Month: May 2020

U.S. Faith-Based Coalition Calls on World Bank to Take Climate Action in the Time of COVID

Washington, D.C. – A coalition of faith-based organizations in the United States will launch a campaign tomorrow in support of Big Shift, a global effort calling on the World Bank to end all support for fossil fuels and shift investment to renewable energy access in the time of COVID-19 and beyond. The World Bank continues to subsidize fossil fuels, which fans the flames of the ongoing climate emergency, despite scientific evidence showing the impact of continued investment and usage of such fuels. The campaign, which will drive support for a petition to World Bank President David Malpass, begins tomorrow and will be promoted through May 24th.

The launch coincides with the buildup to the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s second encyclical, which calls for care of “our common home” and laments environmental degradation and global warming.

“Five years ago this week, Pope Francis urged the world to replace highly polluting fossil fuels with renewable energy without delay (Laudato Si’ 165),” said Susan Gunn, director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. “While some progress has been made in the shift towards a renewable energy economy, more still needs to be done, especially by large institutions whose great financial and political resources come with great responsibility. That is why we’re asking the World Bank to stop supporting fossil fuels. In this time of acute crisis, we need them to help lead the way forward towards a more sustainable future for everyone.”

The coalition behind this week’s effort includes the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Center for Earth Ethics, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Justice Team, and Church World Service, all of whom support the work of the global Big Shift initiative, a network of civil society groups representing 112 partner organizations.

The petition (in English and Spanish) comes in the form of a letter, which addresses the current situation and calls for immediate action:

“As people of faith and conscience from diverse traditions in different countries, we lament the devastating impacts of COVID-19 which are occurring at the same time as communities are experiencing the far-reaching implications of the changing climate – from huge wildfires to extreme droughts and flooding. No one is immune to COVID-19, which is leaving a trail of death and illness, overburdening and overwhelming health care systems and workers around the world. It is leaving untold economic damage in its wake that will have repercussions for years to come.

Both climate change and COVID-19 fall hardest on the poorest and most vulnerable communities and nations who are at greatest risk because of pre-existing health, gender, racial, ethnic and economic inequities. Additionally, 840 million people still live without having access to the energy needed to improve their economic and developmental outcomes and respond to COVID-19.”

The group specifically called on President Malpass to:

  • Phase out lending for all fossil fuels after 2020, including coal and natural gas
  •  Develop a clear strategy to improve access to energy through small scale renewable energy sources

The petition notes that this call is in line with World Bank commitments to support the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to less than 1.5C and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal seven (SDG7) to provide sustainable energy access for all by 2030.

”Shifting the Bank’s energy portfolio would demonstrate the moral leadership urgently needed during these difficult times,” the petition reads. “ Doing so represents good environmental and financial stewardship which will send a clear signal to other governments, finance institutions and markets.”

For more information about Big Shift and the efforts to encourage the World Bank to support renewable energy in the time of COVID-19, contact [email protected].


 

‘We Hold the Earth’ Interfaith Climate Prayer Earth Day 2020 – Mindahi Bastida

“We greet All Our Relations and All Our Relations means based on the sacred elements of life.

We greet the fire, the air, the earth and the wind.  We human beings are the reflection of the sacred elements and we are circumstantial to the Mother Earth.

We pray for Mother Earth to stand up with us in these critical times of anthropocentrism.

We are facing bio-cultural crisis and we as human beings we need to remember who we are, why we are here on this planet that we call Mother Earth.

We need peace.

But also, we need also to make peace with Mother Earth.

We want to come together. We want to work together. And we need to come together in order to overcome this crisis, this civilizational crisis that is killing life.

We pray for Mother Earth and the sacred elements to help us and stand up with us.

We have come the problem but we can be the solution.

We ask all the spiritual leaders, the spiritual leaders around the world, that we have a lot of work to do in order to conserve life.

Because we came to this beautiful planet to take care, not to take over.

We call attention to all people even if they are not religious, that they come together in order to live in harmony, in balance, in peace and in dignity.

Kjamadi (Thank you)”

Parliament of the World’s Religions – Earth Day 2020 Interfaith Climate Prayer

       Center for Earth Ethics - Faded Logo

Catherine Coleman Flowers appointed to ‘Unity’ Task Force on Climate Change

Moved by a visit to Lowndes County, Alabama, Bernie Sanders has appointed Catherine Coleman Flowers, Founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice (CREEJ) and CEE Fellow on Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement to the ‘Unity’ Task Force on Climate Change. Flowers has been shining a spotlight for years on conditions of abject poverty in southern states where neglect of poor people, largely communities of color, has led to a sanitation nightmare and the return of diseases long thought eradicated from the United States. She will serve alongside task force members selected by both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders to inform policy making discussions in preparation for the 2020 presidential election in November.

In addition to her work through CREEJ and at the Center for Earth Ethics, Catherine serves as the Rural Development Manager for the Equal Justice Initiative. Her first book, WASTE: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret will also be available in November.

