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A Moral Call for Climate Action

Pope Francis greeting the crowds in St Peter's Square.

Pope Francis greeting the crowds in St. Peter's Square.

Martin Podzorny/Shutterstock

[Editor’s note: Today, Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C., to encourage and support Pope Francis’ moral call to action to protect our planet for all people. Most notably for Earthjustice’s work, the pontiff will highlight his call to defend God’s creation set forth in his historic papal encyclical, Laudato Si, released this summer. Below is a transcript of Van Noppen’s speech.]

I’m Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice, the nation’s premier public interest environmental law organization. I am here today because Earthjustice shares Pope Francis’s moral call to action to protect our planet for all people, for every community. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Pope Francis calls on our sense of justice and compassion, and our shared dependence on a healthy planet. We are honored to share this commitment not only with Pope Francis, but also with the hundreds of partners with whom we work every day who are fighting for human dignity and compassion in the communities where they live.

  • Trip Van Noppen and Earthjustice staff
    Emma Cheuse/Earthjustice
    Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen and Earthjustice staff at the climate rally in Washington, D.C.
  • Trip Van Noppen and rally supporters in Washington D.C.
    Sarah Saylor/Earthjustice
    Trip Van Noppen and rally supporters in Washington, D.C.
  • Trip Van Noppen and his wife and daughter in Washington D.C.
    Emma Cheuse/Earthjustice
    Trip Van Noppen and his wife and daughter in Washington, D.C.
  • Trip Van Noppen giving this speech at the rally in Washington D.C.
    Jessica Ennis/Earthjustice
    Earthjustice was honored to speak at the rally—though we wish the Jumbotron had gotten the spelling of our name right!

We make common cause with communities near big polluters like the oil refineries in Long Beach, California, and the coal-burning power plants in northern Ohio, fighting to end the asthma epidemic and to transition to clean energy. We join with the towns across the country banning fracking from their borders, towns like Dryden, NY, and Denton, TX, and La Habra Heights, CA. We stand united with the people of West Virginia battling the ravages of mountaintop removal mining. We have linked arms with the people in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, who are beating back the Koch Brothers’ attempt to prevent them from harnessing the power of the sun on their own rooftops. And we have joined together with the people in Maryland to win the right to develop community solar projects.

Today, we join with all of you, here in this phenomenal gathering, answering Pope Francis’s call to build a bigger movement and to leave no one behind in our commitment to a healthy planet. Today, we gather outside the Capitol. Inside that building, a divided Congress is unable to act on climate change.

Outside, here on the National Mall, we are united, united in our moral commitment to action and to justice. Today, we affirm our determination that global action for climate justice will not be blocked by the fossil fuel industry and its political servants. Today, we show the world that our movement is not only about the environment. It’s about our common bond to love and protect one another as well as the planet that is our home. 

We will not be deterred! We will not be denied! We will prevail!


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