Faith Leaders Speak Out Against Fracking Amid Pope Francis' Visit to U.S.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis called for decisive climate action in his encyclical. Now, while the Pope is visiting the U.S. for the first time, faith leaders across the country are speaking out against fracking—a form of extreme fossil fuel extraction that hurts our health and communities, contributes to climate change, and will prolong our dependence on oil and gas at the expense of the development of truly renewable energy.
Today, Food & Water Watch is previewing a Faith Against Fracking video with messages from faith leaders of various denominations from across the country, as the Pope addresses Congress on the Hill, and as activists call for moral action for climate justice on the mall outside the Capitol.
We can’t miss this historic opportunity to highlight the moral issues around climate change—and fracking. And the faith leaders in the video are doing just that:
- “This is the time when all of us are being called to create a perfect world. We are all called in conscience to look to our higher self—our God image—and see the responsibility that we have.” —Lupe Anguiano, Former Nun & Founder, Stewards of the Earth
- “The Pope has given us a wonderful gift in this Encyclical. We can see within his words the values that all people of faith can share of caring for God’s creation.” —Dr. Leah Schade, Pastor, United in Christ Lutheran Church
- “Pope Francis says that care for creation is not a domain of a few people. ‘Those people in the environmental movement, let them take care of it.’ No, it’s our responsibility because it is our common home, and all of those in this country have the moral responsibility to get involved.” —Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, Franciscan Friar, Ordo Fratrum Minorum
- “This is what is unethical. We are doing things for money that we know are wrong.” —Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll, Senior Pastor, Church by the Side of the Road
- “A world that values economics above human health is a world that we don’t need because ultimately it’s a detriment to all of us. It’s like creating our own cancer. If we don’t have our health, what difference does economics make?” —Rev. Dr. Hubert Ivery, Pastor, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
- “We all hear the conversation about being energy independent. Energy independence doesn’t mean giving all our power to the oil industry to do whatever the heck they want with our communities. If they really want to be energy independent, they should be focusing on renewable energy, green energy. Energy that is not only going to benefit the pockets of the industry, but that is going to benefit the health of our communities.” —Juan Flores, Former Seminarian and Community Organizer, CRPE
The video also includes Rev. Joy Atkinson, Minister of Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church; Rabbi Michael Lerner, Chair, Network of Spiritual Progressives; Anne Marie Sayers and Kanyon Sayers Roods, Indian Country, Coastal Ohlone; and Rev. Kelvin Sauls, Holman United Methodist Church.
Communities of faith are increasingly rallying around the call to abandon fossil fuels and work for renewable energy. Last weekend, Pennsylvania faith leaders sent an open letter to Governor Tom Wolf asking him to stop fracking the Keystone State. Yesterday, the Pope addressed the public on the White House lawn, where he invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s words to urge climate action: “To use a telling phrase of the Rev. Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.”
A good first step is to show this video into your communities of faith, and help create momentum to stop fracking where you live and to work for a renewable energy future. It will take all of us getting involved to pressure our elected officials to enact policies that will bring about renewable energy solutions—and save our planet and its people in the process.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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