EDEN: Every Denomination for Environment in New Orleans (name invented by Marion Freistadt)
I propose to start an interfaith alliance for the environment in New Orleans. I envision all faiths: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and any others, participating.
Faith represents ethics. We have been placed on this planet. We do not understand everything, but we do know that we are adjured in all holy texts to care for our home, our planet. We have no other place to live. Both the Pope and the Dalai Lama have made such statements. COP23 had an interfaith statement.
Currently many communities are facing environmental racism by the placement of polluting industries close to residential areas. All communities of faith have an obligation to work towards environmental justice for all communities.
The entire planet is at a turning point in the history of humanity, due to unrestrained burning of fossil fuels. It is up to people on earth now to mitigate the potential catastrophic consequences. Our beautiful community of New Orleans may be lost forever. Communities of faith in New Orleans should not squander this opportunity lead our city into a sustainable future.
Many issues threaten New Orleans specifically; for example, sea level rise will be faster here than elsewhere due to subsidence, destruction of the wetlands and other factors. We are both unique and universal in our interest in Environmentalism.
Touro synagogue has a chance to be a city-wide leader to spur interfaith environmental statements and action.
I envision a strong New Orleans interfaith alliance to be involved in (but not limited to) the following activities:
Make visible, general statements about our religious responsibility to save the planet. This may be done, for example, on religious holidays or on a web site.
Provide interfaith environmental resources to the NO faith community: such as how to green institutional buildings, carpooling or connections to national and international groups. Touro could be leader on this.
Depending on the situation, to make public, specific statements about critical environmental issues.
Have a presence in activist events (such as Earth Day activities), again depending on the circumstances.
Advocate in the community on particular issues, such as environmental justice, for non- or less polluting transportation or against coastal erosion.
Note: The alliance would not be equivalent to Touro, and Touro would not be wedded to the alliance. There may be instances in which Touro members or the Board do not agree with a stance of the alliance. Language (for the alliance) should be drawn up permitting disengagement from particular stances.