How many Christians to change a lightbulb?

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has endorsed a booklet published today that encourages Christians to play their part in helping to stop climate change.

Aiming to counter the idea that stark warnings on the state of the environment seem too colossal for individuals to make any real difference, the book called 'How many lightbulbs does it take to change a Christian?', argues that Christians not only can have an impact by adapting their lifestyle, but actually have a moral duty to do so.

Find out more.

To Save This Fragile Earth

The Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd, Dean
Washington National Cathedral
Easter III, April 22, 2007

www.cathedral.org/cathedral/worship/stl070422.html

I didn’t think spring was ever going to come. I mean it. Never. Maybe it was the temperature on Easter Day, which as someone pointed out was 5 degrees colder than it had been on Christmas Day. Or maybe it has been these past weeks of April when a grey chill, wind, and rain greeted us anytime we ventured outdoors.

But it’s here. Daffodils have yielded to tulips. Leaves have returned to the trees’ skeletons. The grass is green again, and the blossoms and flowers are everywhere. I remember when I lived in Boston a friend saying that in New England spring comes in like a Yankee lady— reserved, proper, slow to reveal her charms. But in the South, spring comes in like a hussy—brash, flashy, showing off. I’m glad to say that Washington has all the signs of a Southern spring!

To see the earth come alive around here is to be dazzled. It must be what the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins felt a century ago when he gazed around at spring bursting out and wrote, “What is all this juice and joy?” And the words of another Hopkins poem leap to mind on a day like this:

The world is charg’d with the grandeur of God
It will flame out like shining from shook foil.

The rebirth of spring has for centuries been associated in the Northern Hemisphere with Easter. Even the word “Easter” seems to come from the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. Christians have seen in the return of life to nature an image of God’s triumph over everything that dies. In the flowering of dogwood and rhododendron we can see pointers to the power that moves through all creation bringing life out of death.

The earth comes alive, and that is itself a sort of miracle. But today as we gather here on this Earth Day we have to face the fact that that miracle is terrifyingly fragile, and that “this fragile earth, our island home,” as our Prayer Book calls it, is in deep trouble.

Read more »

Jesus and the Farm Bill

Jesus came from farming country in the northern part of Palestine. The land is fertile and crops grow well there. I remember sitting on a hillside once looking down on some farmland up in the Galilee, and thinking how much it looked like some parts of the Midwest! And, while we think Jesus grew up in a town, perhaps not far from the “big city” of Sepphoris, he would have been surrounded by farmers and farm land.

That undoubtedly accounts for the frequency of agricultural images he uses – such as those in today’s Gospel – about scattering seed (“broadcasting” as it is known) and about the mystery of life and growth which all good farmers understand. Farming is not all about technique and expertise. A lot of it depends on geography and on the cycles of weather – God’s grace…or Providence…or good luck (depending on your theology!)

- From the blog "ecubishop" Bishop Christopher Epting, Staff Officer for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Epting continues with how all of us can be involved with the feeding of the nation and the world:

But we can be involved in agriculture. Even here in the city. And we can make a difference. Our church is trying to make a difference. According to a recent ENS press release: “As Congress begins the work of reauthorizing the US farm bill, more than a dozen Churches and faith based organizations, including the Episcopal Church, have come together…to urge major changes in US agricultural policy aimed at reducing hunger and poverty, and promoting the livelihood of farmers and rural communities in the US and around the world.”

“The ‘Religious Working Group on the Farm Bill’ which includes Christian denominations, major faith based organizations and the National Council of Churches…has developed a statement of legislative principles for farm bill reform.” According to those principles, the 2007 farm bill should:

*Increase investments that combat rural poverty and strengthen rural communities

*Strengthen and expand programs that reduce hunger and improve nutrition in the US

*Strengthen and increase investment in policies that promote conservation and good stewardship of the land

*Provide transitions for farmers to alternative forms of support that are more equitable and do not distort trade in ways that fuel hunger and poverty

*Protect the health and safety of farmworkers

*Expand research related to alternative, clean and renewable forms of energy

*Improve and expand international food aid in ways that encourage local food security.”


Read it all HERE.

To find out more on what you can do to support this legislation go to The Episcopal Public Policy Network, A Farm Bill to Feed our Nation and the World.

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Reflections on poverty and climate change

We must see everything, and everyone, as interconnected and intended by God to live in relationship.

Two of the most significant crises facing our world -- climate change and deadly poverty -- offer an example of such interconnectedness. By understanding how the two crises, and the people they affect, are connected, we can begin to understand how humanity can triumph over both. Extreme poverty -- that is, poverty that kills -- afflicts more than a billion of God's people around the world. Nearly 30,000 of these people will die today. That's 1 every 3 seconds. The factors that propel this kind of deadly poverty include hunger, diseases like AIDS and malaria, conflict, lack of access to education and basic inequality. Climate change threatens to make the picture even more deadly. As temperature changes increase the frequency and intensity of severe-weather events around the world, poor countries -- which often lack infrastructural needs like storm walls and water-storage facilities -- will divert previous resources away from fighting poverty in order to respond to disaster. Warmer climates will also increase the spread of diseases like malaria and tax the ability of poor countries to respond adequately. Perhaps most severely, changed rain patterns will increase the prevalence of drought in places like Africa, where only 4 percent of cropped land is irrigated, leaving populations without food and hamstrung in their ability to trade internationally to generate income.

Conversely, just as climate change will exacerbate poverty, poverty also is hastening climate change.
____

The author is Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Read the entire essay here in today's San Francisco Chronicle.

Climate Change, Poverty and the G8

The G8 nations are meeting in a few weeks. Climate change, extreme poverty and the potential of the Millennium Development Goals to make a difference will be a major part of their agenda. The Episcopal Church Public Policy Network has issued the following alert and call to action:

This summer marks the half way point for the targeted achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Despite high promises from G8 leaders, a new report this week by DATA, one of the Episcopal Church’s partner organizations, shows that while progress has been made in some of the anti-poverty commitments made by G8 leaders at their 2005 summit, much bolder action is needed if the MDGs are to be met by 2015. (www.thedatareport.org)

In a few short weeks, leaders of the G8 nations, including President Bush, will meet in Germany with an agenda that includes addressing the onset of climate change throughout the world, as well as the world’s progress toward eradicating deadly poverty and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Write President Bush, the G8 must keep their commitments to the MDGs and need to address the role that climate change will play in their success.

This is a critical time for the climate and the MDGs. On Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle printed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s opinion column urging that world leaders consider the two issues simultaneously, as climate change propels global poverty and global poverty propels climate change. "By understanding how the two crises, and the people they affect, are connected, we can begin to understand how humanity can triumph over both," wrote the Presiding Bishop. To read the full article, Click Here

Send a message to President Bush now -- Urge him to work with other G8 leaders to keep the promises they have made toward meeting the MDGs, and in particular, to address the relationship between global poverty and climate change as part of this meeting’s agenda:
Click here


For ideas on how you and your church and community can make a difference check out Green Lent: a blog of ideas to lessen your impact on the earth and to share resources with others. Listen to the Wombat!

PB to present concerns about climate change to Senate committee

From Episcopal Life Online:

Citing the need for immediate attention to serious issues of global warming, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will represent the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) at a June 7 Congressional hearing on global warming.

Jefferts Schori will testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at 10 a.m., Room 406, Dirksen Senate Office Building. The committee will hear from several leaders of faith groups in "An Examination of the Views of Religious Organizations Regarding Global Warming."

The Presiding Bishop, who in 1983 earned her doctorate in oceanography, approaches the issue of climate change from both scientific and theological perspectives. Her testimony to the Senate Committee notes the specific effects of climate change on those living in poverty. Jefferts Schori regularly emphasizes care for the environment as part of the Millennium Development Goals, affirmed within the Episcopal Church's current top mission priority.

It's all here.

The hearing will be webcast HERE

Covenant for Creation

The Seattle Times editorial columnist, Lance Dickie, reports in A Covenant to take care of the Creator's handiwork:

Fifteen years after the pioneering Earth Ministry was founded in Seattle to link religion and the environment, the nation's attention will be drawn back to the city toward another, potentially broader spiritual awakening.

Next April, the national Episcopal Church will team with Episcopalians in Western Washington to host a conference to launch a multifaith campaign on climate change.

At the event, the Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will invite national organizations of Christians, Jews and Muslims to commit to reducing the carbon footprint of their churches, temples and mosques by a minimum of 50 percent by 2015.

The audacious idea was unveiled in Seattle two weeks ago at a four-day interfaith gathering to explore the role and responsibility of religion in caring for the Earth. Bishop Steven Charleston, president and dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., closed out the session with a sermon that laid out the concept and the challenge.


Read it all here

Archbishop of Canterbury receives ecology award

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has received an award from UK parliamentarians for his work in helping to promote ecologically friendly causes - including a Church of England carbon-cutting campaign.

As reported by Ekklesia,

"The award, presented by the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group, recognises the work of the Archbishop and the Church of England in promoting sustainable energy issues to the public and to policy makers."

Affirming the impact of the Archbishop's leadership, "a Lambeth Palace spokesperson added that the award recognised the importance of the issue for faith communities. "The Church of England has made climate change and environmental sustainability central issues in recent years, at home and overseas. This award for the Archbishop of Canterbury from PRESAG members is a timely recognition of the central role people of faith have in providing for the responsible stewardship of our planet."

"The ethical aspect of the challenge of climate change is increasingly recognised, and in choosing to confer this award on the Archbishop, PRESAG [the Associate Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group] acknowledges just how important moral and spiritual leadership on environmental matters continues to be."

The Church of England is currently engaged in a national campaign known as Shrinking the Footprint.

Read it all here.

Going green for God

The Austin American-Statesman shines a spotlight on local churches that are working to become more eco-friendly:

For years, environmentalism has been preached from the pulpit as a form of Christian stewardship. Now, a growing number of Central Texas churches are turning those teachings into action by going green as they expand to accommodate growing congregations.

In San Marcos, St. Mark's Episcopal Church has bought land for a new church and is weighing options for green construction, including solar panels, rainwater collection systems and concrete floors that would help keep it cool.

"We're supposed to take care of the Earth, not just take what we can get from it," said Larry Hanson, chairman of the church's building committee.

The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, which includes parts of Central Texas, has set up a Web site explaining how churches can build in environmentally sensitive ways.

The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Dripping Springs recently completed a church that has double-paned, tinted glass - "70 percent of the time, we don't even have to turn on a light," said the Rev. Nancy Coon - and a zoned heating and air-conditioning system so the church can heat or cool only the areas that are occupied.

The complete article is under this blog entry on the Daily Green. Episcopal Life Online also covers the article here.

And for more environmental initiatives by Episcopal churches see today's essay by The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston at our companion blog, Daily Episcopalian.

Technology aids faith-based green movement

The Living Church Foundation also looks at environmental stewardship from another angle in its current issue, examining "viral marketing" through electronic communications with respect to how it's helping the Episcopal Ecological Network get the word out about news and events.

An incoming e-mail announces an event of interest for members of the Episcopal Ecological Network (EpEN). The EpEN’s communicator reads the message and decides to send it to all network members. With a few mouse clicks, the e-mail’s contents are sent to recipients in some 25 diocesan-level and five congregation-level environmental commissions, committees, and working groups. These leaders, in turn, send the message to their members. In a matter of a few hours, more than 1,000 passionate and interested Episcopalians in the United States and overseas will have received word about the event.

Before the explosion of the internet, dissemination of such information would have taken days, if not weeks, to reach the same number of people. If the event were time-sensitive, such as a request to call a congressional representative or a notice about a special seminar, many individuals would not hear about it until it was too late.

Timely communication is one way that EpEN members are involved in caring for God’s creation, led by a working group of 14 individuals from 12 dioceses. But what is it about caring for God’s creation that keeps these individuals and groups talking and working together?

The rest, with specific examples, is here.

Evangelicals warm to environmentalists

The Washington Post this morning has this page A01 story on the growing interest evangelicals are taking in the environment. An excerpt:

Denise Kirsop donned a white plastic moon suit and began sorting through the trash produced by Northland Church.

She and several fellow parishioners picked apart the garbage to analyze exactly how much and what kind of waste their megachurch produces, looking for ways to reduce the congregation's contribution to global warming.

"I prayed about it, and God really revealed to me that I had a passion about creation," said Kirsop, who has since traded in her family's sport-utility vehicle for a hybrid Toyota Prius to help cut her greenhouse gas emissions. "Anything that draws me closer to God -- and this does -- increases my faith and helps my work for God."

Her conversion to environmentalism is the result of a years-long international campaign by British bishops and leaders of major U.S. environmental groups to bridge a long-standing divide between global-warming activists and American evangelicals.

