We prayed and we organized. We amplified the voices of directly impacted communities and we met with elected officials and high level decision makers. We held press conferences and wrote letters. We widely distributed our Governing Board’s published statement condemning the construction of pipelines such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
And It Worked!
The announcement of the cancellation of the toxic $8 billion, 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a victory beyond measure. It is a win for the people, a win for the planet, a win for the entirety of God’s Creation. Entrusted with the stewardship of this creation (Genesis 1:28-30), we can do no other than continue making decisions that keep each other and our planet healthy.
It is now time for Duke Energy to enact the values of their 2020 Climate Report by investing in renewable energy, battery storage, energy efficiency programs and grid projects in order to fully commit to achieving a net zero carbon future.
Now is also a time of great opportunity for North Carolina. The 2020 Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan is the state’s most comprehensive effort to date, based on science and stakeholder input, to address North Carolina’s vulnerability to climate change.
The N.C. Council of Churches has a long history of standing in the breach for the environment, predating even the landmark Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. As the Creation Care program of the Council, NC Interfaith Power and Light’s education and advocacy campaigns encourage clergy and members of congregations to be aware and be able to articulate the moral dimensions of climate change and environmental justice issues.
As part of a letter delivered to Governor Roy Cooper, Department of Energy Quality Secretary Michael Regan, and N.C. policy staff in opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Copeland – Executive Director of the NC Council of Churches stated:
“We start with the believers, the believers in climate change, the believers in renewable energy, the believers in environmental justice, the believers in responsible regulation. We work with these people to help us advocate with and educate on behalf of the others.
As people of faith and in my case, the Christian faith, we have a God-given responsibility to care for creation. It is the single greatest gift of the creator to the creatures. Without it, we don’t exist. Without respecting and maintaining the precarious and tender balance that allows life on this planet, we won’t survive.”
Shutting down an enormous project like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline proves how strong our legal system and democracy can be, especially when people of faith call on these systems from a moral imperative.
All the struggles and opportunities of 2020 – “a year of perfect vision” – are providing clarity on how we see the world, what we need to focus on, and how critical organizing our communities is in protecting the people and places that we love.
This is our time to win!