Category: Climate Change

Global Support for UNEA Plastics Treaty Brings Hope

During the closing plenary session of the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, or UNEA 5.2, earlier this year, representatives gave a standing ovation for the passing of a resolution: “End Plastic Pollution: Towards an Internationally Legally Binding Instrument.” In order to understand how groundbreaking this really is, we must understand the shortcomings of earlier proposals to fix the climate crisis.

Fossil fuel and petrochemical companies are adept at greenwashing, providing a veneer of good spirit when it comes to curbing fossil-fuel emissions. But it’s all talk to protect their interests and bottom lines. The fossil fuel industry and the plastics industry will be sure to push false solutions that will delay progress toward a more sustainable business model—one that includes extended producer responsibility and circular economy. Bioplastics and improved recycling methods are worthy avenues to pursue, but we cannot wait forever to change. We need to take action now, especially when projections show that if the current trend continues, plastic production will triple by 2050.

The plastics industry has avoided stringent restrictions by touting bioplastics, recycling and plastic waste-to-fuel conversions as solutions. It is hard not to buy into these ideas, because it makes us hopeful that we will not have to drastically change the way we live. The simple fact is, though, that we need to change … and fast.

Alyssa Ng

UNEA 5.2  established an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, whose members will draft  an instrument that will include legally binding and voluntary mechanisms to combat plastic production and pollution. The sheer enthusiasm for the first legally binding text about plastic was unbelievably moving. It was a testament to the willpower of the 175 nations that wanted to make a difference in global health and climate change.

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee’s goal is to have the language ready by 2024, including the following:

  • Global objectives to tackle plastic pollution in marine and other environments and its impacts
  • Global obligations and measures along the full lifecycle of plastics, including on product design, consumption and waste management
  • A mechanism for providing policy-relevant scientific information and assessment
  • A mechanism for providing financial support to the treaty implementation
  • National and international cooperative measures
  • National action plans and reporting towards the prevention, reduction and elimination of plastic pollution
  • Treaty implementation progress assessment

The implementation of these measures cannot come soon enough. The most recent IPCC report indicates that even if we end fossil fuel emissions by the end of this decade, we are almost certain to surpass the 1.5C boundary, which refers to the earth’s temperature. We are currently at 1.2C and as temperatures rise, the earth will undergo major climatic changes. We will see more severe natural disasters, extinction of various species, and rising sea levels that encroach on homes, public infrastructure, and farmland. Every action that we take now is a race towards keeping the worst case from happening. Every degree, every moment matters and this plastic treaty matters a lot.

There is a significant amount of talk about future technologies that will help stall, if not reverse, the upward trend of global temperatures. But those solutions do not yet exist at scale, and the ones that are pointed to—such as carbon capture technology in Greenland—have an insignificant impact on annual emissions. What is needed—and what this UNEA resolution represents—is a significant step toward meaningful policy changes that will change our relationship to plastics and consumption, rather than depending on technologies that do not work or don’t yet exist.

It is time we stopped relying solely on industry, which has no real incentive besides the profit motive and changing public opinion, to change the way it operates. The passing of the resolution reflects this sentiment because it will take the entire life cycle of plastics into account. With technological solutions for disposal in the works, attention must turn to the other end of the spectrum: production. The resolution aims to reduce the production of virgin plastics, so companies cannot offset progress by scaling up their manufacturing. This holistic approach closes a major loophole for the plastic industry and opens up a real opportunity for change.

Saying that UNEA 5.2 was a success is an understatement. All 14 resolutions within the treaty are complementary and meant to align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Resolutions for sustainable lake management, animal welfare and protection of their habitats, and reduction of nitrogen waste were made, amongst others. They all have some connection to plastic’s life cycle because plastic infiltrates everything—the air, water, soil, and even our bodies. As the negotiations take place over the next two years, the United Nations Environment Programme will not be sitting idly by. They will hold a preparatory meeting, assist governments and businesses that voluntarily want to reduce their use of single-use plastics, and gather private funding to help promote this shift.

