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
My name is Ben Wilkinson, and I am a rising senior at Dunwoody High School and a member of Dunwoody UMC. In June, I became a Sustainability Ambassador for the City of Atlanta. The Sustainability Ambassador program is a series of six classes, each one dedicated to a specific topic related to environmentalism, including food, power, water, waste, and weather. Each session features one or two speakers who work on projects pertaining both to the class theme and sustainability. For example, the speaker at the fourth class was the designer of forty miles of flood tunnels under Atlanta and specially-designed parks that can flood when needed to prevent dangerous sewer overflows. The second class featured representatives of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates some of the largest hydroelectric dams in the US, and an engineer tasked with designing and deploying windmills off the East Coast. Continue reading
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
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
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
Today’s blog post comes from GIPL friend Patrick Cobb, the Facilities Manager at Saint Anne’s Episcopal Church. Here he reflects on the process of receiving an Energy Audit from GIPL and what changes have been put in place following the audit. Additionally, Saint Anne’s has a large solar array installed on the parish, funded through a GIPL grant, which powers their administrative offices. Continue reading
My name is Courtney Godwin, and I am a Religion and Social Justice major about to begin my third year at Agnes Scott College. Growing up, I spent much of my time outdoors, whether it was in the backyard with my sister or camping and hiking with my family. My parents both inspired a love of nature in me from an early age which has stayed with me. This zeal for nature was a catalyst for my minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Continue reading
In 2017, GIPL was pleased to provide a seed grant through our Four Directions Fund to Georgia Mountain Unitarian Universalist Church. One of ten grant recipients, Georgia Mountain UUC has a vibrant Green ministry that engages people within and beyond the four walls of the church. This past year, the congregation collaborated with several local organizations to tackle an environmental issue close to their hearts. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of Chris Donaghue
When I first discovered Thomas Berry, world religion scholar and renowned author, my eyes opened wide as I felt a void being filled. Over the past 50 years, scientific findings about the creation of the universe, earth, life and consciousness have provided answers about our origins. Thomas Berry’s work culminated in the call for a new creation story, one based on scientific fact and not just faith. He urges us to move from a scientific-technological focus to one based on ecological principles; one founded on recognizing the intrinsic value of nature. The whole planet is one complex ecosystem all working in harmony and self-supporting, thus enabling the earth to maintain conditions suitable for life and its evolution. James Lovelock calls this the Gaia Theory. Everything is interconnected. Berry felt the old creation story for Christians, Genesis, served its purpose through history, but new scientific discoveries beg for a new creation story. Continue reading