March 24, 2014; Washington, DC – Ahead of President Obama’s meeting with Pope Francis this month, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) are encouraging community members to sign a petition asking the President to talk about environmental conservation with the Pope.
“Protecting our environment is a political and religious imperative,” said JCPA President and COEJL co-chair Rabbi Steve Gutow. “As Jews, we are called on by our teachings to protect the environment. Each of us is a steward of God’s creation. Our responsibility is great; not only to ourselves and our brothers and sisters around the globe, but to future generations as well. We must do all we can to keep the protection of our environment at the forefront of national and international conversations.”
Following through on a promise in this year’s State of the Union to “protect more of our pristine lands for future generations,” President Obama recently declared Stornetta in Northern California a national park. In addition to raising conservation as a “moral responsibility,” the petition, which is posted on the White House’s website, asks the President to invite Pope Francis to visit one of American’s national parks as a demonstration of our successful and leading conservation policies.
“Both President Obama and Pope Francis have spoken independently about our responsibility for creation and the risks of ignoring climate change,” said JCPA Chair Susan Turnbull. “For them to do so together would be a powerful reminder to all communities that we cannot squander resources or permanently damage our environment.”