Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A time to act

An evangelical calls for action by Christians on behalf of the environment and the poor. Evangelism and Environmentalism: A time to act I face a question and a challenge as I grope my way into activism. The question: What do I do when the river that swept me into the life of Christ now empties into a toxic swamp? The very word, "evangelical," which once conjured images of joyful Jesus Freaks, conveys political intimidation. It's as if Ayn Rand's spirit descended and screeched on Pentecost: "Be selfish and shrill!" But then comes the challenge: Why am I so late? Why did I hide behind the term, "peacemaker," and avoid the loving confrontation so necessary for true shalom? Why did I wait until I was personally hurt? The challenge humbles me as I offer this confessional testimonial: I'm joining the growing movement to bring evangelicals back to their true heritage, which includes compassion for the poor and environmental care -- and I'm adding my personal caveat: "Don't be like me. Don't wait. Act now."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuvalu is drowning: a plea to the world

Archbishop Winston Halapua has just returned from a visit to Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu according to the The Anglican Communion News Service. While there he witnessed the effects of climate change with rising sea levels inundating the nation, poisoning the drinking water and ruining crops.
Dr Halapua, who was born in Tonga, and who is a trained sociologist, says that because of the particular vulnerability of low-lying island states such as Kiribati, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu – which, at its highest point, is less than 5m above sea level – he's been following the debate about climate change for 10 years.

"For me, to go to Tuvalu – that's all the information that I need.
"We need to pray," says Archbishop Winston.

"We need to say very, very clearly to the church that we need to pray because this is something way beyond us.

"We need to pray that we will be empowered to speak clearly to our elected agents in government who make decisions about climate change."
"Please do something about climate change."
Archbishop Winston says there are four ways people in the wider Anglican communion can help Tuvalu.
"Pray. Pray in your personal devotions, in your churches, and your home groups. Pray first for rain for Tuvalu. Then pray that the issues of climate change and rising sea levels are tackled.

"Donate. Donate to the Anglican Missions Board. Earmark your donation ‘Tuvalu Appeal' – and the AMB will forward any money it receives to our ecumenical partners, the Church of Tuvalu, so that people there may have enough water to drink and food to eat. "Any money given will bring relief not only to the people of the main island but also to pockets of people on other islands to the group."

"Respond to appeals by other agencies to help the people of Tuvalu.

"Become more aware of the causes of climate change, and of its impact on marginalised people."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Green Pilgrimage

Alliance of Religions and Conservation announces a global network Green Pilgrimage:
The first global network aimed at greening pilgrimage – the largest movement of people worldwide – will be launched in the presence of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh KG, KT, at the Sacred Land celebration in Assisi, Italy, from October 31 to November 2, 2011. The event is organised by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) in association with WWF.

The Green Pilgrimage Network will help the faiths make their holy cities and sacred sites as environmentally sustainable as possible according to their own theologies and understanding. Pilgrimage is the world’s biggest travel event, with millions of people becoming pilgrims every year, whether for a few hours, days or even weeks. The largest human gathering in recorded history was the Maha Kumbh Mela, a festival held every 144 years in Prayag, Allahabad, India, which in 2001 attracted more than 60 million Hindus.

Ten faith traditions have nominated pilgrim cities or sacred sites to become founding members of the Green Pilgrimage Network, ranging as far afield as Louguan in the People's Republic of China for Daoists to St Albans in the UK for Anglicans and Amritsar for the Sikhs (1). The city authorities of Jerusalem, a major pilgrimage destination for three faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – will join the network to green the city for all pilgrims.

Also launched at Sacred Land will be the first Green Hajj Guide aimed at the two million Muslim pilgrims who visit Mecca (Makkah) in Saudi Arabia each year for the Hajj, the biggest annual pilgrimage in the world. Sacred Land will also celebrate 25 years of faith action on the environment since the first Assisi gathering in 1986 when, as International President of WWF, Prince Philip invited faith leaders to consider how their beliefs, practices and teachings could help protect the environment.

Read more here

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Year of the Forests

Interfaith Power and Light is asking everyone to support the Year of the Forests.
Today, I want to share an update about our project with the Presbyterian Chuch in Ghana. The project team planted 2540 seedlings this year, establishing a brand new three-acre community forest. Now, funding is needed before the end of the year to maintain the farm and protect the land from fires. Also, the project teaches alternative livelihoods to locals — from bee keeping to snail farming — that prevent further land degradation. The project presents an opportunity to rebuild our relationship with both the natural world and communities on the front lines of climate change, honoring our sacred call of stewardship as well as loving our neighbors.

Protecting the climate will require international as well as interfaith cooperation and solidarity. One country, or one religion, can't do it alone. We in the U.S. must reduce our own oversized carbon footprint, as I know so many of our congregations have done, and we must also find ways to help vulnerable people around the world be part of the solution. That's why we call this project Carbon Covenant.

Forests are the lungs of the world, and play a crucial role in the climate by absorbing CO2 emissions. We all depend on the forests for survival. As people around the world focus on forests this year, it is fitting that the faith community is poised to play a leading role. I hope you will get your congregation, diocese, judicatory, province, or community involved, and sponsor a project. We also welcome your support as an individual.

