The Bank of England released a new £5 note that caused some controversy with many different religious groups recently. The Bank is not disclosing what products are being used to make the tallow in each notes, and different animal products may be the answer. Depending on how these new notes are made, their use may go against the teaching of many different religions, ranging from Judaism to Buddhism. To check out the full story, click here.
Month: February 2017
Pope Francis on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Pope Francis has released a statement on the issue of developing land that is spiritually significant to native people. There have been many incidents in recent years where land was taken from natives in order to further economic development of a country at the cost of the rights of native people in regards to practicing their religion. Although it was never officially stated, this statement was in regards to the approved completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will interfere with sacred land of different Native American tribes. To read the full article, follow either this link or this link.
Standing Rock’s Silver Lining
The Standing Rock situation, although a difficult and problematic time, had its own silver lining. Because of this issue and the publicity it received, many religious groups have put their difference aside to support the native people whose land is at risk. This has had an impact on healing the divide that has existed between native tribes and western organized religions. To read the full article, click here.
God’s Creation, Our Common Home
The Bishop of Columbus, Bishop Campbell, will be presenting a series of speeches this March titled God’s Creation, Our Common Home. He will reflect on the encyclical, Laudato Si, which speaks of the relationship with God through creation. He will speak about social, environmental, and moral issues facing all creatures of God. He will also discuss the suffering caused by the opiate addiction crisis. To see when and where the Bishop’s speeches will be held click here.
Engaged Organizations: GreenFaith: The Interfaith Partners for the Environment
GreenFaith is one of the oldest religious-environmental organizations in the United States. They were originally named Partners for Environmental Quality and were founded by Jewish and Christian leaders in New Jersey. They believed communities needed an organization to connect religious traditions with the environment. Their early work included promoting the use of renewable energy in religious institutions, convening a conference that drew leaders from religious, academic, governmental, and business sectors to talk about environmental protection, and encouraging the use of green energy to the general public. In the early 2000s, they had their first Environmental Health and Justice Tour in Newark where they explored the different proportions of suffering to urban communities. It was then that they changed their name to GreenFaith.
Since then, GreenFaith has launched programs all over the state of New Jersey and beyond. Lighting the Way is one of their programs that installed solar panels on religious institutions around the state. Between 2004 and 2006, they organized Sustainable Sanctuaries and Green Flag, GreenFaith Schools Pilot Program. Both took initiative to integrate environmental care into the worship of religious communities and faith-based schools to help “green” their establishments. Since then, the have been honored at Windsor Castle, featured in documentaries including Renewal, and recognized with the Energy Star for Congregations Special Award from the EPA.
In order to accomplish these impressive goals, GreenFaith has stayed committed to their beliefs that protecting the earth is a religious value and environmental stewardship as a moral responsibility. Additionally, their three core values, spirit, stewardship, and justice, are what they use to guide their work and define their goals. Spirit is their belief that religious traditions are sacred and that people grow spiritually through a strong relationship with the Earth. Stewardship is their belief that religious members have the opportunity to lessen their impact on the environment. Justice is their belief that all people deserve a healthy environment regardless of their race or income. To read more and explore their efforts, click here.
Engaged Organizations: United Methodist Church and Sustainable Agriculture
The United Methodist Committee on Relief is a non-profit organization that aims to alleviate human suffering around the world. They are a ministry through the General Board of Global Ministries that believe all people have God-given worth. They advocate for hope and healing in more than 80 countries around the globe. One of their initiatives is to work towards sustainable agriculture and food security.
This program focuses on partnering with organizations that empower families and communities to create self-help and sustainable solutions to food security. They are currently partnering with eighteen organizations to implement food security projects in twenty-two countries including the United States. Their key priorities include:
- Providing resources and technical support rural families need to grow or buy enough food to maintain a healthy and productive life.
- Building the capacity of farmers, pastoralists and fishermen to reverse the trend of poor land and water resource management.
- Strengthening the impact of agricultural projects by improving household health and nutrition behaviors with a specific focus on pregnant women and children under age 5.
- Supporting the introduction and use of appropriate agricultural technology that is suitable to the knowledge, skills, capacities, interest, and economics of people and communities.
In conjunction with these priorities, the UMCOR places a focus on nutrition. Through their sustainable agriculture and food security program, they educate farmers, raise awareness of global undernutrition, and urge governments in developing nations to support sustainable agriculture. Additionally, they endorse the Scale up Nutrition framework which works to improve nutrition around the globe, especially in young children. Their initiative, called the 1,000 Days Movement, works to improve the nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life which can have an exponential impact on the future of these lives. The UMCOR encourages faith communities to support and work with the Scale Up Nutrition movement and assist in the end of undernutrition through sustainable agriculture.
