Author: Shannon M.D. Smith

CEE November Newsletter

CEE News
November 2021

Dear Friends,

As many of us gather to give thanks in the coming days, we at Center for Earth Ethics want to convey our respect and gratitude to Indigenous peoples around the world who have kept traditional ways that honor and protect the whole community of life. We also want to share some updates from our work.

Sincerely,

Karenna

Program Updates

William J. Barber III Joins CEE

If you are in Virginia, please join Will and other dedicated climate justice advocates for ”Protect Our Air, Our Lives” this Saturday, November 27, 2021, 2 – 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Angler’s Park, 350 Northside Drive, Danville, Virginia. Learn More and Register Here.

Virginia Mercury Publishes Karenna Gore Column on Mountain Valley Pipeline

On the 49th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Executive Director Karenna Gore penned a guest column, “The common wealth of water,” in the Virginia Mercury. Gore urged Virginia’s state government not to certify the planned Mountain Valley Pipeline. Read More

“The Time to Act is Now”: A Faith + Food Reflection

Indigenous Water Ethics: A Traditional Dialogue

On Thursday, October 7, CEE convened “Indigenous Water Ethics: A Traditional Dialogue.” Mona Polacca, senior fellow for the Original Caretakers Program, brought together diverse perspectives and lived experiences around Indigenous communities’ water sources: Betty Lyons, president and executive director of the American Indian Law Alliance, Austin Nunez, chairman of the Wa:k—San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation, and Rāwiri Tinirau, co-director of Te Atawhai o Te Ao, a Māori research institute. Watch Now

Upcoming Events

In Case You Missed It…

Advisory Board member Jacqueline Patterson, environmental justice advocate and founder of the Chisholm Legacy Project, received the 26th Heinz Award for the Environment. Read More

On November 2, Mona Polacca, senior fellow for the Original Caretakers Program, led a session, “In Conversation: Nature’s Community,” at Expo 2020 in Dubai. Learn More

On Tuesday, October 26, Union Theological Seminary hosted an online screening of “The Ants and the Grasshopper”—a new film that follows Anita Chitaya as she visits the US and battles hunger, sexism and climate change in her native Malawi. Co-director Raj Patel introduced the film. Afterwards, the Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, dean of the Episcopal Divinity School, led a discussion with the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center, Karenna Gore, executive director of the Center for Earth Ethics, and Francine Johnson from the Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign and Mileston Co-operative. Read More

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival will take place online on Cork Community Television from Thursday 25th November 2021 until Sunday 28th November 2021. There will be live events, including Q&A’s with the interviewees as well as some live music at the Maldron Hotel in Shandon, Cork, Ireland during the course of the Festival. These are subject strictly to the Covid 19 regulations specified at the time and the attendance will be limited.

Please join us for any of the online and hybrid events happening this week!

Programme of online events on Cork Community Television

For the 2021 Tenth Anniversary Festival Launch, CEE Original Caretakers Senior Fellow, Mona Polacca, joined Spirit of Mother Jones Festival Committee organizer Dr. John Barimo for a special online event. See “Restoring Our Connection to Nature” with Mona Polacca below or on the Mother Jones site here.

This invitation was inspired by the outpouring of support from the Irish people to the Hopi and Navajo Covid-19 Relief Fund. Donations came with heartfelt messages:

“We will never forget your kindness to us when we had less than nothing… in Solidarity from Ireland.”

“In times of great suffering like now, if we could all stand together and support each other… It will make a difference. The generosity shown to the Irish during our famine did that. I want to honour that gesture and help now.”

“In thanks for our fellow Indigenous people’s, the Choctaw Nation, aid during the Great Hunger in Ireland.”

The fund has raised over 7.5 million dollars in support of Hopi and Navajo Nations.

This online interview with Mona Polacca of Hopi, Tewa and Havasupai traditions, took place at the launch of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival, 14th October 2021. We were gratefully joined by two University College Cork (UCC) students from the Choctaw Nation, Claire Young and Austin West. A good meeting was had by all.

The discussion was held as part of UCC Community Week in a collaboration between the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival with the UCC Department of Civic and Community Engagement and the Center for Earth Ethics in New York City.

This special launch event was coordinated by UCC’s Dr John Barimo and CEE’s Shannon MD Smith. Many thanks to Mr. Ger O’Mahony, Coordinator and Co-Founder of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival for inviting us to participate in such a meaningful way and for keeping the spirit of Mother Jones, the spirit of justice alive for people and the Earth.

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.

CEE Fall Update

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Join us TONIGHT! October 26th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm ET, for a screening of The Ants and The Grasshopper. This new film, directed by Raj Patel, follows Anita Chitaya as she battles hunger, sexism and climate change in her home in Malawi, through the heartland of the US midwest, to communities of people of color in Detroit, to the White House. Despite a language barrier, she’s able to reach patriarchs, climate skeptics, and deniers of equality through her fluency with the Bible.

