Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Book of Revelation: Hope for the Earth

"Then the angel showed me that river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the city. One either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."
Barbara Rossing, in her presentation at Trinity Institute this year gives a vision of hope and healing for the world in our day through the Book of Revelation. Countering the picture put forth by those who see only "end times" and a message of use it or lose it when it comes to our resources, she offers the reading that shows the non-violent power of Love - Jesus as Lamb. In her reading Earth becomes the hero of the story. By turning away from the demands of empire and it lust for more power and riches, Christians are called to live in a way that leads to healing, to live an ethical life for all creation. It is not a book of destruction but a book of life. Listen and watch. Click HERE for more.

My Family Footprint

Bishop Smith of Arizona has made a strong statement about the spiritual importance of our relationship with the environment (see below). He calls for repentance and action with regard to our own harmful impact on the world around us.

To help with efforts in this regard, we have a new tool available on the Diocesan website entitled "My Family Footprint." The link is HERE

Upcoming Nature and Spirituality events in the Diocese of Arizona:

Diocesan Ministry Fair March 3:
Workshops on Celtic Spirituality and Natural Outreach

NAS Hike to Cathedral Rock:
March 31, 8:15am-11:30am
Alma School Road 1 mile north of Dynamite

Here is the letter from Bishop Smith:
E-pistle for February 23, 2007
by Bishop Kirk Stevan Smith

At our Ash Wednesday services, we said together this line from the Prayerbook:

"For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us, Accept our repentance, Lord."
Although this line was written almost 40 years ago, it reflects an increased concern about our environment. The ecological crisis we have created can no longer be ignored. The recent report from a distinguished panel of scientists reported that there can be no doubt that global warming is a reality that is already affecting our world economy (See Global Warming articles on other posts at this Blog). The environmental damage has already been done, and that in some cases, it is already too late to do anything about it. This has prompted renewed attention by our government (which was often in the past in a state of denial). Universities are giving this crisis renewed attention, and even the private sector now competes to see which are the "greenest" companies (See the EPA's leading corporations). The results may surprise you!

Sadly, churches have seldom been in the forefront of environmental stewardship, in spite of the fact that we have a highly developed theology of creation. The Bible makes it clear that we have been entrusted by God with the care of the earth and its creatures. It is a job at which we have failed miserably.

I would like to see that attitude change in our Diocese, and there are many steps we can begin to take even now. In our June ArizonaLife newspaper, there will be a full page of resources for you and your parish to use, compiled by our Nature and Spirituality Program Group . Many of their suggestions are already available on our website. There will be environmental offerings at our coming Ministry Fair (March 3) and more opportunities are on the way.

Perhaps even more importantly, all of us can begin to make changes in our own lives that have a combined effect on the environment. We can ask ourselves, how "green" is my house, my office, my car? It begins with such simple efforts as turning off unnecessary lights, limiting our water use, recycling trash, and curbing our tendencies towards "gas guzzling" and waste.

Lent is a good time to begin these simple disciplines. They may not only help save our planet, but could also help save our souls.

A Final Thought . . .

As a Lenten reflection on our place in creation, I share with you an article from our former Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold:

A much-loved saint associated with the natural world around us is Francis of Assisi. Francis is the author of a text known as the Canticle of the Sun, which expresses an enthusiastic thanksgiving for the world around us and is also a profound theological statement about creation and our place in it.

"Praised be you most high good Lord with all your creatures especially Sir Brother Sun... Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon... through Brother Wind...through Sister Water, through Brother Fire... through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs."

Clearly Francis' inspiration came in part from the psalms, which he would have recited in the course of the daily office. He also would have been familiar with the canticle found in our own prayer book that begins, "Glorify the Lord, all your works of the Lord, praise him and highly exalt him forever." What is unprecedented in Francis' canticle is that he refers to sun and moon, wind and water, fire and earth as brother and sister, thereby establishing an intimate, and affectionate, relationship between humankind and all created things.

The canticle situates humankind within creation as sister or brother to all created things and never in a position of domination. This radical reordering of humankind's relationship to creation flowed from a profound sense that sun and moon, earth and all creatures, colored flowers and herbs are all revelatory of God and God's goodness. Everything speaks of God and praises God in fulfilling its own nature and function in the vast web of relationships and interdependencies that constitute creation - us included. This relationship of mutuality and respect and affection reflects God's own love of the world God created.

This sense of being in harmony with creation is very much part of how native peoples understand themselves and is reflected in the Navajo Blessing Way Prayer:

In beauty may I walk. All day long may I walk. Through the returning seasons may I walk. On the trail marked with pollen may I walk. With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk. With dew about my feet may I walk. With beauty may I walk. With beauty before me, may I walk. With beauty behind me, may I walk. With beauty above me, may I walk. With beauty below me, may I walk. With beauty all around me, may I walk. In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk. In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk. It is finished in beauty. It is finished in beauty.

I wonder what would happen if we said this prayer as we walked through life. What would we see differently or perhaps for the first time? How might a new consciousness - a new sense of relationship - brotherhood or sisterhood with creation - move us to a stance of respect and even affection for "this fragile earth our island home" and call us to deeds of healing and reordered relationship? Would we then be mindful that a break in that relationship opens the way for our misuse and violation of creation?

