An effort to combine science and religion to move Cape Codders and Islanders to act, given the potentially catastrophic worldwide warming of the atmosphere, began in an intimate church sanctuary on Main Street. “Those manifestations of climate change may not be apparent but they’re there,” said Woods Hole Research Center President and Executive Director Philip Duffy on Sunday at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Wildfires on the West Coast are a very good example, Duffy said. “A lot of people don’t recognize that for what it is, because they say we’ve always had wildfires, which is true, but not like that.”
Duffy, the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, an Episcopal priest and author, and the Rev. Paul Minus, a member of the Faith Communities Environmental Network, affiliated with the Cape Cod Climate Change Cooperative, spoke about the moral dimensions of climate change. Those dimensions include how global warming and rising seas could flood low-lying and low-income nations, and cause food shortages and loss of clean water. Also, they said, future generations around the world will be on the receiving end of decisions made by current generations. “Right now we are stealing a habitable world from our children,” Bullitt-Jonas said. “Our great task is to be a good ancestor.”
The seeds of Sunday’s talk, which drew about 60 people, lay in a February meeting in Braintree where more than 50 religious leaders and scientists discussed ways to cooperate to make progress on climate change. That meeting was organized by Duffy and the Archdiocese of Boston. The Faith Communities Environmental Network is also a new initiative, focused on the Cape and Islands, where a half-dozen faith communities are working together to share practical ideas, study and find other ways to protect the Earth.