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  • Rick Bonetti

Creation Justice for Spiritual Communities

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Science informs us that climate change is happening, it's human-caused, it's getting worse and it is causing disruption and suffering. The climate crisis is the most urgent, but long problem humanity has ever faced. It is an existential threat to human civilization and all living creatures in the biosphere.

There are several very effective non-sectarian, non-profit, climate activist organizations based in the Rogue Valley or with local chapters here such as SOCAN, Ashland Climate Collaborative, Rogue Climate, Pachamama Alliance, Citizens Climate Lobby, Some are focused on practical, science-based technical solutions; some are education-oriented, intended to raise awareness of global climate issues; some are intended to build local community activism; some support youth and BIPOC activism; while others are primarily political advocacy and lobbying efforts at the state and federal level.

There are also many state-oriented climate advocacy groups addressing specific issues such as the preservation of old-growth forests, State legislative agendas; and divestment from fossil fuel investments., etc.

Drawdown, "the world's leading resource for climate solutions," catalogs and prioritizes the impact of the myriad of actions that can help reverse global warming. Regeneration, the latest iteration from Paul Hawken "puts life at the center of every thought and action." It offers "a punch list of personal, group, or institutional actions that you can, want to, and will do."

Some movements such as the Human Energy Project want to influence a transition into a new, positive, emerging, evolutionary, science-based cosmology and global worldview of the noosphere - a third story. This effort is aimed at restoring a long-term vision of the future - a vision of hope about our potential as a human species to penetrate into ideas beyond our experience and improve our conscious response.

So what special contributions do spiritual communities bring to climate solutions? Foremost is our calling to love our neighbors and future generations and be good stewards of all of creation. It is our moral and ethical responsibility to protect those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged and don't have a voice - climate injustice is a force that amplifies every other social injustice. We need to incarnate the changes we long for and proclaim truth in the public square. Faith-based groups are certainly not unique in recognizing and responding to this global, ethical challenge, but they must contribute to solutions, as an important part of their witness.

Nationally, there are faith-based organizations such as Interfaith Power & Light, GreenFaith, Creation Justice Ministries, and ecoAmerica. At the state level, there are interfaith organizations such Oregon Interfaith Power & Light (OIPL) and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO).

Numerous denominational and non-Christian religious organizations are also focused on Creation Justice. Faith communities need not reinvent the wheel in coming up with ideas to spread awareness of Creation justice actions appropriate for their congregations.

Here are some examples of organizational practices from the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement; Unitarian Universalists; and the United Church of Christ.

Top Twelve Actions

Elizabeth Williams of the United Methodist Greater Northwest Conference Earthkeeper developed a list of the Top 12 Actions for the UM Creation Justice Movement, broken down into examples for individuals, faith communities, and governments, as well as examples of organizations working in those areas.

  1. Facilitate

  2. Motivate

  3. Educate

  4. Advocate

  5. Reallocate

  6. Detoxicate

  7. Anticipate

  8. Accentuate

  9. Eliminate

  10. Contemplate

  11. Rejuvenate

  12. Activate

Creation Justice Tips - Free, monthly tips for churches to use in their worship bulletin, church newsletter, weekly emails, and more.

Creation Care Network - Join others who are engaged in environmental justice and build your local grassroots community - this is an online platform to help members of The United Methodist Church and established ministry partners put creation care and environmental justice values into action. Join the UM Creation Care Network here.

Movement Cafe - This is a UM informal, virtual space to facilitate connection and conversation about creation care and justice issues.

Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth is "a seedbed for spiritual grounding and education that inspires deep practices of Earth care, justice and flourishing for all." They have a Newsletter; Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Embodiment - Spiritual Gatherings; Recordings; Worship and Small Group Resources; and Food For the Spirit.

Empowerment - Workshops; Recordings; Curriculum; Young Adults; BIPOC

Enagement - Support for Activists; Resources; Actions; Partners; and a Blog.

United Church of Christ Environmental Justice Ministries - Learn more about their history, the Creation Justice Church program, Earth Day resources, the Pollinator Newsletter, Creation Justice Webinars, and the work of the UCC Council for Climate Justice. Environmental Minister Brooks Berndt. has written the book Cathedral on Fire - a climate crisis handbook that focuses our attention on the vitally needed gifts that churches can offer for the climate crisis. Three Great Loves is a resource document for pastors and churches.


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