In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul comes at the reciprocal relationship between humankind and creation from a different perspective. He speaks not of mutual blessing leading to a song of praise but of bondage leading to inward groaning and cries of pain.

"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God ... creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies."

These words make clear the indissoluble link between the children of God, which is all of us, and creation. The future and well being - redemption - of one is bound up with the future and well being of the other. The bondage of the one is reflected in the bondage of the other.

Put another way, the spirit of ingratitude that occludes one's ability to see God's "hand at work in the world around us" leads to a relationship with creation that is characterized by domination, disrespect and misuse. Our blind ingratitude throws us off
balance, creates disharmony and makes us unable to walk any longer on a trail of beauty. Our relationship to creation reveals the disposition of our souls and says a tremendous amount about whether we are children of light or children of darkness.
Our focus on the environment moves us not simply to admire and rejoice in the beauty that surrounds us, but also to recover and renew our gratitude and reverence for the wonder of creation of which we ourselves are a part. In so doing, may we indeed be faithful stewards of the world God has given into our care.

For a copy of Kingdom of Green, click here

Monday, February 26, 2007


After publishing the resources I have found to date and having lived 6 days of Lent, here is how I am doing on my personal commitment to Green Lent.

Driving - I am not driving around our little town. Walking the mile to the shops instead of jumping in the car each time I need something. We (my husband and I) aim for one shopping trip per week that needs the car. So far so good on that. I have to drive to work as it is 120 miles (one way) to the church I serve. I decided to try 55 mph instead of my usual 65-70 mph. Took a little longer (especially the with the flat tire that had to be changed) but not much and I was surprised at the difference on my gas gauge. Will start a record of that next time I fill the tank.

Recycling - continuing with the newspaper, magazines and plastic bottles. Started with office pack - wow has that ever cut down on our per can amount for the garbage company. If we had glass and tin can recycling it would be even better.

Heating - keeping the house at 58-60 F. Only warming spaces where we sit for longer periods of time. This has been our pratice all along but reporting it anyway. Cuts our heating bills almost in half.

Other stuff - washing clothes in cold water. Hard for me to give up whiter whites - oh well.

And An Inconvenent Truth won an Oscar!! Along with my favorite best actress - Helen Mirren.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Green Blogs

Thanks to comments on this blog I am discovering other blogs about being Green.

The Christian Environmentalist explores environmental issues from a Christian perspective. She is keeping a Local Lent. From her blog:
"And so, I've decided to being my own celebration of Lent by attempting to eat in a way that is fully appropriate for this season. I'll try to follow the vegan diet that is the traditional observance of Orthodoxy (I say try, because, after all, I never have given up chocolate for Lent before!). But I will also spend the first week of Lent on a more strict diet: all my meals will consist of only local food."

The Evangelical Ecologisthas some ideas for a Green Lent and other faith based ideas about taking care of the earth.

Easy To Be Green?

Newsweek lists 10 things you can do for greener living.

1. Feed the Bees: Pesticides, pollution and habitat destruction are taking a toll on the birds and insects that pollinate about 80 percent of the world's food supply (or about one out of every three bites of food we eat), says Rose Getch of the National Gardening Association. To lend a helping hand, plant a pollinator garden. Yellow, blue and purple flowers will attract bees, while red and orange will attract hummingbirds. For more information, go to

2. Clean Up, Naturally: Household chemicals contribute to both in-door and outdoor pollution. This year, use more natural cleaners like the Greening the Cleaning line at Or make your own using vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. For some great tips on green cleaning, go to

3. Ditch Your Junk: Not only is junk mail annoying, it kills trees. Do yourself—and the forests—a favor by getting off the mailing lists of companies you don't support. You can contact the firms yourself, or check out subscription services like or that promise to lighten your junk-mail load. For more information:

4. Air Your Laundry: Make like Grandma and line-dry your clothes once in a while. It not only saves money, but also decreases your yearly carbon- dioxide emissions. Likewise, run your washer on cold whenever possible—and use it only when it's full.

5. Recycle Your Gadgets: Don't clog landfills with old electronics. If you're dumping a computer, manufacturers like Dell (, HP ( and Apple ( offer recycling options. Or consider donating. The National Cristina Foundation ( will hook up your old PC or Mac with a nonprofit organization. Drop off your old cell phone at your local Staples store as part of a Sierra Club recycling effort ( To find a drop-off center for rechargeable batteries and cell phones, check out the nonprofit Call2Recycle program at Take advantage of community resources like hazardous-waste pickup or e-waste recycling events.

6. Cut the Lights: Trade your old incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent ones, says Jenny Powers of the Natural Resources Defense Council. They use about 70 percent less energy than regular bulbs and last 10 times longer. For help in picking the best bulb for your needs, go to Also, plug all your major electronics into a power strip, suggests eco-lifestyle expert Danny Seo, author of "Simply Green Giving" ($19.95; HarperCollins). Appliances and e-gadgets use electricity even when turned off, but flicking the switch on the power strip when you leave the house effectively unplugs them. Finally, check with your local utility company to see if it offers a "green power" option for its customers. Though that might cost slightly more, it's one way of supporting renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power. The U.S. Department of Energy provides comprehensive "green power" info at power.

