Author: Shannon M.D. Smith

CEE November Update

Dear Friends,

Karenna Gore and CEE’s Herbalist in Residence, Poppy Jones, were joined by the Dogwood Alliance for a walk in the woods at NY City’s Van Cortlandt Park this fall.  Please enjoy Stories Happen in Forests‘ video, “Finding Faith in the Forest” giving you a window into their time together and a deep spiritual connection to the woods. The Dogwood Alliance is dedicated to reminding us how both magical & critical to our survival our Forests really are.

Join us and these heroic #ForestDefenders in building a powerful movement to protect our sacred forests. Learn more about their amazing work!

In Gratitude,
The Center for Earth Ethics Team

 

Join CEE this Month


Indigenous Timekeeping
and Sacred Sites Workshop

with Mindahi Bastida and Geraldine Patrick
Nov 17th, 2018, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm

Developing a Time-Space Consciousness
Activating Sacred Sites
Writing a Letter to our Beloved Home Landscape

THE RUBIN MUSEUM
150 West 17th St.
New York, NY 10011

Climate Change from the Perspective of Religious Traditions

“Indigenous American Religious Traditions and a ‘Wholistic’ Ecological Vision” with Karenna Gore, Mindahi Bastida and Geraldine Patrick

Sunday, November 18th
11:15 am – 12:15 pm

ALL SOULS CHURCH, NYC
1157 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10075

 

Sunday Scholars Panel: The Hudson as Life Force

How has the River been changed by us,
and how have we in turn, been changed by it?

Paul Gallay, President of Hudson Riverkeeper, moderates
with Karenna Gore, John Waldman, David Schuyler & Lee Bitsoi
Nov 18th, 2018, 2:00 – 3:00 pm, RSVP Required

Co-Hosted by Hudson Riverkeeper and
the Hudson River Museum

HUDSON RIVER MUSEUM
1511 Warburton Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10701

Mindahi Bastida joins International Gathering of Indigenous Leaders and Artists

Commemorating the First Anniversary of the
Return of Mungo Man

A Choice for PEACE Awareness

Grandmother Maria Alice of The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers is sending a message of peace and awareness for what is going on in her home country of Brazil, and asks for your prayers at this crucial time.  Her plea calls us all into a place of conscious choice.

————————–———

A CHOICE FOR PEACE AWARENESS

As a woman, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother my choice is for peace, for life and for the respect of all lives.

At this moment, I share this message to all who can hear me, and to Brazilians in particular.

We are facing a serious scenario that challenges the inner harmony of people, both personally and socially. The beliefs and convictions, and the physical, emotional and mental stability of people are in jeopardy. We are facing threats and counter-information. In the media there is no longer any control over the truth of what is being reported. What is going on is referred to as a “democratic process”, but that is not what we are seeing or experiencing. There is a violent power connected with international groups’ interests and greed, which is creating an obscure atmosphere intended to manipulate our choice. Most simple people are confused, frightened and disoriented believing in false news and in false promises.

At this point we are challenged to make a choice and this choice will define the future of our nation and our people, impacting our children and nature. It will even influence the whole world. We need to be really aware. We cannot act under pressure or impulse. We must meditate seriously within ourselves, within the inner temple of our hearts. Do we want weapons? Do we want torture? Do we want inequality? Will we condone racial persecution? Or do we want peace and freedom? Is it possible that guns, torture and brutality can serve to bring us peace? I think history has already proved to us that the answer is NO. The more weapons, the more suffering, the more hate, the more revenge, the greater the consequences for everyone. Why should we believe in the illusion that a weapon gives us power when we can believe in the power of love of a brother and sisterhood?

Whatever spiritual path we choose to follow, we learn that we are all in the likeness of the same Creator. That the light that shines in me also shines in every being of Creation. When this light is given the opportunity to shine in each one, it is then that we will know freedom.

Freedom teaches us the responsibility of our choice. If we are free and we choose evil, we will reap the fruit of this action. If we choose weapons, one day we will be hit by them. If we choose the destruction of the Amazon, we will be responsible for the drought all over the planet, not to mention the extinction of thousands of animal lives and plant species that hold great medicinal power. If we choose to withdraw the right of the indigenous peoples to their lands, we will be annihilating the guardians of life and the natural richness of our planet; furthermore, we will be diminishing our roots and our ancestry.

