Month: December 2017

Democracy is Alive in Alabama

CEE’s Director of Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement, Catherine Coleman Flowers, reflects on the vote in Alabama.

Democracy Lives

The recent election in Alabama reminded the world and the nation about the power of the vote. Being from Lowndes County, Alabama, I am ever reminded of the importance of exercising one’s franchise. When I was a child, I watched my parents fight for that right. My father also reminded us that the five years, four months and seventeen days he served in the United States Army fighting tyranny was to ensure that we never took it for granted. So, at the age of eighteen, I exercised my civic duty to register to vote. The first presidential election I voted in was 1976. I cast my vote for a peanut farmer from Georgia. Later I too joined the military because of my respect for democracy. I have participated in every election henceforth.

Like my parents before me, I have made voting a family tradition. Before she was old enough to vote, my daughter Taylor and I would go to the polls together. I wanted to instill in her the importance of that privilege that my parents instilled in me. On December 12, 2017, she and I drove to the polls along with my twenty-two-month-old grandson. We cast our vote with the moral conviction that we had to speak for women, the environment and seven generations to come. We were determined to show that Democracy was alive and well. My cousin Perman Rush Hardy (see article below), a former sharecropper was doing likewise in Lowndes County. Her hard work on election day getting out the vote exemplifies what my parents taught me many years ago. Thank you to Perman and so many others that cast their vote, encouraged others to vote and took their families to the polls to vote. Because of you, Democracy is alive and well.

About the Author: Catherine Coleman Flowers (on left, pictured here with her daughter and grandson), is an Environmental Justice leader for Alabamians without basic needs met.  She is a fierce advocate and part of a loving family.


It’s a Family Affair…

                                        How a former sharecropper in an SUV helped drive Doug Jones to victory in Alabama’s Black Belt

 

 

If you live in Lowndes County and are of voting age, it’s a safe bet that Perman Hardy has spoken with you about voting at some point in the past 25 years.

As one of the thousands of sharecroppers who worked white men’s land in Lowndes County over the years, 59-year-old Hardy recalls picking cotton after school growing up. She eventually finished her education, bought her own home, and had a successful career as a home health nurse.

But the past two-and-a-half decades, Hardy has dedicated much of her free time to another pursuit: trying to ensure that every single person in Lowndes County shows up to the polls for every election in Alabama. A native of the unincorporated community of Collirene, she has done about as much as one person possibly could to boost turnout in the impoverished, majority-black county with a population of just 10,458 people…

Full Article by Connor Sheets here at www.AL.com.

Lenape Clan Mother Calls on Governor Cuomo to protect Bald Eagles’ Nesting Area, Stop CPV

Thursday, December 21, 2017 – Winter Solstice

Deer Clan Chief of the Ramapough Lenape Calls on Governor Cuomo to protect Bald Eagles’ Nesting Area and Stop Pipeline in Orange County, NY

Indigenous leaders present letter to Andrew Cuomo; Pipeline initially blocked by State regulators, OK’ed by Trump federal agency (FERC)

PRESS RELEASE

Media contacts: Rachel Marco-Havens of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary: 805-931-6873/[email protected]; or contact the American Indian Law Alliance: 914-316-8833/[email protected]

Who: Ramapough Lenape Nation, American Indian Law Alliance, Center For Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, Schaghticoke First Nations, Wittenberg Center For Alternative Resources

Why: While the proximity of pipeline construction violates state and federal law, the Eagle also holds deeply rooted, spiritual significance within Native culture. Destruction of the birds’ habitat directly threatens ecological, cultural and spiritual longevity.

Read Clara’s Letter Here and Sign On to show your Support!

 

Supporting Organizations

Schaghticoke First Nations
Ramapough Lenape Nation
Tribal Link Foundation
Friends of Turtle Island/ WESPAC Foundation
Elders Drum Project
Sukyo Mahikari UN NGO (special consultative status)
Gaiafield Project
Forum 21 Institute
Riverkeeper
Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action at Manhattanville College
The Watershed Center
Protect Orange County
Loretto Earth Network
Pax Christi Metro New York
Temple of Understanding
Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers
Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise
The Stuart Center of the Society of the Sacred Heart
National Ethical Service
Sane Energy Project
Keepers of the Water
Centre for Dialogue & Spirituality in the World Religions

Supporters

Clara Soaring Hawk
Deer Clan Chief
Ramapough Lenape Nation
“I am calling those who hold deep reverence for the sacredness of the Eagle Spirit to pray with me.”