7. Eat Your Veggies: Have a meatless Monday. According to the Cambridge, Mass., environmental-advocacy group the Union of Concerned Scientists, meat production is energy-inefficient, sucking up a lot of natural resources. In fact, it takes about 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. "You don't have to be a vegetarian—just take a break once or twice a week," says group president Kevin Knobloch. "If everyone tried to do something that simple, it could have a huge environmental effect." And when you're shopping for that food, think local. It's more fuel-efficient (your food didn't have to travel thousands of miles to get to your table), and you're boosting the local economy. Use the search engine at to find farms, markets and other food sources in your area. And, of course, bring a reusable cloth bag to the market so you don't have to take the plastic ones.

8. Save a Tree: According to the folks at stop, the paper industry is the third largest contributor to global warming. If every U.S. household replaced one toilet-paper roll with a roll made from recycled paper, 424,000 trees would be saved. If every household in the United States bought recycled napkins instead of virgin-fiber napkins, we could save a million trees. If the thought of recycled paper doesn't do it for you, plant a tree. According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, the net cooling effect of one healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. You can go to to find out which trees will do well in your ZIP code. If you don't have any room to plant, hundreds of eco-organizations have tree-planting projects. All you have to do is donate money.

9. Turn On the Tap: Instead of spending big bucks on bottled water, drink the stuff that comes from your faucet. The reason? "It takes a lot of oil to make and ship those bottles, and once they're empty, most wind up in landfills or as litter," says Jen Boulden, cofounder of the online environmental community If you're squeamish (Americans really do have some of the best tap water in the world), buy a water filter. For comparisons, go to

10. Find an Eco-Date: There was the metrosexual. Then the retrosexual. Now there's the ecosexual. So if one of your goals is to find that special, ecofriendly someone in 2007, check out social-networking communities like Vegan Passions (, Earth Wise Singles (, Green Singles ( or Green Passions ( Because two recyclers are better than one.

Yale to go green

MSNBC reports that Yale University plans to be the "greenest" university. Maybe this gives Ivy League a whole new meaning!
Click Here for Yale University and their work for the environment.
Click Here for the full article.
Jan. 26, 2007 - Global warming is one of the most-talked-about topics in Davos this year. But for many gathered in the Swiss mountain town for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, mere talk isn’t enough. “We cannot wait for our governments to act,” Yale President Richard Levin told delegates on Thursday. “Large organizations with the power to act independently should take matters into their own hands and begin to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions now.”

Levin has made good on his own call, implementing a program that he hopes will make Yale the greenest university in the United States. He spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Arlene Getz in Davos about his strategy and its progress. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: What prompted you to implement this program?
Richard Levin: Global warming is real, and human activity is a major contributing factor, so it was clear that something had to be done. We concluded a year ago that the reduction of greenhouse gases [at Yale] is both feasible and not prohibitively expensive.

What’s your end goal?
We set a target of reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions to 10 percent below our 1990 levels by the year 2020. That’s a 43 percent reduction from our mid-2005 levels [a projected total of 203,000 metric tons of carbon equivalent, or MTCE, the international standard of measure of greenhouse-gas emissions].

How far have you gotten?
We’ve reduced our campus greenhouse-gas emissions by 6 percent in one year [15,486 MTCE].

How are you doing this?
We’re using a variety of instruments, including better controls on lighting and heating in existing buildings and including green architecture for all new buildings. Where we can we’re using renewable sources of energy: photovoltaic [power], ground water for heating and cooling, biodiesel fuel in our bus fleet. We plan to replace our cars with hybrids. We’re also increasing the efficiency of the university power plant, which currently generates all of our steam and water and two thirds of our electricity. There’s 13 million square feet of space on campus, and all of this makes a big difference.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

European Union to cut carbon emissions

EU Emissions Plan to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2020.

By Mark Mardell
BBC Europe editor

Europe's environment ministers have backed a plan to cut the European Union's carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. Perhaps they should wear a blue carnation to celebrate.
They have also set a further target of 30% - but only if other industrialised nations join them.
This is the latest step in the EU's desire to lead the world towards a new deal on climate change. If the 27 presidents and prime ministers sign up to the targets at a meeting next month there are hopes this could lead to an agreement of the G8 nations in the summer.
The big prize is of course persuading the United States to come on board.
UK Environment Minister David Miliband said: "We've always said that 2007 is a crucial year in our ongoing efforts to combat climate change and today's agreement is an important first step.
"The unilateral commitment to cut EU greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 - the first of its kind - shows we're willing to take concrete action on an issue that citizens care about." Click HERE to read the rest.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Good News