Those British bishops are Anglican bishops.

Evangelicals warm to environmentalists

The Washington Post this morning has this page A01 story on the growing interest evangelicals are taking in the environment. An excerpt:

Denise Kirsop donned a white plastic moon suit and began sorting through the trash produced by Northland Church.

She and several fellow parishioners picked apart the garbage to analyze exactly how much and what kind of waste their megachurch produces, looking for ways to reduce the congregation's contribution to global warming.

"I prayed about it, and God really revealed to me that I had a passion about creation," said Kirsop, who has since traded in her family's sport-utility vehicle for a hybrid Toyota Prius to help cut her greenhouse gas emissions. "Anything that draws me closer to God -- and this does -- increases my faith and helps my work for God."

Her conversion to environmentalism is the result of a years-long international campaign by British bishops and leaders of major U.S. environmental groups to bridge a long-standing divide between global-warming activists and American evangelicals.

Those British bishops are Anglican bishops.

General Theological Seminary going green

General Theological Seminary in New York City, will begin construction this month on of one of the largest geothermal projects in the Northeast, converting the school's present heating-cooling system, powered by fossil fuel, to a new energy-efficient geothermal system. Drilling is expected to begin August 7 on a series of wells along the Tenth Avenue side of the campus in front of the soon-to-be-completed Desmond Tutu Center. In just the first ten years of the new system's operation, which was approved by Community Board 4 last summer, the Seminary will reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by more than 14,000 tons. The need for roof-level cooling towers and window air conditioners will be permanently eliminated, helping to preserve the architectural integrity of the campus, an entire city block of historic buildings with a serene and open interior space of lawns and towering trees.

According the seminary web site the project embodies The Episcopal Church's environmental concerns:

The Seminary's geothermal project is a model for the Episcopal Church's long-standing concern for environmental stewardship. By eliminating tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, the initiative makes an exemplary contribution to the effort to stem the tide of global warming, a problem cited by the church's 2003 General Convention as a threat "to God's good creation," one that has a disproportionate impact on "the poorest and most vulnerable in the United States and around the world." By eliminating dependence on fossil fuel to heat and cool 260,000 square feet of buildings, the project is a powerful endorsement of Convention legislation aimed at reducing dependence on fossil fuel, which, the Convention said, "harms air quality and public health and is contributing to changes in the global climate that threaten the lives and livelihoods of our neighbors around the world." The General Convention, which meets every three years, attracts approximately 15,000 visitors to its host city. In 2006, in order to offset increased power usage by hotels accommodating Convention participants, the Church purchased green tags 25 percent in excess of the power usage of the convention itself.

Read more here and here

Blessing the beasts

October 4 is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi and parishes all around the world are conducting the traditional blessing of the animals. The Diocese of Washington is offering resources, including two rites of blessing, and a short video that can be found from the diocesan home page. This is always a good time of year to check in on the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and the Episcopal Network for Animal Welfare.

Religion and ecology

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the new advocacy on environmental issues by several Evangelical leaders. As the Economist reports, environmentalists and religious groups are allies on environmental issues across the globe:

In many other parts of the world, secular greens and religious people find themselves on the same side of public debates: sometimes hesitantly, sometimes tactically, and sometimes fired by a sense that they have deep things in common.

One more case from India: ornithologists who want to save three species of vulture (endangered because cattle carcasses are tainted by chemicals) see their best ally as the Parsees, who on religious grounds use vultures to dispose of human corpses.

In China, organised religion is much weaker and conservationists also feel more lonely. But Pan Yue, the best-known advocate of green concerns within the Chinese government, says ancient creeds, like Taoism, offer the best hope of making people treat the earth more kindly.

Other tie-ups between faith and ecology are less obvious. In Sweden, the national Lutheran Church, working with Japanese Shintos, recently held a multi-faith meeting on forestry. They agreed to set a new standard for the care of forests owned or managed by religious bodies—in other words, they said, 5% of the world's woods.

This month, representatives of many faiths, including a local Lutheran bishop and a shivering Buddhist monk (see above) gathered in Greenland to talk to scientists and ecologists. Patriarch Bartholomew, the senior bishop of the Orthodox Church, led his impressively robed guests in a silent supplication for the planet.

The terms of the transaction between faith and ecology vary a lot. In places like Scandinavia, where religion is weakish, a cleric who “goes green” may reach a wider audience; in countries like India, where faith is powerful, spiritual messages touch more hearts than secular ones do. That doesn't stop some environmental scientists from saying they are being hijacked by clerics in search of relevance. But Mary Evelyn Tucker, of America's Yale University, says secular greens badly need their spiritual allies: “Religions provide a cultural integrity, a spiritual depth and moral force which secular approaches lack.”

Martin Palmer, of the British-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation, says faiths often have the clearest view of the social and economic aspects of an environmental problem. In Newfoundland, he notes, conservationists put curbs on cod fishing—and left the churches to care for families whose living was ruined.

Still, one selling point often used by the religious in their dialogue with science—the fact that faith encourages people to think long-term—may be a mixed blessing. The most pessimistic scientists say mankind has a decade at most to curb greenhouse gases and fend off disastrous global warming; that doesn't leave much time to settle the finer points of metaphysics.

Read it all here.

Cut the Carbon walkers reach Lambeth

Lots to choose from in the current Church Times, but imagine walking from Boston to Chicago--a bit farther than that, actually--to make a point about carbon footprints. Eighteen people walked 1,000 miles, through Northern Ireland and around Britain, in the Cut the Carbon walk, sponsored by Christian Aid, that ended on Tuesday in London. The original marchers walked the final mile accompanied by an estimated 2,000 people and ended their journey at St. Paul's Cathedral.

They had started their journey on July 14 in Belfast, coming from countries all around the world--England, Ireland, Kenya, El Salvador, Brazil, India, Tajikistan, Congo, the Phillippines and more. They blogged the walk here, and 1,375 people also followed along on Facebook.

The Church Times reports:

They were greeted by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu. As a walker himself, he told them not to worry about their blisters, because what mattered was that they had participated.

...

The oldest of the marchers to complete the walk was Merryn Hellier, a Methodist, who is 68. She said that Jesus had been on the march with them, “because so many people had their minds opened to realise the full misery of the problems that people overseas are suffering already”.

The former Bishop of Umzimvubu, Eastern Cape, South Africa, the Rt Revd Geoff Davies, who is 66 and runs the interfaith South African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute, and his wife Kate, 56, joined the march at Burton-on-Trent to walk the last 500 miles.

Care for the integrity of creation and sustaining and renewing life on earth was the fifth mark of mission and “core Gospel business”, he said. Climate change was an issue of justice because it hit the poor hardest. “We are seeking justice so we can have peace,” he said. “We are looking to Britain to set a lead.” The Church, as well as environmentalists, should call for “a green sabbath to cut carbon use”.

Tim Jones, 26, from London, had taken three months’ unpaid leave from the World Development Movement charity to join the march. “We hoped to inspire people to campaign,” he said.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd John Gladwin, told the marchers that they had “ blessed our country and islands with your feet and given us hope for the future”.

The story includes a wonderful picture of several bishops standing with the walkers outside the cathedral. It's here, and you can learn lots more about the walk and the campaign here.

Bishop and Cardinal in row over climate change

In Australia this week, the Anglican general synod in Canberra has passed a canon "recognising that climate change was a serious threat to present and future generations and seeking to reduce the environmental footprint of the church and its agencies," according to The Age. But what's more curious about the matter of climate change is the public argument going on between the Anglican bishop of Canberra, George Browning, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell.

Bishop Browning, the world's top Anglican environmental spokesman, and Cardinal Pell had a sharp exchange on Wednesday after Bishop Browning said the cardinal was out of step with his church and made no sense on global warming.

Cardinal Pell replied that radical environmentalists needed no help from church leaders to impose their agenda by fear, and that church leaders should be allergic to nonsense.

Yesterday Bishop Browning said the challenge was serious because the issue was so important. "The moral consequences of climate change are of such an order that the church cannot remain outside the debate, and cannot do other than want to be part of the solution."

Bishop Browning said on Wednesday that Cardinal Pell's contribution as Catholic leader was muted because of his environmental stance. "I frankly don't know where he's coming from or why he says what he does."

Cardinal Pell said he was sceptical about extravagant claims of impending man-made climatic catastrophes and that uncertainties on climate change abounded.

With the passing of the canon, Browning challenged Pell to participate in a public debate on the issues at St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.

More here

Church leaders call for climate justice

As the Intergovernmental Conference on Climate Change is being held Dec. 3-14 in Bali, Indonesia, The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of the Church of Sweden and the Bishop of the Evangelical Church in Germany are calling for climate justice in a joint letter according to The Christian Post.

In the letter, the church heads claim that “[s]ubstantially reducing global emissions of greenhouse gasses will not avoid the serious impacts of climate change already experienced by many of the world’s most vulnerable communities."

The church leaders called on world governments and the European Commission to “strengthen their commitment to addressing the challenge of climate change.”

Reiterating the concerns of numerous Christian humanitarian agencies including World Vision, Tearfund and Christian Aid, the leaders noted that the impact of climate change is being felt most severely by those who have done the least to cause it.

The letter was sent to the president of the European Commission and the president of the Council of the European Union ahead of the Intergovernmental Conference on Climate Change being held Dec. 3-14 in Bali, Indonesia.

Read the article here.

Dave Walker comments here

Christianity and climate change

Two weeks of international climate talks in Bali marked by bitter disagreements and angry accusations culminated Saturday in last-minute compromises and an agreement to adopt a plan by 2009 to fight global warming. What role will churches, synagogues and mosques play in this crisis?

"This is the beginning, not the end," United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Associated Press (AP) following the contentious climate conference, which went a day longer than scheduled. "We will have to engage in more complex, long, and difficult negotiations," reports National Geographic

The New York Times reports disappointment with the outcome of the talks especially with the United States role:

The news from Bali was particularly disheartening. The delegates agreed to negotiate by 2009 a new and more comprehensive global treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol. (Kyoto expires in 2012 and requires that only industrialized nations reduce their production of greenhouse gases.) They pledged for the first time to address deforestation, which accounts for one-fifth of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. And they received vague assurances from China — which will soon overtake the United States as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases — and other emerging powers that they would seek “measurable, reportable and verifiable” emissions cuts.

From the United States the delegates got nothing, except a promise to participate in the forthcoming negotiations. Even prying that out of the Bush administration required enormous effort.

Can religious groups play a part in saving the planet?

The World Council of Churches weighed in at the Bali meeting with a call to address climate change with concern for the poorest and weakest - least able to cope with disasters.

On Tuesday, 11 December, conference participants and locals were invited to an ecumenical celebration followed by a panel discussion that featured a video-message from the archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. Giving proof of the intention to work not only ecumenically but also closely with people of other faiths, the celebration took place at a Protestant church which is surrounded by a Roman Catholic church, a Hindu temple, a Buddhist sanctuary and a mosque. The delegation lead by Elias Abramides, a Greek Orthodox layman (Ecumenical Patriarchate) from Argentina, monitors the discussions at the governmental level. On Friday, it will present a statement to the plenary of high-level government representatives calling for a "paradigm change" towards the principle of precaution and priority for the poorest and weakest. The WCC also hosted a workshop on greenhouse development rights on Monday.

AlterNet sees a change among Christian denominations across the spectrum.

...despite the differences within and between religious communities in the United States, we are also aware of what joins us together. We share, among other things, a desire and most importantly a religious call to protect all of God's creation. And increasingly, because of its severe, sweeping potential impacts, we have seen the need to come together to address global climate change.

From a religious perspective, global climate change is a moral crisis. Not only because it affects future generations and those around the globe, but because it will hit hardest among the "least of us," the vulnerable communities and people in poverty across the globe. As a community that strives for justice, then, it becomes doubly important that we put our concerted efforts into addressing global climate change.


Blogger Byron Smith writes: Many people think of spirituality as downplaying the importance of the physical in favour of the ‘spiritual’. For Christian spirituality, the physical and what we do with it is spiritual, because it is God’s Spirit that brings life to all that lives. Or put another way, matter matters. He quotes Archbishop Rowan Williams:
“In order fully to access, enjoy and profit from our environment, we need to see it as something that does not exist just to serve our needs. Or, to put it another way, we are best served by our environment when we stop thinking of it as there to serve us. When we can imagine what is materially around us as existing in relation to something other than our own purposes, we are free to be surprised, educated and enlarged by it. When we obsessively seek to guarantee that the environment will always be there for us as a storehouse of raw materials, we in fact shrink our own humanity by shrinking what is there to surprise and enlarge, by reducing our capacity for contemplation of what is really other to us.”
- Rowan Williams, Ecology and Economy lecture (2005)

Ekklesia reports here.

