"Be the Church" was at the top of a sign some people carried at the big People's Climate March in Washington, D.C. on April 29. Then, it got specific: "Love your neighbor. Care for the children. Protect God’s Creation." These were not separate statements. Today, love of neighbor and care for children are impossible if we do not protect God's creation.
I spotted this sign when I joined an estimated 200,000 people at the People's Climate March in Washington on April 29. Many people were clearly there because their faith tells them that God’s creation is sacred and their presence was needed at the march to make an important statement about that to the world. More specifically, their presence was needed to make a statement to the Trump administration about not rolling back the environmental regulations and protections put in place by former President Obama.
It was a day that I was especially proud to be a Catholic, someone who could point to the leadership of Pope Francis on this issue with his landmark encyclical, Laudato Si'. Still, that document has long since become an interfaith manifesto, calling people of many faith traditions to do what is necessary to preserve Planet Earth. As one sign said at the march, "There is no Planet B."
In Washington, it was a beastly hot day for April, reaching 91 degrees Fahrenheit. But there was some poetic justice in that, since part of climate change involves a warming of the planet.
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One can hope that this march, and the dozens of “sister marches” that took place nationwide, will have some impact on the policies of this administration. After all, the overwhelming majority of scientists (over 95 percent) regard climate change as a fact of life right now. (That was, in large measure, the reason for the "March for Science" the weekend before, on April 22. It urged respect for science, but especially climate science.)
There have been times in history when faith and science have been at odds. No more. The People's Climate March proclaimed that now is the time for faith and science to come together in one mass movement, essential to save our planet.