Scientists from the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies and institutions that have formed the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) have documented changes over the past 50 years in Wisconsin’s climate patterns. Increasingly warmer seasons are intensifying air pollution, extending the distribution of disease organisms, and bringing extreme weather events that include more severe droughts and floods. These changes threaten our State’s diverse ecosystems, our citizen’s health, safety and security, as well as our agriculture and forestry. These changes raise fundamental questions of justice and fairness, as those who are least able to adapt to climate change and who contribute least to the problem -- such as the elderly, very young, impoverished, and infirm -- are likely to suffer the worst health-related consequences.
These and other severe effects cause us alarm because this is widespread suffering of the creation that has been entrusted to our care. As people of faith, we are called to take responsible precautionary action to limit global climate change to the extent possible and to prepare now for the climate impacts that are unavoidable. Already many individuals, families, congregations, businesses, local communities, and government agencies are taking actions to reduce the threat of global climate change, such as reducing energy use and using renewable energy sources where they live, work and worship. We applaud those actions and encourage everyone throughout Wisconsin to take such actions and strengthen and support these efforts.
The global nature of the problem, however, means that effective action requires leadership at the local, state, national, and international levels. We need policies and strategies that promote responsible energy sources and use in order to ensure that we protect Earth and its most vulnerable populations, both human and wildlife, from the significant threats posed by global climate change. We call upon people of faith to provide leadership on this issue and act in the interest of the common good.