And Dave Walker comments here

UPDATE: Archbishop of Canterbury on youtube about the imperative of action as moral justice. Watch the video here.

100 Ladybugs for Rachel Carson

Children of Episcopal Church in Everett, Massachusetts released 100 ladybugs in tribute to Rachel Carson, one for each year since the pioneering environmentalist’s birth in 1907, as part of the ceremony of blessing for their churchyard garden.

"To our knowledge, this is the first church in the country to honor Ms. Carson in this way,” said Rev. Barbara Smith-Moran, priest-in-residence.

An American marine biologist and nature writer who died in 1964, Ms. Carson’s books are often credited with launching the global environmental movement.

When Ms. Smith-Moran preached a sermon in the spring about prophets, using Ms. Carson as an example from recent times, parishioners who had contributed plants and effort over the years decided to call their labour of love “Rachel’s Garden,” now a serene spot inviting meditation.

For more on Rachel Carson and the 100th anniversary of her birth click here

Read more of this article here.

Valentines for clean air

Grace Episcopal Church in St. George, Utah is hosting groups opposing the proposed coal fired power plant in nearby Nevada. Among those speaking out is The Rt. Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah. The Salt Lake City Tribune reports:

Clean-air activists and others plan to send hundreds of heart-shaped valentines to the governors of Utah and Nevada urging them to oppose plans for a $1.3 billion coal-fired power plant near Mesquite, Nev.

Students wearing T-shirts emblazoned with "Love your air, stop Toquop" will pass out 250 of the handcrafted valentines at a rally Tuesday at St. George's Grace Episcopal Church.

Attendees then will jot down their objections to the planned 750-megawatt Toquop plant. Half the hearts will go to Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.; half will go to Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons.

Plant foe Lin Alder, executive director of Citizens for Dixie's Future, said former Utah Gov. Olene Walker and Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish, head of Utah's Episcopal Diocese, are expected to address the rally.

According to St. George newspaper The Spectrum and Daily News,

The plant is planned for 14 miles northeast of Mesquite, Nev., in Lincoln County, Nev., and has been proposed by Sithe Global Power, LLC Sithe Global Power, LLC, an international development company engaged in the development, construction, acquisition and operation of electric generation facilities in attractive markets around the world.

More on how Utah faith groups are working together on environmental issues here.

From sunlight to Sonlight

St. Paul's in Walnut Creek, Calif. took an interesting route away from carbon power. The chair of the environment committee there started a business called Sonlight Solar, LLC, to provide backing to a project that would convert the church to solar power. Inspired by an October 2006 viewing of An Inconvenient Truth, parishioners found themselves searching for a way to make the solar conversion happen.


Sonlight Solar LLC, as it came to be called, can also take advantage of state incentives and other tax benefits. Initially the church will pay Sonlight for the power generated. Sonlight, from benefits and income, will pay for about half the initial system cost.

The rest of the principal needed was raised by taking bids for loans from parishioners and friends of the parish. Those wishing to bid completed a form stating how much they would like to loan, when they wanted it repaid, and the rate of interest they would like.

"We averaged around 5% on the bids we accepted," says Mattern. "That's better for our investors than they would get on a savings account, but less that the 7.75% we were offered by the Episcopal Church Foundation at the time."

"The parish should begin saving money on the cost of energy in 10 years or less," said Vasquez.

The congregation is implementing composting and other other green practices as well while examining the theological implications of going green.

Read the whole thing here.

Giving up carbon for Lent

Some people give up chocolate. Some people take on an excercise program. Some people set aside time for prayer. This year, Nina Scott is giving up carbon.

The Boston Globe reports:

The retired University of Massachusetts at Amherst professor is hanging wet laundry on a clothesline in her basement to prevent emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from using the dryer. She is carpooling as much as she can and turning off lights more often.

These actions will do little to slow global warming - at most, Scott will probably reduce her "carbon footprint" by 1 or 2 percent during Lent - but she says it's important to do nonetheless.

"For me, it's that connection between protecting nature and faith," said Scott, who is one of about a dozen parishioners at Amherst's Grace Episcopal Church who are following a Lenten carbon "diet" until Easter and, hopefully, beyond. Across New England, a small but growing number of Christians are pledging to reduce energy usage as part of the 40 days of sacrifice and charitable deeds leading up to Easter. These Lenten environmentalists say they have come to realize they are morally bound to help protect God's creation from the threat of human-made global warming, and Lent's season of reflection is an ideal time to start making changes.

Sue Butler of Cambridge stopped eating meat after learning how energy intensive its production can be. Lucy Robinson of Amherst installed a low-flow showerhead to cut her use of hot water. The First Church of Christ in Longmeadow will give out "eco-palms" - plants grown and harvested without harming the environment - on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. Leftover palms are burned and used for Ash Wednesday the following year, so in some churches, even the ashes that will be smeared on foreheads next year will be eco-friendly.

The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts is circulating green Lent ideas to its churches, suggesting, for example, that worshipers use candles instead of lights on Sundays and eat only locally grown foods to avoid the energy used to transport food long distances. "If we do our share, there is hope for the earth," said Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Roy F. "Bud" Cederholm Jr.

Religious environmentalism - slowly growing since the 1990s - has exploded along with awareness of human-made climate change. Many faith communities now see the release of heat-trapping gases from power plants and vehicles as the destruction of a precious gift from God.

Read The Boston Globe: Going green for Lent

Greener palms for Palm Sunday

USA Today says that in many churches Palm Sunday is going green by using palms harvested using an environmentally friendly method.

This year, more than 2,130 congregations across the USA, including Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians, will use "eco-palms" that are harvested in a more environmentally friendly way, says Dean Current, program director at the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management at the University of Minnesota.

The number of churches using eco-palms on Palm Sunday — which, in the Christian faith, marks Jesus' triumphant return to Jerusalem before his death and resurrection — has grown from a pilot program of 5,000 in 2005 to the 600,000 eco-palms ordered for this year's March 16 celebration, Current says. He estimates that is about 1.5% of the 35 million to 40 million palms sold annually for Palm Sunday services in the USA but says he expects the growth to continue.

What makes the eco-palms different is the way that they are harvested, says RaeLynn Jones Loss, a research specialist at the University of Minnesota.

More than 50% of the palms are wasted by traditional methods, Jones Loss says. Harvesters in the eco-palm program are trained to be more selective. They cut only the best fronds, which results in only 5% to 10% waste.

USA Today: Churches go 'green' for Palm Sunday.

Southern Baptist leaders back climate change resolution

Earlier this week, the Pope announced that pollution was a sin. Amid the fanfare regarding that announcement was a related headline: a group of 44 Southern Baptist leaders have signed a document that acknowledges the recklessness of ignoring the mounting evidence for climate change. Jonathan Merritt, spokesman for the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative, was quoted in the New York Times as having had an epiphany in which he realized " when we destroy God’s creation, it’s similar to ripping pages from the Bible.”

Forty-four church leaders signed the document, including the president of the Southern Baptist Convention and two past presidents. It's considered a departure for the denomination, and many other Southern Baptists leaders elected not to sign on.

But Merritt's initiative may signal the growing influence of younger members of the church, according to the story:

A 2007 resolution passed by the convention hewed to a more skeptical view of global warming.

In contrast, the new declaration ... states, “Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed.”

The document also urges ministers to preach more about the environment and for all Baptists to keep an open mind about considering environmental policy.

Jonathan Merritt, the spokesman for the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative and a seminarian at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., said the declaration was a call to Christians to return to a biblical mandate to guard the world God created.

The Southern Baptist signatories join a growing community of evangelicals pushing for more action among believers, industry and politicians. Experts on the Southern Baptist Convention noted the initiative marked the growing influence of younger leaders on the discussions in the Southern Baptist Convention.

While those younger Baptists remain committed to fight abortion, for instance, the environment is now a top priority, too.

The complete story is here.

Preaching green

The Arizona Republic reports "that church leaders and their congregations are increasingly becoming God's green soldiers" by bringing together spirituality and ecology.

"There is something inside us that responds to the Earth coming alive this time of year," said Doug Bland, chairman of the Earth Care Commission with the Arizona Ecumenical Council. "It's also a time when we face our own failings and sins. And as we look around us, we can see our role in the destruction of the planet."

Parishioners are being asked to embrace environmentalism in a variety of ways. Members of Community Christian Church in Tempe are encouraged to go outside and reflect on Scripture surrounded by nature. Churches in Arizona's Episcopal Diocese have formed green teams that conduct energy audits of individual churches. At First United Methodist Church in Tempe, the most recent adult Bible-study topic was "Taking Care of God's Earth."

Jeff Rossini, 24, of Phoenix, bikes 16 miles to and from work four days a week as a way of practicing his faith.

"One person not driving isn't going to save the world," he said. "But it boils down to me believing that I should be a good steward of the Earth to the best of my abilities and that I am to protect God's creation."

The Diocese of Arizona has a Nature and Spirituality Ministry. They describe their vision and mission as follows:

Our Vision: God, Nature & humanity are all one family in The Kingdom of Green, peacefully coexisting together at home here on Earth.

Our Goals:

* Restore enjoyment, reverence, and kinship to our spiritual relationship with Nature.
* Empower faith communities to bring both hope and action to the climate change issue.
* Identify lifestyle changes that reduce our use of fossil fuels, disposable items, water, and toxins.
* Educate people about the connection between social justice and the care of Nature.

The Arizona Republic writes:

The Episcopal Church has a 30-year history of environmental stewardship, so many of the country's dioceses already have a commission devoted to the cause.

Valley Episcopal Bishop Kirk Smith said many churches have rediscovered their role as caretakers of the Earth.

"As a friend of mine says, 'If God was our landlord, we wouldn't be getting our deposit back,' " said Smith, who recently bought a Toyota Camry Hybrid as a nod to gas conservation.

Two years ago, the Episcopal Diocese founded the Arizona Nature and Spirituality program. Led by Phyllis Strupp, the program helps churches form "green teams." The teams look at what the churches can do to be more environmentally friendly, such as arranging energy audits and replacing incandescent lightbulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs.

The program also presents environmental-education programs to non-Episcopal churches. Although some churches across the country are encouraging things such as a "carbon fast," or abstaining from driving during Lent, Strupp wants her group to be about celebrating nature, not self-denial.

"We're trying to build this sense of hope that springs from a place of appreciation and joy," she said. "We want to raise the awareness that human beings and nature cannot be separate and then encourage action."

Read: Arizona Republic: Churches preaching green.

See also: The Diocese of Arizona Nature and Spirituality Ministry.

Bishop Katharine writes the Senate

The following is Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to the full Senate in support of Climate legislation.

March 31, 2008

United States Senate
Washington, D. C 20510

Dear Senator:

Urgent action by the United States in response to global warming is long past due. As the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, I urge the Senate to take up climate change legislation at the earliest possible moment. As one who has been formed both through a deep faith and as a scientist, I believe science has shown us unequivocally that climate change and global warming are real, and caused in significant part by human activities. Climate change is a threat not only to God’s good creation but to all of humanity.

I am pleased that bi-partisan legislation introduced by Senators Joseph Lieberman and John Warner successfully moved through the committee process with many improvements and now awaits Senate debate. Senate bill 2191, America’s Climate Security Act, is a strong step forward in achieving carbon emission reductions. At the same time it includes measures aimed at addressing the needs of the world’s most vulnerable: those, who for demographic reasons such as health or location are most susceptible to the effects of climate change, and those living in poverty at home and around the world. I strongly support this legislation. Our nation, historically the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, has a responsibility to lead the way in addressing the impact of climate change.

Climate change exacerbates extreme world poverty and poverty is hastening global warming. Most people living in poverty around the world lack access to a reliable energy source, forcing many to choose energy sources such as oil, coal, or wood, which threaten to expand significantly the world's greenhouse emissions and thus accelerate the effects of climate change. That need for resources to purchase energy must be addressed in any attempt to lift a community out of poverty. This cycle—poverty that begets climate change and vice versa—threatens the future of all people, rich and poor alike. The poverty cycle driven by climate change will only add to political instability, social violence, and war. Our own domestic tranquility and security are intimately tied to the wellbeing of the poor both here and abroad.

I am grateful for Congressional attention to climate change, and I challenge the Senate to support measures to further strengthen S. 2191 during floor consideration. I want to be absolutely clear that for those living in poverty, inaction on our part now will ultimately be the most costly of all courses of action. I am grateful to the members of Congress who have recognized and spoken out on that very important truth.