From Green Living

Religious Environmentalism
Some Good News for a Change

By Roger S. Gottlieb

There are few easier ways to fish—in the (very) short run, of course—than using dynamite. However the long-term results—depletion of fish stocks, destruction of the sheltering coral reef—made the government of Tanzania forbid the practice. But local fisherman continued dynamiting, ignoring government pamphlets, stringent laws and advice from western ecologists. What finally led them to stop and undertake plans for long-term sustainable fishing practices was the Koran. In 2000, local sheiks were brought together by the U.K.-based Alliance for Religions and Conservation, the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, the World Wildlife Fund and CARE. The sheiks ruled that exploding ecosystems violated Koranic injunctions against wasting God’s creation—and the dynamiting days were over.
Half a world away, following the tenets of Chinese religion rather than Islam, researchers at the world-renowned Beijing School of Traditional Chinese Medicine are trying to protect endangered species by changing traditional prescriptions which call for ingredients like tiger penis, bear gal and rhinoceros horn. The high price of these ingredients leads poachers to violate international bans on their trade, but the researchers have argued that the use of endangered species violates Buddhist and Taoist principle of balance in nature, and thus are bad for both the environment and the soul.

In 2004 the sixth annual meeting of Sisters of Earth, a loose network of American nuns, mingled presentations on sustainability, eco-spirituality, earth literacy and bioregionalism with religious celebration. The participants—from Texas and Massachusetts, New Jersey and Colorado—run organic farms, educate their local communities about the virtues of local food movement, and protest destructive World Bank practices. They seek, as one of them puts it, to “live lightly on the earth,” and, as another says, “to bring to awareness the dangerous loss of biodiversity and the usurpation of seed lines” by multinational corporations. The women embrace both Catholicism and all people of goodwill. While they believe in the Trinity, they see the Father, Son and Holy Spirit permeating all life.

These localized movements reflect a much larger, historically unprecedented and enormously hopeful global movement of religious environmentalism. Facing the same environmental crisis that their secular counterparts do, people of faith have been changing their basic attitudes towards nature and seeing the moral connections between our treatment of nature and our treatment of people. Read the rest HERE

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Saving gasoline

According to the US Government Fuel Economy site each gallon of gasoline you burn creates around 20 pounds of CO2 or, in terms of volume, about 170 cubic feet. So every gallon you save has a large effect on the CO2 emissions. Click Here for more Fuel Economy ideas for
Driving more efficiently
Keeping your car in shape
Planning and combining trips
Choosing more fuel efficient vehicles when you buy your next car.

More ideas for Green Lent

The Rocky Mountain Insitute has a library of ideas for the Homeowner and saving energy. Click Here for Home Energy Briefs: practical guides for the average homeowner. Easy things such as turning down the hot water heater by a few degrees, ideas for heating, cooling, and appliance use.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Politicians sign new climate pact is the headline from BBC News. From the article:
Leading international politicians have reached a new agreement on tackling climate change, at a Washington summit.
Delegates agreed that developing countries would also have to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, as well as rich countries.
The informal meeting also agreed that a global market should be formed to cap and trade carbon dioxide emissions.
The non-binding declaration is seen as vital in influencing a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, correspondents say.
The forum's closing statement said man-made climate change was now "beyond doubt".
"Climate change is a global issue and there is an obligation on us all to take action, in line with our capabilities and historic responsibilities," said the statement from the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (Globe).

'Tipping point'
The two-day meeting brought together legislators from countries including the Group of Eight rich nations, plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. Read the rest HERE.

Also linked from this story is BBC Action Network a site for sharing ideas and strategies for change.

Friday, February 16, 2007

365 Things You Can Do

From Spirituality and Health and recommended by Mike Kinman of Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation

Book Review
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

365 Ways to Change the World: How to Make a Difference - One Day at a Time
Michael Norton
Free Press 01/07 Paperback $14.00
ISBN 0743297784
Michael Norton is the founder of the Directory of Social Change, the UK's leading agency that provides information, training, and support of voluntary organizations. In this user-friendly and accessible paperback, he provides one idea for every day of the year on how to make a difference in the world through acts of conscience, service, charity, kindness, and peace. The twelve themes are community and neighborhood, culture and creativity, democracy and human rights, discrimination, employment and enterprise, environment, globalization and consumerism, health, international development, peace, volunteering and citizenship, and young people.

Here are some of the ideas that caught our attention: use recycled toilet paper, be a virtual volunteer, Google bombing, fight bio-piracy, determine your ecological footprints, perform anonymous acts of generosity, seed the world, watch nonviolent movies, support local artisans, and make a will. Readers can visit the website for more ideas and information on the book's sources.

Book reviews copyright 1998 – 2006 by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat,

Light Bulbs - more

Yesterday NPR had a story on the mercury content of flourescent light bulbs. It seems we need to work on recycling for these items when they burn out. I think about all the years we played with mercury when we were kids. We would break thermometers and roll the little beads around in our hands. YIKES!!