Although the effects of plastics are amplified in certain locations more than others, it is indisputable that the problem is universal and crosses political boundaries. The passing of the plastic treaty shows that it is being taken seriously. We are hitting a threshold of how much plastic we can throw away, because the waste will keep accumulating for decades at the very least. Taking action and holding producers accountable is what we need, and it is exactly what the representatives at UNEA 5.2 delivered.

Editor’s Note: Alyssa Ng is a student in the Columbia Climate School’s MA in Climate & Society program, an interdisciplinary program that trains students to understand the impacts of climate change and climate variability. During the 2021-2022 academic year, Alyssa has worked as a graduate research assistant at the Center for Earth Ethics through a Climate School program that places students in affiliates to work on research related to climate and sustainability. 

Earth Day 2022: Life Force

Earth Day 2022: Life Force
Livestreamed from James Chapel, Union Theological Seminary
Friday, April 22, 2022 | 4 – 7 p.m.

Spend an afternoon tending to the best of the human spirit, which is part and parcel of the life force that animates our planet.

Earth Day 2022 is an opportunity for tapping into the creative energy that flows through each of us, a counterpoint to the overload of information and analysis that can leave us depleted and exhausted—and a boost to get us to the other side. Join us as we gather with artists, poets, thought leaders and climate scientists who are reimagining and recasting how we experience the greatest challenge of our time.

Scheduled speakers and performers at Earth Day 2022, which will be live-streamed from James Chapel at Union Theological Seminary in New York, include Bill McKibben, Gavin Schmidt,  Jacqui Patterson,  Jody Sperling, Karenna Gore, Kate Marvel, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Lyla June, Mike Massimino, Miranda Massie, Mitchell Joachim, Pádraig Ó Tuama, Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky, Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, and the New York City Labor Chorus

Convened by the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, in collaboration with Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky and The Climate Museum, Earth Day 2022 will bridge the gaps to foster ecological thought and action.

LEARN MORE & REGISTER

 

NB. This post has been updated to include a current list of speakers and performers.

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 or political power. But what about the values, ethics and spiritual elements as guides for climate action? The Center for Earth Ethics and the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration invite you to a fireside chat on Monday, April 11, on the role of values, culture, and spirituality in the work of ecosystem restoration.

Speakers at the fireside chat, which will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, will be:

  • Lucy Mulenkei – Executive Director, Indigenous Information Network
  • Tim Christophersen – Head, Nature for Climate Branch Ecosystems Division, United Nations Environment Programme
  • Andrew Schwartz – Director, Sustainability and Global Affairs, Center for Earth Ethics

This chat kick off a series of consultations, organized by Schwartz, with faith-based and other spiritual groups during 2022 about the UN Decade.

Find out more here and join us live on Zoom.

For Faith Leaders: Navigating Energy and the Climate Crisis

On Energy and Faith: Ministry in the Time of Climate Crisis
Tuesday – Thursday, May 17 – 19, 2022
Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

The world is changing. Today’s calamities, notably the disruptions to oil and gas supplies that are compounding the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, prove once again that we all must move away from our reliance on fossil fuels. Nations, communities and individuals are beginning to transition to renewable energy sources—like solar and wind—but the vast majority of the world’s energy still comes from burning fossil fuels, the main driver of climate change. How can we hasten the transition toward renewable energy sources? And, as we make than transition, how can we ensure that it is just and equitable? Shifting to renewable energy holds tremendous promise as part of a solution to the climate crisis, but we must ensure that communities are properly supported, with access to those new energy sources and to good jobs that can enhance people’s quality of life.

Faith leaders have a unique role to play in navigating these thorny practical and ethical questions. More than 80 percent of the global population belongs to a faith community. Faith leaders can educate about the climate crisis, advocate for changing how we produce energy, and help ensure that the shift to renewable energy is just and equitable.

From Tuesday, May 17 to Thursday, May 19, the Center for Earth Ethics and The Climate Reality Project will host “On Energy and Faith: Ministry in the Time of Climate Crisis,” a special interfaith climate training for faith leaders. The theme of this year’s training is energy. During this two-and-a-half-day learning experience, we’ll take a deep dive—not just into energy as a practical necessity but also our own personal energy, addressing the burnout felt by faith leaders, activists and others in local communities.

