This guest blog post was written by Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics. The mission of Earth Ethics is to educate the public and increase awareness about environmental and social issues at local, regional, and global levels in an effort to engage, empower, and encourage public involvement towards positive resolutions.
I have always been fascinated by the term “the bible belt”. Apparently there are several bible belts throughout the U.S. At 515 miles long, through three southern states, I’m sure that the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline runs through at least one of them. Before I ask what does it mean to stand up to Sabal Trail, I have to ask- What does it mean to be a Christian? I ask because, as a Christian myself, aren’t we supposed to be living our lives based on the scripture and the teachings of Christ? Do we get to pick and choose what parts we want to incorporate into our lives? I’ve never believed that this was the way it was supposed to work –picking and choosing what parts of the bible to act on.
There are several references to humans being stewards of the environment in the bible, and I think we have failed miserably. Our actions have led to climate change, water pollution, air pollution; the list goes on. Being stewards of the environment doesn’t mean that we have free reign over the environment or the other species that inhabit the earth. Although we have been given the gift of freewill; as Christians we have a moral and ethical obligation to care not only for ourselves, but other species.
All this brings me to the one of the many concerns that I have as a Christian environmental advocate, the proposed Sabal Trail fracked-gas pipeline. Sounds like a nature trail, right? It isn’t. The environmental impacts associated with the project are immense. But there aren’t just environmental impacts associated with this project, there’s nonhuman species and public health impacts as well.
As Floridians, we know the uniqueness and beauty of our natural resources. The incredible beauty of wild Florida is why so many of us have chosen to live here. This dangerous project has the potential to impact thousands of acres of our wetlands, surface waters, springs, rivers, and most importantly - our drinking water supply. The risks outweighs any benefits the pipeline company and its purchasers, Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light are selling.
It is our responsibility to fulfill the Christian obligation of being environmental stewards. As Floridians, Christian or not, chemical spills, fracked-gas pipe leaks, contaminated water and air are not worth risking for an intrusive, unneeded pipeline. We need to take a stand on where the source of our energy comes from and what type of earth we want to leave for future generations. As a Christian and Floridian I stand against the Sabal Trail Pipeline.
Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics/Action, valued Gulf Restoration Network partner.