of the Pope’s commitment to mitigate human-induced climate change and respond to environmental degradation. Georgia Interfaith Power & Light’s Executive Director Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley, moderated the event, reading an official statement of support from the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

The event was held at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Decatur, Georgia, a parish that already has a strong commitment to conservation and clean energy. Hannah Solar, LLC, an Atlanta-based solar installation company, recently installed solar panels on St. Timothy’s roof through the Advanced Solar Initiative, a state program that allowed the parish to benefit from solar without bearing the upfront cost.

Rev. Daniel S. Dice, Clergy of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church

The Reverend of St. Timothy’s, Daniel S. Dice, emphasized the threats of global warming to our community and the need to leave the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. “The Holy Spirit’s work in us leads us as faithful consumers and investors in a global economy to make responsible choices to reduce energy use, carbon emissions, and the wasteful consumption of water and other natural resources,” Dice said. “We have the resources and responsibility to act together for the common good, especially for those most vulnerable to the effect of climate change.”

Atlanta Civil Rights leader Reverend Dr. Gerald L. Durley called climate change the civil rights issue of our time and encouraged the audience to stand up for climate action across the state. Georgia’s Sierra Club Beyond Coal organizer, Ian Karra, echoed Dr. Durley: “The Pope has issued a moral call to action, but the responsibility to chart the course forward is our own,” Karra said, focusing on EPA’s Clean Power Plan as a great opportunity for Georgia to greatly reduce carbon emissions.

The solar panels on St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church is just one example of clean energy making its way across the Peach State. With Governor Deal’s recent signage of of House Bill 57, come July 1, Georgians will be able to benefit from new residential solar financing options. The new law is expected to greatly expand Georgia rooftop solar and local clean energy jobs. For more information about HB 57, stay tuned for another blog entry later this week!

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