Many in the faith community have long been aware of the ways in which our lack of concern for the rest of creation results in death and destruction for our neighbors. We cannot love our neighbors unless we care for the creation that supports all our earthly lives. I join my fellow Episcopalians in urging the Senate of the 110th Congress to pass the strongest climate change legislation possible. The acknowledgment of global warming and the Church’s commitment to ameliorating it are a part of the ongoing discovery of God’s revelation to humanity and the call to a fuller understanding of the scriptural imperative to love our neighbor as ourselves. I remain

Your faithful servant,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

Earth Day resources

Since the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, Earth Day has been an annual event for people around the world to celebrate the earth and renew our commitment to building a safer, healthier and cleaner world for all of us. It is a wonderful opportunity to embrace all of God's creation, raise awareness and pray for "this fragile earth, our island home" (Eucharistic Prayer C, Book of Common Prayer).

There are many resources and websites to assist in the planning of your education offerings and worship celebrations on this day - click on resource for link:

Earth Day Network

Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz!

Green Stories from Episcopalians

Update on Greening Efforts around the Episcopal Church

Worship and Formation Resources

Sample Sermons

Congregational Greening Resources and Ideas

Millennium Development Goal #7 resources

Climate Change and the Church

Healing God's Creation

Lord of Creation: Celtic Spirituality

Lessons Plans from the NCCC Eco-Justice Network! The Poverty of Global Climate Change . .

Green Resolutions passed at General Convention over the past 30 years

Episcopal Environmental Conference in Seattle April 2008.

Letter from Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori to the U.S. Senate regarding climate change.

HT to Living In-Formation - a newsletter from Church Publishing. and the Episcopal Ecological Network.

A message from the leadership team of Episcopal Ecological Network (EpEN) follows:

Read more »

Food rationing in US

Food banks supported by churches and others are seeing an increase in numbers of clients as the cost of food and fuel rises. Rationing has been seen in some stores across the United States. Food riots are beginning to occur around the world, Congress is working on a new farm bill, churches are trying to fill the gap - will we as Christians rise to the challenge?

The New York Sun reports on rationing occurring in the United States:

"Due to the limited availability of rice, we are limiting rice purchases based on your prior purchasing history," a sign (at Costco) above the dwindling supply said.

Shoppers said the limits had been in place for a few days, and that rice supplies had been spotty for a few weeks. A store manager referred questions to officials at Costco headquarters near Seattle, who did not return calls or e-mail messages yesterday.

An employee at the Costco store in Queens said there were no restrictions on rice buying, but limits were being imposed on purchases of oil and flour. Internet postings attributed some of the shortage at the retail level to bakery owners who flocked to warehouse stores when the price of flour from commercial suppliers doubled.


NPR reports from the head of the UN food program:
The head of the U.N. World Food Program says large-scale international action is needed to address an immediate food emergency that threatens to destabilize developing nations.

Speaking at a summit in London on Tuesday, Josette Sheeran said growing hunger is a threat to the political and economic stability of poor nations, with food riots threatening democratically elected governments.

Sheeran's remarks echoed those of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who pledged more than $100 million to the World Food Program and said the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations need to work together to tackle the food crisis.

At the local church food pantry this news is supported by the increasing numbers of working people coming for assistance. As congress works on a new Farm Bill reports of empty shelves show the difficulties:

Across the country, depleted shelves are a common sight at food pantries, where advocates say the supply of donated items hasn't kept pace with demand during the recent economic downturn.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has seen it firsthand in Hocking County in the rural southeast part of the state.

"They'll show up at 3:30 in the morning. The food pantry at the church opens at 8 a.m.," Brown says. "By 12:30, literally 2,000 people come in for food once a month and they get food for about three weeks. It doesn't get them through the month."

Read the report here.

In Utah, the Deseret News reports:

The Utah Food Bank's 2-1-1 hotline this year has taken double the calls for food assistance than it did in the first quarter of 2007. Crossroads Urban Center served 44 percent more families last month than it did the same time a year ago. For Hildegarde's Pantry, a ministry of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, that number increased nearly 50 percent.

In Detroit Lakes,Minnesota the DL-Online News reports how St. Luke's Episcopal Church and others in the MAC/NAPS program are feeling the shortages:

Have you ever truly felt hungry and didn’t know what or where you were going to find something to feed yourself or your family?

With your cupboards and refrigerator empty, what would you do? I have never experienced this, but I know there is hunger all over the world. My name is Karla Mitchell and until I took my present position as the program coordinator of MAC/NAPS, I didn’t realize how prevalent hunger is right here in our community.

The program mentioned is a government program called Commodity Supplemental Food Program, or CSFP. It is a program that locally is known as Mothers And Children (MAC) and Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS). The program provides a monthly box of basic food items enough to prepare many meals throughout the month.

These boxes of food are packaged at Second Harvest Heartland in the metro area and shipped to Detroit Lakes for local distribution. Presently, we serve over 300 people a month in our community, and we could serve many more as the need is great.

However, this program is at risk of being cut at the federal level. This program is vital to our community.

MAC/NAPS distribution takes place the first part of each month out of St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Detroit Lakes. A nutrition educator is on site each month to demonstrate how to prepare and make efficient use of the foods as well as share recipes and nutrition information.

Read more here

San Francisco Chronicle reports on Haiti and food shortages here.

But perhaps the most devastating impact has been in Haiti, where more than half the population of 9 million lives on less than a $1 a day, and the price of rice has doubled since December. At least seven people were killed recently in food riots.
Haiti is particularly affected because it imports nearly all of its food, including more than 80 percent of its rice. Once-productive farmland has been abandoned as farmers struggle to grow crops in soil devastated by erosion, deforestation, flooding and tropical storms.

In March, many poor Haitians complained of hunger so severe that it felt like their stomachs were being eaten away by bleach or battery acid. In a matter of days, "Clorox hunger" was being talked about in slums and villages across the country.

Christian Science Monitor reports on the plight of food banks in the U.S. here.

Americans are a generous sort but not as much in a weak economy with food prices climbing more than 5 percent a year. Donations to private food banks are off 9 by percent. A CNN poll finds nearly 1 in 3 people already cutting back on food. Hunger, once again, is rising in America.

You can find online discussion of this article and some similar ones here and here.

Other articles on food insecurity here and here.

More on the Farm Bill from the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) and what you can do to respond here.

Episcopal Relief and Development addresses the issue of food security here.

NYT Magazine's Green Issue

The entire issue is here.

Some of the coverage:

Act. An excerpt:

Demand response is, in essence, an inversion of the traditional logic of power generation: instead of paying to create power, you pay money to reduce the need for it. The procedure has been particularly popular in major cities, where grids are strained to the limit. ConsumerPowerline controls 300 huge buildings in New York alone, where hastily brokered turnoffs by Macy’s and major hotels prevented the spread of a 2006 blackout in Queens — a blackout that lasted for more than a week — into Manhattan. “If you’re someone who’s controlling 100 buildings at once, and with a flick of a finger you can change their energy behavior,” says Gary Fromer, ConsumerPowerline’s C.E.O., “that’s very powerful.”

Eat. An excerpt:
It is the locavore’s dilemma that organic bananas delivered by a fuel-efficient boat may be responsible for less energy use than highly fertilized, nonorganic potatoes trucked from a hundred miles away. Even locally grown, organic greenhouse tomatoes can consume 20 percent more resources than a tomato from a far-off warm climate, because of all the energy needed to run the greenhouse. Various organizations like the British grocery chain Tesco and the Global Footprint Network itself are trying to design accurate calculators both for carbon outputs and for general ecological impact.

Innovate. An excerpt:

In late 2006, Toby Heap, the owner of a digital media company in Sydney, Australia, read a report from the University of California, Berkeley, that found that on average black computer screens generally use less energy than white ones. Not long after, Heap noticed a posting on the ecoIron blog claiming that a black version of Google would save 750 megawatt hours per year worldwide. That inspired him to start Blackle, an eco-conscious search engine, in February 2007.
Death. Check out the page on eco-friendly cremation or burial.

Freakonomics: Pay-as-you-drive insurance. An excerpt:

Higher tolls, especially variable tolls like congestion pricing, are one option [to reduce driving]. This seems to have worked well in London but was recently quashed in New York City, where the political hurdles proved too high.

A higher gas tax might also work. If a typical car gets 20 miles to the gallon, then the proper tax would be about $2 per gallon. But with the current high market price for gas and the political hysterics attached to it — well, good luck with that one.

This brings us to automobile insurance. While economists may argue that gas is poorly priced, that imbalance can’t compare with how poorly insurance is priced.
...
Since no one expects to pay the same price for, say, a 60-minute massage as they pay for a 15-minute massage, why should people pay the same for insurance no matter how many miles they drove?

“The objection within the White House,” Edlin recalls, “was there wasn’t good academic research on the subject.”

Edlin and a few others, including Jason Bordoff and Pascal Noel at the Brookings Institution, have since done such research. It makes a compelling case that PAYD insurance would work well, reducing the carbon emissions, congestion and accident risk created by too much driving while leading drivers to pay the true cost of their mileage. Bordoff and Noel put the total social benefit at $52 billion a year.

World Malaria Day

While HIV/AIDS is thought of as the world's greatest public health challenge, there are other significant diseases that are are taking a similar toll. Today is World Malaria Day and a number of organizations around the world have taken advantage of the attention being paid to their work to call for new initiatives in the prevention of Malaria.

The AFM (Africa Fighting Malaria) organization has issued a call for a renewed push for "indoor spraying" of homes with DDT. DDT, banned in much of the world because of its dangers to the environment, is one of the most effective spot treatments in preventing domestic Malaria infection vectors.

From their release:

"Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) is a highly effective method of malaria control recommended by the World Health Organization. Unfortunately it remains underutilized in sub-Saharan Africa, where, each year, malaria kills over a million people and drains the continent of US$12 billion. World Malaria Day 2008 focuses on malaria across borders – some of the best cross-border malaria control programs rely heavily on IRS. Yet most donor agencies are loath to strengthen IRS programs in Africa, train medical entomologists to run them, and invest in new insecticides.

This World Malaria Day, AFM is issuing a Call to Action to support IRS. AFM created an interactive map to indicate which countries are conducting IRS (orange) along with the main financiers - the US President's Malaria Initiative, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the private sector and/or strong domestic government support.  "

Read the rest here.

Episcopal Relief and Development has released a statement today as well.

Episcopal Relief and Development is actively fighting the spread of malaria, which infects 500 million people a year and kills over 1 million, mostly children and pregnant women living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Inspiration Fund is dedicated to achieving MDG 6-Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases- and is in the process of raising $3 million dollars towards this effort.

Episcopal Relief and Development’s NetsforLife® program is a partnership to prevent malaria in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The partnership is comprised of individual, foundation and corporate sponsors including Standard Chartered Bank, ExxonMobil Foundation, The Starr International Foundation, The White Flowers Foundation and The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. NetsforLife® works in partnership with the Anglican Church and other ecumenical partners in affected communities to distribute long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to the most vulnerable, build awareness about malaria, and train community leaders to teach prevention and treatment methods.

“We know what we have to do,” says StephenDzisi, Technical Director of NetsforLife® .“Our ability to reach vulnerable families living ‘at the end of the road’ is the work of our Church and enables us to contribute to the global effort to eliminate malaria.”

Power and Light

Several of the Lead editors now track various topics of interest on Twitter.com, a microblogging platform that allows people to convey thoughts and converse in groups using short bursts of 140 characters or fewer. One such "tweet" that crossed the wire this week was "When did Earth Day become Earth Week?"

But for many Episcopalians—indeed, many people of faith, every day is Earth Day. The Rev. Sally Bingham founded Interfaith Power and Light (then Episcopal Power and Light) in 1998 as an initiative to allow churches to purchase renewable energy and is part of The Regeneration Project, an "interfaith ministry devoted to deepening the connection between ecology and faith."

The News and Observer, a newspaper based in North Carolina's Triangle region, caught up with Bingham for a Q&A this week:

Q: How are churches becoming more active in environmental issues?

A: Environmental issues were once political issues. They didn't belong in the church. Now it's integral to mainstream religions in ways unimaginable five years ago. ... We're seeing changes in the liturgy to reflect care for creation. That's huge because in the Episcopal Church there's a deep tradition that resists change.

I am seeing clergy take this responsibility seriously enough to actually say that care for creation belongs with love, justice and peace. You hear the term "JPIC," or justice, peace and integrity of creation. It's putting care for creation on parallel with love, justice and peace ... We have a green mosque in Washington, D.C. We have hundreds of Protestant churches with solar panels on the roof. We have two large cathedrals with geothermal systems -- in Boston and in Cleveland, Ohio. The Catholic Cathedral in Los Angeles in solar.

Q: How has Interfaith Power & Light changed?

