Our Letter to President Biden
Note: Just prior to the 2021 Inauguration, we sent a letter to President Biden, which was signed by many others, including Providence Associates and other women religious, that explained our climate position and congratulated him not only for his presidential victory but for his climate platform. Here is the letter in its entirety:
Dear President Joseph R. Biden,
The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, Providence Associates, and our Partners in Mission congratulate you on your election and offer our prayerful support as together we move forward as a nation united under God with liberty and justice for all. We recognize the great need for healing multiple divisions in our country. We stand with you especially in your commitment to prioritize climate change solutions. And so, we further congratulate you on your choice of John Kerry to be Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
We are impressed by how “The Biden Plan to Build a Modern, Sustainable Infrastructure and an Equitable Clean Energy Future” has been informed by Catholic Social Teaching principles. Not only does your plan speak to some basic survival needs of every person, food, and shelter, but also some of the thrival needs of education, and transportation. Your support of unions, the right to work, job creation, communication and the preferential option for the poor surface in the details of your Plan as well.
In 2016, our Providence Community made a commitment to effect systemic change to the underlying causes of climate injustice through education, advocacy, and responses to current issues, especially those affecting people most severely impacted by climate injustice. In the past four years, we have anguished with those most affected by the eradication of strong environmental policies guided by science and wisdom. We have heard the pain of people affected by the choice to prevent any potential solutions to move forward. We have wondered at some congressional leaders who made decisions designed to deny, denigrate, and downplay any movement toward legislation that impacts climate justice in positive ways.
Upon taking office, we ask you – we support you – to take immediate action to deal effectively with the causes of climate injustice through establishing strong environmental policies that move our nation into its appropriate role of leadership in global efforts to heal Earth. We encourage you to move from Plan to Performance through the implementation of the following suggestions, many of which are found in “The Biden Plan to Build a Modern, Sustainable Infrastructure and an Equitable Clean Energy Future”:
- Rejoin the Paris Climate Accords
- Prioritize environmental justice issues and hold polluters accountable
- Create infrastructure that is resilient to floods, fires, and other climate threats
- Address disparities in access to clean air, clean water, reliable and sustainable transportation
- Clean up local economies from the impacts of resource extraction
- Transform the U.S. electricity sector by supporting clean energy through the installation of solar and wind industries
- Invest in energy efficiency, clean energy, electrical systems and line infrastructure
- Invest in research to bolster and build critical clean energy supply chains in the U.S.
- Leverage the carbon-pollution free energy provided by existing sources like nuclear and hydropower
- Upgrade commercial buildings and train the workforce to manufacture, install, service and maintain high-efficiency LED lighting, electric appliances, and advanced heating and cooling systems that run cleaner and less costly and are manufactured in the U.S.
- Use renewables to produce carbon-free hydrogen
- Decarbonize industrial heat needed to make steel, concrete, and chemicals and reimagine carbon-neutral construction materials
- Capture carbon dioxide through direct air capture systems
- Transform the energy sources that power the transportation sector to engender mobility to be powered by electricity and clean fuels
- Assemble zero-emission vehicles, parts, and associated infrastructure (e.g. vehicle charging stations and vehicle electrification) here in the U.S.
- Establish ambitious fuel economy standards that cut air pollution and electricity pollution
- Invest in sustainable agriculture and conservation
- Decarbonize the food and agriculture sector and leverage research in soil management, plant biologies, and agricultural techniques to remove carbon dioxide from the air
- Help farmers leverage new technologies, techniques, and equipment to increase productivity and profit
And so, Mr. President, we would like to reiterate our support for your Plan as stated in our remarks. We are grateful for your energy around this important issue of climate change, not only for our own citizenry but for all the residents of planet Earth. We will continue to work with you in our part of the “vineyard” to ensure that the gift of creation continues to be able to sustain itself and gift us with the fruits of her goodness.
Peace and Joy in Providence