Profile

Andrew Schwartz

Andrew Schwartz

Director, Sustainability and Global Affairs

As director of sustainability and global affairs, Andrew Schwartz leads the Center’s programs, such as the 2021 Faith + Food Coalition Dialogue series, that bring together voices from around the world to further environmental and climate justice. He has nearly a decade of experience working with community leaders and government officials to create multilateral coalitions and support environmental movements.

Before joining CEE, Andrew worked as interim executive director of Bend 2030, a coalition of diverse stakeholders in Bend, Oregon, co-director of the Micah Challenge USA, an advocacy group focused on ending extreme poverty, and program manager of the Climate Reality Project, founded by Al Gore to influence national and international environmental policy on climate change.

Andrew earned his bachelor’s degree from Pacific Lutheran University and his master’s from Union Theological Seminary. While at Union, Andrew began his environmental advocacy career as a youth representative to the United Nations 2012 Rio+20 Conference, a major meeting in Brazil addressing climate change. 

An Oregon native, Andrew and his wife, Emily, live in Portland with their daughter. He is vice chair of the board of the Sierra Club’s Oregon Chapter.

 

Q&A with Andrew

What got you involved in the environmental movement?

During my second year at Union i served as a Youth Representative to the United Nations and focused on Rio+20 – a major conference in Brazil about climate change. Before taking the position I didn’t know or care much about the climate crisis but that changed.. Climate change threatens every part of our lives and has the ability to unbraid our collective future. Working on climate change allows me to work for a better future by advocating for a better more equitable society that values people over profits.

What is the connection between social justice and climate change.

Our society is built upon consumption and domination. We take and take and take without worrying about the consequences. The West was and is built upon the exploitation of the poor here in America and across the world, taking from them their labor and resources with little recompense. It’s unjust and killing the world.

How can we stop the climate crisis?

The cycles of oppression, consumption, and exploitation that precipitate the climate crisis have been normalized to the point that many people don’t see them as a problem. Or, for those who do, the systems that perpetuate these ways of thinking and being seem too big to overcome. The great lie about climate change is that it’s up the individual to stop climate change but instead we must disrupt the systems which is done through movement building, policy creation and public education. Yes everyone can do something in their individual lives but it’s much more important for us to work in community to disrupt the climate crisis inducing systems of consumption and exploitation.

How do you understand CEEs role in this work?

CEE approaches the climate crisis through the lens of equity, morality, and justice. We challenge the environmental community and broader society to see how the people and planet suffer through the lens of morality rather than stats and figures. Too much of the climate movement focuses on the science of climate change and the impacts it has on nature. It overlooks the very real suffering people around the world and here in the United States are experiencing right now. Climate change is not a far off thing that our kids have to worry about. It’s something we need to and can address right now.

From the Blog

Engaging Women of Faith in Food Systems Transformation

Food and water insecurity. Population growth. Diet and nutrition.  These three conditions combined – exacerbated by climate change – are creating challenges and even failures of food systems in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, both in regards to sustainability and human health.  On June 7, 2022, the… Read more

Values, Culture and Spirituality in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Fireside Chat: Values, Culture and Spirituality in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration Virtual Event — Monday, April 11, 2022 8 a.m. Los Angeles | 11 a.m. New York | 5 p.m. Paris | 6 p.m. Nairobi What does it take to heal the planet? Some might look to finance, knowledge… Read more

Faith for Earth Aims to Shape Global Environmental Policy

Faith for Earth Dialogue Online Monday, February 21 – Friday, March 4 ——— The next few weeks could prove decisive for global environmental policymaking. The fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly will be held online and in Nairobi, Kenya, from February 28 through March 2. Hosted by the UN Environment Programme,… Read more

The Time for Action Is Now: A Reflection for World Food Day

Tomorrow is World Food Day. World Food Day began in 1979 to raise global awareness on poverty and hunger. This year, it is being observed just a few weeks after the end of the United Nations Food Systems Summit, the culmination of 18 months spent gathering information from stakeholders around… Read more

UN Environment Programme Grants Accreditation to CEE and Union

The United Nations Environment Programme has accredited Union Theological Seminary through the Center for Earth Ethics. Accreditation grants Union observer status and other privileges at the United Nations Environment Assembly and its subsidiaries. The Center for Earth Ethics initiated the accreditation process and is Union’s official connection with this UN… Read more

Faith + Food Coalition: Reflections for WHO Health Week – June 10th

The Faith + Food Coalition: ‘Faith and Food: Reflections for WHO Health Week’ Thursday, June 10th, 11 am ET To contribute to the UN Food Systems Summit, the Faith + Food Coalition hosted five separate interfaith, multi-stakeholder dialogues corresponding to each of the five Action Tracks. The objective of the dialogues… Read more

Seven Weeks for Water 2021, Holy Week: “Healing the water heals the wounds of the earth and its people”

The seventh and last reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2021 of the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network is written by Andrew Schwartz.* In the following reflection during Holy Week, he is using a small town in the USA as a case study to emphasise how local communities can take small initiatives to “resurrect” the contaminated… Read more

Watch: Faith + Food Coalition opens dialogues with livestream

The Center for Earth Ethics is so excited about the Faith + Food Coalition Dialogue Series – we hosted a livestream conversation Friday, March 26th! Check out our conversation with CEE Executive Director Karenna Gore, Sustainability and Global Affairs Program Director Andrew Schwartz, Original Caretakers Program Senior Fellow Mona Polacca and Director of… Read more

Banks Gather for Finance in Common Summit on Sustainability Solutions – Will it Matter?

This week 450 public development banks (PDBs) are gathering at the Finance in Common Summit, a seminal moment in the world of banking. The banks in attendance represent nearly $2.5 trillion in annual investments ranging from local banks and projects to multilateral banks providing development assistance across the globe. The… Read more

World Bank invested over $10.5 billion in fossil fuels since Paris Agreement

Big Shift Global – Research Papers Calling for an end to public financing of fossil fuels and a shift to investing in sustainable, renewable energy to provide energy access for all World Bank provides assistance and finance for fossils despite climate pledge Energy transition too slow to avert climate crisis… Read more