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: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley is GIPL’s Executive Director and Chief Officer for Hope.
Atlanta’s first community-based solarize program officially launches Thursday, April 12, on Atlanta’s Westside at Monday Night Brewery’s Garage from 7 to 8:30pm. The launch follows months of work, and just in time for Earth Day, the Solarize Atlanta Coalition chose Creative Solar as the installer for all residential roof projects and Hannah Solar as the installer for all commercial roof installations. GIPL’s Executive Director Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley shared her excitement for this campaign, “This community-led initiative is working hard to bring solar to a diverse array of neighborhoods across the city of Atlanta, and ensure that clean energy is accessible to a cross-section of Atlanta’s residents, places of worship, nonprofits and business.” Continue reading
David Miron-Wapner shares a powerful message that was delivered at The Temple in Atlanta on March 23 during Shabbat service. David was in Georgia to attend the Eco-Symposium on Theological Education hosted by Columbia Theological Seminary. David is Board chair of The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development based in Israel.
As we anticipate Pesach, I offer you an eco-spiritual message that the story of Pharaoh and our liberation from Egypt parallels the situation facing humanity today in confronting the climate crisis. Continue reading
Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director Bob Donaghue. You can read all the blogs from the series here.
Is there a comprehensive, strategic approach to reverse or stall climate change? Not according to Paul Hawken, author, entrepreneur, and environmentalist. The author of Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest and a coauthor of Natural Capitalism has recently edited a book containing a compilation of over 100 strategies to reverse global warming. Continue reading
Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read all the posts from the blog series here.
Creation has evolved over billions of years and has formed ecosystems that contain both living and non-living components that interact as a unit. The late Dr. Eugene Odum, the father of modern ecology, taught at the University of Georgia where he developed the collaborative approach of systems ecology. Continue reading
This final Ramadan reflection consists of excerpts from “Conclusions and Recommendations of the First International Conference on Muslim Action on Climate Change” in 2010.
Islam has profound wisdom to offer the rest of the world. The holistic Islamic teaching of rahmatan lil alamin (the blessing of the universe) propagates that we share the world fairly with all mankind. The holistic Islamic concept rahmatan lil alamin (the gift or blessing of the universe) necessitates that we share the world fairly with all mankind.
Efforts for sustainable development should be based on both the Qur’an and the history of Islamic science and civilization. The Islamic World will in the future anchor its development in the Islamic teaching of a holistic ecological paradigm that balances the relationships between human beings and Allah (hablun min Allah), among human beings (hablun minannas), and between human beings and nature (hablun minal alam). Continue reading
Can we stop climate change? More importantly, can we reverse it? One of our leading intellectual minds, Paul Hawken, has gathered the best practitioners in the world to answer that question.
Join us as we gather together with some of the Atlanta leaders who worked on the project to discuss how we can actually start looking beyond how to fix climate change and start working towards reversing it.
John Lanier, Ray C. Anderson Foundation
Katharine Wilkinson, Project Drawdown
Author, Speaker & Strategist
Jim Hartzfeld, Hartzfeld Sustainability Advisors
This reflection was originally shared on Beth Remmes’s blog Earth · Spirit · Action.
I often vacillate between the sacred and profane and my experience at the People’s Climate March was no exception.
When the line-up came out for the march, I was so moved by the care and collaboration that went into the plan. I looked at it and thought that I could be with the Guardians, Keepers of Faith or Many Struggles, One Home.
Part of me felt most drawn to the first two, but the sign that I was inspired to make and the fact that I was marching with our local Sierra Club chapter, landed me in the last section. Continue reading
Photo credit: Norah Silva
Just two days ago, close to 700 people gathered in Atlanta’s streets for the Atlanta Climate March to walk the streets toward the National Center for Civil & Human Rights, raising a unified voice in support of a productive and hopeful Climate Conference in Paris.
This global day of action included almost one million participants worldwide in over 150 cities (including Savannah!) GIPL was on hand to help represent the faith community as Atlanta rallied to #ActOnClimate. Continue reading
Starting the weekend of November 28th, people everywhere are coming together for two weeks of action calling for climate justice and an end to carbon pollution. There’s going to be thousands of events around the world culminating in a mass mobilization in Paris on Dec 12th. Join the global movement for climate justice in Atlanta on November 29th.
The People’s Climate March in Atlanta is intended to be a peaceful, yet forceful demonstration of Atlanta’s commitment to the global climate movement. We hope to bring together people of all different backgrounds and interests to show that climate change is a mainstream issue, and that we demand action from our world leaders on climate.