The following letter signed by 255 young Christians was sent to Members of Congress today, calling on them to include bold climate and environmental provisions in a final infrastructure package.
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Charles Schumer
Majority Leader, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader, U.S. Senate
As debate continues as to how best to kickstart the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, you have an important opportunity to act boldly to create a better future. As young Christians, we urge you to rise to this historic moment and include good jobs, clean energy, and climate justice in a final infrastructure package.
Infrastructure is more than just roads and bridges. Events like the February Texas power outage remind us that the electrical infrastructure in the United States is woefully ill-equipped to handle the impacts of the climate crisis and is in desperate need of improvement. We call on you to seize the opportunity before you to improve climate resiliency, create good jobs, invest in clean energy, and address long-standing economic and racial injustice. You can achieve this by:
-Incentivizing the deployment of clean and resilient energy infrastructure;
-Cleaning our air by electrifying transportation infrastructure;
-Creating well-paying jobs in clean manufacturing, technology, and environmental clean-up;
-Reducing household energy cost burdens by investing in home energy efficiency;
-Investing in natural solutions and nature-based infrastructure that will benefit the climate and safeguard against climate-fueled extreme weather;
-Ensuring clean energy and infrastructure projects benefit communities disproportionately impacted by pollution, climate change, and economic and racial injustice.
Any plan that excludes these commitments would be a significant failure of leadership with lasting consequences.
The climate crisis is already impacting communities in the United States and will continue to worsen if you do not act. On May 27, the World Meteorological Organization announced that “there is about a 40% chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level in at least one of the next five years – and these odds are increasing with time.” This is a significant concern for young Christians because we are called to love our neighbors (Matt. 22:34-40), to care for creation (Gen. 2:15), and to seek justice (Micah 6:8). As leaders in Congress, you must act with the boldness and urgency that this moment requires. We are barreling toward a catastrophic tipping point and history will remember how you acted, or failed to act, when you saw the rapidly closing window of opportunity.
Young people–your constituents–have been steadily marching, raising awareness, and demanding action. This engagement was on display in the 2020 general election, which had one of the highest youth turnout rates in recent history. According to Tufts University, half of Americans ages 18-29 voted in November.
As young people, we often hear that we are “inspiring” and “the leaders of tomorrow.” To this we say: do not be merely inspired by us. Listen to us, and act accordingly.
As you craft infrastructure plans, we implore you to act for the sake of your neighbors and God’s world.
It is time for climate justice. Young people are watching and we will not accept anything less.