Category: Eco-Ministry

CEE Winter Update

Dear Friends!  The first perennials are breaking through their shells deep beneath the snow blanketed earth.  We, too, are emerging and taking up the work we will carry for seasons ahead.  There are rhythms and cycles to the natural world.  It is to this intelligence we must take heed, to find the sustainable solutions for our planet.
Enjoy these updates from our team and please join us for coming events
focusing on the issues that matter most.
~ The Center for Earth Ethics Team  ~

Original Caretakers Continues Weaving Indigenous Wisdom
In and Out of the Classroom

Eagle and Condor Consciousness:
An Evening with Three Thinkers in the Native Way

The Center for Earth Ethics invites you to join us for a discussion on understanding non-verbal thinking in the anthropocentric age. Our talk will be shaped by the voices of Tiokasin Ghosthorse (Cheyenne River Lakota), founder, host, and executive producer of “First Voices Radio”, Mindahi Bastida Muñoz (Otomi) Director of the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics and Geraldine Patrick Encina (Mapuche descent), Scholar in Residence at the Center for Earth Ethics.

Catching Up with Original Caretakers Fellows…


Resident Herbalist, Poppy Jones, shares on the CEE Blog about his travels through Asia this winter visiting Thailand, China and Japan, ‘traversing throughout city and mountain terrain, observing climate conditions of rain and drought’.  Throughout, he opened dialogue with park rangers, farmers, students and Buddhist monks on the effects of Climate Change in their lives and work. First stop: Thailand.




An INTERVIEW with Lyla June Johnston on the power of music and poetry in a life of prayer.  
“Music is a powerful launchpad for bringing joy, inspiration, hope, education and unification to the oppressed …we are trying to generate a new genre of Indigenous music that inspires the youth.” (Photo by Priscilla Peña)  


… and Environmental Justice & Civic Engagement (EJCE)

 Catherine Coleman FlowersCEE’s Director of EJCE,
 to speak at two Duke University events, Feb  8th-9th.

Partners in Education, Community and Justice


Evaluating our Spiritual Relationship to the Land A free event with Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network at 6 pm, Feb 15th at Auburn Seminary.

CEE Holiday Update!

Greetings friends,

The Holidays have arrived!   Some of us will be sharing stories and singing songs, others will contemplate in stillness the vastness of silence.  However you choose to honor the season at home with family, in faith, and in community, we celebrate the light.  We at the CEE share this sacred moment with all of you.

The Center for Earth Ethics has enjoyed a busy fall into winter with our friends and partners.  Now is the time we begin to digest and integrate all we have learned throughout this season’s events. And as new insights reveal themselves we take great pleasure introducing these advances in our upcoming projects.

Please join us in the classroom Feb 2-3, 2018 as we take the conversation Beyond GDP and save the dates: May 31th – June 2nd for our Annual Ministers Training  where we will continue to collaborate on faith, climate and curriculum.

All the best to you and yours,
Your Friends at the Center for Earth Ethics



Center for Earth Ethics hits Milestone, co-convenes academic conference with The Institute for Studies of Eastern Christianity (ISEC – formerly the Sophia Institute of Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Studies)

Creation, Redemption and Environmental Ethics from the Eastern Christian Perspective 
met at Union Theological Seminary on
December 8th, 2017.

Papers presented explored the Eastern Christian approach to the ‘original goodness of this world of ours, the redemptive quality of our effort to maintain its well-being, and the ethos of environmentally-sustainable action’.



Here in NY, CEE continues to support local Indigenous lead Community Activism to ‘Keep It in the Ground’.  The latest fight comes as CPV begins construction in a protected wetlands area with a Bald Eagle’s nesting ground.

Local organizers are planning a Solstice Gathering of both Native wisdom leaders and their allies to defend the rights of the birds to nest peacefully.

#StandwithClara Sign On to Show your Support!

Read More on our Blog

Also, read… An Interview with Mindahi Bastida: In partnership to protect the sacred.  



