Science + Religion = New Alliance to Save the Planet

"We agree that our home, the Earth, which comes to us as that inexpressibly beautiful and mysterious gift that sustains our very lives, is seriously imperiled by human behavior," said a copy of the statement provided to ABC News.

In the statement, both sides also agreed that they were motivated by concern for the "poorest of the poor, well over a billion people, who have little chance to improve their lives" in devastated environments.

"Unless we care for the vulnerable, we are not representing Jesus well," said Joel Hunter, senior pastor at the Northland Church in Orlando.

Cooperation Is Vital

Setting aside differences is imperative to action, say organizers.

"Great scientists are people of imagination," Cizik said. "So are people of great faith. We dare to imagine a world in which science and religion cooperate, minimizing our differences about how it got started, to reverse its degradation."

Rita Colwell, a professor at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University who studies infectious diseases, called today's agreement "historic".

"We have made some remarkable discoveries about each other," she said. "The most significant being that we agree that we must act and must do so quickly."

Colwell is joined on the initiative by James Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is considered one of the world's top climate scientists.

"We must keep global warming from taking climate far outside the range that has existed for the past several thousands of years," Hansen said, adding: "It is still possible to avoid dramatic climate change."

Organizers hope the new alliance will be felt "in the pulpit" and will spur others to join the fight to save the planet.

According to the statement, saving the creation will require nothing short of a new moral awakening "clearly articulated in Scripture and supported by science, that we must steward the natural world in order to preserve for ourselves and future generations a beautiful, rich, and healthful environment."

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