Statement Of Lee Wallach
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
Los Angeles, California
April 29, 2003
Los Angeles Interfaith Environmental Council
My name is Lee Wallach. I am with the Los Angeles Interfaith Environmental Council. Along with partners throughout the country, we are a collaboration of community leaders and institutions that have been established to examine the spiritual connections to God’s world and explore and advocate for ways to make environmental issues a significant focus in our lives. As heads of major religious communities representing thousands and hundreds thousands of Angelinos and billions of Americans, we passionately share your real vision for a cleaner and greener Los Angeles and America. The members that make up our faith community are growing older and older. I think that probably only the AARP has more older adults than our organization. We ask and call upon the EPA to protect creation. It’s part of your name. It is also part of the faith community’s mandate. We call upon you to protect creation and all God’s children equally. One life is not more important than another. The future of God’s creation on earth, the nature, the reliability of our economy, public health, public lands, the environment and quality of life we bequeath to our grandchildren and great grandchildren is at stake. We are called to consider moral purpose, not just policy and not just economics. The debate takes place under unprecedented circumstances. Global warming is a specific fact. Population growth. All issues I know you are well aware of. We have new technologies that can be brought to bear and initiatives like this can have a very real impact as well. We ask you to, please, not weaken current standards. We have protections that have been put into place to protect God’s creation and God’s children. We don’t want to discount the value of one part of our community, one part that may be the most vulnerable. These are issues for all Americans. These hearings are critical and important, and I hope that they actually continue. I would also hope that we can make them even more effective for the location here is difficult to reach. I encourage you to attempt finding information on this meeting on your website. You are reaching out to older Americans. We would like to partner in that effort to make it much more effective and sustainable. We think that the faith community can do that. We also feel that our partners here can help you do that as well. Volunteers can work in the offices alongside folks and all the organizations whose representatives have stood up here and spoken. We can see some real benefits happen at the end of the day. In closing, we are not scientists, gerontologists, energy experts or policy makers, but because this challenge raises fundamental moral and religious questions, we believe that perspectives of faith and values should help shape this America’s discussion and the results that come from it. Thank you very much.