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Church Worldwide: White House Honors 12 Faith Leaders as Climate-Change ‘Champions’

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From a zero-waste synagogue to global development work after natural disasters, environmental projects by faith leaders are being hailed by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama as examples of exemplary leadership on climate change.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy highlighted initiatives by a dozen leaders from a range of faiths who were recognized July 20 in Washington, D.C., as “Champions of Change” for their environmental initiatives.

“As faith leaders, no voice is really more important than yours in this,” said McCarthy. “As the president and others, including the pope, have indicated, this really is a moral responsibility. We need to remind people of that and engage them. It’s a responsibility that we all have to share, to protect our neighbors, to protect God’s creation from the threats of climate change and environmental degradation that is going to follow.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, told the 150 people gathered at the forum that the need to work on climate change extends across political parties and religious affiliations.

“If we are faith leaders of whatever faith, we have a moral obligation to not defile the earth that God has given us,” he said.

The honorees included Roman Catholic leaders, African-American clergy, and four officials of Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit that helps congregations save energy and become more environmentally friendly.

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