Sachem Hawk Storm
Chief
Schaghticoke First Nations
“The eagles are our sacred relatives who carry all of our prayers and thoughts and intentions up to Wanthut Manetu (great spirit). They must be protected. Oneoway nekeech Achwetchteed”

Carol Makuta
Delaware Nation
“Please stop this!”

Tracy Basile
Committee Chair
Friends of Turtle Island/ WESPAC Foundation
“We stand with Chief Clara Soaring Hawk and all Ramapough and their allies in solidarity to protect the water, the eagles, the earth and her people. Governor Cuomo we need you to stand up too on behalf of future generations and stop the Millennium Pipeline.”

Elizabeth Damon
Director
Keepers of the Water
“Once again a land is being destroyed, the wild life, the cultural history, let’s stand against destruction.. there is no replacement”

Catherine Coleman Flowers
Director
Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise

Diane Roche
Director of Office of Justice
The Stuart Center of the Society of the Sacred Heart
“Peace and the Integrity of Creation Keep fracking from destroying the clean air and water that all creatures need, including the Eagles and ourselves.”

Dr. M. Darrol
Professor Emeritus
Bryant Centre for Dialogue & Spirituality in the World Religions
“Please heed the Deer Clan Chief.”

Francis J. Breen
Reverend
Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers
“New York does not need the Millennium Pipeline, as the State is now trying to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The pipeline is a risky environmental endeavor.”

Rev. Ken Kitatani
Main Representative, CAO
Sukyo Mahikari UN NGO (special consultative status)

Laura Musikanski
Executive Director
Happiness Alliance
“Our lands are sacred. Our health, our happiness and our well-being depend upon our land.”

Beth Blissman
UN Rep
Loretto Earth Network
“Thanks for the opportunity to sign on and support this message, and blessings of winter solstice hope!”

Pamela Kraft
Executive Director
Tribal Link Foundation

Grove Harris
Main Representative to the United Nations
Temple of Understanding
“So much is at stake. Please hear and heed the words of Chief Clara Soaring Hawk.”

Rosemarie Pace
Director
Pax Christi Metro New York
“PCMNY is a region of the Catholic Peace Movement that includes Orange County. One of our priorities is respect and care for creation, “Our Common Home,” as Pope Francis has named it. “Profit CANNOT be our priority.”

Kim Fraczek
Director
Sane Energy Project
“We are deeply hurting that the decision-maker, Andrew Cuomo, continues to ignore justice, truth, clarity and strength to do what is universally right. It’s time for you to claim your leadership on your 2017 State of the State address about doubling down on investing against fossil fuels. Halting Millennium’s destruction is the first step. It’s time for you to Walk The Talk, Governor Cuomo.”

Scott Martens
Protect Orange County
“I stand beside my elders and for the sake of my children. Please stop this fracked gas powerplant”

David Nicol
Executive Director
Gaiafield Project
“Please protect the eagles!”

Kay Dundorf
President
National Ethical Service
“Divesting from fossil fuels is a first step. Now stop the destruction of the Millennium’s pipeline.

CPV Power Plant begins construction despite Bald Eagle’s nest and rejection from NY State

Winter Solstice Update: For Immediate Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Lenape Clan Mother Calls on Governor Cuomo to protect Bald Eagles’ Nesting Area and Stop Pipeline

Letter from Clara in PDF
SIGN ON to show your SUPPORT here!
https://centerforearthethics.org/clara/

Competitive Power Ventures has been attempting to build a power plant on 60 acres of federally designated wetlands in NY State. Governor Cuomo and the state of NY said ‘NO’, but CPV was able to procure permits from the federal level. The project, which involves fracking, banned in NY State since 2014, would be devastating in its environmental impacts, including radiation and CO2 emissions, potential poisoning of the air and the water aquifer, along with the release of carcinogens and endocrine disruptors and the potential for a host of other related problems. Moreover, this land is home to bald eagles, and although eagles are federally protected by law—and there is currently an active eagle nest right next to the construction zone– CPV has already started chopping down trees, clearing the land for construction.

