Seventeen Quakers from Newtown Friends Meeting and Pennswood Village met with Representative Brian Fitzpatrick in his Langhorne office. The group requested that Fitzpatrick co-sponsor a piece of bipartisan legislation, H.R.2858, the SUPER Act to Reduce Climate Pollutants. The bill would establish a federal task force to reduce short-lived greenhouse gas emissions that are most toxic to public health and harmful to our clean air. Such “Super” pollutants – hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s), black carbon, and methane – account for 40% of global warming. These are “low hanging fruit” in the process of slowing climate change and can be reduced with existing American technology.
A key testimony of Quakers is stewardship, and in particular stewardship of the environment and of the planet. Members of the group shared personal stories about their connection to Climate Change. Two pointed out that they, like Fitzpatrick, were Eagle Scouts, and that a principal of scouting is to “leave your campsite in better condition than when you arrived”. Another described how her grandchildren and their family were forced to relocate twice due to recent hurricanes. A former investment manager in the group described our planet as the most important capital asset we have.
The Quakers asked Fitzpatrick to add his name to the bipartisan support for the bill. As a member of the House’s Climate Solutions Caucus, which is exploring the most effective means to reduce global warming, Fitzpatrick has already supported various pieces of legislation intending to address the issue.
Members of the group encouraged Fitzpatrick to continue his commitment to addressing climate change, along with other bipartisan initiatives including the Congressional Citizen Legislature Caucus (which he founded and chairs) that works for bipartisan reform including term limits, non-partisan redistricting, and campaign finance reform. The Problem Solvers (No Labels) Caucus is working on tax reform, infrastructure, and structural reform.
All three Caucuses share the “Noah’s Ark” principle: every Representative who joins the caucus must be joined by one from the other party, building a growing body of collegiality and the ability to work together.
The visit was arranged by NFM young adult member Sarah Haber, who is currently an Intern with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), a DC-based Quaker group that has lobbied Congress and the administration to advance peace, justice, opportunity, and environmental stewardship since its founding in 1943.