A: We now have an office in San Francisco and a staff of seven. We coordinate this national campaign. That means we help the state programs get started ... One of the important things we do is make sure the Interfaith Power & Light campaign doesn't get sidetracked. We don't want to be viewed as the Sierra Club at prayer. We're not political. We're not Republicans or Democrats. Our message is rooted in theology. It's different from an environmental organization. We want to be seen as conservative people coming from a theological perspective. We don't love trees more than people.

Q: What is the spiritual message you offer?

A: I see it as part of the commandment to love God and love your neighbor. If you love your neighbor, you don't pollute your neighbor's air. We are called to serve one another. If you see that your behavior is harming your neighbor and your neighborhood, other species, flora and fauna, or the next generation, it's a direct disobedience to the commandment. Jesus said what you do to the least of these you do to me. If vulnerable and poor communities are harmed by our behavior, we're insulting God.

You can read the whole thing here.

Anglican environmental leader closes out NPR series

Last month, NPR rounded out its series on the "past, present and future of global warming," a comprehensive look at climate change co-produced with National Geographic that ran more than 200 stories. The last installment featured an onsite interview with Martin Palmer, an Anglican priest and founder of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation. On the grounds of his carbon-neutral church (it has no heat), he shows the reporter, Christopher Joyce, an ancient yew tree and an old Roman trail while framing his thoughts. Palmer feels that faith--rather than science or politics--is the best place to make an appeal for environmental stewardship.

From the accompanying print write-up, which is not an exact transcript of the radio piece (there's more in the audio):

After church, Palmer laces up his muddy boots and walks an old Roman path to his home. When Romans lived here, and the climate was warmer, they grew grapes along this path. Experts say the climate will become warm like that again. But Palmer says experts usually don't know how to get people to do anything about it.

"The predominant model [of] the environmental movement ... is sin and guilt, topped by a good dollop of end-of-the-world language," he says with some disdain.

The better model, he says, is for people to celebrate nature and their place in it. That's a message that resonates with the United Nations, which is collaborating with the Alliance to organize world faiths around the issue of climate change. U.N. officials say they need people who can speak about climate change straight from, and to, the heart.

Palmer says that's a job he can do — with help from monks, priests, ministers and clerics of all faiths.

"My understanding of my God — and I work with many, many different religious traditions — is that my God is not there to solve the problems," Palmer says. "My God is there to say, 'You are co-creators with me, now... work out what that means.'"

"It is not about, if we pray hard enough to God, he will end climate change. Yes, we should pray to God. We should also get off our backsides, get out there, and do something about it," he says.

The story is here, and you can click through to the audio there as well.

Hang out your laundry to help the planet

With summer on the horizon in the northern hemisphere the Church of England’s Environmental Adviser, David Shreeve, is calling for households to switch off their dryers, and, instead, dry their clothes on good, old-fashioned clothes lines. Reported in Christian Today:

He makes the environment-friendly plea in the latest edition of ‘People and Places’, a podcast series profiling a wide range of people who work in today’s Church of England.

When prompted for practical energy-saving advice that anyone could employ, he replies: "I think my tip would be for everybody to make sure if they don't have any to go out and buy some clothes pegs - because I think more and more we should use the benefits of the environment, and I do think tumble-dryers should be turned off and a lot more clothes put out in the sunshine to dry, and that would save an awful lot of energy."

Church of England website Shrinking the Footprint is here.

Podcasts are here and also available at iTunes.

The IRD goes green. Not

Sarah Posner of the American Prospect has the story:

In a new initiative launched last week, a group of conservative Christian organizations that deny the role of human activity in global warming, call for helping the poor by advocating against environmental regulation. This coalition takes direct aim at the "creation care" movement -- a different coalition of evangelicals who advocate for environmental protection.

Read number 4 on her most recent Fundamentalist.

The environment and the Lambeth Conference

Phyllis Strupp, Chair, Nature and Spirituality Program, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, and Leader, Episcopal Ecological Network writes about the impact of the Lambeth Conference on the environment and what environmental outcomes could emerge from the meeting.

The Nature of Lambeth

Q. What do the Neanderthals, Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Normans, English, and the Anglican Communion have in common?

A. A predilection for Canterbury, England!

Site of the upcoming Lambeth Conference, Canterbury is located in the county of Kent in southeastern England. It is a place of chalk and sand, clay and coal, yew and heath, orchid and bluebell, turtle dove and mallard, dormouse and hedgehog. A land flowing with milk and honey. It is a place of harm, homelessness, starvation and genus-cide for non-human species. A land like any other in the "civilized" world.

Strupp writes: "Thousands will descend there in July for the Lambeth Conference, a time of chats and parties, sharing and discussion, and a tea party with the Queen." She asks: "What Communion is there without the rest of Creation?"

Lambeth comes at a great cost in terms of time, money, spiritual energy, and greenhouse gas emissions. The cost is an easier one to bear for Anglican attendees than it is for the rest of Creation. Yet it is a justifiable cost if something good comes out of Lambeth for the Earth and all the creatures God has breathed into this biosphere.

What could happen at Lambeth to help the Earth?
Reconnect with the beauty and generativity of Creation at Canterbury:
here and here.

Some ideas for consideration at the Lambeth Conference:

Model the change the world needs to see on consumption.

Consume less meat, water, gas, electricity, and human spirit.

Bring a Creation-honoring perspective to the discussions.

Does gender preference matter in the midst of flood and famine?

Begin a Creation Reconciliation Commission to acknowledge the harm done to Creation.

Confess the things done and the things left undone.

Take steps to ensure that the next Lambeth Conference will be greener than this one.

Are we doing all we can to lend a helping hand to the Creation?

What happens at Canterbury does not stay at Canterbury.

May the outcome be something worth celebrating in Heaven and Earth!

The creation waits with eager longing for the children of God to be revealed.
Romans 8:19

Planting gardens in the city

MSNBC has some lovely video of The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows working with members of the congregation she serves in Syracuse to creates garden plots in the city. It's hoped that the plots will provide healthy food this summer for Grace Church's food pantry patrons.

Newsvine reports on the project here and writes, in part:

The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows would not seem like an obvious candidate for the eating local movement. Growing up, she didn’t eat many vegetables and those that were on the table were “always cooked within an inch of their lives.”

“I grew up in an African-American household,” she says. “Celery root was not part of our tradition.”

Her husband also did not come to the idea naturally: a native of the Bahamas, he considered vegetables to be more of a plate decoration than an actual part of the meal.

But Baskerville-Burrows, 41, had always liked to cook, and she started shopping at farmers markets beginning around 1999. A few years later, she started reading books including “Fast Food Nation,” which includes segments about the farm practices that go into mass-produced food. It prompted a closer look at how she could find healthier and tastier food.

“I started really looking at my diet,’” says Baskerville-Burrows, who is an Episcopal priest.

These days, Baskerville-Burrows says she buys about 85 percent of her food from producers in the Syracuse, N.Y., area, where she lives. She also grows tomatoes, herbs and other vegetables at home, and this year she worked with church members to plant a garden on church grounds that they hope will eventually supply a local food pantry with fresh produce.

Tutu calls for tough action on climate change

In a video message for the UK-based World Development Movement (WDM), Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has backed calls for the British government and its citizens to take tough action on climate change according to a report from Ekklesia.

The WDM video says the UK government should stop the growth in air flights and to put in place an 80 per cent CO2 emissions reduction target by 2050.

The climate bill, currently going through parliament, includes only a 60 per target, and the G8 talked of 50 per cent - with a questionable start date.

Archbishop Tutu says: “It is the countries which are the least responsible for causing climate change that are paying the heaviest price. The average UK citizen produces nearly 50 times as much carbon dioxide as the average citizen in the developing world. This is a serious injustice.

Read it all here.

Gathering storm: climate change and humanitarian efforts

IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, June issue, has an in-depth report and analysis of the effect of humanitarian efforts to mitigate the devastation caused to the poorest of the poor by climate change:

Read more »

Churches deal with energy costs in a variety of ways

Updated

As energy costs rise, the church must contend with energy costs. Some congregations are looking at ways to conserve, others are changing the fuel they use, and the General Theological Seminary is heating and cooling the close with geothermal technology.

Chicagotribune.com writes:

When a historic seminary in the heart of Manhattan went searching for a way to cut its energy costs in an environmentally friendly way, it didn't turn to the heavens for sun or wind power but sought salvation in an unlikely direction for a religious institution. It looked underground.

Tapping the energy stored in the Earth, the General Theological Seminary, the oldest Episcopal seminary in America, is in the midst of a multiyear effort to construct the largest geothermal project on the East Coast. When completed, 20 wells reaching depths of at least 1,500 feet will supply water to heat and cool the seminary's 275,000 square feet of space.

The institution—built on land donated by Clement Clark Moore, who wrote "The Night Before Christmas"—is hardly alone in seeing the potential for geothermal power. From large power plants in the West that produce electricity to a hospital in the Chicago suburb of Elgin to homeowners looking to save money on their utility bills, geothermal power is experiencing steady but largely unnoticed growth in America.


The Boston Herald ran a story outlining the ways in which congregations of several traditions are dealing with the high cost of fuel in New England where the main source of heating energy is heating oil. The description of the choices faces St. Stephen's Church in Lynn, MA, shows that energy costs are not just the church budget issues but the affect congregation's work in the community.

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Lynn: During the first six months of the year, the church spent $32,996 of its $47,250 fuel budget on heating oil, despite creating heating zones and purchasing a high-efficiency boiler several years ago, church officials said. The church, which rents to several community organizations and provides space to 12-step groups, is considering a plan to move all meetings into a parish house that is easier to heat, said the Rev. Jane Gould. “Where do community groups go to have meetings if church space can no longer be free? We used to be able to say, ‘Sure you can use our space.’ Now we really have to think about it,” she said. Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light has helped improve its energy efficiency.

Read: chicagotribune.com: Geothermal power tapping its potential

And: Boston Herald: Churches eye new solutions

HT to EpiScope which highlights two other stories:

Worcester Telegram, MA
Churches looking for ways to ease heating Read it

Salisbury Post - Salisbury, NC
Catawba's environmental stewardship conference makes impact on many Read it

How many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb?

The Diocese of Ohio has challenged all congregations and Episcopalians to take a small action for the earth's environment. They will exchange incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents according to Phina Borgeson reporting for Episcopal Life Online:

Read more »

Gearing up for Gustav

As Gustav looms large in the Gulf of Mexico, churches that remember all too well the marauding of Katrina are preparing to be at the front lines, drawing from lessons learned in the storm of 2005. The NBC affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi, interviewed the Very Rev. Edward O'Connor about his experiences with Katrina and how he's applying the knowledge he gained to preparations for the current storm:

Edward O'Connor remembers well the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. Before becoming Dean of St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Jackson, he was the rector of a church in Gulfport that was destroyed by Katrina.

"So many powerful moments post-Katrina on the gulf coast," said O'Connor. "From worshipping the Sunday after the storm on a concrete slab that used to be our church home to gathering with all manner of people who were devastated by the destruction."

Now, St. Andrew's, like many other churches in the Jackson metro area, is using past experience to prepare for Gustav.

"Everyone recognizes that faith groups were perhaps the backbone of recovery, both on the coast and in Jackson," said O'Connor. "After Katrina, a lot of different people ran off in a lot of different directions, so the goal this time around and with each coming disaster is to be that much more organized."

Story here.

A message from Bishop Jenkins in Louisiana includes the following:

Hurricane Gustav continues to look as though it will make its way into the Gulf this weekend. Given this forecast, we have a responsibility to protect those entrusted to our care. I call on the leaders of this diocese, both lay and ordained, to prepare for a potential landfall along the Louisiana coast line.

I have asked my staff to implement our emergency readiness plan. This plan is designed both to protect our staff and to insure our ability to provide ministry resources that will be needed in case Gustav does strike us.

Hat Tip to the ever-watchful The Blogspotting Anglican Episcopalian for that one.

Lastly (for now), in an eerily timely piece, the Episcopal News Service has covered the advocacy group that went to Denver for the National Democratic Convention to speak out for a concerted effort to rebuild the Gulf region, here.

Solar panels may be too hot a commodity

Who knew that there was a black market for decreasing your carbon footprint? A recent crime wave in the San Francisco Bay area involved a string of thefts of solar panels. A sophisticated thief or thieves—the crime takes technical skills to execute—has been removing solar panels from various facilities. A suspect is thought to have been selling them on e-Bay, according to InsideBayDaily.com.

One of the buildings that was hit, more than once, was an Episcopal church, despite attempts to deter the thieves:

Other thefts include St. Anselm's Episcopal Church in Lafayette, which was hit twice in the spring. Doug Merrill, a parishioner in charge of the project, said six of their 42 panels were taken at the end of April.

