Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Interfaith action on climate change

Ruah Swennerfelt & Louis Cox of Quaker Earthcare Witness plan a six-month 1400 mile Peace for Earth walk from Vancouver BC to San Diego CA, with a blog. Inspired by 18th c. anti-slavery Quaker John Woolman’s call to live in right relationship with all Creation, they will visit 47 Quaker meetings along the way to listen, lead skits and discussion. Links explain their concerns for food,health, habitat, and transportation, with a map of the walk.

Marshall Massey is a Conservative Friend, founder of the Environmental Projects Center in Omaha. His keynote at FGC in 1987 was the catalyst for founding FCUN (now QEW). In 1989 he proposed an environmental amendment to the US constitution. In preparation for his talk to Baltimore YM in 2006 he walked from Omaha NB to Harrisburg PA. "an opportunity to listen — to God, to the people I met with on the way, and to all the natural world — and through listening, to learn." Friends requested him to set up his journal as an Earthwitness blog in 2007, together with a compilation The Quaker Magpie Journal. His blog describes his recent work with a number of Conservative yearly meetings in 2007.

Rolene Smith's Walk for Earth. This SF Quaker started walking in Vancouver; in 2008 she plans with several others to continue journeying from California to Santiago, Chile. She will lead discussions in Spanish, stories and songs for schools and churches.

The Regeneration Project sparked by Episcopal priest Sally Bingham of San Francisco, sponsors a number of regional Interfaith Power and Light projects across the USA. Part of their video Lighten Up!: A Religious Response to Global Warming is shown on the site. A congregation that decides to be part of the EPL initiative signs up to buy electricity that comes from nonpolluting sources. It also gets a free energy audit. The IPL campaign is mobilizing a national religious response to global warming while promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation, and calls congressional leaders to pass an effective Energy Bill. Sally Bingham has also travelled to Australia.

Methodist ecologist Bill McKibben's Step it Up sparked political demonstrations for climate action in 1400 US cities in Apr 2007 (see photos). Political candidates are invited. The movement asking Congress to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050 is growing rapidly. Another round is planned for 3 Nov 2007. The site contains blog postings and videos from many local groups. In 2006-07 he participated in several walks for action on climate change, in Vermont and the Massachusetts Interfaith walk for Climate Rescue which gathered enough participants to change political debate in those states. See the film. The nationwide sponsor of the Interfaith walk was Religious Witness for the Earth (RWE) which has been holding interfaith prayer and witness events since 2001.

In Canada, the bilingual and ecumenical Christian Kairos (a successor to interchurch actions in previous decades) has just launched Re-Energize: Time For A Carbon Sabbath, a three-year campaign for personal, community, and political change -- fun, engaging, and practical things to do as we strive together to change ourselves, change our churches, and change our world. Over the years, Kairos has led actions and publications on a number of focus themes, ranging from social justice and aboriginal issues, to anti-poverty, refugee/migrant, and corporate social responsibility. Contrasting with chronos, meaning ordinary or chronological time, kairos means holy or God-given time, time laden with meaning and choice. Kairos signals a time of crisis and new possibilities, a time of repentance, renewal and decisive action.

Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream
is a group symposium process developed by SF-based Pachamama. Of the 130 faciliators trained so far, 8 are QEW members. ATD envisions an environmental sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet. The Resources page has videos by Matthew Fox, Desmond Tutu, etc. and quotations from other spiritual leaders. See also the Quotes page. The site has many other pages with links on sustainability, social justice, spiritual leadings, and indigenous wisdom.

Thirteen Grandmothers was praised by several QEW members: It started October 11, 2004, when 13 Indigenous Grandmothers from all over the world—the Arctic Circle, North, South and Central America, Africa, and Asia, arrived at Tibet House's Menla Mountain Retreat in upstate New York. Within a few days of convening, the grandmothers agreed to form a global alliance; to work together to serve both their common goals and their specific local concerns: a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children, and for the next seven generations to come. We are deeply concerned with the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth and the destruction of indigenous ways of life. We believe the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future. We look to further our vision through the realization of projects that protect our diverse cultures: lands, medicines, language and ceremonial ways of prayer and through projects that educate and nurture our children. The site includes podcasts and resources for children. Trailers for the film For the Next 7 Generations: the Grandmothers Speak are on Youtube.

One Earth has created a number of award-winning videos for use by environmental, church and interfaith groups. Online streaming and DVD: The Power of One, Wonderful World, Connections, Mother, Neighbours, Hidden City, Island Home, A Perfect Balance, Why Are We Here?
Rev. Richard Cizik, the lobbyist of National Association of Evangelicals in 2003 called for scripture-based "creation care", gathering considerable political support among US Christian evangelicals, and threatening a major political Republican voters bloc. The NAE split on the issue. He was interviewed in The Great Warming film and DVD.

African-American leader Reverend Dr. Gerald L. Durley is the pastor of the historic Providence Missionary Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia. Providence Church is well known for its numerous community outreach initiatives, which include programs involving fathers’ involvement with the family and other programs to enhance human welfare. Dr. Durley is involved in global warming and gives a religious response to this issue: "I have spent my life fighting for civil rights and human rights. After I saw The Great Warming and An Inconvenient Truth, I have taken on yet another mission. We are destroying our earth. We can't protect human rights if we aren't here." http://earthdaynetwork.spaces.live.com/PersonalSpace.aspx

Not faith-based but with significant links to US black churches and CEDs: Van Jones, founder of Green for All, of the LA-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is creating “green collar” jobs in US cities. His aim is to create 250,000 eco-jobs for minorities in the next five years. See previous post.

Jim Merkel's book Radical Simplicity inspired a 35 min documentary film/DVD. He was a keynote speaker (here's his slideshow) at the fall 2007 QEW gathering.

Ride for Climate USA cyclists David Kroodsma (formerly of the Carnegie Institute of Washington) and Bill Bradlee of the Regeneration Project, aka Interfaith Power and Light) biked from Boston to San Francisco April-September 2007, giving talks and appearing in the media http://www.rideforclimate.com/usa/ They are planning a potential return trip across the southern U.S. From 2005-2007, David Kroodsma biked from California to the tip of South America to raise awareness of the international consequences of global warming. Read more about that 16,000 mile journey at Ride for Climate: The Americas.

The Orion Society offers online reports from grassroots eco-organizations across the USA, articles from its magazine, study guides and books, "current conversations" in online forums, and "conference call" podcasts.

TakingITGlobal, not specifically faith-based, is an online social network in many different languages for youth to find inspiration, access information, get involved, and take action in their local and global communities. It allows them to find -- or set up -- national and regional groups, search for and connect with NGOs, and network globally on issues such as art, culture, health, human rights, peace, technology, work and the economy. 130,000 members so far. Includes photos, videos, podcasts, and blogs.

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