The Montana Faith and Environment Coalition (MFEC), an ecumenical organization of religious ministers and scientists from Billings, Bozeman, and Missoula, plans to host a 2-day symposium on the moral imperatives of climate change. By creating a safe space for participants to engage in conversations about climate change and our moral obligations to families, neighbors, future generations and vulnerable populations, MFEC seeks to become a Montana-wide hub for faith-led action on this issue. Our main goal is to bring religious leaders and laypersons from the across the state together and enter into dialogue about how theological and spiritual teachings from a faith-based perspective inform a wide array of societal actions on global warming.
Our keynote speaker on Friday night will be The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, who was one of the first faith leaders to fully recognize the changing climate as a moral issue. She is Founder and President Emeritus of The Regeneration Project and its Interfaith Power & Light campaign, which currently has 20,000 congregation members in forty states. Rev. Bingham serves on the national board of the Environmental Defense Fund, and the advisory board of both the Union of Concerned Scientists and Climate One.
On Saturday morning Dr. Katharine Hayhoe will share via a live webinar link, an accomplished atmospheric scientist who studies climate change and why it matters to us here and now. She is also a remarkable communicator: in 2014, she was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 Most Influential People in the world and by Foreign Policy as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers; her work was featured on the Emmy award-winning documentary series, The Years of Living Dangerously; and she won the American Geophysical Union’s award for climate communication.
Dr. Anne Carlson, a senior Climate Adaptation Specialist, who works on climate change related issues in the Northern Rockies will be speaking. Through a combination of collaborative, landscape-level adaptation projects and an intensive regional outreach campaign on the impacts of climate change, she will focus on what it means for Montanans in their everyday lives, and the role of large landscape conservation and restoration in supporting ecosystem resilience. Joining her will be a member of the Institute of Eco Systems. Both programs seek to identify the destructive impacts of climate change in the Northern Rockies and focus additional scientific analysis on TWS’ priority landscape in Montana, the Crown of the Continent.
The conference will then feature 5 workshops that will each be held twice. Covering the following topics:
1. Landscape Health = Human Health. The focus will be how interruptions in landscape health and efforts to adapt to change, affect climate change and human health.
2. Faith-Led Advocacy. The focus will be on tools for faith communities working with the press and politicians.
3. Clean Energy for Faith Communities. The focus will be on incorporating solar power into our spiritual gathering places and homes from those who have done it.
4. Social Justice around Food Security and the Environment. The focus will be on the resilience of our food systems and indigenous rural equity in the face of a changing climate.
5. Motivating a Faith Community for Climate Action. How to inspire congregations, youth groups and community activity ideas for shared action.
A final panel discussion will wrap up the conference.