Read a full list of Climate Task Force appointees below.

Read a summary of all the task force news at Vox.

Biden’s appointees:

  • Former Secretary of State John Kerry, task force co-chair
  • Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
  • Kerry Duggan, former deputy director for policy to Vice President Biden
  • Former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy
  • Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and co-founder of the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Congressional Task Force

Sanders’s appointees:

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), task force co-chair and co-author of the Green New Deal resolution
  • Varshini Prakash, co-founder of youth activist group Sunrise Movement
  • Catherine Flowers, founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice

A Conversation with Kelly Brown Douglas and Karenna Gore: COVID-19 and the Environment

Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary hosted a Facebook Live conversation between Dean Kelly Brown Douglas and CEE Director, Karenna Gore on COVID 19 and the Environment.

Karenna Gore has appeared in conversation with Kelly Brown Douglas on topics related to both Climate and Faith.

In this series of talks, Dean Kelly Brown Douglas speaks with guests on how the COVID-19 pandemic is exposing underlying injustices, poverty and racism that our Church and society have grown too comfortable with.

Tune in Monday, May 18th, 3:15 -3:45 pm for the next talk on Navajo Nation During COVID-19.

Covid-19 and the Environment

Join EDS at Union on Tuesday, May 12th at 2:15 PM ET for a Facebook Live conversation between Dean Kelly Brown Douglas and Karenna Gore on COVID 19 and the Environment. Karenna Gore is the founder and director of the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) at Union Theological Seminary. The Center for Earth Ethics bridges the worlds of religion, academia, policy and culture to discern and pursue the changes that are necessary to stop ecological destruction.

Posted by Episcopal Divinity School at Union on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Mindahi Bastida’s Message on Toltec Wisdom

Toltec timekeepers knew about the 26 thousand year cycle of the precession of the equinoxes. That is the time it takes for our planet to be aligned to the same north star back again. It consists of five cycles of fifty-two hundred years. We have just completed the fifth of these cycles, which for the Toltec was known as the fifth Sun. It was composed of ten cycles of five hundred and twenty years each. The last cycle started in 1492 and ended in the year 2012.

They knew that it would be a time of destruction and degradation. They knew that the last fifty-two years would be the worst, for by then every single aspect of Creation would be completely eroded. They knew that starting on 2012, year 1 Flint, Mother Earth would start a thirteen-year cycle of cleansing until year 1 House, which is 2025. This cycle was announced as 4 Movement, because it refers to the Four Elements moving powerfully together, which means, Earthquakes, Fires, Hurricanes and Floods.

As you can see, I have not mentioned people as agents of that destruction and degradation. But we know that we are participating in the cycles of life with Mother Earth. So, the destruction that started in this continent of the Americas in 1492 led to the degradation of bio-cultural traditions, exerted by civilizations that had chosen to stop respecting and relating to the cycles of life. Those civilizations thought that their purpose in life is to achieve salvation, and that it did not matter to kill, destroy, or extract, if by doing that they could get a place in heaven.But now that they have polluted their own water, their own air, their own soil and their own fire, now that they have polluted their own bodies, their own organs, their own cells and their own genes, they are crumbling as a civilization. Mother Earth will continue to go through her cleansing process.

Those of us who have kept to the Toltec ways, have been preparing for a long time. We have kept our medicinal systems, we have kept our food systems, our sacred sites and our sacred calendars.

We accompany Mother Earth in her cleansing process with much respect, acknowledging that this is her time, and we are paying close attention to all that is unfolding during these thirteen years. We are sharing what she is communicating with everyone, and whoever is ready to listen and take in with wisdom and humility, will know what to do, how to behave, what to change in their way of life.

All of us have a chance to rise to a new level of consciousness, with an attitude and a renewed commitment of living with Mother Earth.

***

Originally Published by The Fountain for Sacred Lands / Sacred Cultures / Sacred Economics. 

Irish help raise 1.7 million and growing for Navajo and Hopi Nations impacted by Covid-19

In a time when many are struggling, and challenged to summon the will to care for those most suffering, a centuries old bond between nations shines a light on human kindness and solidarity. 

Over 1.7 million has been raised so far for the Navajo and Hopi families COVID-19 Relief Fund with thousands of donations over the first few days of May. During the night of May 4th and into the wee hours of the morning hundreds of donations raising hundreds of thousands of dollars poured in with multiple donations per minute. Along with the financial support came hundreds of messages of solidarity remembering the kindness shown to the Irish people by the Choctaw who sent $170 during the Irish Famine in 1847, the equivalent of thousands of dollars, soon after they had gone through their own Trail of Tears. 

**UPDATE: as of 2 pm EST May 6th, the total raised is over 2.6 million dollars.  And the relief fund has expanded it’s goal to 3 million dollars.

**UPDATE: as of 1 pm EST May 11th, the total raised is over 3.5 million dollars.  And the relief fund has expanded it’s goal to 5 million dollars.

This story is being tracked by Naomi O’Leary, Europe Correspondent with the @IrishTimes.