Before the film screening, there will be a welcome by the film’s co-director, Raj Patel. Immediately following the screening there will be a panel discussion moderated by the Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union. The panel will feature the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center, Karenna Gore, executive director of the Center for Earth Ethics, and Francine Johnson of the Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign and Mileston Cooperative.

RSVP HERE


More Upcoming Events…

On Friday, October 29, at 12:15 p.m. British Summer Time (7:15 a.m. in New York), Karenna Gore, executive director of the Center for Earth Ethics, will deliver the opening address at “Uniting the World to Tackle Climate Change: Perspectives from Religion and Politics,” an international conference hosted by the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews.  REGISTER


 

Postcolonial Poetics: Aliou Niang on the Human-Nature Relationship Friday, November 5, 2021 | 12 pm ET

Join Aliou Niang, associate professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary, for a talk on the human-nature relationship.

Columbia University Professor of French and of Philosophy Souleymane Diagne, who also directs the Institute of African Studies at Columbia, will offer a response to Niang’s presentation. Rev. Petra Thombs, executive director of the Ramapough Lenape Nation Community Center in Mahwah, N.J., will provide a reflection.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and the Institute for African Studies at Columbia University.

REGISTER


From Our Friends…


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Ahead of the #G20: Interfaith Initiatives to Achieve the Agenda 2030 Goals

ICYMI: Read the summary from the July 14th “Ahead of the #G20” webinar on changing societal and values-based frameworks for #ClimateAction.
Panelists included Mr. Arthur Dahl, President of the International Environment Forum; Ms. Karenna Gore, Executive Director of the Center for Earth Ethics at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City; and Ms. Astrid Shomaker, Director for Global Sustainable Development and Directorate General for Environment at the European Commission. Dr. Pasquale Annicchino of the Bruno Kessler Foundation moderated the discussion.
Read the summary at the IF20 Interfaith Forum:

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 was to explore how faith communities – including Indigenous communities – can support the transformation of global food systems to being sustainable, accessible, equitable, and regenerative. This panel will reflect on the dialogues and offer insights into increased faith engagement leading up to the Food Systems Summit and beyond.
We need everyone engaged to find local and global food systems solutions for healthy people and a healthy planet. 🌍  Join us! www.faithandfood.earth

 

Andrew Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience working with community leaders and elected officials around the world to build movements, craft communications and affect change on climate and environmental issues. He is the Director of Sustainability and Global Affairs at the Center for Earth Ethics where he works to change both policies and culture to advance the sustained well-being of the people of the world. A graduate of the Union Theological Seminary, Andrew began his career as a youth representative to the United Nations Rio+20 Conference in Brazil in 2012. A native of Oregon, Andrew and his wife and daughter live in Portland.

 

Kelly Moltzen is a tireless advocate of making connections between food, faith, and social justice. In addition to being a co-convener of the Interfaith Public Health Network, Kelly is a program manager at the Institute for Family Health with the Bronx Health REACH initiative. She is a 2015 Re:Generate Fellow with the Food, Health and Ecological Well-Being Program of Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Professional Development Co-Chair with the Religion Member Interest Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and a member of the Ecumenical/Interfaith Committee of the USA Secular Franciscan Order. She has an MPH from NYU, completed her dietetic internship with the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and has a BS in Nutritional Sciences & Dietetics from the University of Delaware. Kelly was recognized as part of Hunter College’s NYC Food Policy Center 40 Under 40 Class of 2020. 

 

Dr. Marium Husain is an oncology hospitalist at the Ohio State University James Comprehensive Care Center. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and completed a residency in Internal Medicine. She will be pursuing a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology. Marium has been working on community service projects in the Columbus area and abroad for the past 10 years. As a board member of the national non-profit, IMANA (Islamic Medical Association of North America), she has been working on public health education and creating domestic campaigns for food insecurity, reproductive health, mental health and climate change.

 

Joshua Basofin is a lawyer, conservationist, sustainability advisor, and climate change organizer. After a stint as a researcher and teaching assistant at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Joshua worked as a sustainability advisor, first in Tel Aviv and then in New York with UK based nonprofit Forum for the Future. He now serves as the  Director of Climate Action for Parliament of the World’s Religions.

 

 

 

Bibi la Luz Gonzales is an international political economist merging food security. Climate, sustainability and human rights. She is the founder of Come Mejor Wa’ik//Eat Better Wa’ik. Bibi is a positive and enthusiastic multilingual Global Shaper, One Young World Ambassador, World Merit Guatemala Office Representative, and Merit360 SDG2 Executor.

