Ken Plum, state Delegate from Reston, wrote several opinion pieces in the Connection on the imperative to act on climate change. He rightly notes that all of us must take personal responsibility for actions to heal the Earth. But he recognizes the special responsibility and urgency that our elected officials in Washington, Richmond and Fairfax have to pass legislation and to enact regulation to avoid the catastrophic consequences projected by the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In Plum's recent op-ed, he observed that some in the faith communities do not believe that God could allow creation to be trashed irreparably by humans who were given “dominion” over the earth and all its creatures, citing the first story of creation in Genesis 1:26. An alternative to "dominion" is described in Genesis 2:15: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” We must be gardeners, preservers of God's gifts.
The Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, a nonpartisan 501c3 organization in Northern Virginia organizes people of faith from more than 70 congregations from nearly every denomination to work together to solve climate change. We do not doubt the overwhelming results of scientific research that climate change is real, that humans are causing it, that it’s harming people right now, and it’s going to get a lot worse unless we act urgently to be far better stewards, gardeners than we’ve been. We are called by simple morality and by the core beliefs of our faiths to be stewards and servants of creation, not exploiters and polluters.
It’s essential that Delegate Plum and his colleagues in the House of Delegates and Senate press enactment of legislation to promote alternatives to fossil fuel extraction and burning, reduce single use plastic and other waste streams, and strengthen the sustainability and resilience of our communities to the public health threat of extreme weather. Air pollution in Virginia, such as the million tons of greenhouse gases coming from the Covanta trash incinerator and the 300,000 tons of incinerator ash every year piled up on the I-95 landfill sickens children and elderly, lengthening and heightening the asthma season. Heat waves in Virginia sicken and kill people who work outside -- construction, agriculture, landscaping workers. We need action in Richmond, Delegate Plum.