On October 4th, Pope Francis shared a re-consideration of his 2015 Laudato Si’ encyclical, "Laudate Deum". It was a starking reminder that insufficient change has occurred in the last 8 years. The Pope states:  “I cannot deny that it is necessary to be honest and recognize that the most effective solutions will not come from individual efforts alone, but above all from major political decisions on the national and international level.”
Similarly, a recent technical report produced by the Chesapeake Bay Program, referred to as the CESR Report, summarized potential root causes for why, after four decades of Bay restoration efforts, the Bay is still suffering and out of balance. The CESR report cites a few significant science-based gaps: modeled impacts overestimated what true results would be, and the lag time in realizing reduced pollution from installed projects is far greater than scientists originally calculated. But, the report also pointed to two other important root causes. First, not enough big properties are implementing changes, suggesting we cannot rely on individual changes at home alone. And second, voluntary action alone is insufficient in accelerating improvements, suggesting that incentivized, legislated, and regulated changes are important.
So, essentially, the Pope and the CESR report arrived at a similar conclusion: those in power need to drive change at a legislative and regulatory level...and we need to drive them. The individual changes that have occurred among people like you for decades have driven a shift in the norms and led to greater awareness, understanding, and acceptance of the cultural changes that are needed. Now, with urgency, we must put pressure on our elected officials to drive change at the legislative level.
Nearly 150 people gathered last week at IPC’s first Chesapeake Champions Interfaith Breakfast. We came together to get energized as we head into the 2024 Maryland Legislative Session. We heard Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee Vice-Chair Regina T. Boyce speak about the importance of elevating the faith voice in the legislative process, going so far as saying that when she is contacted about a bill by Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, it gets her attention -- she knows it’s important! Renee Cooper of US Wind and Rev. Margaret Bracks of St. Albans Episcopal Church reminded us that there is so much misinformation out there, that the educational work you lead at your congregations is critical in changing hearts and minds at the grassroots level.
But, more action is needed at the legislative level, and Senator Benjamin Brooks underscored the significance of Maryland legislation passed that made permanent community solar incentives. Systemic changes like this are going to be essential, every year, until we get this back on track. At the same time, projects like rain gardens, tree plantings, installing solar panels, and more, remain critical, and Kristen Fidler, Assistant Secretary for Aquatic Resources for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, stressed the crucial role of the faith community as a partner in manifesting real project implementation.
Those in power need to hear from us -- clearly and frequently. So, please join our circle of Advocacy Volunteers to be more regularly engaged in influencing legislators and effecting change.
- We have added new staff this year, Antoinette Rucker, to help us have and even greater influence on legislators during the session.
- Let Antoinette know if you are interested in joining our Advocacy Committee or getting involved in a bigger way.
- Complete this survey to let us know what your 2024 legislative priorities are for Maryland.
We in the US are a big part of the global problem. The US emits two times the amount of emissions than a single person in China, and 7 times more than the average of the poorest countries. But, you have a chance right now to drive increased off-shore wind production and help the US give up fossil fuels.
Right now, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is soliciting input from the public on how much ocean seafloor off Maryland & Delaware should be leased for renewable wind energy production through the installation of wind turbines. Anyone, no matter which state you live in, can voice support for this -- and it’s easy with an online form! Click here to voice your support for off-shore wind. Click on the blue comment box on the left. Let’s be louder than the anti-wind campaign! Here are IPC’s comments, which you are welcome to use verbatim or put in your own words.
In closing, the way forward is two-fold. While sustaining our work in our communities to increase adoption of Earth-loving behaviors, we must also magnify our collective voice during the legislative session. You have an invitation right here to join our Advocacy Volunteers and magnify your voice with our network for greater impact.
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