When our choice affects the collective, then our responsibility is even greater. We must step with calmness and maturity, for if we act impulsively we can fail. The question is, do we choose peace or violence? In this moment we are being confronted with such a choice. Such is the gravity of our situation. If we choose to be neutral we are also deceiving ourselves. Neutrality here is an illusion. The one who thinks he is being neutral is also responsible for the result of the collective choice.

This choice seems political, but it is not. A deeper and more decisive choice is at hand. Are we going to choose to be human or are we going to negate our humanness? If we are human, we need to embrace our diversity, those who are most alike and those who are different. Everyone has the same right. Therefore, if our choice affects the rights and freedom of the other, our rights and freedom will also be affected.

Time now puts us before a great opportunity to develop and grow our consciousness. We must act with awareness. Not react. Do not act on impulse or by pressure.

My awareness as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, teaches me to act with love and respect for all creation. We are all different, yet in all of us there is a longing for good, a longing for peace. Sometimes the disappointments that we go through in life create calluses in our feelings, and that may create reactive behaviors. We become rigid and disconnected from the original longing of our heart. But if we are calm, and if we learn to deepen the yearning for the child that dwells in each of us, surely we will find the choice for peace, happiness, freedom and respect for the beauty of nature and all of life.

I invite all of you to unite now around this great alliance for good, for brother and sisterhood, for the respect of our lives, with all its differences, and be a pillar and an instrument for love.

MAY ALL BECOME AWAKENED IN PEACE AWARENESS!!!

Grandmother Maria Alice Campos Freire, Brazil

Climate Change Is a Civil Rights Issue: Here are 4 Ways to Respond

A thoughtful response to the state of our climate and ways to meaningfully respond. The Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley combines the disciplines of faith and science with the lessons learned as a civil/human rights advocate from the 1960s.
COMMENTARY by Gerald L. Durley 

America is at one of its most critical points in its illustrious history. Global warming and environmental injustice have evolved into a corrosive, divisive concern where lines of mistrust are deeply drawn in the minds of those who hold differing opinions. There appears to be entrenched emotional camps of dueling understanding as to whether climate change is a natural pattern of weather evolution or has been created by the human footprint.

As a civil rights activist from the civil rights movement of the ‘60s, I continue to believe that everyone has constitutional rights. Thousands of Americans are being denied their civil and human rights because insensitive or politically manipulated legislators are creating policies that are destroying the environment. When profit, rather than the well-being of human and environmental life, determine the survival of the planet, it is a civil rights issue.

Fifty-eight years later, it has become blatantly clear that we need to implement some of the organizational strategies of the civil rights movement to advance the climate change movement. It is my hope that this response will ensure that every person has access to toxin-free air and uncontaminated water.

Science confirms that humans are the primary perpetrators of climate change. Scientists from all over the world are now increasingly certain that the drastic weather changes, which we are currently experiencing, are the result of human involvement. It is now an accepted fact that the greenhouse effect is a result of excess carbon dioxide trapping solar radiation from the atmosphere, causing the earth’s temperature to rise and rapidly challenging the existence of all living things. Acidity in the oceans is increasing at an unprecedented rate and rising water temperatures are causing bleaching to once beautiful corals.

There are numerous reports, studies, and surveys that detail the negative impact global climate change poses, specifically to communities of color, low-income neighborhoods, and rural areas.

Fossil fuel, automobile emissions, and methane gas, which is the byproduct of fracking, have created a critical tipping point that will affect all life —human, animal, and plant.

Floods, hurricanes, droughts, wild fires, extreme heat waves, earthquakes, asthma, loss of life and property are the glaring aftermath of a changing climate.

I realize that businesses are structured in such a way that they must profit in order to remain viable. The moral questions that must be asked of them are: At whose expense? And at what cost to the sustainability of the planet and its inhabitants?

The earth is experiencing some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded. We are witnessing conflicts over water, not oil. The bee population is being decimated. Pollination of essential food crops has diminished, posing a threat to global food supply.

Climate change has become a runaway train.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.” Climate change is a civil rights issue which business, political, educational, and faith leaders must join forces to stop.