Our friends, Clara Soaring Hawk, Deer Clan Chief of the Ramapough-Lenape and other local leaders and organizations are taking the lead in responding to the impending threat to this endangered species habitat and native burial ground.

Please take a moment to educate yourself, get involved, and Share!

Reports on the Millennium pipeline opponents protest.

Sun, Dec. 17, 2017


SLATE HILL – Opponents of the Millennium pipeline lateral under construction in Wawayanda came out Saturday to deliver their message that the pipeline is impinging on the bald eagle habitat and that the construction is violating federal law because of the proximity to the birds.

Actor James Cromwell is one of the leaders in the movement to stop the pipeline and the CPV power plant, which would use the fracked gas delivered from the line.

Activist and actor, James Cromwell speaks with press at December 16th CPV protest.

“We have petitioned and notified every agency possible; no one wants to enforce the law,” he said.

That law, he noted, is that tree cutting is far too close to the eagles’ nest than allowable.

Pramilla Malick, founder and leader of the Protect Orange County group, remains adamant in her opposition to the pipeline.

“These eagles are clearly in distress and nobody seems to be willing to enforce the law, not Fish and Wildlife, not the DEC, not the governor’s office, not the courts so these eagles have nobody, they have no protection,” she said.

Juvenile Eagle in Distress

Link to Full Article at MidHusonNews.com

Also readCPV Factsheet prepared by Randy Hurst and Pramilla Malick

And Checking it Twice, Huffington Post

CEE Holiday Update!

Greetings friends,

The Holidays have arrived!   Some of us will be sharing stories and singing songs, others will contemplate in stillness the vastness of silence.  However you choose to honor the season at home with family, in faith, and in community, we celebrate the light.  We at the CEE share this sacred moment with all of you.

The Center for Earth Ethics has enjoyed a busy fall into winter with our friends and partners.  Now is the time we begin to digest and integrate all we have learned throughout this season’s events. And as new insights reveal themselves we take great pleasure introducing these advances in our upcoming projects.

Please join us in the classroom Feb 2-3, 2018 as we take the conversation Beyond GDP and save the dates: May 31th – June 2nd for our Annual Ministers Training  where we will continue to collaborate on faith, climate and curriculum.

All the best to you and yours,
Your Friends at the Center for Earth Ethics

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ECO-MINISTRY

Center for Earth Ethics hits Milestone, co-convenes academic conference with The Institute for Studies of Eastern Christianity (ISEC – formerly the Sophia Institute of Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Studies)

Creation, Redemption and Environmental Ethics from the Eastern Christian Perspective 
met at Union Theological Seminary on
December 8th, 2017.

Papers presented explored the Eastern Christian approach to the ‘original goodness of this world of ours, the redemptive quality of our effort to maintain its well-being, and the ethos of environmentally-sustainable action’.

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ORIGINAL CARETAKERS INITIATIVE 

Here in NY, CEE continues to support local Indigenous lead Community Activism to ‘Keep It in the Ground’.  The latest fight comes as CPV begins construction in a protected wetlands area with a Bald Eagle’s nesting ground.

Local organizers are planning a Solstice Gathering of both Native wisdom leaders and their allies to defend the rights of the birds to nest peacefully.

#StandwithClara Sign On to Show your Support!

Read More on our Blog

Also, read… An Interview with Mindahi Bastida: In partnership to protect the sacred.  

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ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE & CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

If you’ve been following the work of Program Area Director, Catherine Coleman Flowers, you know that The Guardian broke the story of Hookworm, in the US South following the release of a study conducted by Baylor University inspired by Catherine’s work.

Now, for the first time, a UN Poverty Investigator visited Lowndes County, AL to assess the situation on the ground.

Read More…

“Alabama has the Worst Poverty in the Developed World, U.N. Official Says”, NEWSWEEK, 12/10/17

“UN poverty official touring Alabama’s Black Belt: ‘I haven’t seen this’ in the First World”, www.AL.com, 12/8/17

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COLLABORATIONS ACROSS BORDERS

CEE bridged the work of all Program Areas to co-create this special event with the Human Impacts Institute.

