Special Invitation to Catholics and Ecology Dialogue

ESA2014-catholics&ecologyOrganizer: Dan Misleh, Catholic Climate Covenant

Co-Organizers: Greg Hitzhusen, The Ohio State University; Katie Hirschboeck, University of Arizona; Leanne Jablonski, University of Dayton & Marianist Environmental Education Center; Glenn Juday, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

6:30 – 8:00 pm on Wednesday, Aug 13 at ESA Sacramento Meeting (& Ongoing Initiative)

Ecologists and others interested in faith-environment dialogue are invited to a dinner to learn about the anticipated, ground-breaking encyclical by Pope Francis on the environment, to explore the implications of Catholic perspectives on the environment, and to seek ways in which ecologists might collaborate more intentionally with Catholic communities on issues of mutual concern.

Bishop Jaime Soto will welcome participants to Sacramento and the dialogue. Former ESA president, Terry Chapin, will share his thoughts on stewardship, the importance of including values in the application of science, and what ecology has to learn from faith communities.

We hope that participants can benefit from collaboration, advance the understanding of climate change and its impacts and generate greater activity within the faith community born out of a deeper understanding of humankind’s place in sustaining and enhancing Earth’s life-support systems.

The dinner and dialogue is sponsored by the Catholic Climate Covenant, an organization dedicated to sharing Catholic teaching on climate change and caring for the environment (catholicclimatecovenant.org), and the ESA Environmental Justice Section (https://www.esa.org/enjustice2/). It builds upon ESA’s Earth stewardship focus, calling for interdisciplinary collaboration and a new ethic of environmental citizenship.

We are particularly trying to identify ecologists connected to the Catholic tradition who can attend this gathering or be part of the ongoing initiative.

To learn more and to register your participation in the dinner and dialogue, please go to: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5256/p/salsa/web/questionnaire/public/?questionnaire_KEY=1126

PLEASE NOTE: The first 50 registrants will enjoy a sit-down dinner at the Sacramento Meeting. Beyond this number, we cannot guarantee a meal but will welcome your participation.

The Catholics and Ecology Dialogue is preceded by IGNITE 10 – Ecology & Religion: How Should Ecologists Engage with Faith Communities, 3:30 – 5:00 pm, 313 Sacramento Convention Center. It will be followed by the ESA Speaker’s Bureau/Faith Community Outreach Strategic Planning Session SS18 from 8 – 10pm also in the Capitol View, Hyatt Regency Hotel.

We invite you to attend all three. Thank you for your interest in this important event!

Want a printable poster for this event? Click here.

Nalini Nadkarni’s “Trees and Spirituality” sermon allows parishioners to connect with the natural world

Trees&SpiritualityBookCoverOn Sunday, September 22nd, Nalini Nadkarni gave a sermon on “Trees and Spirituality” at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Salt Lake City. The Reverend Tom Goldsmith shared his pulpit for twenty-five minutes to present this interfaith talk about the many connections that exist between trees/forests and spirituality/religions of the world.

Along with several students from The University of Utah, Dr. Nadkarni also produced a small booklet that maps and documents (with both scientific and spiritual materials) all of the trees that grow on the grounds of this church. After the services, congregants went outside with a copy of this booklet and learned about the trees that are protected on their sacred ground.

Dr. Nadkarni has plans to produce similar booklets for other places of worship, which would create the potential for a “tree tour of churches” in which congregations visit and learn about trees at other churches and churches that have other trees.

You can read more about the project here and download the booklet here.

Faith Community Outreach: Reverend Bob Murphy

“If you want environmental peace, work for environmental justice.”

Bob-Murphy-newRev. 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.

ESA MN 2013 workshop: Launching a Scientists’ Speakers Bureau

During the ESA annual meeting in Minneapolis, this workshop will enable ESA to move forward with a scientists’ speakers bureau for Earth stewardship outreach in faith communities. An excellent line-up of ESAmnspeakers includes:

Matthew Anderson, Executive Director of Audubon MN, former Executive Director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment; Nalini Nadkarni, University of Utah; Dorothy Boorse, Gordon College; Doug Boucher, Union of Concerned Scientists; Rick Hammer, Hardin-Simmons University; Greg Hitzhusen, Ohio State University and Ohio Interfaith Power and Light; Leanne Jablonski, University of Dayton and Marianist Environmental Education Center; Terry Chapin, Past President, ESA

Workshop Description:

Workshop 8941: Launching A Scientists’ Speakers Bureau for Outreach to Faith and Justice Communities

Time: Thursday, August 8, 2013: 11:30 AM-1:15 PM

Place: Director’s 2, Hilton Minneapolis

Description: This session builds on previous ESA annual meeting sessions to advance the implementation of a national speakers bureau in partnership with national faith bodies and community-based justice organizations. With 83% of the American public (including 71% of ESA members surveyed) claiming membership in over 300,000 congregations, religious organizations and their partners are uniquely positioned to engage citizens in ecological issues. Developing ecologically fruitful collaboration between scientists and these communities can help bridge historic divides and provide sound science to shape sustainable ecosystem futures. Over the past year, participants from 2011 and 2012 ESA meeting speakers bureau workshops have piloted diverse outreach efforts to faith communities nationwide, tracked their impact, and shared outcomes through ongoing networking conference calls and webinars. We will review the successes and challenges of ESA members’ outreach to date, highlight the analysis of these outreach approaches, and summarize the commitments of partner organizations to help formally launch the speakers bureau. We will also address remaining issues related to implementing the speakers bureau, and discuss and formulate recommendations for ESA and our partners. Speakers from partner organizations (e.g. Interfaith Power and Light, National Religious Partnership for the Environment, Union of Concerned Scientists) will highlight collaborators’ perspectives in this emerging dialogue between ecologists and a range of communities, and describe key examples of outreach that can be replicated. All ESA attendees interested in outreach to faith and justice communities are encouraged to participate, add to the discussion, or learn how to get involved in similar outreach.