I am more confident now than ever before that we must, can, and will be victorious in this moral civil rights struggle for the environment and for all life.

A few meaningful action steps and strategies that can reduce the impact of climate change:

Read on…

 

Prayer of Thanks for Creation

Leader :    Let us pray.

 

Thank you, God,

Thanks for beauty:

The twinkle in an older person’s eye,

A child’s shout of laughter;

Thanks for the greening trees and frozen waterfalls,

Stunning buildings and flowerbeds in summer.

All:    Thanks for beauty.

 

Thank you, God,

Thanks for creativity:

The skills of the tapestry weaver,

The imagination of a web designer;

Thanks for bakers and dancers and crossword compilers,

For spiders’ webs and city murals.

Thanks for creativity.

 

Thank you, God,

Thanks for abundance:

For seeds and raindrops,

For grains of sand and infinite galaxies;

Thanks for seagulls, plankton and shoals of mackerel,

For wriggling worms and golden dandelions.

Thanks for abundance.

 

Thanks for your world, God,

And for our part in it.

Thanks that you are a maker,

And that you made us makers, too.

 

Help us to love creation as you love it,

To take risks to value it as Jesus did,

And draw us into the wildness and wonder

Of your Holy Spirit

Today and every day.

Amen.

***

E-Liturgies and Prayers on Creation from the Iona Community

Celebrating the Season of Creation 

Image: Navajo (Dine) pictorial rug with Spiderwoman emerging from the center of the earth and emerging into the Middle World, as per the Navajo Creation tale, with stylized spiderwoman crosses represented throughout the textile. From Marcy Burns.

 

For the Season of Creation, Chinook Blessing Litany

We call upon the earth, our planet home, with its beautiful depths and soaring heights, its vitality and abundance of life, and together we ask that it

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the mountains, the Cascades and the Olympics, the high green valleys and meadows filled with wild flowers, the snows that never melt,the summits of intense silence, and we ask that they

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the waters that rim the earth, horizon to horizon, that flow in our rivers and streams, that fall upon our gardens and fields and we ask that they

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the land which grows our food, the nurturing soil, the fertile fields, the abundant gardens and orchards, and we ask that they

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the forests, the great trees reaching strongly to the sky with the earth in their roots and the heavens in their branches, the fir and the pine and the cedar, and we ask them to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the creatures of the fields and forests and the seas, our brothers and sisters the wolves and deer, the eagle and dove, the great whales and dolphin, the beautiful Orca and salmon who share our Northwest home, and we ask them to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon all those who have lived on this earth, our ancestors and our friends, who dreamed the best for future generations, and upon whose lives our lives are built, and with thanksgiving, we call upon them to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

And lastly, we call upon all that we hold most sacred, the presence and power of the Great Spirit of love and truth which flows through all the Universe, to be with us to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

***

Chinook Blessing Litany ~ The Chinook is a tribal nation from Southwest Washington, whose ancestral lands sit at the mouth of the Columbia River.  They have been fighting for federal recognition since 1899.   Read more…

Many thanks to Diane L. Neu, Co-Founder & Co-Director of W.A.T.E.R (Women’s Alliance  for Theology, Ethics and Ritual) in Silver Spring, MD, for publishing this Chinook Blessing Litany in her book Return Blessings.

The Season of Creation is an annual, worldwide celebration of prayer and action organized by Christian faith leaders from around the world united in the cause to protect our common home and is open to all to participate.  The Season begins with the World Day of Prayer for Creation on September 1st and extends to the Feast Day of Saint Francis on October 4th. This year’s Season of Creation has the theme of “walking together”.  In walking together, we follow the role of Jesus, who walked with friends on the roads around Jerusalem.  As he traveled the byways of his community, Jesus invited us to encounter God through God’s presence in creation. Whether by considering “the lilies of the field” or the “grain of wheat that falls to the earth,” the spiritual journey of following Jesus is closely tied to the everyday wonders of nature that He experienced in His earthly journey.  Learn More / Participate…

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In Case You Missed It… CEE Update from August 30th: Are You Ready to RISE for Climate Justice?

