Toward a more just world

11/11/2021, 6 p.m.
As the 2021 United Nations Climate Conference COP26 continues, we are unavoidably reminded of what is at stake in our ...

As the 2021 United Nations Climate Conference COP26 continues, we are unavoidably reminded of what is at stake in our world right now.

Throughout this year, we all have witnessed the dangerous and life-threatening progression of climate change. This is especially true for marginalized communities that are under-resourced and most vulnerable to harm in the climate crisis.

A recent study has shown that across the nation, low-income neighborhoods and communities of color endure higher temperatures than predominantly white and wealthy communities. Richmond is no exception to this trend. As an urban heat island, Richmond’s densely populated cities and unshaded roads and buildings lead to higher temperatures. Historical practices of redlining, combined with the advancing climate crisis, result in disproportionate burden and harm to Black and brown communities in Virginia and across the nation.

Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, or VAIPL, believes the climate crisis cannot be ignored or bandaged with short-term solutions. Rather, we envision overcoming the climate crisis, eradicating environmental and social injustices and living in a just, thriving and equitable world.

To these ends, VAIPL is hosting the annual event, Climate in the Pulpits, in the Minbar & on the Bimah. The event, taking place throughout the fall, is dedicated to encouraging faith and spiritual communities to pray, act and vote for the common good while elevating the importance of being good neighbors.

More than 40 faith communities throughout the Commonwealth have joined us in these efforts by holding events such as sermons, film screenings, youth workshops and adult education series to discuss the climate crisis and to advocate for environmental justice.

Faith communities in Virginia have successfully shown us what can happen when we collectively advocate for justice, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and our planet.

Therefore, VAIPL hopes local legislator, Delegate Lamont Bagby, and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus will follow the lead of our faith communities and champion climate justice by investing in better infrastructure, protecting vulnerable communities and supporting environmental justice legislation.



The writer is co-director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light.