Role of Faith Communities

WIPL Statement on Global Climate Change

Why “a religious response to climate change”?
From “An Interfaith Declaration on the Moral Responsibility of the U.S. Government to Address Global Warming”:

This is an historic moment when Jews, Christians, and Muslims stand together in solidarity with a shared sense of moral purpose on global warming. We accept the overwhelming scientific evidence which forecasts extreme consequences for the Earth and all its inhabitants if we fail to act. We support each other as we take leadership in our distinctive religions to address this challenge to all of humankind.

Each of our diverse traditions has a common concern for creation. The Hebrew Bible calls us to "till and to keep" the garden. The Quran declares that God created the Earth in balance, and that human beings are the trustees of creation. Christians, too, are challenged to be stewards of the garden and to love our neighbors. All of our traditions call us to serve and protect the poor and vulnerable. And it is the world's poor, who contribute the least to this problem, who will suffer the most from global warming.

Our Earth is in great peril. We cannot risk the consequences of inaction. Recognizing that human beings are largely responsible for creating this problem we stand together as brothers and sisters dedicated to finding solutions.

Global warming is not just a political and economic issue. It is a moral and spiritual issue that calls for leadership from faith communities. Therefore, we are mobilizing a religious force that will persuade our legislators to take immediate action to curb greenhouse gases. We believe that placing science-based, mandatory limits on greenhouse emissions is one of the most effective ways to reverse the warming trend. These limits can be achieved in ways that will stimulate the economy, encourage technological innovation, and lift up the poor. We can begin by investing in renewable energy, embracing an ethic of conservation, and prioritizing a healthy environment.

Today we stand together as a religious force for change. We have seen the truth and must declare it. Global warming is real, it is human-induced, and we have the responsibility to act. We will work together in an historic effort to pave the way for a cultural change in America. And while recognizing our differences, we agree on a call to action. We stand together with a shared purpose: a reverence for life.


Wind Turbine Congregation

wind turbine congregation
Seated left to right: Vern Visick, Peter Bakken, Rev.
Jeff Wild, Rev. Dave Steffenson. Standing: Rev. Dick Blomker, unknown, Mark Daugherty, Atty. Ed Ritger.

As early as March of 2002, WICEC was arranging to hold a meeting to help
congregations construct their own wind turbines.

On January 20, 2006, a meeting was held at Rev. Wild's church to review
some of the hurdles that must be overcome before construction of
community or congregational wind turbines can occur. Many congregations
are since about our creation and are willing to expend resources to find
alternatives to our present "fossil fuel economy."

Protecting Our Creation

protecting our creationWorking can be fun as demonstrated by board members (left to
right): Joe Bachman, Sr. Janet Weyker, Wayne Stroessner, Rev. Dave
Steffenson, Dr. Huda Alkaff, Dr. Susan De Vos.

On April 19, 2006, Sr. Janet Weyker invited the entire WICEC Board of
Directors to participate in a clean-up at the Eco-Justice Center at 7133
Michna Road, Racine, Wisconsin.

The day's board meeting was preceded with a tour of the Eco-Justice
Center and Earth Day work projects that included chain sawing, stacking
of wood, clearing wood chips from spaces where stumps were removal and
filling them with top soil. Sr. Janet provided the board with and
environmentally friendly lunch. Huda arranged for a photographer and
writer from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to cover this WICEC
Interfaith Earth Month work project and meeting. The article with
excellent photos was published shortly after the meeting.

Part of the day included feeding the llamas.

feeding the llamas

Feeding the llamas.

Performing the Role of Faith Communities in Confronting the Challenge
Social Marketing is the science of changing people’s opinion and behavior by appealing to their values. The Biodiversity Project, located in Madison, has facilitated research showing that people of faith are one of most important target audiences for those hoping to affect lasting social change. Essentially, people of faith can unite around a common belief in moral and personal responsibility to protect the earth’s biodiversity.

In fact, Americans are ultimately persuaded not by scientific facts but by ethical arguments and for the majority of Americans, these are rooted in religious institutions and traditions. Jane Elder, executive director of the Project, therefore lists the following reasons for bringing religious ethics into the environmental realm: “…Most lasting social change is anchored in a deep moral imperative…values-based rationales for protecting [the Earth’s environment] are widely held and persuasive…reframing the debate humanizes and personalizes choices about [environmental sustainability]…[and] understanding ethics will help us make better decisions on complex issues.”


Dr. Peter Bakken, State Coordinator
Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light
750 Windsor Street - Suite # 301
Sun Prairie, WI 53590-2149
PH: (608) 837- 3108
(c/o Wisconsin Council of Churches)
(c) 2010 WIPL. All rights reserved.