The exchange between the Choctaw and Irish during the Great Famine is memorialized by the ‘Kindred Spirits’ memorial in Cork and in the etchings on the NYC Hunger Memorial.

Link to the thread on twitter: https://twitter.com/mariafarrell/status/1257381654873673731?s=20

Visit the Go Fund Me page to donate and to read the responses from the Irish offering up their thanks for the kindness of Native American ancestors.

Lighting the Sacred Fire – May fire festivals and prayers in solidarity

Today we light our sacred fires across the country and indeed across many sacred lands, to stand with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe for peace and right action. During this time of the Coronavirus the Mashpee have received notice of dissolution of their lands from the US Department of the Interior and have filed a court injunction. Arguments will be heard by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by phone Thursday, May 7, 2020.

“The Mashpee Wampanoag tribal people have called this land home for over 12,000 years. Their history predates the United States and they were the tribe who welcomed the Pilgrims in the 17th Century. The Tribe fought the U.S. government for recognition for nearly 40 years before finally becoming a federally recognized tribe in 2007. However, they have remained landless.” – From Massachusetts Congressman, Joe Kennedy’s statement of support.

Tonight, May 3rd, we light our candles and sacred fires sending our prayers and support as they prepare for a court hearing on Thursday, May 7th.

This call to action coincides with other significant events rooted in the traditions associated with lighting fires.

It’s no surprise International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day in some countries and often referred to as May Day (May 1st), was chosen for a celebration of labourers and workers. The beginning of May is a traditional time for the lighting of sacred fires across the world and truly a time of festivities for the people.

In the Celtic Wheel of the year, May 1 is the common observance day of Beltane, one of the High Holy Days of the Celtic calendar. Notably celebrated in the British Isles, Beltane is marked by a many days long festival culminating in the dance around the Maypole weaving brightly colored ribbons. The weaving is in honor of the marriage of the May King and Queen, or the God and Goddess of the Land and the fertility that expresses itself at the on-set of summer in flowers and trees, in birdsong and the dance of the sacred masculine and feminine. In present day Ireland, the festival is celebrated with the lighting of a sacred fire at the center of the Emerald Isle in the place where the ancient kings would have gone to be ‘married’ to the Goddess of the Land, Eiru. The early peoples of these lands believed the king could not rule well unless he was in service to the land and to the life-giving Mother Goddess. Fires are lit at each of the 8 major seasonal holidays of the calendar – the four Solar Festivals of Solstices and Equinoxes and the Cross-Quarter days that fall directly between them, also known as Lunar Sabbats. Beltane heralds the entrance to the Light Half of the Year, completing the first or Dark Half that began with the Feast of the Ancestors or Samhain, celebrated on October 31st, and is considered one of the most sacred festivals of the year.

May 3rd, is also a sacred day in Mesoamerican Cosmovision that can be celebrated with the lighting of a fire.  CEE’s Scholar in Residence Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina explains:

May 3, 2013 (and not December 21, 2012, as miscalculated) was conceived by ancient Olmecs some three thousand years ago as the ideal date for the culmination of the great cycle of 13 Baktuns. This cycle—5,128 years and 280 days long—would be ruled by evening Venus heralding the waters over the western horizon of the Yucatan Peninsula on that May 3, 2013, or 4 Ajaw 3 Kank’in in the calendar system inherited by the Maya. Such event would provide most favorable omens for the Corn People to thrive in the 13 Baktun cycle unfolding. Evening Venus, the great wind deity, marks its agency as a bringer of rain clouds by appearing at its northernmost position around May 3. This appearance is so important that multiple temples and pyramids, built over thousands of years, were carefully aligned to May 3, including the Feathered Serpent Pyramid at the Citadel of Teotihuacan.

The great cycle of 13 Baktuns offered omens of abundance and fertility to the Corn People, that is, to both the Corn-Corn Deity and the Corn keepers who care for the seeds, observe the arrival of the rains and fulfill calendar-based ceremonies in harmony with entities of the natural world.

At the completion of the great cycle of 13 Baktuns one of the five Bacabs—deities as giant as the sacred Ceiba and upholders of the Sky and the Earth— lets go of its burden. For thirteen years, every May 3, the Corn People have the responsibility to present to Grandfather Fire what they no longer need for the new cycle. They will thus be prepared to accompany the Bacab in its standing ceremony on May 3, 2026, entering together a new cycle of abundance and harmony with Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon, Father Sun and Venus.

At noon of May 3, the Primordial Couple in the Pleiades fuse their beam of light with the Sun’s rays directly activating the baby corn stalks that have been helped by its caregivers to stand upright a few days earlier. This is a happy encounter between the heart of the sky, the heart of Earth and the heart of the Corn People. When sunset falls later that May 3, the favorite son of the Primordial Couple, born on day 9 Wind, brings the rains with his breath of life, ensuring abundant corn offspring six months later, on November 3.


Contributing authors:

Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina, Scholar in Residence

Shannon M.D. Smith, Communications