As we urge our members and friends to join us on April 29th to march for Climate, Jobs, and Justice with the People’s Climate Movement, frontline communities, and communities of faith all across the nation, the Franciscan Action Network wants to ensure that all those interested, curious, or ready to take action are familiar with the narrative behind why we are marching globally, nationally, and as people of faith.
While climate change remains a divisive national and global issue, we at the Franciscan Action Network are committed to increasing our efforts to advocate for and promote universal care for creation. We recognize that climate change disproportionately affects those in frontline communities: refugees, those living in inner city and coastal neighborhoods, those living in poverty, and any who do not have the resources to adapt to the extreme weather events, resource scarcity, and overall insecurity caused by a changing climate. Our Franciscan faith has propelled us to act on climate change and environmental degradation with justice and compassion, and we want to share the ways in which we have been working to do our part to advocate for care of the earth and all those who inhabit it.
Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency thus far has been marked with stark evidence that he is attempting to render climate change and environmental degradation invisible because they don’t fit into his agenda. He has made good on several of his most concerning campaign promises, including defunding the EPA and beginning the process of dismantling widely protective Obama-era environmental regulations such as the Waters of the United States rule and the Clean Power Plan. President Trump has lifted a moratorium on federal coal leasing and has approved the building and operations of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. He also has made it clear that he intends to dismantle the Antiquities Act, which has protected national monuments and public land since the early 20th century, and he is pushing for the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreements, a pact that represents the strongest global effort to cut carbon emissions in history. The President has surrounded himself with staff members and advisors who downplay and deny climate change, most notably Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Head of the EPA Scott Pruitt, further reinforcing his values (or lack thereof) around environmental and climate protection.
The Franciscan Action Network has publicly spoken out against these aggressively anti-environmental, anti-human policies, beginning with vocally expressing our rejection of Scott Pruitt as Head of the EPA. Our statements made against repeal of the Clean Power Plan were picked up recently by the National Catholic Reporter. We spoke out strongly against approval of the Keystone Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline, proudly joining with a number of interfaith groups to produce a statement expressing our support of and solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. Additionally, while we condemn the Trump administration’s deplorable stance on refugees and immigrants in and of itself, we also recognize how climate change is further exacerbating the situation by forcing vulnerable populations out of their homes and countries, creating waves of climate refugees. We have strongly supported immigrant and refugee rights along with many other faith groups, as picked up by the Huffington Post.
We continue to move forward ahead of the March in living out the responsibility we know we have to the planet. We will continue to use the language necessary to describe our reality, though the Trump administration chooses to hide from it. And we will continue to fight for the peaceful, equitable world we wish to see.