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Religious Leaders Celebrate Earth Day
Address Climate Change

Washington, D.C. (April 17, 2006) Four leaders representing a wide spectrum of religious faiths will discuss the importance of taking action to address global warming at an Earth Day Network (EDN) live internet chat on Friday, April 21, 3-5 p.m. EDT.

Religious Response to Climate Change is the second of two live web-casts which will help launch EDN’s new Earth Day Television. The panel discussion, co-hosted by Interfaith Power and Light, will highlight the views of various faiths as religious communities become increasingly more vocal and active on the issue of climate change.

"Global warming is the greatest moral issue of our time. It threatens all of life and thus people of faith must answer the call to environmental stewardship for the sake of all who live on this earth," said The Rev. Sally Bingham, executive director of The Regeneration Project and the Interfaith Power & Light campaign. "We must contribute to the solutions in order to secure a healthy future for our children. Practical solutions to climate change are available and we need to begin implementing them. It is immoral not to do so."

The religious panel includes Rev. Richard Cizik, National Association of Evangelicals; Rev. Alida M. DeCoster, Unitarian Universalist Association Washington Office; Rabbi Daniel Swartz, Coordinator for Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light; and Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University.

“Accepting the scientific validity of climate change is a 'threshold issue' for the evangelical movement, which indicates a willingness to overcome historic suspicions about environmental science,” said panelist Rev. Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals. “But that is exactly what's necessary in order to not only understand what's occurring to this planet but to be part of the solution. Those who reject such a role for our [evangelical] movement risk a lot, namely, to be on the wrong side of history."

Panelist Imam Yahya Hendi, muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, agrees and added. “Acts of worship involve respect and sincerity towards others, and humility to our Lord, however, we are neglecting a vital component of our lives that we must begin to recognize: care for our home and silent nurturer, the Earth.”

Panelist Rev. Alida DeCoster notes that Unitarian Universalists have drafted statements about the potential dangers of greenhouse gases since 1977. “The 2006 draft ‘Statement of Conscience’ of the Universalist Association states that the Earth is our home and Unitarian Universalists are called to defer to a balance between our individual needs and those of all other organisms,” said DeCoster. “Spiritual growth leads us to a broader identification with all of life, so that we recognize more and more that damage to any part of the ecosystem affects the whole.”

Religious Response to Climate Change will be directly in response to climate change issues raised during a scientific panel discussion from 1-3p.m. EDT at the same location, the AARP Broadcast Center, 601 E Street, NW, Washington, DC. Both panel discussions will be featured live on Earth Day Television, as part of Earth Day Network’s new Climate Change Solutions campaign.

EDN is also encouraging churches, synagogues and other institutions of faith to address climate change in their sermons and addresses on Sunday, April 23rd, immediately following Earth Day. EDN has prepared Religious Earth Day in a Box, which is all the information you need to organize your own event, get involved, and help combat climate change. www.earthday.net/resources/2006materials/EarthDay-in-a-Box.pdf

About Earth Day Network:

Earth Day Network was founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970 and promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. Earth Day Network’s global network reaches more than 12,000 organizations in 174 countries. Earth Day is celebrated by more than half a billion people each year making it the largest secular holiday in the world. April 22, 2006 marks the 36th anniversary of Earth Day.

About The Regeneration Project/Interfaith Power and Light The mission of The Regeneration Project is to deepen the connection between ecology and faith. Our Interfaith Power and Light campaign is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in congregations by promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation. Interfaith Power and Light affiliates currently work in 18 states and Greater Washington DC. More information is available at the organization's website: www.TheRegenerationProject.org

Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and author of Faith, Science and the Future, published in 1994 by CrossCurrents Press. He is also the author of God and Science (John Knox / Westminster, 1986) which he is now rewriting to incorporate more recent developments in the conversation taking place between scientists and theologians. He has also written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The Nation, Commonweal, The Christian Century and others.

For further information about Charles Henderson.