Climate change has reached a crisis of severe environmental, social and moral consequences. Scientists have concluded that the severe effects of global warming are primarily due to human activity - the burning of fossil fuels, destruction of forests, and release of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide.
Alaska itself has been affected by melting permafrost and glaciers and erosion that is destroying arctic villages. We see it in the rapid melting of the Mendenhall Glacier and the melting-induced flooding and erosion in the Mendenhall Valley. Ocean warming and acidification will profoundly affect our fisheries.
Climate change is also a social justice concern. It is unjust that the United States, the world's richest nation, with 4% of the world's population, emits 15% of the world's global warming causing greenhouse gases. The poorest among us will be the ones most affected by the climate-induced heat waves, floods, famine and drought.
Every major faith tradition calls us to be good stewards of the environment and to accept our responsibility to care for Creation. We all can share in the protection of the earth for our children and future generations.