CEE Staff, Fellows and Advisers participated in a panel:
What are Really the Roots of Climate Change?

Collaborators included
Lyla June Johnston, CEE Original Caretakers Fellow
Karenna Gore, CEE Director
&
Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Program.

The panel was facilitated by Tara DePorte, Founder of the Human Impacts Institute.

Videos of the Panel and
Lyla’s Performance

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Take Class with Us in 2018!

Beyond GDP: Lessons from Indigenous Cultures and Faith Traditions, SU 190 – KA1
Presented by The Center for Earth Ethics & Karenna Gore
Friday, February 2, 1:00 – 6:00 pm
Saturday, February 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Class Description and Registration Information Here!

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CONTRIBUTE to CEE for your YEAR END GIVING!

Many Thanks!

An Interview with Mindahi Bastida: In partnership to protect the sacred

CEE’s Original Caretakers Program Director, Mindahi Bastida is doing work with the kind of care few have patience for.  He has a slow pace to his words, and a firm stance.  Mindahi never tires of explaining to those he encounters about the preciousness of the water, the sacredness of the land, and the heritage imbued inside the mountains and the earth herself.
 
What is the initiative you are working on with CEE and UNESCO?
The initiative that CEE is working with UNESCO is the Protection of Biocultural Sacred Sites (BSS) of the world. This effort is being supported by indigenous organizations like Asociación Andes, Parque de la Papa, and other allied organizations such as Forum 21, The Fountain, Unity Earth and the Convergence, among others.  This initiative has also been named previously as the Spiritual Reserves of Humanity.
 
Why is it important at this time?
This initiative is highly important nowadays due to many sacred places in the indigenous territories are facing destruction or desecration.
The sacred places are key to protect life systems and biocultural heritage. The sacred places are special because they provide energetic balance to ancestral territories and also offer protection of one or more elements of life.
 
How does it augment USESCO’s current process of selecting World Heritage sites?
This initiative strengthens UNESCO work in protecting World Heritage Sites because it gives acknowledgement to Biocultural sacred sites that are being threatened and are meaningful for humans, all beings and life in the planet.
 
How is this work relevant to the mission of the Center for Earth Ethics?
This work is very relevant to the CEE mission to protect and defend life in the world. The Protection of Biocultural Sacred Sites initiative in the indigenous territories gives the chance to strengthen the  biocultural diversity and heritage. Also acknowledge the indigenous peoples spirituality.
 
Is there a specific goal or timeline you hope to achieve? 
By the year 2020 we should have ready the draft proposal to be presented to one or more nation States.
 
I see that there is a focus on Latin American countries.  How might this work impact a similar strategy within the United States?  Does this have any bearing on our protection of National Parks?
The focus is because this initiative was born in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia with spiritual leaders from indigenous peoples mostly from Latin America.  We are working in USA and other countries to write declarations towards the need of protecting sacred sites around the world. If there are Sacred Sites in the National Parks they should be acknowledged as Biocultural Sacred Sites.  
 
The public and other organizations can support this important initiative through the Center for Earth Ethics.

 

Collaborations Across Borders: Human Impacts

December 6, 2017, CEE had the pleasure to co-host Collaborations Across Borders in New York City with the Human Impacts Institute. This one-night Human Impacts Salon featured live performances by Lemon Guo, Angel Nafis, and Lyla June Johnston, exploring how we are working together in innovative ways to take climate action.

Original Caretakers Fellow, Lyla June Johnston, offered a poem titled The Borders Between You and Me. You can see a video of her performance here.

The evening’s panel was asked to engage the question “What Really Are the Roots of Climate Change?”, which seemed simple but led to a 90 minute discussion punctuated by artist’s interpretation of the same question.

The panel, moderated by Tara DePorte, director of HII, was a unique intersection of perspectives from Lyla June Johnston, CEE Original Caretakers Fellow; Karenna Gore, CEE Director; Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, CEE Advisor; and Anton Hufnagl, Counsellor for Climate, Environment and Urban Affairs at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C.

To see a video of the event panel presentation, click here.