Creation Justice Ministries
Federal Register #:
86 FR 59996
Creation Justice Ministries represents the creation care and environmental justice policies of major Christian denominations throughout the United States. We work in cooperation with 38 national faith bodies including Protestant denominations and Orthodox communions as well as regional faith groups, and congregants to protect and restore God's Creation.
Creation Justice Ministries educates, equips and mobilizes Christian communions/denominations, congregations and individuals to protect, restore, and rightly share God's creation.
Based on the priorities of its members, with a particular concern for the vulnerable and marginalized, we provide collaborative opportunities to build ecumenical community, guide people of faith and faith communities towards eco-justice transformations, and raise a collective witness in the public arena echoing Christ's call for just relationships among all of creation.
The goal of protecting and preserving 30 percent of public lands and waters by the year 2030 (“30x30”) is an important goal that we cannot miss. The climate crisis is ever worsening and we do not have the luxury of waiting any longer to rightly care for God’s creation. As Christians, we see the world as creation -- a gift from God that blesses us with life and health. We also have the responsibility to care for creation -- protecting, restoring, and rightly sharing the abundant natural world. We see 30x30 and the America the Beautiful campaign as more than a governmental or environmental document. We see it as a moral vision that would increase our flourishing with each other, our lands, and our waters.
The ocean is not only a place of majestic creation but a place of rejuvenation and climate solutions. In addition to the beautiful creatures that reside in the ocean there are so many ways the ocean can contribute to the fight against the climate crisis. Mangrove forests, tidal salt marshes, kelp forests, and seagrass meadows are all ecosystems that suck up carbon from the air and restore God’s creation.
Fully and highly protected marine protected areas are the most effective tool we have for preserving ocean
ecosystems. They provide areas where ocean life can recover without stress from extractive practices like
commercial fishing and oil/gas drilling. While large sections of ocean in the western Pacific are protected, we have neglected to protect marine areas in the Atlantic at the same rate. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is the first strongly protected marine area in the Atlantic, and more places like this are needed in American waters to protect each ecosystem’s unique types of marine life. We do not have the luxury to wait longer to designate more marine protected areas. Our ocean life is stressed from climate change; many species are endangered and do not have much more time. Protecting 30 percent of America’s ocean with highly and fully protected marine protected areas will help restore the health of our ocean life and will enable us to rightly care for the earth and all of God’s creation.
Protecting lands is an important way to honor all who see their lands as sacred and to protect those sacred lands from extractive practices like mining and drilling. We applaud the administration’s decision to return Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments to their original size and encourage similar actions across the country. If protected from extraction, our public lands can be important tools for fighting climate change. It is important that the administration protects these places from extractive threats that are harming local communities and our global climate.
We support the United States’ national 30x30 goal and applaud the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful report. We support the administration’s efforts to take an interdisciplinary and community-based approach to conserving 30 percent of our lands and waters. In particular, we are supportive of the following in the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful report:
- Honoring of Indigenous and Tribal-led priorities
- Emphasis on locally-rooted and community-driven conservation
- Rootedness in the best available conservation science
As NOAA and other agencies prepare the next America the Beautiful report and design the implementation of 30x30, we urge the following:
- Development of science-driven conservation guidelines for marine and terrestrial protected areas
- Geographic diversity for marine conservation, with a particular focus on areas in the Atlantic
- Reestablishment the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (MPAFAC) to solicit stakeholder and expert input (from NRDC scientists letter)
With gratitude and hope for God’s creation,
Creation Justice Ministries