Some church members stayed at the church overnight, and they also left on flood lights. But the thieves were undeterred and returned in May to steal seven more panels.

"They have to go through some trouble," Merrill said of the thieves. He said the church's electrical bill has dropped from between $3,500 and $4,000 a year to about $300, but church officials never expected someone to steal them. "But it turns out this is a common problem."

The story is here.

Related: The high value of recycled metal has led to an epidemic of thefts of copper roofs and lead downspouts from churches in England.

Christian vegans and the humane society

Religion writer for the Boston Globe, Michael Paulson, reports on his vegan lunch with the Humane Society of the United States.

I had no idea what exactly the religion angle was here, but it turns out that the animal welfare cause started as a Christian movement, that the Humane Society has an employee whose title is "director of the animals and religion program,'' and that the society is now embarked on an "All Creatures Great and Small" campaign aimed at religious congregations and schools. The campaign argues that the treatment of animals at factory farms is inconsistent with Christianity and many other faiths.
.....
The Humane Society officials said they are not asking everyone to give up meat and eggs. Instead, they are urging people to cut back on animal products and to try to purchase the meat and eggs they do consume from local farmers, whose practices are more humane than those of the factory farms that supply most supermarkets, or to look for products like cage-free or free-range eggs.

But if you're wondering what a caterer might prepare when trying to introduce veganism to more than 100 non-vegetarians, here's how Veg Advantage answered the question:
~ Amuse of Grilled Sweet Corn and Fire Roasted Chiles with Aged Sherry and Basil over Purple Potato Crisps
~ Shaved fennel and Blood Orange Salad with Warm Squash Blossoms, Toasted Almonds and Balsamic-Port Glaze
~ Sesame Seared Gardein 'Chicken' Paillard over Forbidden Black Rice with Dandelion Greens, Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms and Carrot-Ginger Sauce
~ Vegan Chocolate Mousse Bombe with Raspberry Coulis


Read it here.

Michael Paulson covers religion for The Boston Globe. He shared in the Pulitzer Prize in 2003, won the Mike Berger Award in 2008, and is a four-time winner of the Wilbur Award for religion reporting.

Riding a spiritual wave

Here's a new take on observing the Feast of St. Francis, in case you'd rather spend it at the beach. With 6- to 10-foot waves crashing down behind them, two Catholic priests led some 400 interfaith worshipers in a "Blessing of the Waves" at Huntington Beach.

[Father Christian Mondor] of Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church in Huntington Beach, was 10 years old and growing up in Westwood when he took up body surfing. More than seven decades later -- he is now 83 -- he says he is still drawn to the sea.

"You're out there on the water, between waves, and you feel the swell under you and you look up and see palm trees and mountains in the distance," Mondor said. "You're so close to nature. It's so quiet out there."

[Father Matt] Munoz, 43, of St. Irenaeus Catholic Church in Cypress, made his way through the crowd. With his long auburn hair and long beige poncho, the priest said jokingly, "I'm not Jesus. I need a surfboard to walk on water."

Rick Ischinger, a longtime surfer, blew on a conch shell, calling the gathering to order.

Then, one by one, the representatives of different faiths stood to give a brief prayer.

"Some people pray by the oceans, others by the mountains," said Carol Weinfeld of Temple Beth David in Westminster. "Some people pray in forests and others by a calm cool lake.

"We hope," she said, "that those voices will join together to thank God."

Fawad Yacoob of the Islamic Society of Orange County recited a verse from the Koran. The crowd was quiet as he sang the prayer.

"In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful," he said, "it is he who subjected the sea to you, that you may eat of its fresh fish, and take forth from it ornaments to wear."

Story here, and don't miss the photo essay, which begins here.

Going greener in Vermont

Jay Vos of the blog Blazing Indiscretions was a delegate to the Diocese of Vermont's recent convention. He makes a point about resolutions that each of us should bear in mind:

I’ve always questioned the purpose of resolutions at these conventions. This was my first time as a delegate from my parish, but I’ve also been a delegate at conventions in another diocese. Mostly I find resolutions are just puffed up words that make the promoters and delegates feel good and think they’ve done something noteworthy. Usually these pithy expressions get hidden away in the diocesan journal and forgotten forever.

Conventions are forever considering resolutions that the neither the convention nor the people in attendance have the power to advance, enforce, etc.

That said, in his address to the convention Bishop Tom Ely took some legitimate steps toward transforming sentiment into action:

First, I will reestablish our Diocesan Committee on the Environment and charge it with keeping this subject before us, both in terms of education and action. The Reverend Anita Schell-Lambert, Rector of Saint Peter’s, Bennington and convener of the Program Committee for this Convention, will serve as chair of this committee. I will seek concurrence from the Diocesan Council in December, and if Council shares my concern I will appoint additional members to serve on this committee. You are welcome to make your interest known to Anita or to me.

Secondly, in addition to this Committee and in cooperation with its work, I will convene a Task Force to study and plan for what it will take to bring renewable energy projects to Rock Point and to make Rock Point - by the year 2015 - a model of energy conservation and efficiency in Vermont and beyond. Chuck Courcy, our Property Manager, is already in conversation about this with others, including the students at Rock Point School. I will bring this agenda to the Rock Point Board in December for discussion and action. I have every reason to believe that there are many people with expertise in this area, who value and cherish Rock Point as we do, and who are ready to assist us in this effort.

And speaking of going green, Trinity Episcopal Church in Redlands, Calif., is leading the way, according to the San Bernadino County edition of the Press-Enterprise.

The Abbot on "Temperance"

Christopher Jamison, the Abbot of Worth, in the Inaugural "Noah Lecture" has spoken about ways that people of faith might act to lead society out of the present financial and global climate crises. He points the finger of blame at our willingness to start believing that "greed is good" and says that we need to return to the basics of moral theology.

From a report in the Church Times today:

"Fr Jamison argued for a revival of the cardinal virtues: fortitude, justice, temperance, and prudence. ‘We need rules and laws aimed at reducing climate change, but they will not be enough.’

[...]He argued that the four virtues could be applied to the practicalities of energy policy and consumer choice. Thus, for example, the question needed to be asked: ‘Are human beings capable of running a virtuous nuclear power industry?’

The Abbot was critical of the way in which greed had infiltrated people’s mental image of their life and its needs. The commercial version of Christmas was a good example. ‘So Nike and the other great corporations now inhabit our imagination, the place where greed is generated. Once planted there, they can make us endlessly greedy. And that is what they are doing.’"

Read the short article here.

The full text of the Abbot's lecture is posted here.

It's not easy being green

General Theological Seminary in New York has successfully installed seven geothermal wells, with 15 more slated for installation. These wells will replace the fuel oil heating system and reduce the seminary's carbon footprint significantly, as we noted last year. But the red tape surrounding the green project has been a nightmare. Despite public support and a supportive city administration, New York's administrative bureaucracy has exhibited the peculiar lethargy that plagues many public organizations and has thrown up countless stumbling blocks to the project.

Among the 10 different city agencies involved were the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Environmental Conservation. Seminary executive vice president Maureen Burnley, struggling to flatten the bureaucratic stovepipes, notes that without steady prodding from the seminary and a policy advisor in Mayor Bloomberg's office, nothing would have happened. From the New York Times:

The aspirations of the mayor and his planners on paper, however, cannot come to life without the consent of the city’s bureaucracy. “Those folks in the agencies don’t seem to feel that they answer to the executive branch,” Ms. Burnley said.

At one point, the seminary waited three months for the city Department of Transportation’s permission to drill into the sidewalk, Ms. Burnley said. “The conversation went like this: ‘What is the status?’ ‘It has no status.’ ‘Do you need more information?’ ‘No, we have what we need.’ ‘Then how can we get it moving?’ ‘You can’t get it moving.’

“We were in absolute purgatory,” she said. “What was going on was an internal debate between the engineers and what are the real world requirements, and the lawyers with the legal requirements.”

If geothermal is to become a practical application, Ms. Burnley added, “someone has to lock all these engineers in one room, lock those lawyers in another room, and try to make this affordable and doable.”

The delays have contributed to the project going significantly over its original planned cost and consumed four years. More from here.

Self-mortification for your environmental guilt trip

The New York Times Magazine is filled with ideas from 2008. One is a device for doing carbon penance:

Annina Rüst, a Swiss-born artist-inventor, wanted to help relieve these anxieties by giving people a tangible reminder of their own energy use, as well as an outlet for the feelings of complicity, shame and powerlessness that surround the question of global warming.

Read more »

A president who does not always fit the stereotype

Jay P. Lefkowitz, Bush’s deputy domestic policy adviser when the global AIDS initiative was being developed, gives an insider's account of the president's interest in HIV/AID policy. One extract:

The announcement came the next month in the President’s 2003 State of the Union address. Midway through his remarks, he turned to the issue of AIDS, pointing out that nearly 30 million people in Africa were infected, including three million children under the age of fifteen. Yet across the entire continent, observed Bush, only 50,000 AIDS victims were receiving medication. Calling his initiative a “work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa,” he declared his intention to commit to it a full $15 billion over the next five years. This time, the reaction from AIDS activists was a resounding chorus of approval.

No sooner had the dust settled on the State of the Union speech than the initiative faced its first controversy. Although the heart of the plan lay in the disbursement of funds for prevention, treatment, and care, the President had made clear that he wanted to follow the Ugandan model of counseling. This raised the touchy issue of condom distribution (the C in the ABC).

Read it all here.

Yesterday Bush pulled another surprise, using his executive powers to create three huge environmental preserves in the Pacific.

100,000 gathered in Brazil to save the world

Religion Dispatches reports:

Liberation theology is alive and well in Belem, Brazil. Where? Did you say Davos, Switzerland, where 2,500 economic movers and shakers recently concluded their annual meeting of World Economic Forum at a cost of a quarter million dollars apiece? (Pricey vacation in these troubled times.) No, I said Belem, Brazil, where the World Social Forum, the antidote to Davos, gathered over 100,000 social activists and academics for 1,500 workshops and presentations in late January.

Get out your map: Belem is in the north of Brazil, in the state of Para, part of the Amazon region which takes up space four times the size of Germany, with Greece tossed in for good measure. More than two thousand indigenous people came for the Forum, some travelling a week on the Amazon.

Apparently, CNN does not do mosquito nets or endangered rainforests, preferring the picturesque ski runs of Davos for winter holidays. So, news on this remarkable gathering was scarce.


Read it all here

More on The World Forum on Theology and LIberation.

Comments from the Anglican Church in Brazil on the Forum here. The Secretary General of the Province of Brazil asks why there is no presence from the Anglican Communion and writes:

Some people asks about why our church is institutionally involved and so continuously with this movement, which still arouses suspicion in the mass media. Here, some arguments to justify the relevance of such commitment.

1. It is a movement that appears to be the opposite side to the World Economic Forum, who includes the most powerful people in the world and that over time has maintained a model socially unjust and responsible for exclusions of billions of people around the world.

2. It is a movement that has no religious characterization and / or ideological control of their actions.

3. It is a movement of convergence around the deep wish for another world possible.


Read it all here.

Chaplains create sustainable Christian house

The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows and the Rev. Gail Riina were discussing their ideas for different types of living communities, both religious and environmentally friendly, when they realized the two could go hand in hand.
The Syracuse Daily Orange carries the story.

This fall, the house will be home to four SU students, who will focus on living eco-friendly lives, while sharing their faith with housemates...

While in the house, residents will engage in several environmental and religious activities, including growing and harvesting their own individual plots of land, buying produce from local farmers markets, participating in group prayer sessions and committing to community service projects, Baskerville-Burrows said.

"It's not easy to make commitments to sustainability," Riina said, "So we need a community."

The four-bedroom house, owned by Grace Episcopal Church for more than 50 years, was vacated after Baskerville-Burrows, the Episcopal chaplain at SU and Grace Episcopal Church, moved to another part of Syracuse. The church was seeking another ministry-oriented purpose for the house when Baskerville-Burrows and Riina held their lunch meeting.


Read more here.

Note to Cafe´readers:

Our fearless editor in chief Jim Naughton says, "I got my first paying newspaper job there (work study on the copy desk) and was editor in chief my soph/jr year."

Thanks Syracuse Daily Orange!

A newer, greener convent

The Community of the Holy Spirit has designed a newer, smaller convent that will be both simpler to maintain and significantly reduce their carbon footprint. This comes after a decade of increasing environmental awareness to their ministries of teaching and spiritual direction.

The New York Times writes:

In setting out to construct an environmentally advanced building to replace the trio of connected brownstones that they now call home, the Episcopal sisters of the Community of the Holy Spirit were taking a giant step in their decade-long journey to weave ecological concerns into their daily ministry. While they have long tried to reduce their carbon footprint at 113th Street, the new convent, for which construction will begin in March, will help them be green from the ground up....

