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Religious Leaders Rally The Faithful On Climate Change

Josh James

Moved by Pope Francis’ recent encyclical calling on the Catholic faithful to combat climate change, a diverse collection of local religious leaders gathered in Lexington Thursday to find common ground on environmental issues.

"May we as mutual people of faith find a mutual and united voice," Peggy Hines prays as about 30 local activists bow their heads.

The group, including representatives with the Pioneers for a Sustainable Future, the Islamic Society of Central Kentucky, Temple Adath Israel, and others speak to what they describe as a moral imperative to steward the earth through practical, everyday acts of conservation.

"We must discard a throwaway culture that sees both natural resources and other human beings, all living creatures, including nature, as disposable," Marc Bentley, a seminarian with the Lexington Archdiocese, entreats the audience.

While Tim Darst with Kentucky Interfaith Power & Light spotlights concrete practical steps that reduced his household's consumption of electricity by 70 percent, UK Islamic Studies professor Dr. Ihsan Bagby discusses a movement dubbed "Greening Our Ramadan."

Peggy Hines with the Kentucky Council of Churches says the faith community should have a seat at the table, where they can argue for "civility in how we speak with one another, how we talk to one another, a moral and ethical perspective of course, and scriptural [perspective]."

Organizers say they hope the meeting was the first of many to come. 

Pope Francis is set to visit Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia in September.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.