Thank you for your patience as I learn how to use our new emailing program. The learning curve only partly explains the wait for this newsletter; as most of you are aware, there's been a LOT of news about climate change of late, and it's become even more challenging to pick and choose what to highlight in this newsletter.
It brings me hope to think that this newsletter, and the broader network that we are creating together in partnership with many other organizations, is helping to inspire, support and sustain your action, and to help each of us feel a little less isolated in our work. Thank you for reading, for your passion and ministry!
Climate Justice News
For many of us, the latest climate change report released last week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was not a surprise. Still, compounded with the devastating hurricanes and their impacts on communities and ecosystems (e.g., due to breached coal ash ponds and hog waste lagoons), and with the continued egregious assault on environmental protections (such as methane emissions reductions and the freeze on federal fuel efficiency standards) and much more, the report may have elevated climate anxiety levels and a sense of overwhelm for many of you - it certainly did for me.
Many people have reported and reflected on the IPCC report since it was released a week and a half ago. I offer here a few pieces that helped me shift my perspective from doomsday to hope and action:
- Rebecca Solnit's piece on avoiding despair by focusing on the transformation that must happen to transition away from fossil fuels, and how we can "be what happens" rather than waiting to see what happens.
- Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care for the Episcopal Diocese of Western MA and MACUCC, on the importance of opening ourselves to a power and wisdom greater than our own, in her sermon entitled "Ten Years to Avert Climate Catastrophe? What Do We Do Now?"
- Rev. Brooks Berndt, UCC Minister for Environmental Justice, on Climate Report Depression and Effective Climate Therapy
Stories of Hope & Action Opportunities
Despite the challenging news, there are many great things happening that bring me hope, some of which are highlighted below, along with some opportunities to engage:
Trump Administration Tries Again to Stop the #TrialoftheCentury
As the trial date approaches for the Juliana v. United States lawsuit, the Trump Administration continues to try to postpone the case, after several failed attempts. The appeal is in the Supreme Court today - hopefully they will follow the good example of U.S. District Judge Aiken in Eugene.
Juliana v United States
is the constitutional climate lawsuit filed against the federal government by 21 youth plaintiffs, in a process that began three years ago. Mark your calendars for this potentially game-changing trial
, which begins in federal court on October 29, 2018
Showing Up for Justice
Environmental activists gathered in cities in 90 countries on or near September 8th, 2018 to send a unified message to government leaders: to demand real climate action by shifting from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy. The main march was held in San Francisco, where several dozen UCC members and staff marched together. Here in Connecticut, a dozen or so CTUCC members from around the state, including Silver Lake Conference Center alumni and Board member, CTUCC staff, clergy and lay leaders gathered to witness at the New Haven Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice March on September 9th, 2018 (click here for pictures from the New Haven CTUCC contingent).
Thank you to all who helped organize and publicize, who created artwork or speeches or songs for, and who showed up to these events. It's so important that we continue to show up to learn about and amplify the voices seeking justice in our world, on local, regional, and global levels.
Join the CTUCC and the InterReligious EcoJustice Network at Reviving Justice: Inspire, Connect, Act! This event takes place on October 27th, from 1-5pm at First Congregational Church, Simsbury, CT. The program includes a dynamic multi-cultural, multi-racial worship, excellent speakers in breakout workshops focused on various justice issues, and an action-oriented focus that will offer opportunities for folks to engage in various ways. Register today! The cost is $10, and registration closes on Monday, October 22. Walk-ins are welcome at the event, although the cost will increase to $15 (but pre-registration is REALLY helpful to organizers and workshop leaders to effectively plan their program). I hope to see you there!
Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light is hosting its annual conference, "The Injustice of Climate Change - A Call for Action," with keynote speaker Gina McCarthy, former administrator of the US EPA. Nathaniel Stinnet, founder and Executive Director of the Environmental Voter Project will also be speaking. The conference will be held on Monday, October 22nd, from 7-9pm at the Plymouth Church, located at 87 Edgell Road, Framingham, MA. Advance registration required - contact Vince Maraventano for more information.
Join the InterReligious EcoJustice Network, CT Roundtable on Climate & Jobs, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation and St. James Episcopal Church at a Green Forum on Offshore Wind. The panel discussion will focus on climate change impacts on coastal towns, as well as the economic and jobs benefit of the Deepwater Wind project, a 200 megawatt offshore wind project in New London's harbor. The Forum will take place on Tuesday, October 30, from 6:30-8pm at St. James Episcopal Church on 75 Federal Street in New London. The event is free, but RSVPs are required.
Updates on Fossil Fuel Pipeline Resistance
Many thanks to two Native American communities that are suing the Trump Administration in a bid to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. The Fort Belknap Indian Community of Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota state that the 2017 permit for the pipeline violated historic treaty boundaries and bypassed any environmental review, and, as such, the permit should be revoked and that construction should stop.
In other good news, construction has been halted on the Bayou Bridge pipeline that would carry crude oil through sensitive habitats and environmental justice communities in Louisiana. The owners of the Atchafalaya River Basin property are suing the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, for illegally seizing and damaging the land before the legal process for expropriation.
Follow the news about the Stop Line 3 effort in MN and the Bayou Bridge pipeline and donate funds and supplies to support the L'Eau Est La Vie water protectors and the Line 3 water protectors.
The Mid-Term Elections
The upcoming midterm elections are a huge opportunity for action on our local government levels, on so many issues. Join with environmentalists nationwide to prioritize environmental issues in their deliberation of their candidates.
Take Action - VOTE!
Be a Creation Care voter - sign the pledge . The CT League of Conservation Voters has released its 2018 Environmental Scorecard, which details how our CT legislators voted with respect to environmental issues. The Massachusetts and Rhode Island scorecards for 2017 are available here. You can also make calls for candidates, knock on doors, offer rides to polls.
In CT, you can vote to amend the CT Constitution to protect public lands from being sold or given away without a public hearing and a 2/3 General Assembly vote. Vote "Yes" on Ballot Question 2! Thanks to Save Our Water CT for the info.