Here’s Everything You Need to Know for the Upcoming Week of Action on Climate

(P.S.  There’s still time to help flyer at events around the city including joining today’s Caribbean-West Indian Day Parade climate contingent.)


Rise For Climate, Jobs, and Justice is less than two weeks away, and  Thursday, 8/30 at 8 PM EST is a national organizing call to get everyone fired up and ready to RISE!

On the call, you’ll hear from amazing organizers like Cherri Foytlin, an organizer with The L’eau Est La Vie (Water is Life) Camp in Louisiana, Lucas Zuker with Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable EconomyRoberto Jesus Clack with Warehouse Workers For Justice, and Ananya Singh with the Sierra Student Coalition about the actions they are hosting across the country.

Come be inspired by all the incredible work that people across the United States
are doing to fight climate change on the frontlines.

RSVP here to be a part of the call TONIGHT at 8 pm EST and join the movement!

 

CEE invites you to join us along with hundreds of other Participating Groups around the world to RISE for Climate, Jobs and Justice. FIND AN EVENT NEAR YOU!

We’ve included some helpful links below on the special #RiseNY Event on September 6th, and links to Faith and Indigenous Community Events in San Francisco leading up to the GCAS and beyond.


STARTING THE WAVE

NYC – BATTERY PARK – SEPTEMBER 6TH
GET CONNECTED!


Join us on September 6th at 5:30 pm at Battery Park to kick off a wave of climate action!  In the face of policy reversals on oil and gas drilling, coal, asbestos, pipelines, car emissions, and the Clean Air Act – now more than ever we need to:
  • Enact A Just Transition to 100% Renewable Energy Now!
  • Stop All Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
  • Make Corporate Polluters Pay
  1. Help flyer at events around the city or join the Caribbean-West Indian Day Parade climate contingent.
  2. Join a Subway Blitz.
  3. Dial a fellow NY’er to get them to the march.
  4. Come to a Community Art Build, Aug 30th or Sept 1st.
  5. To participate in a Direct Action on Sept 7th, contact us at [email protected].

Interfaith and Indigenous Bloc in CA 

Faith Communities in California 
RISE for Climate, Jobs and & Justice

Indigenous Bloc at RISE Days of Action
San Francisco, CA


 

Intertribal Prayer, Teach-In & Direct Action Training

37th Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty New Moon Ceremony

RISE Against Climate Capitalism

 

Have Questions? Ask at the Indigenous Bloc Facebook Page.  For more Actions check out ItTakesRoots.org and the Climate Justice Alliance.


If you are in New York City, join CEE’s Karenna Gore and Rev. Leo Woodbury of Kingdom Living Temple as we convene the 2018 Global South Summit at the United Nations Church Center on September 14th. The Summit is a solutions driven program serving to bring allies together, thereby strengthening our potential impact through partnership.  Read More…

Poor People’s Campaign Gives Testimony at Congressional Hearing

A movement is happening.  The Poor People’s Campaign has launched a united force for change bringing together people of diverse backgrounds who share a common calling to restore reason and dignity to the United States of America.  This stage of the campaign – 40 Days of Moral Action – began on Mother’s Day and will culminate in a Global Day of Solidarity and Mass Rally in Washington, D.C. on June 23rd.

Last week the Poor People’s Campaign – A National Call for Moral Revival moved forward into it’s 4th Week with the proclamation – “Everybody’s Got the Right To Live” including the rights to Education, Living Wages, Jobs, Income and Housing.  Non-Violent Civil Disobedience rallies were documented from Kentucky to California, Mississippi to New York, Minneapolis and Michigan.  

In response to the wave of non-violent direct actions, resulting in arrests across the country, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D- Maryland) called a hearing on Capital Hill to listen to testimony from Rev. William Barber and a panel of citizens among the most impacted by the various forms of violence and degradation being committed against our people and our planet.

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis was detained with eight other faith leaders overnight after being arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court.  CEE’s Karenna Gore joined Rev. Barber and those offering testimony to read Rev. Theoharis’s statement on her behalf.  Please watch the hearing and follow the link below to join the Mass March in DC on June 23rd or an event in Global Solidarity in your local area.

