Former Vice President Al Gore spoke to 100 representatives of various Black religious and environmental groups on Tuesday, May 17, during the "Black Interfaith In The Time Of Climate Crisis" held at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture's Oprah Winfrey Theater in the hope of encouraging a joint solution in the ongoing crisis of climate and racial justice.
Religion News reported that Gore was present during the event being the founder of the global warming advocate Climate Reality Project. The former vice president became aware of the wonder and beauty of all creation after studying at the Vanderbilt Divinity School decades ago. His daughter, Karenna, was among the panelists at the event being the founder and executive director of the Center for Earth Ethics of Union Theological Seminary.
The event's attendees from the Black community comprised of members from Native American traditions, Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians. The event was hosted in partnership with the Black Interfaith Project of Interfaith America.
Al Gore's Advocacy On Global Warming
During the event, Gore stressed that faith leaders need to work together in addressing the effects of global warming. The former vice president said those gravely affected by the phenomenon mostly come from vulnerable and poor communities, which include communities mostly occupied by people of color.
"Nineteen of the 20 hottest years ever measured with instruments have been since 2002 and every day watching the international television news feels like a nature hike right through the Book of Revelation," Gore said.
"We must work to build bridges of understanding with those who are suffering the worst impacts," he added.
Gore, whose statements alluded to the Revelation 8, raised that 70% of Black Americans face health threats for living 30 miles within the vicinity of a coal-fired power plant. He agreed with other speakers who observed that Black leaders of various faiths need to be more vocal in seeking to address the climate crisis' health and environmental consequences. He, too, pointed out that the core of the said crisis is a spiritual crisis.
"The transition to a cleaner future can also be a transition to a more just and equitable future. Instead of building up dirty fossil fuel infrastructure that drags down communities, we can harness sources like the wind and the sun to lift them up," Gore revealed.
Gore's Ties To Black Leaders
Gore cited the late Rev. William J. Barber II who co-launched an updated version of the Poor People's Campaign of Martin Luther King, Jr. The said version focused on the three evils of racism, poverty, and militarism alongside environmental justice.
The late Rev. William J. Barber II's son, William J. Barber III, who serves as Climate Reality Project's Climate and Environmental Justice Director, spoke on the importance of the Black faith community in relation to environmental justice. Barber said it enables one to realize that faith traditions are some of the greatest bastions of activism.
Meanwhile, Karenna underscored the need for faith communities to be practical, pastoral, and prophetic on the issue at hand. She suggested greening houses of worship and supporting those already fighting on the front lines. She said pastoral care is necessary for those who deny a crisis exist.