Summary: Organizing session and overview of successful pilot projects as we implement a speakers bureau to provide sound science and timely ecological information to local communities and influential social organizations, including faith and EJ-impacted communities. Contribute to the speakers network as we discuss outreach results, and finalize recommendations for national launch.

Speakers Bureau Webinar (March 2013)

Ecological Society of AmericaJoin us for a webinar on Mar 26, 2013 at noon EDT.Register now!https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5317599220873305344Scientists interested in doing Earth stewardship outreach to faith communities are welcome to join this webinar to continue discussion and sharing of resources leading to the creation of a national scientists’ speakers bureau for Earth stewardship outreach to faith communities. Cassandra Carmichael, National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs Director, and Alexei Laushkin, Evangelical Environmental Network Sr. Communications Director, will share strategies and resources for successful outreach; Dr. Rick Hammer will report on outreach in his Baptist church in Texas; Rev. Bob Murphy of Cape Cod will report on faith-based public health and safety efforts related to climate change. For more information, visit: https://www.esa.org/enjustice2/projects/faith-communities/

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

View System Requirements

Resources and Documents that may be referred to in the webinar:

Dr. Rick Hammer article on biodiversity from a Biblical perspective, published in the Baptist Standard, TX

Sun Come Up (climate change documentary from Catholic Climate Coalition) Youth Education Packet

Speakers will include Cassandra Carmichael (National Council of Churches EcoJustice Programs Director, hosting), and Alexei Laushkin (Evangelical Environmental Network, Sr. Communications Director)

As always, we invite contributions from anyone on the speakers bureau list, especially to report on ecology/science outreach work you have been doing in faith communities, and to raise current questions.

We will also be looking forward to summarizing all our efforts at ESA MN in August — the 8/8/13, 11:30am workshop description is found here, and you can click here for the Survey Monkey link to record your outreach experiences — and taking next steps to implement the speakers bureau.  Thanks for all your efforts, and we’re looking forward to connecting again on March 26!

Best wishes,

Greg Hitzhusen

Speakers Bureau Conference Call (November 2012)


Some files for use in Thursday’s call:

PresbyEcoStewardsMGregory (Megan’s powerpoint)

GreenFaithYouthPoemDoll (Julie’s slide)

also note other resources at: http://nccecojustice.org//ssb.php

Call 1:  Thursday, November 15, 2012, 8:00-9:30pm Eastern 
Call 2: Tuesday, March 26, 2013, Noon-1:30pm Eastern (webinar)


8:00pm-9:30pm* eastern, Thursday, Nov. 15

1) Welcome, Updates and Announcements

2) Outreach reports

-Julie Doll (Michigan State), Michigan youth outreach

-Joseph Leyda (Leyda Consulting), approaching congregations as an outsider

-open to others

3) Resources and Connections to help speakers find faith communities interested in outreach

-Megan Gregory (Cornell) Presbyterian Earth Care Congregations program

-Bill Bradlee (Interfaith Power and Light, State Affiliate Coordinator) and/or Susan Stephenson (Executive Director), how to connect with IPL networks

-Alexei Laushkin (Sr. Communications Director, Evangelical Environmental Network), connecting with evangelical congregations

-open to others

4) Further Resources and Support

-open discussion to propose outreach resources to feature in February’s follow-up webinar, and for general posting at http://nccecojustice.org//ssb.php

-Leanne Jablonski (U Dayton, Marianist Environmental Ed Center), use of Sun Come Up video in Catholic and other communities

5) Evaluation Measures and Next Steps

-open discussion about how best to track and evaluate the outreach we’re piloting this year, summarize it during an ESA MN 2013 workshop, and make recommendations for implementing the speakers bureau

*note: some of you can only make the call until 9pm Eastern, and that is fine – for those who can only join late in the call, we’ll make room to add your comments

Other reports:

From Meg Lowman: sorry I can not be on this call! Of note, I just returned from speaking to Coptic priests in Ethiopia, and will be leading a workshop for them on Ecosystem Services this janauary. And I continue to lecture to USA venues — information on my website about the project of religion and science at www.treefoundation.org

From Dorothy Boorse: I am in on two things that might be of interest to the group. The first is an initiative of the LauSanne movement (a largely evangelical Christian but worldwide, not just American) and World Evangelical Alliance (also worldwide) , who called a meeting of scientists and theologians two weeks ago to draft a statement on care of the environment and climate change- in the hopes that this will serve as another key document in the Christian faith community- it is a call for action .

Here is a press release, although I think the call to action is still not released


The second is that the Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Ethicists, a small group that was basically formed when there were so many threats to the endangered species act a decade ago, is getting more active.  There will be some things coming out of that soon. They might have an interest in partnering.

From Rick Hammer: I thought I would briefly report back with some of the outreach work I have been engaged in and what’s on the horizon. First, I am a member of a moderate Baptist church with a membership of about 1900 here in Texas.  I had lunch with my pastor last week to discuss the possibility of me leading and teaching a Sunday evening course on Christian environmental stewardship. He was enthusiastic and the plan is to get this class started this fall. I may have the chance to speak to the entire congregation on a Sunday morning as well. For the class I plan to use Calvin DeWitt’s ‘ Earthwise: A Guide to Hopeful Creation Care.’ In my writing and teaching I try to bring the perspective of a biologist with an emphasis on what biodiversity is and why it’s important.  I have written a short essay about biodiversity from a Christian Biblical perspective and had this published in the Baptist Standard, which is a biweekly publication for all Texas Baptists.