U.S. Congressional Hearing in Response to the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings convene a hearing on Capitol Hill on economic inequality, union rights, voter suppression and other issues raised by the new Poor People’s Campaign. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is expected to be among a dozen lawmakers who will hear testimony from and question campaign Co-Chairs Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, along with victims of systemic poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation and America’s war economy.

Posted by Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

 

Please join us in supporting this moral movement in DC or in solidarity with your local community.

 

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights to present report findings on the US, CEE’s Catherine Flowers to attend

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, toured parts of the United States in December of 2017.  His findings are detailed from visits to California (Los Angeles and San Francisco), Alabama (Lowndes County and Montgomery), Georgia (Atlanta), Puerto Rico
(San Juan, Guayama and Salinas), West Virginia (Charleston) and Washington, D.C.

While the final report was published on June 1st, it will be formally presented to the UN Human Rights Council on the Summer Solstice, June 21st.  CEE’s Catherine Coleman Flowers will be in attendance in Geneva, Switzerland for the presentation and to contribute to a panel along with Mr. Alston and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis of the Poor People’s Campaign and Kairos Center.

Jeremy Slevin authored a partial analysis of the report on Talk Poverty.

The conclusions are damning. “The United States already leads the developed world in income and wealth inequality, and it is now moving full steam ahead to make itself even more unequal,” the report concludes. “High child and youth poverty rates perpetuate the intergenerational transmission of poverty very effectively, and ensure that the American dream is rapidly becoming the American illusion.”

The report in it’s entirety can be read here.

READ MR. ALSTON’S ORAL STATEMENT to the 38th session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, 22 June 2018

The panel presentation moderated by at the Geneva Graduate Institute on June 26th, 9 – 10:30 am EST can be viewed via Live Stream.


Catherine Coleman Flowers

Catherine Coleman Flowers is CEE’s Director of Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement.  She is the founder of ACRE, the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise and the Rural Development Manager for EJI, the Equal Justice Initiative.

 

 

Religion and Climate Change: A Conversation with Karenna Gore

In conversation with Berkley Center Director Shaun Casey, Karenna discussed how religious communities strive to promote environmental consciousness with an aim to fulfill a responsibility for the common good.

Over the past three decades, climate change has become an increasingly prominent topic on the global agenda as advocates have marshaled scientific, policy, and moral support to protect the environment. In addition to state actors and the private sector—who engage in traditional coordinated advocacy efforts for environmental protection policies—faith-inspired actors can foster significant change in addressing environmental challenges as key participants in sacred spaces, community development, and advocacy practices. This faith-based engagement incorporates a spectrum of responses, ranging from official proclamations such as Pope Francis’ Laudato Si to indigenous efforts tied to spiritually significant locations, such as the water protectors at Standing Rock.

Originally published to www.berkleycenter.georgetown.edu.

Looking for more?  See more of Karenna Gore & the CEE Team by browsing our YouTube playlists.

***

In Memorial: Rev. Dr. James H. Cone

The Center for Earth Ethics honors the life of James Cone, beloved teacher and writer. Below we share some of his work, the impact of his pioneering spirit, and thoughts from those he touched.

James Cone, the cross, and the lynching memorial
Religion News Service published this compelling piece on April 30th by Jemar Tisby, founder of Witness: A Black Christian Collective.

On April 26 America received its first-ever memorial dedicated to the more than 4,000 victims of lynching in this country. Two days later, James Cone, the acclaimed author of “The Cross and the Lynching Tree,” died.
The opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., and the passing of a theological legend coincide in ways that provoke thoughts about the spiritual implications of American racism. How do the cross and the lynching tree represent both injustice and redemption? How do we confront the dark truths of our past to create a future that is brighter for all people?
 Read the Full Article Here…

Video and transcripts of James Cone’s November 2007 Interview with Bill Moyers including the link to Dr. Cone’s lecture, “Strange Fruit: The Cross and the Lynching Tree,” at Harvard Divinity School.

Tribute to James Cone  Union Theological Seminary invited guests to post memories, thoughts, and meaningful experiences they’ve shared with him.  Responses came from throughout the Union community and from around the world.

Photo by Michelle Reiter, 2014, used with permission

We join in concert celebrating and honoring his remarkable life.  With thanks.

***

The Center for Earth Ethics Team