 

 

 

Steve Chiu is Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation’s Representative at the United Nations. In alignment with Tzu Chi’s work in disaster relief, climate action, education for global citizenship, sustainable development and gender equality, Steve works to build relationships, share best practices and develop programs with other organizations to make tangible impacts on the ground, with the mission of alleviating the suffering of those in need. With over 19 years of experience in community based development and local interfaith partnership, Steve seeks to connect the importance of grassroots action to policies that are being developed on the international level.

 

Almamy Chouaibou Diagan

Co-Founder, Smart System Services + Rim Robotique designing technological solutions adapted to our cities to reduce the impact of man on the phenomenon of global warming. Co-Founder of the ‘’Union des Jeunes entrepreneurs Mauritanien’’ and member of the Network of young Mauritanian scientists.

 

 

 

Stineke Oenema is the Global Coordinator of the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSN)

 

 

 

Dr. Maria P. Neira has been directing the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland since September 2005. Throughout her tenure and up until now she has led and advised on policy and management in key areas of environmental health.  Prior to that she served as Under-Secretary of Health and President of the Spanish Food Safety Agency. From 1993-1998 she was Coordinator of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control.

Dr Neira began her career as a medical coordinator working with refugees in El Salvador and Honduras for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). She then spent several years working in different African countries during armed conflicts. In early 2019, she was nominated among the top 100 policy influencers in health and climate change.  

 

Dr. Martin Frick is the Deputy of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Food Systems Summit 2021. Previously, he served as the senior director of UN Climate Change where he oversaw the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the secretariat’s climate action work.

The Faith + Food Coalition is convened by the Center for Earth Ethics in response to the call for contributions to the UN Food Systems Summit 2021.

Join us! www.faithandfood.earth

Faith + Food Dialogues Series Registration is Open!

Faith + Food Dialogues ~ May 6th – June 3rd

A series of independent dialogues hosted by the Faith and Food Coalition to contribute to the United Nations Food Systems Summit.

Food sits at the center of our lives. From a meal on the go to a holiday spent around the table with family and friends, food not only sustains us but helps define who we are. It informs aspects of our religious identities and marks how we choose to interact with the world.

Globally our relationship with food and the systems we utilize to produce it are having alarming effects on the earth and its people. Nearly 2 billion people are food insecure while billions more are ailing from diet related health issues. Human and planetary health are suffering as a result of how food is grown and what kinds of food are being encouraged.

This Fall, the Secretary-General of the United Nations will be convening a Food Systems Summit which will bring together farmers, politicians, business leaders, youth groups and other civil society members to examine how our global food systems can be reformed to equitably and sustainably feed the world.

To contribute, the Faith and Food Coalition is hosting five independent virtual dialogues to critically examine the role faith based organizations can bring to conversations about our food systems. These dialogues will take place as part of the broader Food Systems Summit Dialogues.

These dialogues are being organized by the following coalition of leading faith-based organizations: Bhumi Global, Interfaith Public Health Network, Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA), Parliament of the World’s Religions, the Tzu Chi Foundation, World Evangelical Alliance, and the Center for Earth Ethics.

 

 

Check out our livestream preview from March 26th –

Join CEE Executive Director Karenna Gore, Sustainability and Global Affairs Program Director Andrew Schwartz, Original Caretakers Program Senior Fellow Mona Polacca and Director of Bhumi Global Gopal Patel on our YouTube Channel.

 

Join the Faith + Food Coalition Community! www.FaithandFood.Earth

Union Theological Seminary Climate Emergency Community Assembly

When: April 22nd and 23rd, 2021 2:00 – 4:30 pm
As you may have heard, Union has recently declared a climate emergency, being the first seminary in the world to do so. The declaration commits Union to adopting a climate mobilization plan with the goal of eliminating our school’s carbon emissions in the next ten years. The plan will recommend changes to Union’s facilities, curriculum, and community engagement.
Union has committed to a democratic process for creating the plan, which will take the form of a Community Assembly on April 22nd and 23rd. The Community Assembly will consist of 15 students, 5 faculty, 5 staff, and 5 alums.
Attached is a copy of the Emergency Declarationthe Assembly Itinerary, and a Google Form if you are interested in participating. All students should have also gotten an email with a slightly more robust explanation and access to all the links as well.

White House Announces Environmental Justice Advisory Council Members including Catherine Coleman Flowers

Today, the White House announced the members of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. The advisory council will provide advice and recommendations to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council on how to address current and historic environmental injustices, including recommendations for updating Executive Order 12898.

The White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) was established by President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad to fulfill his and Vice President Harris’s commitment to confronting longstanding environmental injustices and to ensuring that historically marginalized and polluted, overburdened communities have greater input on federal policies and decisions.

