Rev. Canon Sally Bingham on the religious case for environmentalism

The author of “Love God Heal Earth: 21 Leading Religious Voices Speak Out on Our Sacred Duty to Protect the Environment” is a homemaker-turned- priest trying to reverse global warming from the pulpit. She is an environmental minister at Grace Cathedral, site of the annual Energy Oscars on Tuesday.

How did you get the idea to rally people of all faiths to fight climate change? The changes we need to make to combat climate change are cultural. No moral issue with a cultural change as the solution has ever happened in America without the voice of religion. Consider slavery, civil rights, women’s rights, women’s and children’s education.

Can religious leaders be more effective in bringing change? Religious leaders preaching about environmental stewardship from the pulpit are going to be more influential [than lawmakers]. So many people go to church and people trust the clergy. You have major institutions with 20,000 congregants coming to church every day. It’s hugely powerful.

What inspired you to become a priest? There was a disconnect between what Christians said they believed in and how they behaved. 

What kind of disconnect? I never heard a clergy person preach about stewardship of creation, yet we are called to be the caretakers. God put Adam in the garden to till and to keep it [Genesis, Chapter 2].
 

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