Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders often see environmental concern as a duty to honor God by protecting his creation, Bingham said. Buddhists have described it as a duty to maintain balance in the universe, she said.
“Religious leaders are used to saying our responsibility is saving souls. But many have come to realize that if we don’t protect our air, water and resources, there won’t be any souls to save.”
Bingham said Bartholomew “is one of the first leaders of a huge denomination to make this connection.”
Rev. Bingham serves as the Environmental Minister at Grace Episcopal Cathedral and chairs the Commission on the Environment for the Diocese of California where she was installed as Canon for Environmental Ministry. In a recent commentary, “The Resources from Heaven,” she wrote:
… I would describe those fossil fuels such as oil and coal as the fuels from hell—from the dark places of the earth. Besides providing those sources of energy, God provided energy from heaven—wind and sun. We have overused the resources from hell and we have barely explored the ones from heaven, which are clean, renewable and infinite.
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I hope that Jesus, Ghandi and other heroic prophets with visions for a peaceful future will make space in heaven for Rep. Henry Waxman, a man who laid the foundation for a new world economy with his bill supporting a cap-and-trade market-based mechanism to reduce the world’s greenhouse gases. I say “the world” because without the U.S. making a strong commitment to reduce its own emissions, other countries such as China and India will not make the effort either. All eyes are on the U.S. right now. Instead of looking at the past to dictate the future, we need to be more visionary ourselves and create a new future that provides security and health and peace for all of God’s creation.