I have a lot of heroes, but Cal DeWitt is high on the list. Before anyone else, he was at work building the religious environmental movement in this country, and he has never wavered – the fact that evangelical leaders from across the theological spectrum last year signed a statement of concern about climate change owes more to his leadership than anyone else’s. So he was one of the first people I turned to when we launched Stepitup07.org. He immediately sent a letter to 60 evangelical seminaries and colleges, and wrote a post for our blog that ended like this:
I am pleased to join you in taking one spring day and use it to reshape the future. Science is on our side; and the deep ethical and moral fabric of America is on our side.
We now need a movement – one that will produce the largest rally ever to address – seriously and NOW – the great emerging crisis of global warming and climate change!
And with his help that’s just what we’re delivering. Parts of the faith community are stepping up to the challenge with real vigor. Not only evangelicals but also Unitarians, Presbyterians, Orthodox Jews, and everyone else who can feel the horror of the de-creation we’re now engaged in. (Since I’m an old Methodist Sunday School teacher, I’m always glad to see one of those Wesleyan congregations signing up on our Web site.) One group has even launched an interfaith walk across Massachusetts in the early spring to draw attention to the cause!
But we need more religious involvement, because it’s one of the ways we can show wavering congressmen and women that this isn’t an “alternative” movement – that instead it comes straight from the heart of America. And straight from the heart of the gospel tradition, with its paramount call for love of neighbor. At the moment, the 4 percent of us in this country produce a quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide – once you look at maps of rising sea levels and spreading mosquitoes, you realize that we’ve probably never figured out a way to hate our neighbors around the world much more effectively. That’s got to stop – and with your help on April 14, we will take the first big steps to making it stop.
Bill McKibben wrote the first book for a general audience about global warming, The End of Nature, way back in 1989. His new book is Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future .