Proposed by the Ethical Society of Austin as amended and passed by the 103rd Assembly of the American Ethical Union, June 2018
The Earth’s climate is experiencing destabilization, and our planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it is in crisis. Ethical Humanists must join others in leading efforts to reduce human activities causing climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.
Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree that climate change is real and human induced, and the consensus is that we must stabilize global temperatures at the two-degree Celsius target to prevent dangerous impacts to humans, flora, and fauna. The consequences of our actions—and inaction—regarding the destruction of our environment for ourselves and future generations mandate a naturalistic social responsibility inherent to humanist values.
- Human-generated greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion—exacerbated by unsustainable land use such as deforestation—are a leading cause of climate change, and
- Deforestation and wildfire suppression are making forests more vulnerable to fires and reducing the ability of forests to sequester and store carbon, and
- Industrial animal production for food is inefficient in terms of land and water usage and often harms the environment due to animal waste, chemical runoff, and bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and
- Glaciers melting at heightened rates have been and are resulting in rising sea levels, threatening coastal populations and ocean ecology, and
- Global warming has contributed directly and indirectly to the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of critical biomes, and
- The corollaries of these same changes appear to cause shifts in precipitation, resulting in droughts around the globe, and the increase in other extreme weather events, such as tsunamis and hurricanes, leading to food insecurity and famine, and decreased access to natural resources like potable water, and
- Climate change impacts everyone, already vulnerable populations globally will be disproportionately affected, exacerbating unemployment, displacement, and homelessness, and
- Drastic global climate change is a challenge facing all populations around the world;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the American Ethical Union, in the pursuit of climate justice,
- Its support for the development and proliferation of renewable sources of energy and fuel, particularly wind and solar, and
- Is support of sustainable land use, forest conservation, and reforestation, and
- Its support for personal and commercial transition toward a plant-based diet, and
- Its support of the rights of indigenous peoples who inhabit some of world’s most intact and biodiverse forests, and
- Where direct restrictions are insufficient, support for a price on climate-damaging substances and practices through carbon tax and other related disincentives, and
- Political and financial incentives for a global industrial refitting of our power infrastructure away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable energy production and storage, and
- Its support for international funds for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, and
- Its support for efforts to keep fossil fuels underground, particularly in ecologically and culturally important areas, and
- Its support for the validation of climate refugee status, and
- That access to clean and affordable water is necessary and important, and
- Its support for a coordinated global effort to manage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Its commitment to be guided by the best available science.
As Ethical Humanists, it is crucial that we recognize that the responsibility to create and maintain sustainable methods of living is a collective one. As Ethical Humanists, we acknowledge the damage done to our environment has been caused by human action and constitutes an existential threat to humanity and many other species that have not already been wiped out. As Ethical Humanists, we understand that only humans can save ourselves from the climate crises we have created.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the American Ethical Union calls all Ethical Humanists to take personal and collective action to save our planet.