From the article:

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency program concedes that not enough has been done to urge people to recycle CFL bulbs and make it easier for them to do so.
"I share your frustration that there isn't a national infrastructure for the proper recycling of this product," says Wendy Reed, who manages EPA's Energy Star program. That programs gives the compact bulbs its "energy star" seal of approval.
She says that even though fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, using them contributes less mercury to the environment than using regular incandescent bulbs. That's because they use less electricity — and coal-fired power plants are the biggest source of mercury emissions in the air.
"The compact fluorescent light bulb is a product people can use to positively influence the environment to… prevent mercury emissions as well as greenhouse gas emissions. And it's something that we can do now — and it's extremely important that we do do it," Reed says. "And the positive message is, if you recycle them, if you dispose of them properly, then they're doing a world of good."
Reed says the agency has been urging stores that sell the bulbs to help recycle them.
"EPA is actively engaged with trying to find a solution that works for these retailers around recycling the product, because it's really, really important," Reed says.
But so far, she says the biggest sellers of the bulbs haven't stepped up to the plate.
"The only retailer that I know of that is recycling is IKEA," she says, referring to the Swedish-owned furniture chain store.
Reed says the EPA has been prodding other retailers, such as Wal-Mart, to do more.
"We are working with Wal-Mart on it, we are making some progress. But no commitments have been made on the part of Wal-Mart," she says.
Wal-Mart didn't respond to requests for a comment on the issue.
EPA also has asked retailers to sell the lower mercury compact bulbs that some manufacturers are making. Engineers say you can't cut mercury out completely.
Some other big companies have started paying attention to the recycling problem.
General Electric has been making compact fluorescents for 20 years. Now the company admits that the little bit of mercury in each bulbs could become a real problem if sales balloon as expected.
"Given what we anticipate to be the significant increase in the use of these products, we are now beginning to look at, and shortly we'll be discussing with legislators, possibly a national solution here," says Earl Jones, a senior counsel for General Electric.
In fact, Jones said he was having his first talks with congressional staffers on Thursday.

Listen to the story HERE

Monday, February 12, 2007

This Green Life

This Green Life is an online journal of fresh ideas for sustainable living -- shows how strength in numbers can also apply to the steps we take in our personal lives to reduce energy consumption and limit harmful chemicals. You can read it at the web site or subscribe to have it arrive in your email inbox.
The newsletter helps increase one person's ability to impact the community and the earth.
An example in the area of Energy efficiency:
Suggest replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, buying energy-efficient equipment bearing the Energy Star label and turning the equipment's power management features on by default.

Selling points
* Benefits to the organization: lower energy bills, points for good citizenship
* Benefits to the public: cleaner air, less global warming pollution, increased energy independence for the United States

Lots of other ideas and a place to share your successes.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pirates and Global Warming

Then of course there is the Global Warming Theory that hinges on the loss of Pirates and Flying Spaghetti Monsters.

Oil Companies Discuss Energy Challenges

Oil companies are worried.
(AP) -- With dwindling oil supplies, pollution concerns and the ever-present threat of gas prices soaring again, talk of new and better ways to fuel our cars, heat and cool our homes, and power our factories has never been greater. What's more, the conversation is emanating increasingly from a source that's been surprisingly quiet until recently - the oil companies themselves. Read the rest HERE
Of course they are concerned about the market for their products and how to stay profitable - but I think it is also dawning on all of us that it is true what the Wombat is saying.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hot January

January was the hottest on record according to Japanese scientests.
Temperatures across the planet were 0.45 degrees Celsius above average in January, the highest since figures were first compiled in 1891, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
It said that temperatures were particularly high in eastern Russia and northern Europe.
"Reasons behind the high temperatures are considered to be the impact of global warming due to an increase in carbon dioxide, along with El Nino and the cyclical natural movement in temperatures," an agency statement said.
The study came a week after a UN report blamed human activities for global warming and predicted a rise in typhoons, droughts and other natural disasters.
The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that temperatures could rise by between 1.1 and 6.4 degrees Celsius by 2100.
Japan, the host of the landmark Kyoto Protocol meant to fight global warming, has experienced an unusually warm winter with little snow.
Click here for rest of article.

Interfaith Power and Light

Does your Diocese, Judicatory, and/or congregation participate in Interfaith Power and Light.?
From their web site:
We are an interfaith ministry devoted to deepening the connection between ecology and faith. Our goal is to help people of faith recognize and fulfill their responsibility for the stewardship of creation. Specifically, the IPL campaign is mobilizing a national religious response to global warming while promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation. People of faith have an opportunity to put their faith into action and help reduce the devastating effects of global warming.

Here are 10 things the site suggests that you can do right now:

1. Sign up your congregation to become an IPL member in your state. No IPL group in your state? Click here to see how your state can become a member or call 415 561-4891.

2. Go on a Low Carbon Diet, the 30 day program that helps you lose 5000 pounds. Find out how you can become a cool household by shedding pounds of carbon dioxide from your life.

3. Conduct a home energy audit. Use thermostat settings and insulation to conserve energy with heating, hot water, and air conditioning.

4. Sign up for renewable energy from your utility. In some states there is still no renewable energy to purchase. If this is the case in your state, you can buy wind tags - vouchers to help build wind energy -- from Native Energy with whom we have partnered.