Theology and Ecology: How to Keep Updated
The relationship between faith groups and the environment is constantly developing and expanding. One way to stay informed or learn more is to explore the insightful websites and articles posted below.
The National Catholic Reporter is a news source that reports on church and social issues, and they publish a regular column called Eco Catholics. They keep an updated list of articles about the Catholic faith and it’s relation to issues related to the environment.
To learn more from the National Catholic Reporter click here.
The United Methodist Women is a faith community with a huge focus on environmental justice. They have made climate justice one of their four social justice priorities and started an organization, “Be Just. Be Green.” Their website includes tools to aid in sustainable living and advocacy in a theological way, a carbon footprint calculator, articles on climate justice, and a simulation experience to better understand environmentally downgraded communities.
To learn more from The United Methodist Women click here.
The United Methodist Church on Relief focuses on alleviating human suffering around the globe. One of their initiatives is to end undernutrition and hunger through sustainable agriculture and food security. Their program focuses on partnering with organizations that empower families to create sustainable and self-sufficient solutions to assist in food security. Articles related to faith groups and sustainable agriculture can be found on their website.
To learn more from The United Methodist Church on Relief click here.
Creation Justice Ministries educates, equips and mobilizes Christian communions/denominations, congregations and individuals to protect, restore, and rightly share God’s Creation. Based on the priorities of its members, with a particular concern for the vulnerable and marginalized, Creation Justice Ministries provides collaborative opportunities to build ecumenical community, guides people of faith and faith communities towards eco-justice transformations, and raises a collective witness in the public arena echoing Christ’s call for just relationships among all of Creation. Their website contains resources for action and an updated blog.
To access their blog click here.
GreenFaith is an interfaith coalition for the environment that works with houses of worship, religious schools and people of all faiths to help them become better environmental stewards. Their mission is to inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership. They believe that protecting the earth is a religious value, and that environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility.
Their website contains resources including teachings, start-up kits, and updated news. To learn more click here.
Engaged Organizations: Be Just. Be Green. The United Methodist Womene
The United Methodist Women is the largest denominational faith organization for women. They have approximately 800,000 members whose mission is to protect spiritual growth, develop leaders, and advocate for justice. One of their main principles includes promoting economic and environmental stewardship and sustainability. In addition, The United Methodist Women’s national office has made climate justice one if its four social justice priorities. More specifically, they focus on climate change affecting people differently. Their main claim is that climate change is not an equal opportunity phenomenon. This claim is what led to The United Methodist Women establishing The Women’s Carbon Fund.
The Women’s Carbon Fund is the first organization started by a women’s group that is dedicated to carbon issues. It focuses on women and children, primarily because they make up 70% of the world’s poor, according to unitedmethodistwomen.org. Their goals are to take into account gender roles and to incorporate women’s voices because they believe policy makers fail to do so. This organization supports women-led projects that lower CO2 emissions, communities whose lives have been affected by climate change, and climate and energy advocacy initiatives led by women for women.
In order to continue supporting and educating, The United Methodist Women have a phenomenal website. Their website includes tools to aid in sustainable living and advocacy in a theological way, a carbon footprint calculator, articles on climate justice, and a simulation experience to better understand environmentally downgraded communities. Their focus on environmental justice stems from their theological belief from the United Methodist Book of Discipline, “All creation is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it. Water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, animal life, and space are to be valued and conserved because they are God’s creation and not solely because they are useful to human beings. God has granted us stewardship of creation. We should meet these stewardship duties through acts of loving care and respect (Social Principles, 160).”
To read more or explore their website, click here.
The People’s Climate March
The People’s Climate Movement is planning a march on April 29 in Washington DC. They are aiming to stand up to protect the future of the planet, the safety of communities, and the health of families. Their website contains their platform, which includes rapidly reducing greenhouse gas and toxic pollution, protecting human rights and native ecosystems, and many more goals. Disclaimer: this event is highly political.
The Future of Work: The Veritas Forum event
Join OSU in hosting The Veritas Forum at The Ohio Union on March 7 from 7PM to 10 PM. Come explore the consequences technological innovations have on societies’ workers. The Veritas Forums are hosted by coalitions of Christian fellowships with the aim of engaging students in discussions of life’s hardest questions. Speakers include:
Professor of Economics and Public Administration, OSU
Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame
Professor of Information Systems and Marketing , Carnegie Mellon University
Derek Thompson as moderator
Senior Editor, Atlantic Magazine
For more information go to www.veritas.org or veritas.org/osu.