Monday, January 25, 2021

If You Want Effective Climate Change Policies and Actions, Pray for Pete Buttigieg (and the Department of Transportation)

Maybe in the Sunday prayers at your church you pray for the President of the United States of America and the Vice President of the United States of America; maybe you pray for the Governor of your state and maybe you even pray for the Mayor and members of the City Council of your city.  

Have you, however, ever considered praying for the Department of Transportation Secretary?  

If you are concerned about environmental policy and actions to avert further climate destruction, then you should include Pete Buttigieg in your Sunday (and daily) prayers.  

Why do I make such a claim?  

As you can see Transportation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.  But Transportation, under the portfolio of the Department of Transportation includes not only transportation: cars, trucks, trains, boats, and planes; but also, pipelines (like the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Enbridge Line 3 among others) and pipeline construction; and highway construction (i.e. cement and asphalt).  

Transportation is more than 28%.  What percentage then?  I don't know, I'm working on it; but it is easy to see that is larger than 28%.  It appears to me the Biden-Harris Administration realizes the importance of the United States Department of Transportation as the way for making environmental gains due to their assembling of a diverse "dream team" of transit and environmental experts from around the nation.    

Then to make matters even more amazing, during Mayor Buttigieg's Senate confirmation hearing he had these words, "There are so many ways that people get around, and I think often we’ve had an auto-centric view that has forgotten, historically, about all of the other different modes. We want to make sure anytime we’re doing a street design that it enables cars, and bicycles, and pedestrians and any other modes — and businesses — to co-exist in a positive way, and we should be putting funding behind that." (emphasis added)

As I watched his confirmation hearing (yes, I watched it - and you can too).  

But if you don't watch the whole hearing and just want the juicy highlights, then the good folks over at Streetsblog have five takeaways.  

Now, back to the prayers for the USDOT Secretary. The more churches, faith communities, people of conscience are involved in transit (and transportation) issues as part of their environmental witness the more they can make a bigger impact in realms of economic, racial, gender justice areas.  

The faster we move from an auto-centric to human-centric view of cities and towns the faster we can meet our climate action goals.  Solar panels, yes.  Energy efficient appliances and lightbulbs, yes.  Composting and rain gardens, yes.  Add those movements with streets that are designed first for pedestrians, then bicyclists, then mass transit, then deliveries, then solo drivers the quicker we can watch our greenhouse emissions drop faster than expected.  

Praying for the Secretary of Transportation may not cause revival to break out, in the short term, but in the long term your prayers could help make possible more human-centric neighborhoods, more green neighborhoods, more just neighborhoods.  Think of prayers for the US Department of Transportation as long-term revival prayers.  

Moving God,
We offer to you our prayers for Secretary Buttigieg and the US DOT,
for just streets
for safe streets
for streets we can walk and run on,
for streets we can celebrate and mourn on,
for streets we can meet our neighbors on,
for streets we can relax under the shade of elms and oaks and maples,
for streets we can call home.
These streets can be moved for the delivering of goods,
for the creation of jobs,
for the making of home,
for the strengthening the ties the bind.
May the streets move us to become a people
more concerned with health and wholeness
then profit and control.
May the streets move us to a more equitable society
where we see the kids on the street as our kids
where we see strangers as friends
where we see those in need and help.
May the streets direct to be a more loving, more tender, and more open neighborhood.
in the name of the one whose followers were once called People of the Way.

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