5. Ask your religious leader to give a sermon on global warming.

6. Buy energy efficient home appliances and buy a fuel efficient vehicle.

7. Be an Energy Star Congregation by considering ways to improve the efficiency of your buildings and equipment and curtail unnecessary energy use. For information, call 888 STAR-YES.

8. Use a car less and walk, bike, and use mass transit more.

9. Write, call or email your elected officials. Tell them global warming is a religious issue, that the U.S. must participate in strong and fair international agreements and adopt strong national policy. This is the most important thing you can do right now!

10. Stay informed. You can do this by exploring the links on this site.

Coming soon! New ideas to help you and your congregation fight global warming.

Global Thinking

A video on how we are all connected -- Click Here to view the Wombat talking about global interrelatedness. Fun and challenging.

Global Mindshift is a network of people looking at solutions to world problems in new ways.

Foundation for Global Community is a nonprofit educational organization, dedicated to reconnecting people, the planet, and prosperity. Recognizing that natural, social, and economic systems are all parts of a single interconnected whole, the Foundation has been promoting cultural change, facilitating personal development, and strengthening community connections for over 50 years. It is in transition but the site has links to others groups, videos, and other resources.

Video clip on An Inconvenient Truth. Check out the full length movie from your video store, Netflix, or your local library.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Jackson Hole Wyoming

Here are a couple of ways people in Jackson, WY are working for the environment:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a collaborative effort of the Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, The Murie Center's Teton Sustainability Project, and Jackson Community Recycling. The campaign is now in Phase III which involves creating a group of RRR Business Leaders for the Jackson Hole area. The funding for this project comes from a budget allocation from the Teton County Board of Commissioners and private donations. Lots of ideas for how your community might work.

The Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs works on Climate Change issues, especially with industry in the US and China. It also has a concern for women of the world and their particular issues.

Carbon Neutral Journal

Another blog on living lightly on the earth. From Carbon Neutral Jounal:
I'm not an expert on how to solve the problem of global warming. I'm a communications consultant, and I spend a lot of time helping clients improve their storytelling through my biz, kpcomm.
So, I guess it's only natural that I'm undertaking the task of telling the story of my family's efforts to become carbon neutral in 2007. The idea to keep a web log came to me in the middle of the night. I woke up with two clear thoughts that wouldn't go away:
My wife Alisan and I must reduce our carbon footprint.
I've got to share our experiences, learnings and thoughts with others.
Here's where we're coming from: Al Gore's carbon calculator says our impact is much larger than average; Alisan and I want to do something about that. Click Here to check yours.
I expect that much of what I write will be personal, but I intend to make the Carbon Neutral Journal as informative, practical, provocative and useful as possible.
Over the course of the year, I'll be exploring the choices available to folks interested in becoming carbon neutral; I'll be applauding individuals and organizations that are doing their part; and I'll be ranting about those who are not.
I hope you'll choose to join me as a regular reader of the Carbon Neutral Journal.


The Uniitarian Universalist Green Sanctuary Program offers an audit template for churches and others to begin to implement steps towards more environmentally friendly buildings and activities. Click Here to download the pdf checklist and begin your own program.

Links from the Audit for a variety of views and activities
EnviroLink is a non-profit organization... a grassroots online community that unites hundreds of organizations and volunteers around the world with millions of people in more than 150 countries. EnviroLink is dedicated to providing comprehensive, up-to-date environmental information and news.
At EnviroLink we're committed to promoting a sustainable society by connecting individuals and organizations through communications technologies. We recognize that our technologies are just tools, and that the solutions to our ecological challenges lie within our communities and their connection to the Earth itself.
EnviroLink does not take any positions on any specific environmental issues; it exists solely to act as a clearinghouse on the Internet for the environmental community, which is incredibly diverse in its views.
EnviroLink is run primarily by dedicated volunteers.

Other links:
Environmental Defense Fund Practical and innovative ways to solve environmental problems
National Wildlife Federation
National Resources Defense Council
United States Environmental Protecton Agency - news and links

Thanks toKristine M. Cummins for the Green Man pix.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


An idea from Episcopal Environmental Ministries -- if you have not ordered your palms for Palm Sunday yet.

ECO-PALMS: Make social and environmental justice part of your parish’s Palm Sunday celebration.

More than 300 million palm fronds are harvested each year for U.S. consumption alone, most of them for Palm Sunday. Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, accented by the jubilant waving of palm fronds, is re-enacted each Palm Sunday in Episcopal and other Christian congregations worldwide as our observance of Holy Week begins. Unfortunately, for the communities where these palms are harvested, palm fronds do not always represent the same jubilation.