Catholic University of America

The training, which will be held at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., will include seminars, rituals, workshops and skill-building sessions. We’re limiting attendance to 35 people to create an intimate environment that allows for candid, meaningful discussion.

So, if you’re a faith leader interested in growing your understanding of energy and the climate crisis, and you can make it to Washington, D.C., in May, we hope that you’ll apply. Applications are open to leaders of any faith who are serving their congregations or communities at least half-time.

The hosts will cover most meals for participants, as well as ground transportation between training venues within Washington, D.C. Participants will be responsible for covering their own travel costs to and from Washington, though a limited number of need-based scholarships (including travel grants and registration-fee waivers) are available. In addition, a handful of low-cost accommodations at Catholic University will be available for participants who live outside of commuting distance. Housing and scholarships will be allocated on a case-by-case basis.

LEARN MORE AND APPLY

Karenna Gore: “Faiths Respond to Stockholm+50”

I was grateful for the opportunity to speak at a dialogue, “Faiths Respond to Stockholm+50,” organized by Faith for Earth Initiative of the United Nations Environment Program on March 4, 2022. Below is an extended version of my remarks. 

* * * * * *

Thank you for the opportunity to speak. If I may, I would like to begin by describing my personal perspective on this topic. I was born close to the time of the 1972 Stockholm conference, into a family of Americans descended from Europeans, including Swedes on my mother’s side. I was told that some of my ancestors, particularly those from France and Great Britain, came to escape the heavy hand of religious authorities who would deny them their religious freedom. My country, the United States, has always spoken of this ideal of religious freedom. It was only in recent decades that I came to realize that that principle was not extended to the Native peoples of this land whose traditions were marked by reverence for the natural world. I speak to you now from ancestral lands of the Lenape people here in New York City, where the United Nations is based.

I also grew up in a family that had a particular regard for the United Nations because one person who was central to its founding in 1945, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, was from the same rural place in Tennessee that my father’s family is from. Most everything near the small town of Carthage, Tennessee, is named for Cordell Hull, who won the Nobel Peace Prize of 1945 as “father of the United Nations.” Hull, like my own grandparents on my father’s side, grew up without electricity and lived through the period of unprecedented change and economic growth that marked the post-World War II period in this part of the world. I recall my grandparents remembering the advent of the things that I took for granted—refrigerators, toasters, washer/driers, air conditioning, television, highways. I mention this because it seems notable how recent this way of life is, even in the most developed industrial nations. In Cordell Hull’s memoir he writes of his childhood: “with what we grew and what we hunted and trapped, we had no great need for money.” [1]

Of course, the development that I am pointing to is seen as progress for some good reasons, related to quality of life. But it also seems that development has become untethered from quality of life, and that social norms and values took a turn for the worse somewhere along the way. Ever-increasing production and consumption cycles fueling trade was mistaken for peace-building. High numbers of gross domestic product masqueraded as common good. Inequity was held as necessary for competition. Money confused with virtue. Hoarding material possessions associated with success. And of course, development has come at the expense of nature.

The way of thinking that discounts religion and spirituality has often been blind to how deep this shift in values has been, at least within the dominant culture. The American Transcendentalist writer Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed it this way: “A person will worship something, have no doubt about that . . . . That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping, we are becoming.” If we worship money and the idea that humankind is special because we dominate nature, we become aliens on the Earth. Of course we must make every effort to eradicate poverty, but if in the process, a way of life that is intimately tied with nature is seen and described as poverty, to be eradicated, we are on our way to eradicating nature too. Once we have shifted values away from reverence for those biocultural ties, we lose our sense of belonging in the natural world.

