Dozens of climate and energy experts, politicos and religious leaders converged for an all-day event to focus on reconciling differences and unify for the greater good that is the earth’s climate. Themes included strengthening the idea of environmental justice, and how climate change has become a civil rights issue for the entire planet.

Grantee Rev. Leo Woodberry, who helped start this initiative in 2009, said guiding the conversation takes more than a few people in a handful of universities and churches. “It takes all the stakeholders for us to truly create a climate for change,” he said. “We have to unify if we’re going to address climate change and these increasing weather-related disasters that are wreaking havoc on our country.”

The conference, Climate for Change, featured guest speakers from across the nation and multiple panels with experts on a variety of topics.

One of the morning’s featured panelists was Karenna Gore, director of the Center for Earth Ethics in New York and daughter of former Vice President Al Gore.

Gore said the morality when it comes to how we treat the earth has yet to translate into common-good laws.

“Sometimes morals need to catch up to our laws,” she said. “The most famous example is Dr. Martin Luther King making that case to the American people during the civil rights era. Just because something is perfectly legal doesn’t mean it’s moral.”

Gore said laws that allow fracking, digging, burning of fossil fuels and dumping of toxic waste into underserved communities are immoral and should be addressed as such.

The Rev. Gerald Durley, a speaker who marched alongside King in the 1960s, changed his mind about climate change as he began to view it as a human rights and civil rights issue that the church can address.

“Science and faith are not incongruent,” he said.” When we come together and understand that the two work together we begin to understand that it’s about changing laws, changing minds to create a better way of life for everyone.”

Adapted from the original at SC Now