In the late 1990s, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment was searching American faith communities to find best examples of environmental justice work. Following on a few previous compilations, this collection of 35 example stories of projects from across the country was published in 1997. In a parallel effort, the local community leaders of these projects wrote letters highlighting their work to share with the Clinton administration in Washington, DC. Those letters were received by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and Vice President Al Gore, who met with senior religious leaders in a series of meetings in DC to learn about the environmental justice work of faith communities.
Capstone students in the Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS) major have made important contributions to sustainability decision-making and program implementation in the City of Columbus and at The Ohio State University. The following links detail some of the stories of this success.
2018: Students from three capstone groups in two Engineering classes and six groups in the EEDS capstone collaborated to tackle Smart Columbus Multi-Disciplinary Projects (video)
Texas Tech historian Mark Stoll‘s latest book, Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism (Oxford University Press, 2015), details how religion provided early American environmental leaders with the moral and cultural basis to champion the protection of the natural world.
To hear Jan Oosthoek’s environmental history podcast interview of Stoll, click here.
Stoll argues in part that Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, is nothing new, but points environmentalism back towards its moral and religious roots.
Image credit: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/inherit-the-holy-mountain-9780190230869?cc=us&lang=en&
News reports from across the country are detailing yesterday’s victory of non-violent demonstrators in North Dakota who have been protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement for the pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s land and sacred burial sites along the Missouri River. USA Today quoted demonstrators as crediting ongoing prayers, including a huge prayer circle on Sunday, for the decision against the pipeline. CNN headlined the decision as an answer to prayers. The New York Times described the impact added by veterans who arrived to support the Sioux, intending to place themselves between the protesters and local law enforcement. Local activists at Standing Rock said that they are cautious in celebrating victory, given that President-Elect Trump’s administration has been in favor of the pipeline, and could un-do Sunday’s decision once Trump is in office. More information on the protest at Standing Rock, which has been supported by faith community members from Ohio, can be found here.
January’s Environmental Professionals Network (EPN) breakfast will highlight climate change and opportunities to save energy in your home. Professor Lonnie Thompson of OSU’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center will deliver a keynote talk, followed by several speakers offering assistance, examples and resources to help empower energy savings in your home, including:
Megan Melby, Columbia Gas of Ohio
Dr. Neocles Leontis, BGSU Professor of Chemistry, and member of Peace Lutheran Church in Bowling Green, OH
Eric Romich, OSU Asst. Professor and Extension Field Specialist, Energize Ohio Signature Program
For more information and to register for this breakfast event on Tuesday, January 11 at the Nationwide 4-H Center on the OSU Columbus campus, click here.
EPA’s ENERGY STAR is developing a new mobile application (app) especially for faith communities to help make congregational stewardship of energy, water and recycling/materials management easier and faster. Program coordinators are inviting faith community members to assist the development of the app by completing a 5-minute survey to help determine the most useful information, tools and resources to include in the new app.
To share your thoughts and priorities, take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/
More information about EPA Energy Star for Congregations can be found here, and you can search for Energy Star congregations in Ohio here.
In response to Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home, The Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, recently encouraged Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese to participate in one of two energy summits to promote “faithful sustainability” and best energy practices in church facilities and homes.
During the summits, representatives from the Archdiocesan Office of Property Management and Real Estate, the Catholic Social Action Office, Catholic Covenant Energies, EnergyStar and WaterSense for Congregations, U.S. Green Building Council, and local utility companies will outline no-cost and low-cost steps churches can take to generate immediate savings, such as benchmarking buildings, performing energy assessments, and understanding programs and incentives available to help save energy and money in the near and long term. The summits also provide a pathway for Catholic parishes to become a “Laudato Si’ Parish.”
Registration for Thursday’s summit is at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/
This summer, dozens of Columbus North YMCA youth participated in 4-H urban gardening programs as part of an urban agriculture exchange program with 4-H and YMCA youth from Accra, Ghana. In response, in May of 2017, three Ghanaian youth and an advisor will travel to Columbus to share their urban agriculture experiences at the annual Ohio Future Farmers of America (FFA) conference at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. The exchange is part of an InFACT Discovery Theme Linkage and Leverage Grant project: “Our Common Home Food Security Project: A Youth Based Approach to Climate Resilient Agriculture,” that was catalyzed by Cardinal Peter Turkson’s visit to Ohio State in November of 2015.
Project coordinator Dustin Homan worked with with Franklin County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) led by OSU’s Mike Hogan and with help from Dr. Robert Agunga, to help North YMCA youth plant, tend, and harvest a garden, and facilitated eight 1-hour gardening workshops with elementary school students between June and August of 2016. Students were taught various gardening techniques and were able to grow their own produce, including tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant, which were distributed to participants and their families. Dustin Homan and collegiate 4-H members from OSU have also continued a series of bi-weekly after school programs to teach about nutrition, local food systems, cooking techniques, and incubating chicks. The goal of the workshops is to recruit interested students for next summer’s garden and build relationships between 4-H leaders and urban youth in Columbus.
In addition to Homan’s leadership, multiple partners have been involved in shaping and supporting the project, including Laura Joseph (OSU Center for African Studies), Steven Blalock (OSU Mershon Center for International Security Studies), Dr. Greg Hitzhusen (OSU College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and School of Environment and Natural Resources, co-PI), Dr. Robert Agunga (CFAES and Center for African Studies, co-PI), Tim Sword (Greater Columbus Sister Cities International), Trevor Secord (North YMCA), Kwabena Nketia Addae (Ghana YMCA), Appiah Boating (4-H Ghana), and Mike Hogan, Sue Hogan, and Master Gardener Volunteers (OSU Extension Franklin County). Images and content for this post were drawn from an InFACT grant progress report submitted by Blalock and Homan. Stay tuned for more information as this program of exchange continues!
OhIPL Director Sara Ward and Coordinator Deb Steele will be reviewing legislative policies at the state and national level with a focus on what constituents can do to advocate for laws that will better care for our collective home.
– Help Ohio end the “freeze” on our energy efficiency & renewable power legislation
– Learn more about the national Clean Power Plan
– Take action at the end of the training by calling your legislator and submitting a Letter to the Editor
If you’d like to attend please contact Deb Steele by email:
Saturday October 15th 2016
10am to Noon @
First Unitarian Universalist @
93 W Weisheimer Rd, Columbus, OH 43214
Light refreshments will be provided
PDF flyer for this event here