Access to land and open, green spaces is one of the most tangible issues of environmental justice. Beautiful, pristine lands help us feel a sense of awe and marvel towards God's creation and allow us to reflect on and connect to our spirituality. Religious groups and people of faith recognize the right for individuals to have access to protected, natural lands and the importance of conserving and responsibly stewarding the land that God has given us.
Showcasing Black History on Public Lands
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
In September of 2022, NRPE published Stories on the Land: Showcasing Black History on Public Lands, detailing the perspectives and priorities of Black church leaders around public lands. This report seeks to enhance, not supplant, the equity and inclusion work already being done by centering the voice of the Black community in the conversation.
National monuments, designated through the use of the Antiquities Act by both Republican and Democrat presidents, protect places of ecological and cultural importance. National monuments showcase some of creation's best treasures and in some cases provide opportunities for religious communities and indigenous communities to practice their faith. Protecting national monuments is an act of stewarding God's creation. NRPE has worked to designate National Monuments such as Pullman, Reconstructionist Era, Birmingham Civil Rights Avi Kwa Ame, Castner Range as National Monuments and is working on getting the 1908 Springfield Race Riots site designated.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a unique place in God's Creation and a national treasure that embodies wilderness, ecological integrity, sacred beauty and unique recreational opportunities. The Arctic Refuge's Coastal Plain is a vital part of a larger ecosystem that supports a diverse biological landscape as well as the Gwich'in, an indigenous people who depend on the Porcupine Caribou herd for their daily sustenance. Oil and gas exploration on the Coastal Plain would disrupt the birthing patterns of the caribou and have devastating effects on Gwich'in people.
People of faith are joining together in their commitment to steward God's creation and demonstrate their solidarity with the Gwich'in people by protecting this invaluable piece of God's good earth against oil and gas development.
Learn more about what is happening in the Arctic and join the ongoing efforts to protect it through the Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign.
Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, America’s most important conservation and recreation program, has saved places in nearly every state and every county in the United States. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is an important tool to protect God’s creation.
We are called to be good stewards of God’s creation and the Land and Water Conservation Fund helps us fulfill our stewardship mandate. Our political leaders on both sides of the aisle have supported the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It is because of Teddy Roosevelt's vision to start protecting our recreational opportunities, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s instinct for conservation action, John F. Kennedy's commitment to the outdoors, and Lyndon B. Johnson's creation of LWCF that we now have the most extensive network of open spaces in the world to hunt, fish, hike, swim, and play.
News, Statements, & Activities
- In February 2021 more than 3 dozen state and national religious leaders and Utah Mormon faith advocates wrote in support of the historic nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Department of the Interior.
- In September 2020, black church leaders in North Carolina and South Carolina urged Secretary Bernhardt to remove William Pendley as acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, citing racism concerns.
- In February 2019, Creation Justice Ministries applauded passage of Congressional lands package.
- In a February 2019 letter, 20 Arizona religious leaders opposed uranium mining in the Grand Canyon.