Protecting the natural world and its creatures (collectively known to people of faith as God's Creation) from the ravages of greed and industry, is an increasingly important subject in the spiritual community. Some religious leaders would even argue there is a moral imperative to take action on behalf of future generations. What shape that action takes can range widely depending on the views and conviction of the people in question.
Pope Francis has called on Catholics to take urgent action on climate change. In his encyclical entitled Laudato Si he notes that climate inaction disproportionately affects the world's poorest populations and that failure to act collectively and decisively will carry grave implications for future life on earth. As a result, Catholic institutions have begun to divest. The stewardship of our planet has become an increasingly important topic and mobilization has begun.
Evangelical Christians, long opposed to any science-based discussions on climate change have begun to take action. The Evangelical Climate Initiative seeks to break through the tired and misguided attitudes that have pitted religion against science where it pertains to climate change.
The Southern Baptist Convention recently issued a statement on climate change which included the following language:
"We believe our current denominational engagement with these issues have often been too timid, failing to produce a unified moral voice. Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed. We can do better. To abandon these issues to the secular world is to shirk from our responsibility to be salt and light. The time for timidity regarding God’s creation is no more."
Faith-based groups of all denominations are beginning to take action on climate change. Citizen's Climate Lobby has put together an amazing resource of statements made by almost every religion active in the United States.
The untapped potential in these communities in terms of divestment cannot be overstated. As individuals and people of faith we must initiate dialogue with our faith-leaders about how divesting from fossil fuels is an important step in aligning investment holdings with the basic principals of good environmental stewardship. When religious organizations mobilize their numbers and divest their holdings in fossil fuels, the clean energy transition will be advanced and the sustainability of our planet for future generations will be preserved and protected.