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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Evangelical, Scientific Leaders Join Up to Protect Life on Earth

In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, evangelical and scientific leaders announced today a joint effort to protect the environment. Speaking at a news conference inWashington, DC, a dozen leaders of the coalition shared concerns about "human-caused threats to creation" -- including climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, species extinction, the spread of human infectious diseases, and other dangers to the well-being of societies.

The coalition released an "Urgent Call to Action" statement signed by28 evangelical and scientific leaders. The statement -- sent to President Bush, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, bipartisan congressional leaders, and national evangelical and scientific organizations -- urges "fundamental change in values, lifestyles, and public policies required to address these worsening problems before it is too late. Business as usual cannot continue yet one more day."

The group pledged to "work together toward a responsible care for Creation and call with one voice" to the religious, scientific, business, political and educational arenas to join them in this historic initiative.

"There is no such thing as a Republican or Democrat, a liberal or conservative, a religious or secular environment. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. Scientists and evangelicals share a deep moral commitment to preserve this precious gift we have all been given," says Dr. Eric Chivian, Nobel laureate and director of the Center for Healthand the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

"Great scientists are people of imagination. So are people of great faith. We dare to imagine a world in which science and religion cooperate, minimizing our differences about how Creation got started, to work together to reverse its degradation. We will not allow it to be progressively destroyed by human folly," adds Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Stressing that their effort is just beginning, coalition members spoke about some of the immediate next steps they will be taking, including holding meetings with congressional leaders from both parties to inform them of this unprecedented effort and encourage their attention to environmental issues. They also plan to hold a Summit on the Creation and will develop outreach tools, such as a Creation Care Bible study guide and environmental curricula.

"If current deterioration of the environment by human activity continues unabated, best estimates are that half of Earth's surviving species of plants and animals will be extinguished or critically endangered by the end of the century. The price for future generations will be paid ineconomic opportunity, environmental security, and spiritual fulfillment. The saving of the living environment is therefore an issue appropriatelyaddressed jointly by science and religion," said Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Wilson.

One of the imperatives of the group will be to advance the dialogue and influence policy in regards to global warming.

"In order to avoid clear and substantial will be necessary to substantially reduce CO2 emissions during the next few decades, and perhaps by 80 percent or morebefore the end of the century," says James Hansen, a leading U.S. climate change scientist.

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