The Episcopal Church joins Lutheran World Relief, The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Fair Trade Program and the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Enough for Everyone Program in promoting sustainably harvested eco-palms for Palm Sunday 2007. By purchasing eco-palms for Palm Sunday celebrations, Episcopal congregations can play an important role in protecting forests, local jobs, and sustainable livelihoods in the harvesting communities. The Eco-Palm Project is an effort of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation and the University of Minnesota Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management Click Here to develop a certification program for palms that will ensure the fronds are being harvested in an environmentally sustainable way, and the palm harvesters are earning a livable income from their labor. The Episcopal Church is partnering with the Eco-Palm Project to help build support for eco-palms by introducing Episcopal parishes to this social and environmental justice project.
Ms. Martha Gardner, consultant for Environmental Ministries at the Episcopal Church Center, is excited about this project. “Ever since I heard about “sustainable” palms, I was excited to bring our denomination on board. Using eco-palms on Palm Sunday is a way to remind Episcopalians that we are committed to the idea of environmental sustainability as one of the Millennium Development Goal. I know that many Episcopalians have made a commitment to sustainability by their purchase of Bishops Blend coffee through Episcopal Relief and Development – eco-palms is another way to show our commitment.”
For more information about the program, including an order form, please Click Here or Here.
Harvesting palm products is an important source of supplemental income for many indigenous families and communities in Guatemala and Mexico. However, over-harvesting palm can threaten the livelihood of these communities as well as the forests where the palm plants thrive and provide the shade required by the palms. To combat the problem of over-harvesting palms in Guatemala and Mexico, community cooperatives have formed to harvest eco-palms—palms harvested in an ecologically and socially sustainable way. The harvesters are paid on the quality of the fronds they harvest rather than the quantity, which helps to limit the amount of fronds taken from the forest. These communities have adopted harvesting practices that minimize impact on the natural forest where the palm grows.
And, rather than sending the harvested palms off to a distant warehouse for sorting and packaging, the community members complete those tasks themselves and sell their palms directly rather than relying on middlemen—ensuring that more of the money paid for the palms actually goes to those who worked the hardest to provide them.


Action is another part of keeping a Green Lent. The Upper Green River Valley Coalition gives information on the energy development and its impact in the Pinedale and other areas along the Green River. According to the web site: "The Upper Green River Valley Coalition is a group of citizens, sportsmen, businesses and conservation organizations dedicated to responsible, sustainable management of the wildlife, waters and air quality of Wyoming's Upper Green. This vital portion of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is under intense pressure from the oil and gas industry, which reaps more than $4 billion a year in natural gas. Our mission is to ensure energy extraction is balanced with the valley’s supreme natural values."
Their mission is: "Protecting the world-class big-game animals that depend on the Upper Green River Basin for survival
Safeguarding air quality for area residents and protecting Class I airsheds over wilderness areas in the Wind River Range
Increasing public awareness of the Green River Basin's significance as an integral part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Promoting public participation in the RMP revision process."
Click Here for Action ideas.
Here is a list of people to write:
Local media outlets:

Regional media outlets:

Legislators (Sublette County):
Rep. Monte Olsen:
Rep. Kathy Davison:
Sen. Pat Aullman:
Sen. Stan Cooper:

Congresspeople: (Congresswoman Cubin) (Senator Thomas) (Senator Enzi)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


A note from the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

Concerned about global warming?

Hungry for good news about the environment?

Fear not--but DO something!

Amidst alarming news about climate change, the Nature and Spirituality Program (NAS) aims to help people see God, Nature, and humanity as one divine family, and to identify new paths to Hope and Action for improving our environment.

NAS is offering these opportunities to encourage Hope and Action:

**At the upcoming Diocesan Ministry Fair on March 3, 2007, NAS will offer workshops on Celtic spirituality and how Nature can fit into outreach and social justice activities.

**Also in March, Nature and Spirituality chair Phyllis Strupp will lead this program:

Sacred Secrets of Renewal: A Spring Pilgrimage to the Desert
Date: March 16–20, 2007 (Friday 5:00 p.m.- Tuesday Lunch)
Location: Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center, Carefree, Arizona
Sponsor: Cathedral College of National Cathedral, Washington D.C.

Amidst concerns on global warming, the public is hungry for a deeper spiritual connection to Nature. This pilgrimage will help clergy and lay leaders enjoy the outdoors and find fresh, well-rooted ways to connect Nature with spirituality, preaching, worship, and social justice.
Celtic spirituality, Native American spirituality, the Desert Fathers and Mothers, and immigration in the Desert are featured topics.
Program Fee: $750 (includes 4 nights of shared accommodations, meals & materials)
Click here for registration and information or call (202)537-6381

**These handouts are now available on the diocesan website, Click Here

1. Engaging Nature: Enjoy, Learn, Reflect, Serve
suggestions on how parishes can engage Nature in these ways: enjoy, learn, reflect, serve

2. Kingdom of Green Stewardship Suggestions
Practical steps on how to reduce harmful impacts on the environment

3. Our Family Footprint
A chart to track your household's consumption of energy and water

**Mark your calendar--join us for an easy 5-mile hike to Cathedral Rock in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve on Saturday, March 31 from 8:30-noon!
Now here is a suggestion that I will happily incorporate into my "save the planet" life.

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

MDGs and Green Lent

Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation is a network of people implementing the Millennium Development Goals:

*Eliminate Extreme Poverty
*Univeral Primary Education
*Promote Gender Equality
*Reduce Child Mortality
*Improve Maternal Health
*Combat HIV/AIDS
*Environmental Sustainability
*Create Global Partnerships

With lots of resources in all areas - what ONE person can do, ONE congregation, ONE community until we are all working together, each in our own way.