If you’ve been following the work of Program Area Director, Catherine Coleman Flowers, you know that The Guardian broke the story of Hookworm, in the US South following the release of a study conducted by Baylor University inspired by Catherine’s work.

Now, for the first time, a UN Poverty Investigator visited Lowndes County, AL to assess the situation on the ground.

Read More…

“Alabama has the Worst Poverty in the Developed World, U.N. Official Says”, NEWSWEEK, 12/10/17

“UN poverty official touring Alabama’s Black Belt: ‘I haven’t seen this’ in the First World”,, 12/8/17



CEE bridged the work of all Program Areas to co-create this special event with the Human Impacts Institute.

CEE Staff, Fellows and Advisers participated in a panel:
What are Really the Roots of Climate Change?

Collaborators included
Lyla June Johnston, CEE Original Caretakers Fellow
Karenna Gore, CEE Director
Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Program.

The panel was facilitated by Tara DePorte, Founder of the Human Impacts Institute.

Videos of the Panel and
Lyla’s Performance


Take Class with Us in 2018!

Beyond GDP: Lessons from Indigenous Cultures and Faith Traditions, SU 190 – KA1
Presented by The Center for Earth Ethics & Karenna Gore
Friday, February 2, 1:00 – 6:00 pm
Saturday, February 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Class Description and Registration Information Here!



Many Thanks!

In Case You Missed it… October 4th CEE Fall Update


We send our greetings to you at this challenging time. It is a time that calls those who can be both advocates and healers. As we fight to change the system that continues to dump this pollution into the air, we also stand with those who are recovering and rebuilding from the impacts. As we join with those who resist corrupt policies and abuse of power, we also seek to understand the painful divisions and persistent illusions in our civic life.

This semester, The Center for Earth Ethics is initiating a new time of serious inquiry as individuals, as collaborators and as leaders in an ever-changing landscape, geographically and politically.  Our goal is to address the root cause of climate change—an economic development model based on short-term profit, no matter what the cost to people and planet. We envision a world in which value is measured according to the long-term well being of the whole. We believe that this value system can be achieved through a combination of the restoration of older traditional ways and the inclusive, equitable application of new technologies.

Thank you for being a part of our work. We invite you to learn more about each of our four program areas– Original Caretakers, Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement, Sustainability and Global Affairs and Eco-Ministry—and to be in touch with us about the work you are doing in your community. Please also follow us on social media and feel free to come to the gatherings at Union. There’s so much going on already this Fall, and we’ve only just begun!



(Originally Published October 4, 2017)

CEE Continues to Explore New Methods of Inquiry and Curriculum Development in 2017

Rev. Leo Woodbury speaks to Global South Summit participants outside the UN Church Center.

On September 15th, the Center for Earth Ethics teamed up with Rev. Leo Woodbury of Kingdom Living Temple to host the Global South Summit in New York City at the UN Church Center.  Participants came from North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, and New Jersey, as well as, Global South representatives of Mexico, El Salvador and Nigeria to join forces tackling the problems of Climate Change.

The Summit served to bring allies together, sharing our various insights and information, thereby strengthening our potential impact through partnership.  This shared space helps bring our local communities and constituents forward towards clean air and clean water by providing new educational platforms that serve those goals.


After a rich morning session which included talks by  (clockwise from top left) Green Faith Organizer Estrella Sainburg, Dogwood Alliance’s Danna Smith, International Adviser Marta Benavides and CEE’s Mindahi Bastida, participants reconvened at Union Theological Seminary for discussion.

Topics Included:

  1. How do we bring NGO’s together? Do we all have the same goals? (NGO’s, Communities, Faith groups, Environmentalists, Original Peoples?)  How can we determine if NGO’s share our common goal to reconnect people to the Earth?
  2. What principles can we apply from First Nations’ wisdom?
  3. How do we measure Sustainability?  What is Our Vision of the Future?
  4. How do we make a Just Transition?
  5. What are the current funding sources to assist communities transitioning to renewable energy sources?
  6. How can pastors apply this  information to their congregations?