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy (the matriarchal Indigenous society that is more commonly known as the Iroquois) pointed this out in the position papers they delivered to the NGOs of the United Nations in September of 1977 that included a document called “A Basic Call to Consciousness.” It argued against the imposition of the way of life of the rest of the world that had been imposed on them here in the United States. “The majority of the world does not find its roots in Western Culture or traditions. The majority of the world finds its roots in the Natural World and it is the Natural World and the traditions of the Natural World that must prevail if we are to develop truly free and egalitarian societies.” [2]

In my lifetime, the population of wild animals has decreased by about 60 percent, over half the rainforests have been chopped down, human population has doubled, the wealth gap has widened, many communities are inundated with toxic waste and pollution that harms their health through what has been called “slow violence”; in my country it is especially Black, Indigenous and communities of color that have already experienced racism in so many other ways. There are epidemics of obesity, addiction, anxiety and depression. In many places local cultures have been replaced by giant box stores and fast food places (including in Carthage, Tennessee), and we have loaded the atmosphere so full of climate-changing pollution that the weather has already begun to change, as the Haudenosaunee also warned in those papers I mentioned earlier. These changes—the stronger storms, droughts, wildfires, heat waves, rising sea levels and chaotic patterns—all hurt those people who live in poverty first and worst.

We are now in a climate emergency, on the brink of unspeakable loss. This loss is not only economic, it is cultural, spiritual and moral. The biggest loss is the mass suffering and death among the most vulnerable people around the world. In a report issued several years ago, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston stated: “Climate change threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health and poverty reduction” and will drive many millions more into extreme poverty. Of course, many will also be driven from their homes (estimates vary from 25 million to one billion environmental migrants by 2050). [3]

We know the cause of climate change. It is the value system described that propels the two modern megatrends of pollution (particularly carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels) and depletion (particularly depletion of carbon sinks like forests and soil). If we are to confront this compound ecological crisis, we must look clearly at the level of cause, not just the level of effects. We must return to the best of the spirit of inquiry that existed in Stockholm in 1972.

When Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme spoke at that conference, he referenced that post War period in the dominant parts of the world, that unprecedented technical and economic progress. He referenced the way of thinking . He explained that any moral uneasiness about poverty in the rest of the world was tempered by the prospect that with rigorous development efforts, they would catch up. The wake-up call at Stockholm in 1972 centered around the realization that the Earth’s resources were finite and the central issue at the conference was the need to address the potential conflict between economic development and environmental protection. As Palme stated, “the decisive question is in which direction we will develop, by what means we will grow, which qualities we want to achieve, and what values we wish to guide our future.”

The Stockholm Conference was important for many reasons. It marked a more inclusive world in some ways. For example, the People’ Republic of China had just become a part of the United Nations, and sent a delegation. East and West Germany were not yet members, and the Soviet Union and the Warsaw pact countries did not attend in part because of the exclusion of East Germany. The Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, spoke, expressing some misgivings about an ecological agenda that would distract from the imperative for development and arguing “we have to prove to the disinherited majority of the world that ecology and conservation will not work against their interest but will bring improvement in their lives.” [4] We should note that it is climate justice activists from the Global South (like Vanessa Nakate of Uganda) that make that case loud and clear today. All in all, Stockholm 1972 also marked a wiser world, thinking about long-term problems beyond the daily distractions of the ordinary course of multilateral business.  Specifically, it revealed a United Nations that was taking responsibility for the global environmental questions that no one else would or could address. The UN has never abdicated this responsibility, as we saw this week with the release of the latest IPCC report and the agreement to launch negotiations to curtail the global scourge of plastics pollution.

I commend those who have worked so hard in recent decades to bring nature to the center of the work of the UN, including through the Sustainable Development Goals. But let us be honest: we have lost our way. It is not only that we are off target for the 17 goals and we have to push harder. Something is missing and something is wrong. What is missing? The most vital aspects of the human experience: the meaning and belonging that come from culture, including elements of culture that bond people to the ecosystems they live within. What is wrong? The forces behind those two modern megatrends of pollution and depletion have found their footing within these goals and within the extensive scaffolding and rhetoric of sustainable development. Profit-seeking industries have a lot of power in this world—let us not be naïve about this or dismiss it as too indelicate a thing to say aloud. These forces rely on a notion of progress that has gone unchallenged, a notion that includes the kind of top-down consumerism that sustains their markets and that still routinely sacrifices nature. We cannot slip into a critique that blames people for lacking moral fiber to stand up to this—the vast majority are living in systems in which the commons are being devoured, and they often do not have real choices. To correct course, we need to ask some different questions—not only “Is no one left behind?” but also “Are we sure we are going in the right direction?” and “Who and what is development actually for?”