For Green Lent the page on Environmental Sustainability offers resources
Georgia Interfaith Power and Light has lots of resources for living faithfully and lightly on the earth. A Newsletter to receive on what is happening in Georgia and ideas for others to use.
The web site has resources and things we can do. Here is an article on saving gas:

In the face of steeply rising gas costs, we figured everyone could use some tips on how to spend less on gas. And of course, the best way to spend less is to use less. So here are some ideas to help you use less gas, which will not only help your pocket book, but will also help protect God’s creation! Feel free to pass them on to your friends and neighbors.

· Don’t drive – Of course, the easiest way to stop using gas is to stop driving. This has the added benefit of improving your health with physical activity and reducing your stress levels by not having to fight traffic.
· Walk, run, or skate to close by destinations.
· Use a bicycle for places farther away.
· Hop on public transportation for longer trips.
· Telecommute to work. You save gas, and you can work in your bathrobe.

· Drive less –
· Combine trips. Plan out where you need to go on a particular day and try to get all your trips out of the way at once rather than making separate ventures to the grocery store, post office, mall, etc.
· Carpool with friends rather than all driving separately. Not only do you save gas, you have company!

· Drive smarter –
· Lift your right foot. Lay off the accelerator. Fuel efficiency drops off precipitously at speeds above 60 mph. According to the US Department of Energy, each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.15 per gallon for gas. Obey the posted speed limit on highways.
· Drive a more fuel-efficient vehicle. If you are in the market for a new car, or if you have a choice of vehicles to drive, pick the one with the best gas mileage.
· Don’t idle. When your car is idling, you are getting 0 miles per gallon. Avoid the drive-thru; just park and walk in. Try to stagger your work hours and drive at times when there is less traffic, so you won’t just be sitting there burning gas. Your stress level will also go down.
· Don’t drive aggressively. Accelerate at a moderate pace, don’t go for jackrabbit starts. Avoid sudden braking.
· Don’t carry a lot of extra baggage. Heavy loads will decrease gas mileage. As well, carrying things on top of your car will increase drag, which severely decreases fuel efficiency.
· Cool yourself wisely. Running the air conditioner uses gas, but having the windows open can increase drag. When driving around town, turn off the A/C and roll down the windows. At highway speeds, roll up your windows and use A/C, but only as needed.

· Maintain your car – A well-tuned car is a more fuel-efficient car.
· Check your tire pressure. Underinflated tires reduce your fuel economy.
· Get a tune up. Replacing dirty air filters and worn spark plugs can help your engine run more efficiently, as can using the correct grade of motor oil.
· Check your mileage. Keeping track of the number of miles you travel on a tank of gas will help you tell if something is causing your mileage to drop. When you fill up, check your odometer and figure how many miles you have traveled since your last fill-up. Divide that by the amount of gas you put in the tank and voila! There’s your gas mileage. Once you get in the habit of doing this, you’ll be able to tell quickly if something is lowering your gas mileage.

Want more tips on saving gas? Check out

Monday, February 5, 2007

What other faith groups are doing

The Unitarian Universalists are ahead of the pack in working on issues of what we can do personally and congregationally about global warming and environmental stewardship. They have a program called Green Sanctuary to make churches more environmenally responsible. You can download a pdf for a Green Audit for your church. It is a checklist of programs to implement to make your congregation more eco-friendly and have less of a negative impact on the earth.

Another program for churches is an ecumenical program called Restoring Eden. Green Up Your Lent has lots of ideas.
One idea is about fasting:
Fasting generally -- when it takes ten fossil fuel calories for every food calorie in America, eating less can make a big difference!
Fasting from meat -- the second most effective creation-care lifestyle change we can make.
Fasting from dairy
Eating only organic and/or local food
Not using any paper (well, besides toilet paper)
Don't drive (or don't drive alone)
Save electricity by abstaining from TV or video games or blow dryers or microwaves or... you get the idea.

The Episcopal Church has a Committee on Science, Technology and Faith. Their web site has the Catechism of Creation and other links.

Episcopal Ecological Network is another resource for ideas and a e-letter for updates.

Another website is Green Faith - a New Jersey interfaith action group, providing inspiration and ideas and actions for the earth.

What is Green Lent?

Green Lent is an idea I had while thinking about what to do for Lent. Last week there was a new report on climate change and the role of humans. Yesterday I was preaching on "call" and Isaiah. In the reading for the day, God says, ""Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me!" One of calls I heard was about climate change and my role in it.
Last night (Sunday, February 4) our EfM Online group had an "onboard" question - what are we giving up or taking on for our Lenten discipline. As we discussed our plans, I was unsure for myself what it would be. Then this morning I woke up with "Green Lent" - a way to bring all my straggling thoughts and nagging ideas together. As a result this blog is a place where I will share what resources I find and hopefully you will consider making a pledge to have a Green Lent and to continue better stewardship of "this fragile earth, our island home." (BCP p. 370)
I am under no illusions that my little recycling efforts and using the car less will change the planet but it is what I can do. Maybe there will be more ideas from others. Post them in comments.