On January 11, Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa represented Sikh Dharma of Virginia at the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions 2019 Kickoff Meeting. The Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS) unites people of faith to develop local solutions to the climate crisis, and works to empower religious communities in Virginia to become champions of change. They work primarily in Northern Virginia, with their main policy focus on Fairfax County, the most populous jurisdiction in Virginia.
In 2013, a small group of passionate people of faith gathered in a church basement in Oakton, Virginia to reflect on a faithful response to the climate crisis. The Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions was born out of their commitment to change. Their network currently includes representatives from traditions including Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, mainline Protestantism, Hinduism, Unitarian Universalism, the Society of Friends, and others. Sikh Dharma of Virginia is aiming to increase the Sikh presence in FACS activities in 2019.
The Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions 2019 Advocacy Kickoff was held at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria, Virginia on January 11. Dan Storck of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Karen Corbett-Sanders, Fairfax County Public Schools Board Chair (Mount Vernon), delivered opening remarks.
Next, a variety of advocacy groups delivered presentations on key issues impacting climate advocacy in Virginia. Topics included transportation, land use and urban planning; removing barriers to distributed solar power; energy justice; waste incineration, air pollution and public health and updates on Fairfax County climate and clean energy planning.
The Citizens Climate Lobby also gave a presentation from the national level on the recent introduction of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (S. 3791/ H.R. 7173) in both chambers of Congress. This legislation has bipartisan support and will be reintroduced in the new Congress this year. It has the potential to reduce America’s emissions by at least 40 percent within 12 years.
In the coming year, advocacy teams are planning to meet with Fairfax County District Board Supervisors and School Board Members to advocate prioritization of energy reduction initiatives and climate goals in local governance and in Fairfax County Public Schools. Sikh Dharma of Virginia plans to participate in these efforts.