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.”
by Rich Gittens, Green Team Lead for GIPL African American Clergy Engagement Pilot
The short, easy answer is … Valerie Hill-Rawls, who has the very long title of, “GIPL African American Creation Care Environmental Justice Pilot Community Engagement Project Manager.” Some months ago Valerie made a presentation at my church, Emmanuel Lutheran, and talked quite passionately about a phrase that I’d not heard used before that day. That phrase was, “environmental justice.” Now, I like to consider myself a fairly articulate guy. I understand “environmental” and I understand “justice” … but I’d not heard them used together. And while the implication seemed pretty clear, I wasn’t sure. So I raised my hand and I asked. From then on I was hooked. Continue reading
by Esme Murdock, Ph.D.
I am a scholar who researches environmental justice, African American/African Diasporic, and Indigenous environmental philosophies. How I came to be a scholar is a story written by my desire to understand myself as a black woman living on Indigenous lands in a settler colony and how to move through the world in a way that keeps me, and others whole. This is a long and unfinished story, but I will share part of it with you; a narrative brimming with the presence, memory, land, water, and peoples I call my relations. Continue reading
Peace and blessings,
I wanted to take some time to introduce myself. I am Michael Malcom and I am the newly appointed Environmental Justice Representative for the Southeast Conference. I am the Senior Pastor of Rush Memorial Congregational Church UCC in Atlanta, GA. I am also the Director of South Carolina Interfaith Power and Light. I consider myself an impassioned neophyte in manners of creation care. I heard, believe, and evangelize the message of creation care however I am new to the movement. This, for me, has placed me in the best position in this movement. I know just enough to follow the conversation yet; I am proficient enough in the novice language to interpret in a way that is manageable.
It is my passion to shape the language of creation care in a way that it calls all of our attention to the issue so that that the masses become environmentally conscious. I found myself drawn to this work through my experience with Sustaining Way which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that teaches about Sustainability and Creation Care. I found that the voice of the faith community (in particular, the African American faith community) is very sparsely represented in the conversation of Environmental Justice. I realized the importance of the voice of the Faith Community shaping the language of Environmental Justice to reach the masses and weave a message of hope throughout the language of Environmental Justice and Climate Care.
A reflection by Valerie Rawls
African-Americans developed what in modern terms might be regarded an environmental ethos long before the environmental justice movement, before the civil rights movement, and before they were emancipated and had citizenship rights conferred upon them.
– Mart A. Stewart, To Love the Wind and the Rain
Since 1987, the environmental justice movement has been trying to address inequalities that are the result of human settlement, industrial contamination, and unsustainable development. The United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice (CRJ) published a decisive report exposing the gross disregard for people of color as toxic waste landfills were sited in their communities throughout the nation. Toxic Waste and Race in the United States proved to be a critical foundation for the environmental justice movement that continues today. Continue reading
Earlier this month I paddled with soon to be new friends, seasoned fishermen, and a host of other nature lovers from across Georgia to tour the coal ash ponds along the banks of Lake Sinclair. Four coal ash ponds dot the shores, containing within them the toxic waste produced from coal-fired power plants. In some cases, no more than fifty yards away from the water, tens of tons of toxic coal ash are held by unlined pits and earthen levies. Continue reading
By Valerie Rawls
I am the granddaughter of a preaching Mississippi sharecropper, who was the son of enslaved and emancipated parents. My grandfather straddled two cultures–one African with limited to no ties to Africa, and the other American. Continue reading
This past Sunday, we welcomed over 125 participants at our first annual Green Team Summit. We’re celebrating that at least 57 congregations were represented at the event! We were inspired by the Keynote Presentation by Veronica Kyle and the many workshop leaders who covered engaging topics on sustainability. We are grateful to The Temple for hosting us and the Rothschild Social Justice Institute. We are convinced this was the perfect way to launch GIPL’s 15th Anniversary this year! Plans are underway for the 2019 Green Team Summit, and we hope you’ll join us.
GIPL is excited to announce a new initiative to share the stories of individuals who have been our partners, allies, and inspirations in this work of caring for creation. These “Creation Care Champions” have worked diligently in their communities drawing the connection between environmental concerns and their various faith traditions, revealing a common appreciation for the community of life, justice, stewardship, and awe. We hope that you are inspired by their stories and learn from their journeys.
Bobby Mclendon is a life-long member of The First Baptist Church of Blakely and continues to be a fierce protector of the environment in the sometimes hostile territory of South Georgia.
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are the ocean” (Ryunosuke Satoro, Japanese Poet). Our oceans are under attack in a variety of ways, thus we and future generations are under attack. As we continue this blog series, let’s explore some of those ways resulting from increased temperatures and melting polar ice and permafrost.
Sea Level Rise
Ocean heating, dilution with freshwater from melting glaciers and its corresponding rise in sea levels are occurring at a temperature increase of 1.9 degrees F (1 degree C) – half the IPPC recommended goal of 3.6 degree F (2 degree C). Sea level rise is one of the calamitous impacts of increased Arctic temperatures. The rise is primarily attributed to the melting of land-based glaciers and to a lesser extent, increasing sea temperatures. Continue reading