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Caring for God's Creation: Called to be Stewards
part of The Episcopal Church, USA

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Episcopal Ecological Network
c/o C. Morello
1375 Residence Drive

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Eco-Justice Resolutions
from Dioceses of the Episcopal Church

A Resolution Regarding Environmental Stewardship

Passed by the Episcopal Diocese of Maine in 2005


Environmental Resolution

Resolved:
We, the members of the Episcopal Church of Maine, have a responsibility to leave a clean, safe and wholesome environment to our grandchildren and to all generations to come.

We recognize that to preserve our environment we must incur costs, and that to some of us these costs will be substantial.

We pledge that we are willing to accept our fair share of these costs.

We ask all members of the Church and society to preserve the environment in their daily lives.

We ask all public and private officials to take the steps necessary to preserve our environment for future generations, assuring that the necessary costs are shared fairly among all.


Explanation:

The Resolution was prepared by the Maine Diocese's Committee on Spirituality and the Environment. Professor Tom Tietenberg, Head of the Environmental Studies Program at Colby College was consulted on economic matters.

The basic premise of the Resolution is that our environment will be preserved only when we as consumers accept the cost of preserving it. By accepting that cost we set a Christian example for others to follow. We believe that if enough of us accept the cost we can tip the balance in favor of environmental preservation and Congress will act.

The Resolution focuses on accepting the cost because we believe the public's reluctance to do so is the single greatest barrier to environmental preservation. The Resolution is otherwise non specific in order to minimize political controversy, serve as a common umbrella for individuals with differing environmental priorities and avoid getting into individual issues on which an educated position requires a technical understanding most don't possess.

The principal questions asked were: (1) "What is the Cost?"; (2) Why doesn't Industry pay the cost?"; (3) "How can the Church support something that may hurt the poor?" and (4) " Isn't the Resolution too political?"

As to cost, economists estimate that meeting the targets in the Kyoto Accords will be 1½% to 2% of a typical family's income, mostly in the form of increased prices for motor fuel, heating fuel, electricity and energy efficient capital goods. Fortunately, the net effect will probably not be a decrease in most people's standard of living, but will be a temporary slowdown in the ongoing increase. There will also be impetus for some changes in lifestyle.. We have no figures on the costs of other types of environmental protection. In most cases, however, studies appear to indicate that typically the cost of preservation is less than the cost of non action.

As to why the cost is borne by the consumer, rather than by industry, generally speaking in our economic system all costs incurred by industry are sooner or later passed on to the consumer as part of the price consumers pay for the products they buy

As to protecting the poor, the Resolution calls for mitigation of the impact on those hurt the most by asking for fair sharing of costs. Equally important, economists believe that the poor will be hurt the most if the country does not act to preserve the environment.

As to being "too political" we believe it is appropriate for the Church to take a leadership role on significant social issues. Further, the Resolution avoids most political controversy by not specifying what steps need to be taken and how the costs should be shared.

 

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The EpEN is a national network of active lay and clergy persons within the Episcopal Church, USA, who share a common concern for the environment and a common belief in the presence of God in all Creation and who work to make these concerns and beliefs known throughout all Provinces and Dioceses within the church.  Members come from around the Episcopal Church USA.  The activities of the EpEN are focused on the areas of Reflection, Education, and Action. 

If you would like to contact any of these groups or to find out more about the EpEN, please click on the links on the left.

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last update: 2007-04-04

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