Happy Native American Heritage Month!

November offers a designated time to honor and celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and history of the First Nations of Turtle Island. As we collectively absorb the takeaways from the 4th National Climate Assessment report, it makes sense to center the wisdom and experience of our indigenous leaders, who hold the Traditional Ecological Knowledge, gleaned from millennia of living with the land. TEK could be key to solving some of our ecological crises and grow resilience in the face of climate change.

Another reason to center and support our indigenous siblings comes to us from this National Geographic article by Gleb Raygorodetsky: "Recent research demonstrates that while the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples make up less than 5% of the total human population, they manage or hold tenure over 25 percent of the world’s land surface and support about 80% of the global biodiversity."

Do you know the First Nations of the land you live on? Start there! The Native Lands app will help you identify the indigenous groups who stewarded the land before colonization, and offers links for further research. Find out what local or regional indigenous groups are doing to protect biodiversity, to grow and strengthen community and connection to nature, and support their work and sovereignty! I live on Mahican and Schaghticoke land, and I actively support the work of the Schaghticoke First Nations, which is working to preserve, promote and enrich their heritage, in part by reclaiming a piece of their ancestral lands to build a Cultural and Conservation Center. This #GivingTuesday, consider donating in support of this vision!


Our Children's Trust - Federal Climate Change Lawsuit

An update on Juliana v. United States, the youth-led climate lawsuit: After the Supreme Court gave green light for the case to proceed, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delayed the landmark #TrialoftheCentury again. Once the court makes a decision, a new trial date will be set.

The good news is that the delay means that there is more time for you to plan and preach a sermon in support of the plaintiffs! The UCC sermon campaign, Justice for #EachGeneration, urges clergy across the country, and young people of all faith traditions to preach a sermon for the plaintiffs, will continue for the duration of the case. Check out some UCC sermons! You can also donate to Our Childrens’ Trust to support their effort.  


Fossil Fuel Resistance - Pipelines & Power Plants Updates

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission affirmed its approval of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, which means that Enbridge has the major Minnesota permits it needs. It still needs permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers, and a public process is required, so stay tuned for calls to action. Donate to Honor the Earth to support the indigenous-led resistance to this pipeline.   

In a victory for water protectors and all who oppose the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a federal judge ordered that the Trump Administration and TransCanada stop work on the pipeline. The judge’s ruling was based on the decision that President Trump’s approval of the project last year violated environmental and administrative laws by ignoring facts on climate change. A new environmental study must be prepared before construction can continue.  

Explosions along the Columbia Gas pipeline rocked the Lawrence-area community in Massachusetts back in September, and now the parent company, Eversource Energy, has written off its investments in the Access Northeast pipeline.

The Western CT Clean Air Action group was formed in the last year to organize CT opposition to the Cricket Valley Energy Center natural gas power plant, which is currently under construction in Dover NY. The WCCAA is moving forward with an effort to purchase local air quality monitors to be installed in local towns (including at the Kent School, and hopefully in other local towns such as Sherman, New Milford, Cornwall, Sharon, and more). These monitoring stations will offer more detailed baseline air quality measurements up to 1.5 years before the CVEC is operational, so that any spikes in pollutants will be apparent and actionable. Contact the WCCAA for more information and to donate and help raise funds for these monitors.


Mid-Term Elections & The Environment

In Connecticut, voters passed both constitutional amendments, including the Transportation Lockbox Amendment, and a Public Lands safeguarding amendment. The Transportation Lockbox Amendment will allow critical investments in public transit and other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. Thanks to CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs for their campaign on this Amendment. The Public Lands amendment will protect public lands by making their transfer a little less easy. The amendment will require a public hearing and a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate for transfer of state park and forest lands, and farmlands under the control of the state Department of Agriculture. 

In Rhode Island, voters voted in favor of Question 3, which designates bond funds for environmental, water and recreation projects. 

A week after the elections, the UCC Environmental Justice Minister Rev. Brooks Berndt and Rev. Michael Malcolm, pastor of Rush Memorial Congregational UCC Church in Atlanta GA and member of the Alabama Interfaith Power and Light, co-hosted a Creation Justice webinar called “God’s Creation: Post-Election." The webinar speakers offered their insights to help us understand the legislative changes and to help us discern collectively where to put our energy moving forward, including growing support for a Green New Deal.


Looking Ahead to 2019: Opportunities to Engage

Would your congregation and/or youth group be interested in hosting a workshop about environmental justice issues and how to get engaged?

Talk to Pam about scheduling a visit to your church in 2019!   

Registration is OPEN for the 2019 Environmental Justice for All! Retreat

Are there high school youth in your life who might be interested in a weekend of community and fun, and of learning about environmental issues and how to harness their talents to create a more just and sustainable future? The annual Environmental Justice for All! Retreat  will offer all of this and more! Please Join Us!

May 17-19, 2019 at Silver Lake Conference Center in Sharon, CT
Cost: $145 per person; scholarships available

Register Today!

Green Your Church in 2019!

The Green Church Awards offer a great way for your congregation to take action on environmental stewardship by offering a checklist of options for engagement.

In Connecticut, the CTUCC Environmental Ministry Team offers the Green Church Awards program, and the InterReligious EcoJustice Network offers the Green Houses of Worship program.

In Massachusetts, the MACUCC Environmental Ministries Task Team offers their Green Congregations Program.

In Rhode Island, the RI Interfaith Power and Light offers resources and support for congregations seeking to reduce their footprint.  

Nationally, the UCC Environmental Ministry offers the Creation Justice Church program, in addition to the Creation Justice Webinars.


Upcoming Events

2019 Roadmap: Next Steps on Transportation and Offshore Wind

The Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs is hosting a post-election gathering to discuss the 2019 Roadmap: Next Steps on Transportation and Offshore Wind. 

When: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 at 6:30 pm (light meal at 6:00 pm)

Where: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 65 North Main Street, Wallingford CT

Cost: FREE, but please RSVP here

Save the Date!

Round Hill Community Church in Greenwich, CT, will be hosting Larry Rasmussen, author of “Earth Honoring Faith” for a workshop on Saturday, February 2, and at Sunday worship followed by a forum on Sunday, February 3rd.

When: Feb. 2-3, 2019

Where: Round Hill Community Church, 395 Round Hill Road, Greenwich CT

More details to come!




The Northeast Environmental Justice Center
of the United Church of Christ

Housed at Silver Lake Conference, the EJC offers education and advocacy resources to the northeast region.

Pam Arifian, Director, 860-364-5418