“If you want environmental peace, work for environmental justice.”
Rev. Bob Murphy uses these words to explain his environmental justice ministry. During the 1990s, Rev. Murphy was a circuit rider on the coast of North Carolina. He served as a Red Cross volunteer during six hurricanes. He worked with the NAACP and migrant farm workers.
In the year 2000, Murphy moved to the coast of Massachusetts to continue his ministry. He serves as the pastor for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowswhip of Falmouth, Massachusetts, and he’s active in a variety of projects and programs that bring social justice and environmental protection concerns together. In 2011, he received a Special Service Award from the national Sierra Club. This year, we was honored for his Red Cross work on Cape Cod. Murphy is active in the environmental justice movement in New England. He was an organizer for the first New England summit meeting on environmental justice in 2012.
“It’s difficult to talk about global warming, or about polar bears, when a family is worried about paying for food and energy-efficient housing,” notes Murphy. “On Cape Cod, advocates for environmental justice start with immediate problems and we give a lot of attention to low-income people.”
Murphy’s Cape Cod congregation focuses its attention on three areas of special concern. With energy issues, the congregation emphasizes the importance of energy justice. The goal is to provide all families with an adequate source of energy that is safe, affordable and sustainable. In responding to climate change, the first concern is health and safety. Church volunteers train with organizations like the Red Cross and the Medical Reserve Corps. The Falmouth fellowship supports local food production that is safe and sustainable. Fresh produce is raised for community food pantries. In the fall, the congregation sponsors its annual Rachel Carson Harvest Dinner, to celebrate organic gardening and to raise money to help feed the hungry.