The world’s faith and wisdom traditions have been asking these deeper questions for some time. Reading texts like “A Basic Call to Consciousness: The Haudenosaunee Address to the Western World,”  “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home” and “Al-Mizan: A Covenant for the Earth” is like water for a thirsty person. It is within this scholarship from faith communities that the most vital work on the relationship between development and environments is being done because these scholars see the deeper issues. They are not naïve about the dimensions of belief and worship that Emerson described. They are not naïve about the nature of power either. They also carry intimate knowledge of the relationship between colonization, belief systems, and environmental devastation, even-—or perhaps sometimes especially–from within those religious traditions that were bound up in it. And finally, they are connected to ancient traditions that have stood the test of time and offer powerful teaching and practices on living life to the fullest, which of course means living in harmony with nature and with each other.

* * * * * *

You can watch the dialogue session in its entirely and hear from these speakers directly HERE. It includes a framing and response from Ambassador for Stockholm+50 from the Swedish government, Johanna Lissenger Peitz, some words from Haruko Okusu, principal coordination officer of Stockholm+50 at the United Nations Environment Program, and remarks from Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force member Shantanu Mandal.

I will name just a few of the points from the faith leaders that stood out to me. Islamic scholar Dr. Fazlun Khalid called attention the need for focus on educational systems and also to the harm done by assuming a drive for unlimited growth and called for us to take de-growth seriously in those places where we can. Father Joshua Kureethadam spoke from the Vatican, expressing the wisdom of some particular concepts from within faith traditions such as when jubilee and sabbath was grounded in allowing the land to rest. He called out the way that faith leaders can gather communities, especially that critical mass that is needed to make change, as we saw with leaders like Mandela and Gandhi. And he shared the Laudato Si Action platform as a resource for all. Bishop Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, spoke some words in Native language and lifted up Indigenous voices as prophetic in our time. He also pointed out that our societies have been fundamentally changed by economic and technological forces, with many getting their values from them rather than from religious and spiritual traditions, and that we must instead recognize that we are not fully human without nature. Bishop Andreas Holmberg of the Church of Sweden emphasized that faith communities must be recognized as key partners, especially in changing the short-sighted thinking that dominates today, instead opening a pathway to long-term decision making. He also proposed that adding ecocide as an international crime under the Rome Statute be taken up seriously at Stockholm+50. Gopal Patel of Bhumi Global spoke from the Hindu tradition, lifting the wisdom that change is the only thing that is constant and argued for consideration to be given to a version of common but differentiated responsibilities in how peoples restore and protect nature, with rights of nature appropriate in some cultures.

As we move towards the convening in Stockholm in June, in the context of an urgent and perilous ecological crisis, let us keep in mind the potential contributions of faith communities in helping humanity to correct course. Their power is not only practical—which pertains to owning land, controlling funds and reaching vast networks of people—it is also in the quality of the analysis and vision that comes from traditions that have stood the test of time and speak to humanity’s most deeply held values.

 

1. “The Memoirs of Cordell Hull” (1948), p. 13.

2. “A Basic Call to Consciousness,” edited by Akwesasne Notes (1978).

3. https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/06/1041261

4. “What Happened in Stockholm.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Sept 1972).

Karenna Gore to Discuss “Widening the Circle” at Yale, February 23

“Widening the Circle”
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
12 p.m. New Haven & New York
_____________________

On Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at noon Eastern Time, Executive Director Karenna Gore will address Yale students and guests as a session in the School of the Environment BIOMES speaker series. The title of Ms. Gore’s address, “Widening the Circle,” will examine the root causes of today’s compound ecological crisis.

Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-founder and co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, will introduce Ms. Gore. The talk will be broadcast live to members of the Yale community in Burke Auditorium and online to guests.

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, UNEA-5 will bring together representatives of the UN’s 193 Member States, businesses, civil society and other stakeholders “to agree on policies to address the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.”

How can faith-based organizations ensure that their voices are heard when global policymakers meet in Nairobi? 

To amplify the voices of faith-based organizations at UNEA-5, UNEP’s Faith for Earth Initiative has organized the Faith for Earth Dialogue, a set of more than 25 online panels and conversations from February 21 to March 4. The goal is to demonstrate “the power and potential of faith-based organizations and faith leaders in shaping the discussions at UNEA as well as engaging in policy dialogue with other stakeholders.”

“Equity needs to be at the front of every conversation during UNEA-5 if policymakers want to create meaningful action on  the climate crisis,” says Andrew Schwartz, director of sustainability and global affairs. “In this unprecedented moment, the Faith for Earth Dialogue is an important opportunity for the Center for Earth Ethics and other organizations to help shape global climate policy.”

CEE’s participation in the Faith for Earth Dialogue includes the following sessions (all times New York): 

  • On Monday, February 21, 9:30 a.m., at “Faith for Earth: A Call for Action.” CEE Advisory Board member Kusumita Pedersen, chair of the Interfaith Center of New York and a trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, is a panelist.
  • On Wednesday, February 23, 8 a.m., at “Working Group on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Restoration.” Andrew Schwartz and Gopal Patel, a senior advisor, are panelists.
  • On Friday, February 25, 9:30 a.m., at “Faith, Values & Ethics in Environmental Governance.” Kusumita Pedersen and Mona Polacca, a senior fellow at CEE, are panelists.
  • On Wednesday, March 2, 8 a.m., at “Faith and Food: Nature Positive Solutions for a Flourishing World.” Andrew Schwartz organized and will lead the session. (Special registration link for this session only: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hDhq_ATDQLycXh5TDAwFpg?fbclid=IwAR3-_lPAtegBXBZNdzIEE77soY97ZPa8WNJUBfgZimHxzfxhHSpYhG0ZUpU.)
  • On Friday, March 4, 8 a.m., at “Faiths Respond to Stockholm+50 & [email protected]Gopal Patel is a panelist. Karenna Gore, CEE’s founder and executive director, will moderate the session.

The Faith for Earth Dialogue is open to all stakeholders. Register today at Faith for Earth Dialogue

 

NB. This post has been edited to correct the Faith for Food Dialogue start date, to include a new featured image, and to include a hyperlink to the 2 March “Faith and Food” session.

 

Call to Faith Communities: Host a Climate and Justice Teach-In!

Teach-Ins on Climate and Justice to be Held Worldwide on March 30, 2022
Information Session for Faith-Based Communities to be held on February 16, 2022

As the negative impacts of the climate crisis accumulate, faith communities have a vital role to play in addressing climate change and creating just climate solutions. Churches, mosques, temples and synagogues must act now to make a difference. The Worldwide Teach-in on Climate and Justice aims to mobilize half a million educators, students and community members to participate in a historic global event on March 30, 2022.

“The climate crisis is about more than data and science. It is about perceptions, beliefs and values,” says Karenna Gore, executive director of the Center for Earth Ethics. “We are excited to help engage faith communities and institutions in the worldwide climate teach-in on March 30 because they have a vital role to play in facing up to the root causes of the climate crisis and creating positive change.”

The Center for Earth Ethics partnered with Bard College’s Graduate Programs in Sustainability to create a teach-in model for faith communities to assist churches, mosques, temples and synagogues around the world to participate in the global event on Wednesday, March 30.

“We are all experiencing the rising sense of climate despair,” says Dr. Eban Goodstein, director of Bard Graduate Programs in Sustainability and founder of the Worldwide Teach-in on Climate and Justice. “By mobilizing half a million faith leaders, seminarians, educators, students and people of faith around the world, we aim to replace that despair with a powerful sense of agency about the work we can do together—this year, next year and over the next decades—to change the future.”

