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February 15, 2013

Faith Community, National Preach-In Challenge Leaders on Climate

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"People of all traditions and faiths need to ask ourselves hard questions about how our religious convictions call us to use the rich but limited resources of our earthly home," said Reverend Ian W. Riddell.

That was the prevailing message at this past weekend's "global warming preach-in" at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Las Vegas in partnership with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign.

"We know the truth that we do not just live on the earth -- we are a part of its life," said Riddell. "We are not stewards of but participants in the wondrous working of nature and the environment."

The event was part of the National Preach-In on Global Warming, which called upon community leaders across the country to fight for environmental protections designed to help those most affected by our changing world. Amid drought, storms, and sea-level rise with an intensity never seen before, many in the faith community have recognized the hardships and challenges poor and disadvantaged families face.

"Crippling drought, devastating wildfires, and superstorm Sandy have brought climate change home, and Southern Nevadans know that the time to act is now," said Elspeth Cordua, organizer with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign.

Carbon pollution from coal plants is the main contributor to climate disruption and is linked locally to life-threatening air pollution. In the lead up to this past weekend's preach-in, the Episcopal Church Province 8 passed a resolution expressing concerns for the well-being of families living in the Moapa Band of Paiutes reservation who have to deal with emissions from the Reid Gardner Generating Station, a coal fired power plant. The resolution was passed unanimously by the Indigenous Ministries Network of the Episcopal Church Province 8 -- representing dioceses from Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Arizona, and Navajo land -- calling for the replacement of coal fired power plants with renewable energy resources.

The national preach-in, led by Interfaith Power & Light, includes thousands of clergy, lay leaders, and other people of faith who are concerned about human-caused climate disruption. It was a prelude to this weekend's massive Forward on Climate Rally in Washington, D.C., which is anticipated to be the largest climate rally in U.S. history. Solidarity rallies will also take place across multiple U.S. cities -- from Denver to Los Angeles to Michigan. These historic rallies will include more than just environmentalists; members of all communities concerned with the planet’s future and our leaders’ inaction will be there to demand meaningful climate solutions.

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