Posts

Indigenous Peoples Lead the Way

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 For some years now Indigenous Americans have led the way in de-mythologizing our national Thanksgiving holiday. Since 1970, when a Wampanoag leader’s speech at a Thanksgiving celebration was rejected because of his criticism of the genocidal behavior of the Plymouth colonists, Native Americans have remembered the fourth Thursday in November as a national day of mourning . There is more to mourn than just the injustices perpetrated agains Indigenous Americans in the centuries since. We also might mourn the loss of environmental knowledge that Native Americans had developed over millennia. If those English colonists had bothered to learn how to respect this land instead of exploit it, we might not be in our situation today.  Here are some resources for learning about what really happened in New England in 1620-21: From MSN: The True Story Of Thanksgiving Isn’t the One You Learned in School From the Smithsonian: Harvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth And for learning about how In

COP26 Is Over. What next?

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Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto  There have been varied reactions to COP26. Indigenous peoples, who had a large presence in Glasgow, were not happy with the final document, as reported in The Guardian: “Indigenous communities facing a surge in land grabs, water shortages and human rights violations as a result of the Cop26 deal have accused world leaders of sacrificing them in order to postpone meaningful climate action and shield corporate profits. The Critics warn that the new global carbon-trading market will incentivize countries and corporations to offset – rather than cut – emissions responsible for global heating by investing in so-called green energy projects, which are linked to environmental destruction, forced displacement, arbitrary arrests and even murder.” The Guardian , November 16, 2021 But not all organizations concerned with climate change were as unhappy. The Natural Resources Defense Council found four helpful steps the nations were willing to take. Still, the United Na

Creation Care Visioning

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There is a monthly online gathering of clergy and laity, folks coming from Florida to the Upper Peninsula, who are dedicated to helping their churches and diocese become more involved and more effective in dealing with the climate crisis. This month’s sharing in the Creation Care Network was especially  productive. The focus was on imagining a realistic hope for what we might do in our churches and communities that would reduce environmental damage. The ideas included: Working on buildings  Working on grounds Changing the way we worship, including preaching Providing Creation Care formation opportunities Changing behaviors Changing enculturation  Taking part in public cooperative action Work on buildings included upgrading heating & insulation, reducing electric use, choosing a renewable option for electric source, installing solar panels. Many participants commented that without financial assistance their churches couldn’t do much of this.  Work on grounds had some group members

Attention City of Columbus Residents! (And Other Readers, Too)

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Our energy savvy church members want to remind Ohioans that you can start using renewable energy in your homes, now. If you live in Columbus, the city has negotiated an aggregated plan (power purchase agreement) with AEP called Clean Energy Columbus . It allows you to sign up for a 100% renewable electricity plan at 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour. All you need to do is call AEP to sign up. If you don’t use AEP, check with your own provider. If they don’t offer the City negotiated power purchase agreement you might at least see if they offer an equivalent renewable energy credit product. If you don’t live in the City of Columbus, you can do some advocacy. Not everyone in Ohio can benefit from solar energy. Renters and people who can't install solar on their homes are out of luck. The Simply Living organization urges your support of a new bipartisan bill, HB 450, would allow all Ohioans to go solar by legalizing community solar programs. Community solar lets anyone subscribe to a share

Climate Change Is Not Fiction, but There Is Good Fiction about It

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  Maybe it’s because I began professional life as an English literature teacher, but I love reading novels and short stories. So, if you are ready for stories rather than depressing non-fiction accounts about the mess we are getting ourselves into, here are some suggestions. Let’s start with some classics for kids: The Lorax , by Dr. Seuss. Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. This now classic story has actually become somewhat controversial ( see this review ), but I see it best read today as a parable about the way we have demanded too much from nature, never satisfied, until we, and nature, are crippled by too much getting. (I take the tree’s final “happiness” as ironic.) The Illinois Library has a great list of recommendations in the young adult fiction category. I especially recommend the Carl Hiaasen n

Extinction

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 There have been five mass extinctions in the history of our planet where more than 75% of species are lost. There were many causes—continental drift, asteroid impacts, simultaneous volcanic eruptions, and, most important: climate change. Scientists now suspect that we are in the midst of a sixth mass extinction. Just last week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that 23 species were being removed from the “endangered” list because they were almost certainly extinct, having not been seen for decades. In addition, the monarch butterfly and the bumble bee are getting close to extinction. The cause? Almost certainly human activity that has destroyed habitat, introduced invasive species, caused pollution and brought about another age of climate change. One of the animals declared extinct is the ivory-billed woodpecker. A PBS Newshour segment explores the causes. Over a million species world-wide are on track to extinction. But there are still things we can do. We can, of course

Fossil Fuel’s Fight to Slow Climate Action

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  It’s all coming out into the open now. For decades fossil fuel companies have known about the disastrous effects their products would have on the earth’s climate. Instead of figuring out how to mitigate those effects, they buried the science and tried to convince us that individual efforts were necessary to solve pollution problems. They lobbied congress to keep incentivizing oil, gas and coal production. Today, as tough climate legislation appears to be a real possibility, they are attempting to sabotage it in favor of a plan that climate scientists say would raise the temperature of the planet not the 1.5°C that might save us from the worst effects of climate change, but 3°C, which might put these companies, and the rest of us, out of business. All for the sake of keeping business as usual for as long as possible. It’s important for Christians who care for the earth and future generations to keep aware of what the fossil fuel companies are doing, and to take action against it. I