Many thanks to Rev. Leo Woodbury and the entire team at Kingdom Living Temple for opening the door to meaningful partnerships.  We need to work together to move our society away from poverty and division, and into a vision of the future where people and planet come first.

Creating a Climate for Change, Florence, SC
October 26, 2017

IN THE NEWS: Environmental Justice in the South

CEE’s Director of Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement, Catherine Coleman Flowers, made groundbreaking news this month as a long awaited study from Baylor School of Medicine was released exposing the rise of hookworm and other tropical diseases in the US South.

Learn More…   The Guardian, September 5, 2017
BBC World Service Radio Interview, September 8, 2017
The U.S. Thought It Was Rid Of Hookworm. Wrong – NPR, September 12, 2017

The Fourth Annual UNITY Concert
September 8th – 10th, 2017, Piedmont, SD
For the Black Hills, the Earth & All Her People

Center for Earth Ethics Original Caretakers Program Director, Mindahi Bastida, sharing about Bio-Cultural Heritage and Sacred Sites in a workshop at the 2017 UNITY Concert in the sacred Black Hills.

The Center for Earth Ethics was proud to participate in the 4th Annual UNITY Concert held in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  CEE Fellow, Lyla June Johnston has served as both organizer for the UNITY Concert in 2015 and 2017, and performer since its inception.  This year, the Center for Earth Ethics was invited to participate with opportunities to address the main stage crowd, and by leading a workshop on the Center’s programming facilitated by Mindahi Bastida, CEE Original Caretakers, Program Director.  The session focused on the importance of protecting sacred sites, such as the Black Hills.  Mr. Bastida explains the value of protecting these sites, by understanding Bio-Cultural Heritage: a complex system of the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and their natural environment including long standing traditions, practices and knowledge of sustainable use of biodiversity.

During the weekend gathering, Mr. Bastida also participated in the creation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance to protect Sacred Sites.  A Proclamation of Alliance and Solidarity regarding the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights was produced by the group with 29 signatories including Lakota elders and other original peoples’ spiritual leaders from the US, South America, Mexico, Tibet and Australia.

The purpose of the UNITY concert has been to bring awareness to the federal government’s legislative abuses of Indigenous treaty rights, specifically, to the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. Indian Country Today, explains that, “Today a majority of the Black Hills is owned by private and federal groups. Native peoples are often treated as trespassers in a homelands guaranteed to them by federal law.  (Read More…)

This year marks the completion of a four year cycle and the transmission of wisdom from elders to youth.  Lyla June Johnston, helped guide the vision of UNITY with a prayer of inclusiveness for people of all nations.

Lyla June Johnston: CEE Fellow, poet, musician and organizer of the UNITY Concert.

CEE in Dialogue

On September 27th, CEE Director, Karenna Gore engaged in a conversation at the Brooklyn Public Library with Muhammad Yunus about his new book A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment and Zero Net Carbon Emissions. The conversation covered topics such as technology, social business, economic measurements, gender, and capitalism, as well as the impacts of climate change in Bangladesh and the plight of the Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar.

A Message to Pope Francis – Rescind the Doctrine of Discovery

Last June several CEE staff traveled to Rome and Assisi to take part in the Rome/Assisi Conference on Spirituality and Sustainability. CEE was one of the conveners along with Center for Ethics.

Part of that dialogue included speaking truth about the role the Catholic Church played in the genocide of Indigenous People’s throughout the Americas and the erasure of their culture, religion, and traditions. The Papal Bull of 1493, and the Doctrine of Discovery which grew out of it, gave clemency to and encouraged Christopher Columbus and all subsequent explorers to the Americas to subdue, kill, and enslave any pagans and natives they met along the way.

While in Rome, CEE Fellow Lyla June Johnston delivered a message to Pope Francis, asking him to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery.

Special thanks to Ashley Young for filming and editing the video! You can see more of her work at and on her YouTube channel