The site of the new building, on Convent Avenue at 150th Street, is currently an empty lot. But if all goes as planned, then by the spring of 2010, the eight nuns of the Community of the Holy Spirit, most of whom are in their 50s and 60s, will be living in a home that reflects the environmental ethos that has become a central tenet of their lives....

About 10 years ago, the sisters began to discuss a mission to care for the environment. They may embrace environmental concerns more tightly than do many other religious orders, but it is their religion, they say, that was their bridge to a green life.

Read the whole story here.

The Archbishop of Canterbury's own shortcomings on climate change

As we reported earlier, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has given a speech on climate change. The headline at The Church Times' blog reads: "Archbishop of Canterbury: Religious communities "failing profoundly" in climate change response."

Read more »

Fair trade Palm Sunday

Today, as Christian churches celebrate Palm Sunday, many are using fair trade palms:

Read more »

Episcopal nuns lead the way in going green

The Episcopal Sisters of the Community of the Holy Spirit on the upper West Side of New York are transforming their convent into one of the most eco-friendly buildings in New York City.

Read more »

Changing environmental attitudes and actions

How can your church help make a long term difference to the environment and in the short run help people to simplify their lives?

Read more »

Concern for the planet: ABC speaks

From the Church of England:

The Archbishop of Canterbury shares concerns for our planet in the new Ready Steady Slow videocast - encouraging ... sign up in advance, by email, to the Church of England's environmentally-themed online Advent calendar for 2009, containing daily green challenges and thoughts.

Dr Williams encourages a "response to God's hope for us", and teaches that "God creates us so we may be part of His creation - not something separate, not some alien power manipulating it to our own ends, but part of a creation working together harmoniously.

Read more »

The human price of gold in Tanzania

The African Monitor has issued a Press Release on the abuse and pollution by companies mining gold in Tanzania. Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of South Africa received the report from the reporting team.

Read more »

350 bells for the environment

On October 25, members of St. Paul's Memorial Church, Charlotteville, VA will ring their church bell 350 times as part of an international campaign called 350.org to urgently call our community to awareness and action in addressing the global climate change crisis.

Read more »

Religious leaders offering input to G-20

Religious leaders told their input is valued
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Standing in the lobby of a Downtown hotel, a key adviser to the U.S. delegation to the G-20 Summit promised an array of religious leaders that he would carry their concern for the poor into the economic conclave.

Read more »

Resources for St. Francis Day

Our friend Andrew Linzey reminds us that there are excellent resources regarding the theological significance of animals and how we treat them.

And we remind you that Andrew's book, Why Animal Suffering Matters, is one of them.

Environmental Network expresses hope on climate change

In preparation for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference Of Parties (COP) Meetings to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December, the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) has issued a statement to Anglicans Worldwide, to COP Delegates, Faith Community Representatives, Observer Organizations, and Friends of Creation.

Read more »

Can 7,000 bloggers have an effect on climate change?

Beginning in 2007, "Blog Action Day" encouraged bloggers to blog on one day (October 15th) about one global issue, in 2007 it was the Environment, last year, "Blog Action Day-'08" was focused on the End of Poverty, and this year the focus is Climate Change. Check out the "Blog Action Day" website, and then check out 7,000+ bloggers all blogging for an end to Climate Change.

Read more »

Moral in tooth and claw

Jessica Pierce and Marc Bekoff in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Animals are "in." This might well be called the decade of the animal. Research on animal behavior has never been more vibrant and more revealing of the amazing cognitive, emotional, and moral capacities of a broad range of animals.

Read more »

Orthodox Patriarch is green

Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew meets with President Obama and other officials to advocate for greater protections for the environment in order to combat climate change.

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew meets Obama on U.S. visit
From Reuters' FaithWorld blog

Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the “green patriarch” who leads 300 million Orthodox Christians, spoke with President Barack Obama on Tuesday about the fight against climate change.

“We view with alarm the dangerous consequences of disregard for the survival of God’s creation,” His All Holiness told a gathering at Georgetown University after his White House meeting.

Ring out a warning

The World Council of Churches, is asking churches around the world to ring bells as a warning to those gathered in Copenhagen for summit on climate change.

Read more »

IPL's founder speaks on environment at Windsor Castle

Interfaith Power and Light's founder and president, the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham attended a summit on the environment at Windsor Castle along with IPL's executive director Susan Stephenson and met HRH Prince Phillip and the UN Secretary-General. Bingham, an Episcopal priest, emphasized the importance of the role of religious leaders in the growing emphasis on environmental stewardship. Kudos!

Read more »

St. Alban's, DC, shrinks its carbon footprint

The Rev. Scott Benhase, rector of St. Alban's, DC, and bishop-elect of the Diocese of Georgia, wrote a column for The Washington Post recently about the church's newly-installed solar panels:

Read more »

Tick tick tick: Organizing for climate change in Africa

Kofi Annand, Desmond Tutu and other African leaders are organizing a campaign to raise awareness in Africa about climate change and be sure that the voices of Africa and the poor around the world are heard in the upcoming climate conference in Copenhagen.

Read more »

Indoor storm in Copenhagen?

Ekklesia's blogger, Pascale Palmer, reports that storms are brewing within the conference center in Copenhagen:

Read more »

Religion and Copenhagen

Mark Dowd of Operation Noah writing in the Washington Post discusses "What religion has to say at Copenhagen." Sr. Joan Chittister, Bishop Tutu and others are attending and adding their voices:

Read more »

Is Genesis to blame?

Is the Bible to blame for an over-heated, over-crowded world whose fate hangs in the balance in Copenhagen?

Read more »

Climate Change: are you Alarmed, Concerned, Doubtful or Dismissive

Speaking of Faith blog discusses the Yale Project on Climate Change which reports six categories of U.S residents response to climate change. A series of slides shows the aspects of this study. One shows that those who claim to be born again or evangelical are much less concerned about about climate change, falling into the Dismissive, Doubtful and Disengaged categories by over 50%:

Read more »

Religion and climate change

Dominique Browning blogging for the The Environmental Defense Fund writes about Faith and Climate Change:

Read more »

Green Canon in SF

Just when you thought that the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church spent all our time arguing about sexuality and biblical interpretation, the Wall Street Journal (of all places!) reminds us that we also care about mission, and mission to care for the environment.

Read more »

The news of the day and our Lenten obligation

The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Chile over the weekend killed more than 700 persons and displaced a few million more. At this point - remembering that these numbers are expected to increase but we know not by how much - the news is relatively sparse, so far-reaching conclusions aren't easily deduced.

Read more »

Water week celebrated

March 22-26 is World Water Week. March 22 was World Water Day. Organizations devoted to providing clean water are asking people to add the event to their Facebook and Twitter pages for the week to raise awareness of the need for clean water for health, life and economic reasons.
From The Huffington Post

Read more »

Tonight is "Earth Hour" so turn off a light or two

Tonight at 8:30 PM local time, the World Wildlife Fund is asking people around the world to observe Earth Hour. If you're interested in participating, there's a social media component to the observance this year. You can find the details at the sight linked above.

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Making the argument for Earth Day in spiritual terms

Bishop Stephen T. Lane of Maine argues in the Bangor Daily News that climate change is the most important moral issue of our time:

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VTS environmental lecture online tonight

The Virginia Theological Seminary's Kreitler Environmental Lecture will be live online tonight, on Earth Day (night?), check it out:

From The Dean and President
From Dean Ian Markham's "Dean's Commentary" blog

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Drawing a (human) line for climate change awareness

In Stamford, Connecticut, residents concerned about climate change created a "Human tide line" and "walked along the perimeters of what city experts projected the tides would look like if the sea level around the park rose by 1 meter, or 3.28 feet" where the ocean's tide may rise if we don't lower our carbon emissions:

Read more »

Tennessee flood toll rising

The Tennessean reports that St. George's Episcopal Church was damaged and some parishioners may have died in the flooding around Nashville:

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Episcopal school models stewardship of creation

Episcopal School in Los Angeles teaches community service and stewardship of creation through organic gardening:

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Gulf coast congregations prepare for oil spill cleanup

The growing Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by what appears to have been a methane bubble explosion is expected to being to make landfall this weekend. Reports from people living on the coast is that the air is heavy with the smell of burning oil.

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A community garden, "where heaven and earth meet"

A Chicago-area church has created a community garden and farmstand on the church's five-acre site:

'Where heaven and earth meet'
From The Lake Country News-Sun

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The PB on interconnectedness & the oil spill

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori writes about our interconnectedness and its relation to the oil spill in the Gulf:

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WPost asks: Do animals have rights?

On Faith blog at the Washington Post asks the question: "Do animals have rights?" What say you, dear Episcopal Café readers? What is the human responsibility for animals? What rights to animals have? What are the roots of our tradition that inform this area of thought and ethical practice?

Do animals have rights?

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Conscience over big coal: Wendell Berry says no to his alma mater

Has the work of the university, over the last generation, increased or decreased literacy and knowledge of the classics? Has it increased or decreased the general understanding of the sciences? Has it increased or decreased pollution and soil erosion? Has it increased or decreased the ability and the willingness of public servants to tell the truth? Such questions are not, of course, precisely answerable.

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Religious investors urge action on oil spills

Ekklesia reports that religious investors have joined a coalition urging action on oil spills, not just the one in the Gulf but the ongoing disasters in the Niger Delta and elsewhere.

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Gulf oil spill ethics

Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly interviews ethicist Paul Wolpe on the moral aspects of oil spill.

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Faith and Nature curriculum

Summer is the time of year when Christian Education leaders and clergy start planning workshops, classes and curriculum for the coming Church year. If you're looking for a resource that will guide discussions about greening our lives and living more gently on the earth from within a life of faith, you might want to check out this new curriculum published this summer by Church Publishing:

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Meaning afresh as Louisiana boats are ritually blessed

It is perhaps only more evidence for why we need ritual in our lives: that act of doing something one has done before, but, even though it's the same thing, being able to see it as one never has before.

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Church reduces carbon footprint

Atlanta church reduces its carbon footprint by a third over just four years. Kudos!

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Environmental saints

Mallory McDuff writes about saints who respond through faith to environmental degradation here on earth, rather than wait for heaven.

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Unpaving a parking lot

Des Moines Episcopal Church transforming a parking lot into a green space.

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British bishop bemoans US paralysis on climate change

Updated:: Climate justice is focus of four-day Episcopal/Anglican gathering in Dominican Republic.

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Finding the spiritual core of environmentalism

Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 has a new book called Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World, in which she strives to refocus the environmental movement upon its core spiritual values.

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Earth gets a small Christmas present

UPDATED
Despite those who deny there is a climate change issue, countries and religious groups are moving forward again to address the impact of human life on the planet. The UN Climate Change Conference took some baby steps towards addressing the issue. Anglican/Episcopal leaders met during the UN Climate Change Conference to address climate justice. And Rep. John Shimkus(R-IL) who believes the Bible says God will take care of the climate is being replaced as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee:

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'Being' in the wild

American Public Media's 'Being' goes into the uncharted with wilderness chaplain and author Kate Braestrup:

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Planting trees in NO to honor Katrina worker

In memory of Katrina aid worker, friends and family of Matt Sloan are planting trees in New Orleans:

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Interfaith group stands up to protect the desert.

Members of the newly formed interfaith group in California called Desert Stewardship Project have taken on a mission to protect the most fragile ecosystem in their state.

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Flooding in Australia

Pray for safety of those in the path of the flooding in Australia. The Courier Mail reports:

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Helping Brazilian Anglicans in the wake of devastating floods

Our friends in the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil write with word of how you can help them recover from recent devastating flooding:

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Blue peace sought in Middle East

While many countries in North African and the Middle East are facing political uprisings, hopefully the looming water crisis will bring countries together to solve the problems related to water shortages. Ekklesia reports on the need for a "blue peace" to solve Middle East water crisis:

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Earth Hour 2011

March 26 at 8:30 p.m. local time, celebrate Earth Hour by switching off your lights. Lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour.

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Sparking conservation in Wyoming

Wyoming Episcopal Priest, the Rev. Warren Murphy, has helped to jump-start the conservation movement:

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Climate Change is Moral Imperative for All

The Most Revd Dr Thabo C Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of South Africa, has written a pastoral letter on climate change saying that it must be regarded as a moral imperative for all and hopes that others at World Economic Forum, now meeting in Africa, will listen.

ACNS reports:

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Church grounds certified as wildlife habitat

According to The Hilton Democrat and Chronicle St. George's Episcopal Church in Hilton, NY has developed a wildlife sanctuary on its grounds.

