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
St. Matthew Catholic Church in Tyrone is one of 11 members the Catholic Pilot Project. This project, whose full name is the “Laudato Si’ Action Plan Pilot Project,” came to life when the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta decided to run a pilot project to support this group of parishes and schools in making environmental improvements. “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home” is Pope Francis’ encyclical about caring for the earth and each other. 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
St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Cleveland, Georgia is one of 11 members the Catholic Pilot Project. This project, whose full name is the “Laudato Si’ Action Plan Pilot Project,” came to life when the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta decided to run a pilot project to support this group of parishes and schools in making environmental improvements. “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home” is Pope Francis’ encyclical about caring for the earth and each other. Continue reading
On October 20, the GIPL team gathered with forty Creation care champions for the first ever Coastal Green Team Summit. The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Ayres from Candler School of Theology kicked off the gathering reminding us that we are “profoundly located.” And indeed, we were profoundly located at First Baptist Church Saint Simon’s Island. For that we are deeply grateful! Continue reading
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.
In 2017, GIPL was pleased to provide a seed grant through our Four Directions Fund to Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church. One of ten grant recipients, Emerson UUC has a vibrant Green ministry that engages people of all ages. This past year, the congregation took on a nesting project, creating nesting houses for a variety of animals. Continue reading
Several previous Sightings blogs have focused on the ecological underpinnings of our society and planet. A sustainable earth must be one that mimics natural processes that maintain healthy ecosystems. Ecosystems are the life support system for the planet and polluting them, hastening extinctions or changing their chemical makeup is contrary to their long-term sustainability. Ecosystems have resilience and can recover from some abuse, but once an ecological threshold (tipping point) is crossed they change their character and makeup forever; generally, not conducive to existing populations. Continue reading
This post reflects thoughts on how Christians can prepare and preserve a fitting, earthly place for God to dwell in and around us.
As I write this, my son has just returned from a college internship in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Wilderness Preserve in Alaska.
Many of us may not have heard of Wrangell-St. Elias, which is one our newer National Parks, albeit the largest, comprising an area larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Switzerland (which is not one of our parks!) combined. Continue reading