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G8 Environmental Ministerial Meeting Meeting with Representatives of Religious Groups,Trieste, Italy

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency
at the
G8 Environmental Ministerial Meeting
Meeting with Representatives of Religious Groups
Trieste, Italy

March 3, 2001

I want to thank all of you for being here in Trieste to bear witness to the abiding truth that has come down to us through our religious traditions – that we are to be good stewards of the Earth and all that is on it.

Your presence here is an important reminder to all of us that “here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961.”

So I want to begin by applauding you for your commitment to protecting the environment and your dedication to bringing a spiritual, moral, and ethical perspective to our discussions and deliberations.

I also want to thank you for what you are doing in your own countries to weave a heightened sensitivity and a new sense of personal responsibility for God’s creation into the daily lives of your religious organizations.

The issues about which we will be speaking in our ministerial meetings are of great concern to you and to all those who care about the future.

Climate change, sustainability, and health and the environment are matters about which every member of the human family should be concerned.

Since the sixth day, humankind has been charged with being stewards over creation.

Over the long course of history, we have not always met our responsibilities faithfully and well.

But I do believe we are doing better. In the United States, an important part of that improvement is in the work the EPA and America’s religious community is doing together.

In the United States, we are fortunate to have groups like the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, which represents more than 100 million Americans across a broad spectrum of faith traditions. That’s a powerful force for good.

EPA has also been working with religious groups on our project, “ENERGY STAR for Congregations.”

This project is helping local churches, synagogues, and mosques be better stewards of energy.

Many American religious leaders have also be working to raise awareness of environmental threats to our health – particularly the health of our children – and that is helping to raise support in every sector of our society for environmentally sound practices.

I know that I, for one, am grateful to have the benefit of your counsel – and, I trust, your prayers – as I do my work as administrator.

Again, thank you for being here to help us meet our responsibilities as good stewards of the creation with which we have been blessed.