Gore and Goodstein noted that the teach-in model for faith communities is designed to be adapted by each community and its members according to their unique circumstances.

To help describe the roles that faith communities and people of faith can take in the Worldwide Teach-In, Bard is hosting an information session on Wednesday, February 16, 2022, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Interested individuals can register here to learn ways to engage people from their faith community in serious dialogue about climate solutions and justice in the transition. Samuel King, research associate at the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, will be the guest speaker.

On its Worldwide Teach-In website, anyone can access easy-to-organize models for teach-ins at colleges, universities, high schools and middle schools, and K-6 classes, as well as faith communities.

The Worldwide Teach-In is supported by the Open Society University Network.

Visit the Teach-In Model for Faith Communities
Visit the Worldwide Teach-In Website

Register for the Faith Communities Information Session

 

 

Karenna Gore to Speak at Keeping Faith in Science? Series

CEE Executive Director Karenna Gore will take part in the Keeping Faith in Science?, a series of webinars in February sponsored by the London-based United Society Partners in the Gospel. She will speak about faith and the climate crisis at 2:30 p.m. EST (7.30 p.m. U.K. time) on February 17 alongside Dr. George Zachariah from Trinity Methodist Theological College, New Zealand.

“We are privileged to be joined by Karenna Gore, an expert in the relationship between faith and climate activism, alongside many other experts in their respective fields across the world church,” said Revd Canon Richard Bartlett, USPG’s director of mission engagement. “It is going to be a thought-provoking and very topical series of webinars.”

Other speakers in the four-part series, which will be running at 7.30 p.m. every Thursday in February, include Professor Jolyon Mitchell, director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh, and Dr. Mwai Makoka, programme executive at the World Council of Churches.

Founded in 1701, USPG is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential and champion justice.

LEARN MORE AND REGISTER

Call to Faith Communities: Host a Climate and Justice Teach-In!

Teach-Ins on Climate and Justice to be Held Worldwide on March 30, 2022
Information Sessions Scheduled for January 13, 2022

As the negative impacts of the climate crisis accumulate, faith communities have a vital role to play in addressing climate change and creating just climate solutions. Churches, mosques, temples and synagogues must act now to make a difference.  The Worldwide Teach-in on Climate and Justice aims to mobilize half a million educators, students and community members to participate in a historic global event on March 30, 2022.

“The climate crisis is about more than data and science. It is about perceptions, beliefs and values,” says Karenna Gore, executive director of the Center for Earth Ethics. “We are excited to help engage faith communities and institutions in the worldwide climate teach-in on March 30 because they have a vital role to play in facing up to the root causes of the climate crisis and creating positive change.”

The Center for Earth Ethics partnered with Bard College’s Graduate Programs in Sustainability to create a teach-in model for faith communities to assist churches, mosques, temples and synagogues around the world to participate in the global event on Wednesday, March 30.

“We are all experiencing the rising sense of climate despair,” says Dr. Eban Goodstein, director of Bard Graduate Programs in Sustainability and founder of the Worldwide Teach-in on Climate and Justice. “By mobilizing half a million faith leaders, seminarians, educators, students and people of faith around the world, we aim to replace that despair with a powerful sense of agency about the work we can do together—this year, next year and over the next decades—to change the future.”

Gore and Goodstein noted that the teach-in model for faith communities is designed to be adapted by each community and its members according to their unique circumstances.

To help describe the roles that faith communities and people of faith can take in the Worldwide Teach-In, Bard and CEE are holding information sessions on January 13, 2022, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Interested individuals can register here to learn ways to engage people from their faith community in serious dialogue about climate solutions and justice in the transition. Gore will be a guest speaker at these sessions.

On its Worldwide Teach-In website, anyone can access easy-to-organize models for teach-ins at colleges, universities, high schools and middle schools, and K-6 classes, as well as faith communities.

The Worldwide Teach-In is supported by the Open Society University Network.

Visit the Teach-In Model for Faith Communities
Visit the Worldwide Teach-In Website

Register for a Faith Communities Information Session