At the United Nations representing The Episcopal Church and our Presiding Bishop at the signing of the Paris Agreement. As the environmental officer of Morocco said, "The Paris Agreement is the beginning of a new civilization."
This new civilization will understand the global commons, a reality that contains climate change. The global commons is the planet inhabited by human beings conscious of our responsibilities, our potential, our interconnectedness with all life, and our limitations.
The new civilization will leave fossil fuel in the Earth, where it belongs, as Leonardo DiCaprio said in his address to the UN this morning.
And while the new civilization will not be dependent on extractive processes, particularly the use of fossil fuels, it will maintain global communication and relationships, while building vibrant local economies.
The new civilization will recognize the essential value of the our spiritual lives.
The above is just my first take on what the new civilization will entail, not the environmental minister of Morocco's view! (Nor the Presiding Bishop's view, necessarily).
People here for the Paris Agreement signing have been happy and even grateful that I'm here as a representative of the Church. There is so much for me to learn from the many, many people working in their various contexts on turning back the worst possible outcomes of climate change. It will be important for us to learn as much as we can from those doing climate change work in other faith traditions and within civil society.
Within The Episcopal Church there is so much creative work underway already in confronting climate change and building a more sustainable, resilient future. One first step for us is to being mapping our assets - mapping the courageous, intelligent, compassionate undertakings of Episcopalians across the Church.
I want to thank the Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry for allowing me to serve our Church in this way. It is also a joy to work with Ms. Lynnaia Main, Ms. Jayce Hafner, the Rev. Mark Stevenson, and Canon Chuck Robertson. They have all helped me immeasurably to be here for our Church.