Welcome to the October Newsletter from the UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center!
A warm welcome to newcomers to this e-newsletter! The UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center inspires and equips individuals to take action in support of a just, equitable, resilient and sustainable world. We do this through educational programming, advocacy and building a connected network of faithful stewards in support of the environmental justice movement.
The monthly e-newsletter offers information about global, national, regional and local news, action opportunities and events centered on the climate justice movement. The intention is to inform, educate and help folks connect with the movement and each other, so that we can amplify our collective voice on behalf of Creation and future generations here in southern New England (and beyond).
If you find these e-newsletters helpful, please share widely, and encourage others to subscribe. If you have relevant stories, environmental events open to the public or legislative actions (especially if you're from MA or RI) that you would like to include in future e-newsletters, please be in touch.
Sunrise Movement announces three waves of climate strikes over the next year to send an unmistakeable and unavoidable case for a Green New Deal to the politicians entering office in 2021. The Climate Strikes will take place around the country on December 6th, April 22nd (Earth Day), and multiple actions following the election in November 2020. Get informed, engaged and support the youth-led movement!
“Climate Emergency: Faith-based Organizations Raising Ambition – Leaving No One Behind” (September 24, 2019)
Building on the momentum of the United Nations Climate Change Summit 2019 in New York on Sept. 23, a coalition of more than 45 global interfaith organizations gathered at the Salvation Army in New Yorkfor a faith-based civil society consultation on Tuesday, Sept. 24thto address the current climate emergency. The consultation,organized by a coalition of nine faith-based organizations, conveneda global, interfaith group to share experiences, commitments and perspectives with the goal of producing plans detailing how the interfaith community can galvanize global action on climate.Pam Arifian (Director of UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center), joined Rev. Brooks Berndt (UCC Minister for Environmental Justice), and Rev. Michael Malcom (pastor of Rush Memorial Congregational UCC in Atlanta, GA; Environmental Justice Representative for the Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ; and Executive Director, Alabama Interfaith Power and Light) to participate on behalf of the UCC.
The day opened in ceremony to honor the land by Mindahi C. Bastida Muñoz, diretor, Original Caretakers Program, Center for Earth Ethics, Union Theological Seminary, followed by powerful call to action by two teen leaders of the NYC Climate Strike, Xiya Bastida and Olivia Wolgemuth. The breakout group conversations focused on climate emergency declarations by faith groups; climate justice; climate migration, loss and damage; and actionable plans for 2019 and beyond.More information on the consultation can be found here and here.
Faiths for Future Declaration
One of the actions highlighted at the Consultation was the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative’s Faiths for Forests declaration. The Interfaith Rainforest Initiative is an international, multi-faith alliance that works to bring moral urgency and faith-based leadership to global efforts to end tropical deforestation. The Faiths for Forests campaign is a global call to action to all faith-based organizations, networks and places of worship around the world to mobilize a movement based on our shared values to end destruction of the planet’s rainforests and advocate for climate justice. Click here for more information and a video introduction with Jane Goodall.
Resist Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
Call to Action in a David & Goliath Struggle in Weymouth
Rev. Gretchen Elmendorf, pastor of East Weymouth Congregational Church, shares this call to action for support as her community, the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor and the larger South Shore region are escalating their nonviolent actions this month as construction of a natural gas compressor looms in their community. They “have been fighting a David v. Goliath battle for five years” against Enbridge gas company, which "is forcing a deadly gas compressor on us despite vehement bipartisan opposition.” Rev. Gretchen Elmendorf request prayers, support and action, including calls to Governor Baker and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (contact information in article).
Support Just Transition to Renewable Energy
CT now has Shared Solar!
Four out of five Connecticut residents can’t benefit from rooftop solar. Shared solar is a solution. Thanks to legislation passed in 2018, Connecticut electricity consumers will be able to participate in large solar projects located away from their businesses or homes starting in 2020. Connecticut Fund for the Environment / Save the Sound has information and resources, along with a toolkit that will equip you to help expand shared solar in the state.
Upcoming Events & Learning Opportunities
American Climate Leadership Awards
The American Climate Leadership Awards recognize individuals and local and national organizations for their demonstrated success in mobilizing public support and political will on climate amongst key constituencies, providing $155,000 in cash awards to help accelerate the replication of important climate action nationwide. The awards welcome entries from community, faith, health, and youth organizations and leaders (or those who engage these constituencies) on the local, regional, and national scale.
"Winners will have implemented a climate program that has made a significant difference in their sector in mobilizing public support and political will among their constituents, getting them to take climate action with urgency. Applications will be evaluated based on demonstrated, successful public impact within their organization and communities, including increased awareness and activation of people in climate mitigation and public policy advocacy. Innovation, effectiveness, and replicability will be key considerations. Qualifying programs will embed equity, diversity, and inclusion."
Living Water Workshop: An eco-justice retreat for all.
“Living Water” is being offered to bring communities together in dialogue about environmental justice and the sacred as well as to provide an opportunity to take creative action together. This workshop is part of a program supported by the Genesis fund of the United Church of Christ. Refreshments will be provided. Enjoy a day of retreat, storytelling, learning, sacred activism, and creative renewal. All are welcome. For more information, contact Rev. Brendan Curran.
What: Living Water Workshop When: November 17th, 2019 from 1:00 - 6:00pm Where: Barrington Congregational Church, 461 County Road, Barrington, RI 02806 RSVP: This event is FREE, but please register here. The registration deadline for this event is Thursday November 14th.
Lighten Up! Forum on Solar Energy for Churches
It is imperative that we reduce our levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Learn how to convert your church to solar power, including information about financing, installation needs, and the decision-making process.
What: Lighten Up! Forum on Solar Energy for Churches When: Sunday, November 17th, 2:00 to 4:00 pm Where: First Congregational Church Southington, 37 Main St, Southington CT 06489 RSVP: This event is FREE, but please RSVP.
Interfaith Power & Light Faith Climate Action Week,
April 17 – 26, 2020
Faith Climate Action Week is IPL’s annual program of climate-themed worship services and sermons that spans ten days of activities in celebration of Earth Month. This is IPL’s premier event to create a mass movement of people of faith making the moral call for climate action. The theme of this year’s Faith Climate Action Week is “Love Made Visible”.
"We will engage in Sacred Activism to protect the people we love and care about who are most affected by climate change – low-income communities, communities of color, the elderly, and future generations."
Sign up here to be the first to get the limited supply of pre-printed kits. The kit will include a Sacred Activism guide on the importance of people of faith taking part in democracy and best practices, plus five activism challenges including one especially for youth based on the leadership of young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. The kit will also include printed postcards to send to your U.S. Senators urging them to act on climate, a fun faith-based tree planting activity, and more.
Through this pledge, you can commit to consistently vote their values in caring for God's Creation. Thanks to a partnership with the Environmental Voter Project, those who make pledge receive free reminders to show up for each election.