Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Year of the Forests

Interfaith Power and Light is asking everyone to support the Year of the Forests.
Today, I want to share an update about our project with the Presbyterian Chuch in Ghana. The project team planted 2540 seedlings this year, establishing a brand new three-acre community forest. Now, funding is needed before the end of the year to maintain the farm and protect the land from fires. Also, the project teaches alternative livelihoods to locals — from bee keeping to snail farming — that prevent further land degradation. The project presents an opportunity to rebuild our relationship with both the natural world and communities on the front lines of climate change, honoring our sacred call of stewardship as well as loving our neighbors.

Protecting the climate will require international as well as interfaith cooperation and solidarity. One country, or one religion, can't do it alone. We in the U.S. must reduce our own oversized carbon footprint, as I know so many of our congregations have done, and we must also find ways to help vulnerable people around the world be part of the solution. That's why we call this project Carbon Covenant.

Forests are the lungs of the world, and play a crucial role in the climate by absorbing CO2 emissions. We all depend on the forests for survival. As people around the world focus on forests this year, it is fitting that the faith community is poised to play a leading role. I hope you will get your congregation, diocese, judicatory, province, or community involved, and sponsor a project. We also welcome your support as an individual.

On a personal note, I can't finish this letter about forests without saying how saddened I was by the passing last week of my friend and colleague Wangari Matthai, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her extraordinary tree planting and women's empowerment efforts in Africa. But I take heart in knowing that her legacy lives on with her Greenbelt Movement, and with the enormous hope and inspiration she gave to people in Africa and all over the world.

Join the Carbon Covenant

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