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California UM's Join Interfaith Coalition To Lobby Feds For Climate Justice


Tuesday May 22, 3:30 pm Eastern Time

Press Release

California Religious Leaders Set Bush Energy Plan Against ``Biblical Standards of Stewardship, Justice'' at Federal Building Rally

Religious Activists From Across California Sign ``Let There Be Light: An Open Letter to the President, Congress, and American People,'' Launching Grassroots Campaign to Promote Climate Justice, Conservation

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 22, 2001-- Capping three days of strategic planning, representatives of major American faith groups gathered today at an emergency interfaith rally for energy conservation and climate justice at the Federal Building in Westwood.

Faith leadership, including the Right Rev. Frederick H. Borsch of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles; the Rev. Albert G. Cohen, director of the Southern California Ecumenical Council and executive board member of California Interfaith Power and Light; Lee H. Wallach, executive board member of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life of Southern California (COEJL/SC); and Barry A. Smedberg, executive director of the San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council, joined other faith leadership to sign and present ``Let There Be Light: An Open Letter to the President, Congress, and American People,'' at the Westwood Federal Building in coordination with a Washington, D.C., interfaith rally on the steps of the Capitol.

Rabbi Harvey Fields, of Wilshire Boulevard Temple and co-founder of the Los Angeles Interfaith Environment Council, who endorsed the letter, stated: ``Across America, we are not only seeing the rise in energy consumption and costs of production, but also the threatening results of rolling blackouts and dangerous policies which continue the pollution and poisoning of our precious environment.

``Our religious traditions teach us that we are responsible not only for the present care and conservation of the earth, but that we owe to future generations of our children the gift of a sustainable environment.''

The open letter, signed by heads of denominations and senior leaders across the spectrum of religious life, questioned whether the administration's energy plan meets ``biblical standards of stewardship of God's creation, intergenerational equity, and social and economic justice ... by depleting energy sources, causing global warming, fouling the air with pollution, and poisoning the land with radioactive waste.''

Stated the Right Rev. Frederick Borsch, of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and co-founder of the Los Angeles Interfaith Environmental Council, ``We, the people, must see -- and must help our government leaders see -- that the core of our natural world and conservation of fossil fuel energy are not just private matters but things we must do together.''

An endorsement of renewable and green energy programs, and a call to action stressing that energy conservation is a morally responsible choice that Americans and the administration must make, the rally was assembled by the Los Angeles Interfaith Environmental Council (LAIEC) and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life of Southern California (COEJL/SC), and co-sponsored by California Interfaith Power and Light (CIPL) and the Bay Area Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (BAY COEJL).

Local activists and faith leadership who have already signed the letter include: Rabbi Harvey J. Fields, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, co-founder, Los Angeles Interfaith Environmental Council; Steven Koff, executive director of B'nai B'rith, Southern California; Daniel Sokatch, executive director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance; the Rev. Paul A. Lance, Seaside Community Church; the Rev. Bill Miller, United Methodist Federation for Social Action; the Rev. Peter Moore-Kochlacs, Environmental Ministries; Rabbi Alan Henkin, director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Pacific Southwest Council; the Rev. Susan Halcomb Craig, pastor, United University Church, Los Angeles; the Rev. Bear Ride, director, Peace Center, United University Church, Los Angeles; the Rev. Amy Aitken, Knollwood United Methodist Church; Rhetta Alexander, Reseda First United Methodist Church; and Rheva Nickols, Reseda First United Methodist Church.

About the Los Angeles Interfaith Environmental Council (LAIEC)

The Los Angeles Interfaith Environmental Council's mission is to repair, protect and preserve the environment while integrating God's vision of sustainability, responsibility and advocacy for creation.

The council was founded by a joint effort of The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Rabbi Harvey Fields of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the Right Rev. Frederick H. Borsch of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and other religious leadership in Southern California. The council co-chairs are Michael Cunningham and Lee H. Wallach.

    About the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
    of Southern California (COEJL/SC)

The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life of Southern California, a coalition of Jewish organizations spanning the spectrum of Jewish religious and communal life, serves as the voice of the organized Jewish community on a wide array of environmental issues.

COEJL is the Jewish member of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, the Los Angeles Interfaith Environmental Council and California Interfaith Power and Light.


Contact:
     Los Angeles Interfaith Environmental Council
     Mary Koukhab, 213/891-2965
                   310/650-2509 (cell)

 

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