Off the Rhode Island Coast, Monday, August 27, 2018 - Within 50 feet of a wind turbine reaching 600 feet into the sky, more than 110 people of faith from six states stood silently along with Dr. Brian Brown, Sr. Kathleen Deignan and Br. Kevin Cawley of the Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona College. We stood alongside as Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Ethical Culture Society leaders took turns offering reflections, readings from sacred writings, and blessings during a Multi-Faith Wind Turbine Blessing. The Ceremony took place at the site of the United States’ first five offshore wind turbines which produce power for 17,000 homes. The ceremony was part of an educational tour of the Block Island Wind Farm organized by GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental organization, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).
A number of the religious leaders on the tour spoke forcefully about the urgent need for offshore wind development as a response to climate change and to dangerous levels of air pollution. “Our children have high rates of asthma; too many of our elders suffer from respiratory diseases,” said Pastor Bryant R. Ali, chair of the Baptist Ministers Council of Newark (NJ) and Vicinity. “We literally need renewable energy so that our communities can live.”
Rabbi Joel Abraham of Scotch Plains, New Jersey’s Temple Sholom, explained that the Hebrew word "ruach" can be translated as both "wind" and "spirit.” “There’s power, physically and spiritually, in the wind,” he said. “God made it. It’s up to us to use it wisely.”
Sr. Kathleen Deignan of Thomas Berry Forum at Offshore Wind Farm
In a show of support for strong state leadership on offshore wind development, following the tour GreenFaith released a statement entitled “Majestic: A Multi-Faith, Moral Call for Environmentally Responsible, Pro-Worker Offshore Wind Development.” Calling for offshore wind development that is environmentally responsible and strongly supportive of local workforce development, the statement emphasizes the urgent need for ambitious state offshore wind policies.
Photo Credit: K. Cawley