“It is in hope of God’s promised fulfillment that we hear the call to justice; it is in hope that we take action. When we act interdependently and in solidarity with creation, we do justice. We serve and keep the earth, trusting its bounty can be sufficient for all, and sustainable.” ELCA Social Statement – Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice, 1993
In 2021 LAMPa is focused on two priorities: Addressing climate change and working to secure clean air, land, and water for all.
PROTECTING ALL OF CREATION, ESPECIALLY THE MOST VULNERABLE
Addressing Climate Change
LAMPa will work to promote emissions standards to mitigate climate change, including equipping congregations to make sound choices regarding their own practices, such as energy consumption. This includes working to secure funds to adequately monitor and regulate such emissions as well as promoting energy efficiency and development of clean sources of energy. In this work, LAMPa will encourage sustainable development across Pennsylvania, but particularly in areas whose economies currently depend upon fossil fuel extraction or processing, and support efforts to create resiliency among the most vulnerable populations – frequently of low-income and Black and Latinx communities — who face the brunt of the effects of climate change here and around the globe.
Protecting Clean Air, Water and Land
LAMPa will work to protect the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink by advocating for adequate funding for agencies charged with enforcing and promoting those protections as well as assistance for landowners attempting to prevent or mitigate pollution. We will also work to prevent rollbacks in regulations that would threaten health and safety.
- Power plants are the single largest source of carbon dioxide pollution in the United States and contribute greatly to climate change.
- Climate change is already causing extreme weather events that impact communities around the world and pose a threat to global agriculture.
- Pollution from carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases impacts human health and disproportionately affects our most vulnerable friends and neighbors.
Water is a fundamental component of all life. Care for water resources is part of our call to be stewards of God’s creation. Water is also a critical part of our spiritual life as Christians — welcoming us into our life as Christians through baptism, and forming a powerful thread throughout the scriptures, symbolizing life, faith and the love of God.
Dr. Gil Waldkoenig, Professor of Church and Society at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg led this theological reflection on water for LAMPa on May 27, 2015. Hear the recording in two parts:
- Water – Part 1, 17 min. 2 Kings 5 – Story of Naaman being cleansed in the water. Water concerns globally and in Pa. Human arrogance and the limits to water use.
- Water – Part 2, 13 min. Lutheran theological commitments regarding fresh water.
For over six years now LAMPa has been focused on storm water in Pa., the primary source of water contamination in our state.
Pennsylvania boasts 83,161 miles of streams and more than 3,900 lakes, reservoirs, and ponds. Our abundant water resources support forests, fish and wildlife, and provide more than four billion gallons of ground and surface water per day for human use. Population growth and development have radically altered the natural systems that filter and manage rainfall and runoff into surface waters, with consequences ranging from poor water quality to flooding, severe erosion, and droughts.
Stormwater runoff results when the amount of rain falling exceeds the land’s ability to absorb it. Without treatment, most of the stormwater that runs from the land into our waterways is unhealthy for people and bad for the environment. Runoff can carry chemicals, metals, bacteria, viruses, organic compounds, and other pollutants directly into creeks, lakes, rivers, and streams. Stormwater runoff can also cause severe erosion and flooding.
LAMPa will encourage economic development in Pennsylvania that is sustainable for all of creation, including workers and those who depend upon them.
Conservation of Public Lands
LAMPa will oppose degradation or diminishment of the health of public lands such as state parks and forests.
Stay tuned for action opportunities.
Find resources on caring for creation:
Lutherans Restoring Creation seeks to empower and equip ELCA congregations, synods, seminaries, colleges and universities, outdoor ministry sites, public policy offices, social ministry organizations, and the ELCA churchwide leadership to embrace caring for creation in more substantive and meaningful ways. Lutherans Restoring Creation (“LRC”) is a program designed to encourage the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to incorporate care for creation into its full life and mission at all levels.
National Religious Partnership for the Environment. NRPE is an association of independent faith groups across a broad spectrum: the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops along with its affiliated program arm the Catholic Climate Covenant, the National Council of Churches USA and its affiliate Creation Justice Ministries, the Jewish Council on Public Affairs and its affiliate the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Evangelical Environmental Network.
Creation Justice Ministries educates, equips and mobilizes Christian communions/denominations, congregations and individuals to protect, restore, and rightly share God’s Creation.
GreenFaith‘s mission is to inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership. Our work is based on beliefs shared by the world’s great religions – we believe that protecting the earth is a religious value, and that environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility.
The EPA has created EJSCREEN, an environmental justice screening and mapping tool. The new tool uses high resolution maps combined with demographic and environmental data to identify places with potentially elevated environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. EJSCREEN’s simple to understand color-coded maps, bar charts, and reports enable users to better understand areas in need of increased environmental protection, health care access, housing, infrastructure improvement, community revitalization, and climate resilience. Access the new tool here.