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Beating back those big church utility bills with smart choices

A mention of St. Columba's in Washington, D.C., is worth repeating from today's New York Times. Mireya Navarro reports on how interfaith initiatives and cooperatives like the energy-purchasing group on St. Columba's Environment Committee have helped churches save big money over time and put those dollars back into mission rather than simply use it to pay utility bills.

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Green wave keeps on rolling

Anyone who keeps a Google alert for the words "Episcopal Church" knows that more and more congregations are affirming the environmental gospel of the Rev. Sally Bingham and Interfaith Power and Light. The most recent converts come from Cobb County, Georgia.

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Carbon emission reduction a moral duty

An Australian Anglican group has released a paper that describes the reduction of carbon emissions as a moral duty.

The Environment Working Group of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia described their Discussion Paper in a news release:

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Irene leaves trail of destruction and relief efforts

Matthew Davies and Mary Frances Schjonberg writing for Episcopal News Service report on the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the damage and the work of the church sheltering and helping.

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Pray for Texas rain?

The Dallas Morning News "Texas Faith Blog" wonders: "Should we pray for rain?"

William McKenzine writes:

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Episcopal camp begins reforestation program

Procter Center, the camp and conference center of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, is starting a reforestation program.

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Plea from South Pacific: do something about climate change

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.

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Tutu, Benedict XVI among those urging action on climate change

Religious leaders are playing a central role in the potentially pivotal UN-organized global climate conference that gets underway today in Durban, South Africa. At stake is whether industrial nations will agree on how to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

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Ohio bishops write to governor & legislature about fracking

The Episcopal Dioceses of Ohio and Southern Ohio sent a letter today to Ohio Governor John Kasich and state legislators regarding resolutions passed at both dioceses annual conventions addressing development of hydraulic fracturing in the State of Ohio.

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Intersection of poverty and the environment

The Episcopal Church will sponsor a forum on poverty and the environment in Salt Lake City, UT, April 21. The forum will be webcast from the cathedral in Salt Lake City.

On April 21, the Episcopal Church will sponsor a forum on a critical topic: The Intersection of Poverty and the Environment. Originating from St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Salt Lake City, UT, the two-hour ecumenical forum will be live webcast beginning at 10 am Mountain (9 am Pacific, 11 Central, noon Eastern).

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Cyclone ravaged Madagascar appeals for help

UPDATED

The Anglican Communion News Service has issued a plea from Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Province of the Indian Ocean for assistance in relief and re-development:

Thirty-one people have been killed and 250,000 left homeless after Cyclone Giovanna devastated Madagascar.

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Earth Day: People of faith called to be activists

Mary Frances Schjonberg writing for Episcopal News Service reports:

Participants in the Episcopal Church’s “The Intersection of Poverty and the Environment” program April 21 agreed that people of faith can and should play an important role in organizing communities to be both good neighbors and stewards of creation.

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The New Urbanism and the church

On this morning after Earth Day, we offer this excellent essay on the New Urbanism from Episcopal News Service, by the Rev. Jason Fout, assistant professor of Anglican theology at Bexley Hall Seminary.

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Baptist prof: good guys losing fight over climate change

Among the more intriguing developments on the religious and political landscape in the past five or six years is the increasing concern for our deteriorating environment among evangelical Christians, especially young evangelical Christians. The Rev. Dr. David Gushee, director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University, charts his own involvement in this movement in a thoughtful essay for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard University Medical Center.

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Earth still moves towards "tipping point"

Richard Black on the BBC writes on humanity's unsustainable path:

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The Episcopal Church Welcomes You-- if you can find the actual door

At my church, visitors cannot figure out where our front door is. The place, a traditional cathedral structure, is a fortress. Beautiful? Yes. Cold and unwelcoming? Probably, at least for first-time visitors.

So I read with interest a recent commentary by Carin Ruff about Episcopal worship space and access. She writes about two churches, starting with Saint Mark's Church on Capitol Hill:

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Standing with the Kivalina at GC77

The Rev. P. Joshua Griffin writing at Episcopal News Service (ENS) urges attention to a resolution coming before General Convention:
.. It’s ... obvious that climate change is not so much about future generations as it is about our most marginalized brothers and sisters, right here, right now.

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Fracking or quaking the earth?

The Rev. John Burkhart questions our need for fracking at the Times Tribune of Corbin, KY:

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Arctic's sea ice shrinks to new record lows

MSNBC article by Miguel Llanos:

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Slaughtering Bill and Lou and the ethics of meat

The ethics of meat and the fate of two oxen intertwine at Green Mountain College in Vermont. From the Huffington Post:

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Haiti and Hurricane Sandy

While the eastern U.S. awaits the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, Haitian have suffered yet another blow to their country from this storm. Kesner Ajax writes (received by email):

Dear brothers and sisters,

389501_4307000067874_322008931_n.jpgI am writing you to let you know of the situation in Haiti following Hurricane Sandy.

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Aftermath of Sandy

Tell us your stories of how you are coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Here is one photo* that tells the story of New York City. (credit David Rhodes:

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Climate change topic at Anglican Consultative Council #15

The Anglican Consultative Council, meeting in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, heard from many about climate change according to Anglican Communion News Service:

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Wendell Berry given Green Cross award

Episcopal News Service reports that the Bishop of California, Marc Andrus has given the inaugural Green Cross award to Wendell Berry:

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Climate science skeptics for Jesus

In a column in the Guardian, Katherine Steward explores the reasoning that leads so many on the Religious Right to deny that human activity plays a role in global warming. She writes:

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Faith in values: nearing the tipping point on climate change?

Sally Steenland, Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, asks if we are nearing the tipping point on climate change.

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Most Americans now believe climate change is real

Ekklesia reports on a Public Religion Research Institute Survey conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service:

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The environmental impact of your death

You may want to be remembered after you die but Seven Ponds raises the question of just what sort of impact you want to make:

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A Green Hero

Rolling Stone highlights the Rev. Sally Bingham as a "New Green Hero" and part of what they area calling "The Fossil Fuel Resistance."

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On Earth Day: view climate change through a moral lens

The Rev. Sally Bingham of Interfaith Power and Light is among those quoted in the Salt Lake City Tribune's story about viewing climate change as a moral issue. Judy Fahys writes:

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PB: The cosmic act of salvation is about all creation

Preaching on the eve of Earth Day on the readings about Christ the shepherd, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori focused her sermon at Washington National Cathedral on "holy shepherding."

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PB, other bishops join "climate revival" event in Boston

Climate Revival 2013, organized by New England Regional Environmental Ministries on Saturday featured a sermon by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and became a Twitter event thanks to the efforts of Bishops Nicholas Knisely of Rhode Island and Thomas Ely of Vermont, the Rev. Laura Everett, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches and Eric Anderson of the United Church of Christ. You can look back at what they had to say at the hashtag #climaterevival.

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Abundant hope can overcome climate despair

The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) committed to “leading a conversion of epic scale, a metanoia, or communal spiritual movement away from sin and despair toward the renewal and healing of all creation.”

The statement was announced during t the opening session of a two-day gathering was sponsored by the Episcopal Church and the Church of Sweden.

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Anglican network offers a way to talk about fracking

The Rev. Dr. Jeff Golliher, offers a way to engage with local stakeholders about hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," through respectful dialogue. He brings a Christian faith-based perspective to a technical and scientific conversation.

Golliher is a priest in the Diocese of New York, Program Director for the Environment and Sustainable Communities, Anglican United Nations Office, New York, NY and an adviser to the Anglican Communion Environmental Network.

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End times theology and climate apathy

Robin Globus Veldman for Religion Dispatches asks "Does End Time Belief Really Cause Climate Change Apathy?" and wonders if perhaps those claims are not based in good research of evangelical end-times believers:

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Where is the church on climate change?

Marilyn Sewell, a Unitarian minister, is troubled that churches have not taken up arms in the battle against climate change. Writing at Huffington Post, she says:

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Episcopalians near Idaho fires taking precautions

Mary Frances Schjonberg in Episcopal News Service:

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Greenhouse theology from Zimbabwe

The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has introduced a new course on “greenhouse theology” to empower priests with knowledge about creation, the environment and its preservation. From the Anglican Communion News Service:

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After super typhoon, ERD works with partners in Philippines

Episcopal Relief and Development is in touch with its partners in the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Here is the most recent update:

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Icelandic Elves block road project

The Guardian in the UK reports that an extensive road project has been shelved due to an environmental group's concerns about elves. The matter will now be decided by the Supreme Court.

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Ellen Davis' agrarian reading of The Bible

Ellen Davis, an Episcopal theologian at Duke Divinity School, is among the leaders of a group of scholars developing a Biblically based understanding of what it means to care for God's creation. Religion News Service has taken note:

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The religious significance of an eco-friendly funeral

John Johnson is planning for a green burial when the time comes, in large part because of his religious belief. No embalming fluid, a plain wood box, no elaborate motorcade led by a gas-guzzling hearse. From Religion News Service:

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Solomon Islands and climate change

From Anglicans Online:

A member of Australia's Anglican Overseas Aid recently traveled on an annual trip led by the Anglican Church of Malaita to visit Ontong Java, the most northerly part of the Solomon Islands. She writes in the Solomon Star,

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Re-charge your soul and your car

The Rev. Cynthia Black who serves Morristown’s Episcopal Church of the Redeemer says: "A free charging station for electric vehicles, believed to be the first in town, is coming to the church driveway within a few weeks." Morristown Green reports:

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Archbishop Makoba invites bishops to eco-bishops initiative

20 bishops from around the Anglican Communion have been invited to discussion and discernment on the climate and the environment that hopefully will lead to action. Anglican Communion News Service reports:

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Plant a tree for a sacrament

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines is requiring people to plant a tree when they receive the sacrament of baptism or are confirmed, or married.

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Tutu calls for boycott and divestment of fossil fuel industry

The Guardian:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for an anti-apartheid-style boycott and disinvestment campaign against the fossil fuel industry for driving dangerous global warming, just days ahead of a landmark UN report on how carbon emissions can be slashed.

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Noah the movie: eco-whacko?

Brook Wilensky-Lanford interviews Ari Handel, screen writer for the movie, Noah, on the environmental issues that some are calling eco-whacko, at Religion Dispatches. On Noah being an "environmental film":

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Deep Peace of the Running Wave: Earth Day 2014

An Earth Day meditation: Deep Peace of the Running Wave

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Christian ecofeminist theology today

Erica Lea offers a thoughtful reflection in Christian Feminism Today: "Gaia, Sallie McFague, and You Walk into a Bar...Christian Ecofeminist Theology Today".

Lea begins:

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The effects of climate change are here now

The effects of climate change are already being felt in the United States, according to The National Climate Assessment.

The New York Times has the story:

The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, scientists reported Tuesday, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects.

Such sweeping changes have been caused by an average warming of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit over most land areas of the country in the past century, the scientists found. If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees by the end of this century.

“Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the scientists declared in a major new report assessing the situation in the United States.

The story has a religious aspect. As Chris Mooney of Mother Jones writes in a profile of Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe:

Recent data from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication suggests that while 64 percent of Americans think global warming is real and caused by human beings, only 44 percent of evangelicals do.

Because evangelicals play such a prominent role in the Republican party, their beliefs may make it more difficult for our country to diminish the behaviors that contribute to climate change.

Climate change hits a turning point, and a diocese holds an eco-confirmation

Brad Leland of Vox reports that

"[a] major section of West Antarctica's massive ice sheet is melting into the ocean, and it's unlikely that anything can stop its eventual demise. If so, that will mean even higher sea levels in the centuries ahead.

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Blessing of the worms

The Rev. Bob Coniglio of Emmanuel, Cape Charles, performs the annual Blessing of the Worms at Cape Charles' New Roots Youth Garden.

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The unfairness of climate change

President Obama Obama's has announced new carbon regulations for the U.S. 17 percent of the world's emissions come from the United States. The new regulations are designed to cut that number significantly, ideally reducing the United States to 17 percent below its 2005 target. but as Vox notes, though changes may cost the developed world, the burden of not doing anything will fall heavily on the poor of the world.

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Lutheran and Episcopal Presiding Bishops support proposed carbon rules

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have issued a joint statement in support of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Rule on carbon emissions.

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Caring about Climate Change as Christians

This weekend, NPR interviewed Katharine Haynoe, an atmospheric scientist and researcher at Texas Tech University. As a devout Christian, she has spent the last few years travelling around to different churches and faith groups, to explain why climate change is an issue worth caring about.

Part of her work, as she describes it, is attacking the notion that climate change is a hoax, but a bigger part is framing climate change as an issue of faith.

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World Council of Churches divests from fossil fuels

The London Guardian reports that the World Council of Churches, which represents over 500 million Christians, has divested from fossil fuels:

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