“We know that we cannot achieve health justice, economic justice, racial justice, or educational justice without environmental justice. That is why President Biden and I are committed to addressing environmental injustice,” said Vice President Harris. “This historic White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council will ensure that our administration’s work is informed by the insights, expertise, and lived experience of environmental justice leaders from across the nation.”

The WHEJAC members will represent a diverse set of geographical regions and will serve in a voluntary capacity.

• LaTricea Adams, Michigan
• Susana Almanza, Texas
• Jade Begay, South Dakota
• Maria Belen-Power, Massachusetts
• Dr. Robert Bullard, Texas
• Tom Cormons, Virginia
• Andrea Delgado, Washington, D.C.
• Catherine Flowers, Alabama
• Jerome Foster, New York
• Kim Havey, Minnesota
• Angelo Logan, California
• Maria Lopez-Nunez, New Jersey
• Harold Mitchell, South Carolina
• Richard Moore, New Mexico
• Rachel Morello-Frosch, California
• Juan Parras, Texas
• Michele Roberts, Washington, D.C.
• Ruth Santiago, Puerto Rico
• Nicky Sheats, New Jersey
• Peggy Shepard, New York
• Carletta Tilousi, Arizona
• Vi Waghiyi, Alaska
• Kyle Whyte, Michigan
• Beverly Wright, Louisiana
• Hli Xyooj, Minnesota
• Miya Yoshitani, California

“This is a historic moment that environmental justice communities have been working toward for decades. President Biden and Vice President Harris are, for the first time ever, bringing the voices, perspectives, and expertise of environmental justice communities into a formal advisory role at the White House,” said Cecilia Martinez, Senior Director for Environmental Justice, CEQ. “The advisory council builds off the important work of EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council and will provide input and recommendations to senior leaders across government as this administration works to clean up toxic pollution, create good-paying, union jobs in all communities, and give every child in America the chance to grow up healthy.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) will fund and provide administrative support for the WHEJAC. The first meeting of the WHEJAC will be held virtually tomorrow, March 30, and will be open to the public. Please visit the U.S. EPA’s WHEJAC webpage for more information at:  www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/white-house-environmental-justice-advisory-council.

The WHEJAC will complement the ongoing work of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a federal advisory committee established in 1993 to provide advice and recommendations on EJ issues to the Administrator of the EPA. More information about NEJAC can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/national-environmental-justice-advisory-council

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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 Bhumi Global Gopal Patel on why we are convening faith groups to talk about food systems and the contributions of indigenous wisdom to solving these complex challenges.

Bring a snack to eat! Make a cuppa.

Join the Faith + Food Coalition Community at faithandfood.earth!

March 24th registration deadline approaching for Earth Day online training Faith Cohort!

The Center for Earth Ethics is kicking off Earth Day by co-hosting a Faith Leaders cohort at the upcoming Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training happening April 22 – May 2. We are teaming with The Climate Reality Project to create specific sessions that will help faith leaders from across traditions integrate climate activism into their work. Registration is open until March 24th!

 

FAITH COHORT REGISTRATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Visit the Registration link at Climate Reality. To register to be part of the Faith Cohort please answer the following questions in the registration form as outlined below:

  • Do you currently volunteer or organize with any groups focused on climate change or environmental justice? Please answer “YES”
  • Organization Name: Please write “Center for Earth Ethics”
  • Email Jennifer Fei at [email protected] and let her know you’ve joined the Faith cohort. This will help us ensure that you are given access to all of the faith specific events and tables.

REGISTER HERE

THIS IS OUR MOMENT FOR CHANGE. YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN.

The Climate Reality Leadership Corps Virtual US Training will feature four days of two-hour live broadcasts, with additional on-demand viewing and interactive sessions available between April 22 and May 2.

 

During the training, you’ll join broadcast sessions with some of the world’s leading climate experts and activists – led by former Vice President Al Gore – along with breakout sessions designed to dive deeper into the most important climate topics of today. Sessions will focus on three key themes in the fight for an equitable and sustainable future:

  • Stopping fossil fuel expansion
  • Accelerating just climate solutions
  • Driving federal climate action in the US

The Virtual US Training offers the chance to connect with other activists just like you and join a global network of world changers making a real difference for the planet when it matters.There is no cost to attend and our flexible online format is designed to work with your schedule. This is our time and your year to make a difference.

*Note on Scheduling:

We will offer the Faith Cohort option during the weekday training schedule. If the weekday schedule does not work for you and you would like to participate in the weekend training schedule, please let us know. Feel free to email Jennifer Fei at jen[email protected] with any questions or to discuss your options for participating in the Faith Cohort.

REGISTER HERE

Looking forward to seeing you April, 22nd!

– The Center for Earth Ethics Team