This past July, Episcopal Bishops, clergy, and lay leaders gathered in Austin, Texas for General Convention. Included in their agenda were over a dozen environmental resolutions indicating a strong commitment to caring for God’s creation.
One of the adopted resolutions states the willingness of the Episcopal Church to be part of the Paris Agreement, the international agreement signed in December 2015 to limit the pollution that causes global warming. A related proposal encourages trees to be planted to symbolize the accord, as “Paris Groves.” Much like we inhale oxygen to breathe, trees inhale carbon dioxide and use it for their process of photosynthesis. Planting trees will help remove carbon dioxide, a harmful pollutant, from the air.
Another adopted resolution calls for the endorsement of governmental policies that reduce carbon emissions. One such policy is a carbon fee that works like a cigarette tax and bag fees. At some stores, if you want a bag, you have to pay for it. Taxes on cigarettes, which can be quite high, make them more expensive. A carbon fee would work similarly: the cost of fossil fuels, like the gas we fill up our cars with and the coal that fires more than half of our electricity plants, would rise. More people would opt not to buy fossil fuels and spend their money instead on cost-effective alternatives. Necessity is the mother of invention. When presented with the need to save money, we will find new ways to go about our work and carry out our lives. We might even find that we like the new ways of doing things!
The Episcopal News Service article, “General Convention Reinforces its Creation Care Stance” is a great overview of all the resolutions. Look for it online. And keep looking for ways to minimize your carbon footprint.
By Monica Lewis
Stewards of the Earth Committee