Every faith tradition calls on its members to protect those at the edges. This includes our work to lessen pollution.
Every faith tradition calls on its members to protect those at the edges – the very young, the very old, the chronically ill, and those living in poverty. We at Chestnut Hill United Church do our best to uphold this value in several ways, including our work to lessen pollution.
In Christian tradition, this is the season of Lent. It is a reflective time in which we are encouraged to notice our complicity in harmful systems and to take actions that move us closer to the sacred vision of a flourishing world.
Our church is focusing on cutting the amount of soot in the air. Soot is an extremely dangerous chemical that enters the air we all breathe in several ways, most importantly from industrial processes, tailpipes on cars and trucks, and coal-burning power plants.
Breathing the soot in the air harms our health: It increases infant mortality, cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, cognitive impairments, and hastens premature death. Tragically, soot pollution most hurts those who are already vulnerable, and who are disproportionately people of color.
The Environmental Protection Agency is required to review the latest science and update the soot standard every five years. The Trump administration opted not to strengthen the inadequate standard, despite scientists’ warnings that the current allowable levels of soot aren’t adequately protecting our health.
The EPA can now rectify this. Chestnut Hill United Church urges President Biden and the EPA to respond to the moral call and strengthen the soot standard to protect our communities.
Rev. Dr. Kipp Gilmore-Clough
Rev. Priscilla Tennant
Pastors, Chestnut Hill United Church