Rev. Dr. Robert W. 'Bob' Edgar
Reverend Dr. Robert Edgar is a former six-term Congressman and currently the General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, through which he leads international peace, social justice and environmental initiatives. He also serves on the board of the Energy and Environmental Studies Institute, an independent, non-profit organization, which is a principle resource for Congress on energy and environmental issues.

We Are the Leaders We’ve Been Waiting For

Address by Reverend Dr. Robert Edgar during the first NRDC Re-Energize America Town Hall Meeting

By EV World

An affable, unpretentious individual, the Reverend Dr. Robert W. "Bob" Edgar disarmingly began his address by paraphrasing Alcoholics Anonymous.

"Hello, my name is Bob and I am a recovering energy addict and a consumer addict and I am here as part of my twelve-step program."

Quoting another clergyman, Martin Luther King who spoke just five weeks before he was assassinated, Edgar said,

"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The 'tide in the affairs of men' does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: 'Too late.' There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. 'The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on…' We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

"Why did I share that quote," he asked? "Because I believe the life issue of our time is global warming. I believe that God is calling us to attention on this issue. I can find no place in any of the scriptures, whether Christian, Jewish, Moslem or others where God is calling us to participate in destroying the planet. Everyplace I look, God says, 'Be stewards of the Earth.'"

He covered three key points during his 25-minute address at the NRDC Re-Energize America Town Hall meeting on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha; the first point being that "we are the leaders that we have been waiting for." He stressed that he's known presidents and dealt with the "egos" on Capitol Hill and that we must not wait on them to provide leadership on the important social and environmental issues of the day.

"I think to re-energize our nation, we need to re-energize ourselves and take back that leadership role. Dr. Martin Luther King did not become the leader of the civil rights movement by going to college… or seminar to be that. He simply had an attitude of being courageous in the midst of great civil violence."

Edgar told the audience of a meeting he attended with Prime Minister Tony Blair at the British embassy in Washington, D.C. at which a number of religious leaders were gathered to discuss global warming. To those who agree with the science and technology, Blair said, "You know the urgency… you know we must act, you know we're getting close to a tipping point."

Edgar continued, "And then he turned to some of my colleagues on the far religious right and said, for those of you who don't believe the science, who question whether we should act now, you have to act now in case you're wrong, because by the time you get it, it may be too late.

Dr. Edgar's second point is "We have to understand the state of the world we live in." He explained this by reminding the audience that around the time oil was discovered (1830) the planet was home to 1 billion human beings.

"We reached two billion just a few months after the stock market crashed (in 1929)." While it took 100 years to reach the second billion, he observed, it took only another 30 to reach 3 billion in 1960. In 1975, while Edgar was being sworn in as a first term Congressman from Pennsylvania, the planet passed 4 billion. By 1999, the planet had reached 6 billion "brothers and sisters."

He cited some interesting statistics including 99 percent of all things ever created are in existence today. Fifty percent of all humans who have ever lived are alive today, "wanting access to energy." He noted that all current energy resource projections are based on current consumption and not the exponential growth of global population where the citizens of countries like India and China wish to have an energy intensive lifestyle similar to that in the West.

His third and final point is that as "the leaders we have been waiting for" we have an obligation to act. As an example, he talked about the "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign he helped organize and how he and other religious leaders drove to meet with Detroit automakers in Toyota Priuses driven by Roman Catholic nuns.

At that time, the automotive industry was spending $13 billion telling American's they needed to buy SUVs and Hummers. He felt that, in part, because of that moral pressure, Ford acquiesced and came out with the Escape Hybrid, which while not enough to make a difference, is a first, small step in the right direction, he said.

While in Congress, he helped pass energy legislation that included the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) provision, and since then Congress has done nothing to increase it.

"We are the leaders we have been waiting for," he repeated for emphasis.

He refers to the majority of faithful believers as "Middle Church", neither the far right nor far left, "who must take ownership of the world in which we live."

He concluded by calling for this "Middle Church" to join with environmentalists... and politicians who listen... in taking action on global warming and in doing so will give the world "goose bumps."

Be sure to listen to this inspiring address in its entirety, by using either of the two MP3 players to the right or by downloading the file to your computer hard drive for transfer and playback on your favorite MP3 device. This presentation will also be available free through the Apple iTune podcast service.

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Times Article Viewed: 9825
Published: 17-Jul-2006


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