On a personal note, I can't finish this letter about forests without saying how saddened I was by the passing last week of my friend and colleague Wangari Matthai, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her extraordinary tree planting and women's empowerment efforts in Africa. But I take heart in knowing that her legacy lives on with her Greenbelt Movement, and with the enormous hope and inspiration she gave to people in Africa and all over the world.

Join the Carbon Covenant

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Be a Hummingbird

Rise in glory, Wangari Maathi!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Green Hijabi

From The Eco-Muslim writes on Green Hijabi:
Green Hijabi shares quick tips on introducing green veggies into your palette. She's written a seriously satisfying and sweet pumpkin smoothie recipe for the autumn season (fall for my American readers). And my personal favourite - a photo essay on her environmentally alert Eid.

Green Hijabi has a literal life-guide we could all take a leaf from; she believes in:
"investing more on the inside than the outside
that the 5 pillars are the means to aligning our physical and spiritual selves
God answers all sincere prayers; to receive them, we must be open
His creation - everything and everyone - is ultimately interconnected
nature is the physical manifestation of God's omniscience
in bio-individuality: each one's path to optimal health is unique
the body is designed to thrive on foods found in nature; all else is questionable
food is not a religion, but is a relevant part of it"

What also makes Green Hijabi yum is the oozing wholesome personality. It's just fun to read and learn from her, and I'm thinking of contributing to her commonly used phrases:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Meat eater's carbon footprint and health risks

From the AMA newsletter:

Susan Carpenter wrote in the "Greenspace" column of The Los Angeles Times (7/18) that the Environmental Working Group has released a Meat Eater's Guide, which "includes a chart that shows the carbon footprint of each food, equating the consumption of four ounces of each item with its equivalent in car miles driven." The report says that lamb, beef, and cheese have the biggest carbon footprints out of 20 protein sources surveyed. "While the report acknowledges that meat, when eaten in moderation, provides healthy and complete proteins and other nutrients, it cites a 2009 National Cancer Institute study that found people who ate the most red meat were 27% more likely to die of heart disease than those who ate the least."

In his blog in the New York Times (7/18), Mark Bittman observed that, according to the Meat Eater's Guide, "if everyone in the US ate no meat or cheese just one day a week, over a year, the effect on emissions would be the equivalent of taking 7.6 million cars off the road." The report also notes that "even if everyone in the US went 'vegetarian' -- that is, eliminated meat but continued to eat dairy at our current rate -- it would make only a small (though significant) dent in overall emissions. The subsequent recommendation is that to significantly reduce emissions we all have to lobby our elected officials to adopt a comprehensive energy and climate policy that puts the US on a path to green energy."

According to the Huffington Post (7/19, Pearson), the National Cancer Institute reported that "serious meat eaters were 20 percent more likely to die of cancer than those who consumed the least amount of meat."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Amazing hummingbird tongues

If you don't get fed you don't get bred!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Circle Connections shares this prayer by Akasa Wolfsong for Earth Day:

Earth Mother, Our Mother…

I thank You deeply for Your
sustenance each day so that
I might live.

Remind me daily of the beauty
I see in You, through wondrous
cloud, the ant busily working,
the dandelion blooming, the
bee busy gathering nectar,
the birds of the air soaring on
the thermals.

Remind of your Waters that
are home to the creatures that
share the planet with me.

Remind me to stand in amazement
for all good things which come
from You, Blessed Mother.

As I am reminded then Mother Earth,
let me say a silent prayer, one
which sprouts from a glad heart,
one which feels Your Love as You
continually support me, so that I
may feel Your grace within, so that I
may always stand in amazement.

Bless You Earth Mother…


Monday, April 11, 2011

Our Sister Mother Earth gets equal rights

A Franciscan Spirituality blog, Dating God, about legally recognizing "Our Sister Mother Earth:"
Bolivia, the poorest nation in South America, is leading the way toward recognizing the inherent dignity of creation in a legal way, seeking to grant equal rights enjoyed by humans to nature. In an age when the United States Supreme Court can grant equal rights to corporations so they can spend unrestricted amounts of money on political campaigns, among other activities, it seems that granting creation equal rights with humans — recalling the creation is also living, whereas corporations are a human construct — The Mother Earth Law, as it is being called, makes much more sense.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Good Friday and Earth Day

The Anglican Church of Canada has prepared additional liturgical materials for this year's Good Friday Earth Day:
April 22, 2011, is Good Friday as well as Earth Day. The Greening Anglican Spaces Task Group has assembled a Good Friday Earth Day Reflection , a Good Friday Liturgical Resource designed to be interpolated into the Book of Alternative Services Good Friday rite, and has assembled a short list of liturgical resources which may be helpful to worship planners.

The task group has also partnered with Faith and the Common Good who have designed a Carbon Calculator so people can discover the hidden cost of our carbon use.

A Solemn Intercession:
Let us pray for God's creation and for the whole web of life.
for those people and creatures who have been betrayed by human greed and
for nations and communities suffering deluge or drought,
for species on the brink of extinction,
for families and those dispossessed of home and land,
for future generations inheriting the fruits of human neglect and exploitation.
that God, Source of all life,
will show us anew the miracle of creation,
proclaimed in our beginnings, and promised in our future.

A Collect
Oh God, you created the heavens and the earth
and saw that it was good.
Give us the eyes to see your goodness
in all that gives life,
and give us the will
to put to death our indifference to your creation,
that rising with you to new life
we may participate in the healing and restoration of the earth.