GIPL Board member and frequent guest blogger, Susan Varlamoff offers her favorite eco-friendly tricks for the holiday season:
Make Natural Decorations: Rather than buying plastic ornaments, wreaths, and decorations shipped from overseas, make your own from pine cones, holly, seashells, river stones, and evergreen branches. Christmas tree lots often will give away branches they’ve trimmed off the bottom of trees. Continue reading
Let’s start out with a basic fact. Global temperatures are 1-degree C over pre-industrial levels. With that increase we are seeing:
- Melting of the Arctic and Antarctic,
- Accelerating sea level rise,
- Ocean acidification,
- Global ecosystem disruption,
- Spread of vectors and diseases,
- Extreme storm intensification,
- Increased drought and flooding
- Expansion of wildfires
Recent discoveries and research suggest life is not an earth-only experiment. The building blocks of life could be widespread throughout the universe. Carbon and water are two vital ingredients for life along with a temperate climate. During Thomas Berry’s life (1914-2009), he saw many discoveries in astrophysics which fed into his thinking for the new story about the creation of the universe, earth, life and consciousness. New discoveries suggest there are 100-200 billion galaxies in the cosmos and billions of earth-like planets in our Milky Way. The recently discovered building blocks of life found on Mars and Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, support the notion of life throughout the universe. All would expand Berry’s creation story. Continue reading
Last week was a real doozy. I was just beginning to digest the intense news that came from the United Nations’ IPPC latest report on rising global temperatures and the fact that we have far less time to turn this ship around. Then came Hurricane Michael, delivering a catastrophic blow to people and places I love along the Gulf Coast & South Georgia. I join countless others now feverishly praying for those enduring the intensity of this massive storm. I am shaken by the profound vulnerability of the world in this moment.
Pema Chodron, Buddhist teacher & author, writes of the power of such vulnerability, “This tenderness for life [called bodhichitta] awakens when we no longer shield ourselves from the vulnerability of our condition, from the basic fragility of existence. It awakens through kinship with the suffering of others. We train so as to become open and take in the pain of the world, let it touch our hearts and turn it into compassion.”
Using the lens of this spiritual teacher, I now think it is quite possible to see the dire news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as an opportunity for the human family rather than a death knell. Our exposed vulnerability can move us towards hopeful action on behalf of G-d’s fragile planet.
I can attest through the hundreds of people and houses of worship with whom I connect through GIPL on a weekly basis that much of what is needed for course-correction by 2030 is already underway. And yet, we need to move faster. That’s the most important aspect of the report. We can no longer deny that the climate is changing rapidly and having negative impacts on vulnerable communities across the globe.
The collective actions required to keep us from warming the planet by another 2+degrees (Celsius) fall on industry and individuals, governments and NGOs. It’s not a matter of when, but HOW.
Fortunately, IPCC scientists didn’t just hit the panic button. They provided concrete steps forward for us. It’s as if Mother Earth called to say, “Install solar. Plant trees. Eat your veggies!”
Now I do not intend to make light of the IPCC report’s serious warning to us about our fate on this suffering planet. I do wish to highlight an encouraging word embedded in that historic document — our consumer choices matter. As people of faith, we must see ourselves as more than consumers. We are citizens of this world.
We are neighbors sharing a common home. All of the world’s major religions teach the value of showing care for our neighbors. Adopting the IPCC’s recommendations and embracing climate action shows love of neighbor.
Today, love of neighbor looks like:
– a new energy plan that provides affordable, renewable energy;
– a more sustainable, plant-focused diet that wastes less;
– planting trees one grove at a time; and
– engaging our elected officials to adopt climate action plans for all communities.
All of these climate actions can be practiced as individuals, as congregations, and as entire communities. GIPL has the resources to support you in making these changes – whether you join one of our Solarize campaigns, get serious about reducing food waste or support reforestation projects in Georgia or beyond.
Remember, “Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.” (with thanks to David Orr) In the wake of this game-changing climate report, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to hope!
(Connect with GIPL Team today and share with us ways that your faith community is responding to the United Nation IPCC’s call to action. Email us: email@example.com)
Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley is GIPL’s Executive Director and Chief Officer for Hope.
On August 1, 2018, Nathaniel Rich had an article titled “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change” in The New York Times Magazine. Editor Jake Silverstein writes: “This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. Complementing the text is a series of aerial photographs and videos, all shot over the past year by George Steinmetz. With support from the Pulitzer Center, this two-part article is based on 18 months of reporting and well over a hundred interviews. It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe. It will come as a revelation to many readers — an agonizing revelation — to understand how thoroughly they grasped the problem and how close they came to solving it.”
A common theme among many of the previous Sightings blogs is that natural laws (physics, chemistry and biology) govern the planet and universe and that life has evolved from the basic elements released during the Big Bang. Each organism is part of a population of similar organisms and an ecosystem made up of other plants, animals and inorganic features. They also evolved from a common ancestor living about 3.5 billion years ago. Continue reading
Written by Colin Christopher, this blog was originally posted on August 16, 2018 by Blessed Tomorrow. Blessed Tomorrow is a coalition of diverse religious partners united as faithful stewards of creation. Together, we inspire our communities to take action today on one of the greatest moral challenges of our era — protecting our shared home.
A few weeks ago, award-winning filmmaker Mawish Raza and I made the unlikely journey to Houston in the middle of July to make a film about climate change and the Muslim community. Everyone knows that Houston is hot and humid, but our time there included temperatures rising to 105 degrees. Some of our camera equipment was on the verge of melting. While there, many people mentioned to us that summer temperatures continue to rise year after year Continue reading
This article was originally posted on July 3, 2018 by the Presbyterian (PCUSA) Mission Agency.
Another new policy on engaging with issues of climate change–through preaching, embodying, advocating and proclaiming eco-justice– passed last month by the General Assembly environment committee and then by the General Assembly itself is below. Continue reading
What is ecotheology? It is a form of theology that focuses on the relationship between religion and nature with a particular emphasis on the ecological destruction underway. It started as a religious response to the degradation of nature but is also concerned with potential solutions including ecosystem management and environmental justice. Continue reading
For Immediate Release – June 22, 2018
A proposal to fully divest the denomination’s foundation and pension accounts from all fossil fuel companies failed in the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly Friday. Fossil Free PCUSA, a project of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF), led the advocacy effort on behalf of divestment, and their work included a two-week, 212 mile walk from Louisville, KY to St. Louis, Missouri. Forty presbyteries signed onto the overture in advance of the assembly, the greatest number of presbyteries to ever concur on an overture. After four hours of discussion, the assembly voted 332 to 178 against divestment. Continue reading