Religious Statements on Climate Change

Picture courtesy of interfaithpowerandlight.org

 

Interfaith Power & Light has compiled a list of different religious community’s statements on climate change. The list includes statements from different denominations including: Baha’i, Buddhist, Christianity, Hindu, Interfaith, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Unitarian Universalist. To view the entire list and to read more about the individual statements, click here.

Catholic Relief Services Best Photographs 2018

This photo is part of CRS' best photos of 2018, it's the tsunami in Indonesia.

Picture courtesy of crs.org; Photographer Mohammed Hafiz

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has created the “Through the Lens of Our Photographers,” project. This is its third year of the CRS Photos Department’s annual collection of the best photos of the year. CRS Photo Librarian Lauren Carroll and Photo Editor Philip Laubner hope to offer photos that have a “lasting impact and transcend their parts to represent something bigger, something universal, something that talks to a larger human truth.” To view all of the photographs from 2018, click here.

 

Build a Catholic Relief Services Ark of Hope

CRS: Catholic Relief Services

Picture courtesy of crs.org

“Remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature—every mortal being that is on Earth.” – Genesis 9:16

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) created Ark of Hope as a way to get communities engaged in a fun and creative way. Relating to the hope and promise from the story of Noah’s Ark, the CRS Ark of Hope program allows communities to donate symbolic animals to people in need as they “build an ark.” As communities work towards their goal, they can color in animals and place them on an arc. The materials included with this program are lesson plans, a prayer service, coloring pages, and a bulletin-board Ark to show the progress communities are making towards reaching their goals and building their ark. To read more or begin an Ark of Hope, click here.

Religion-Environment Photo Contest Winner: Aminta Kilawan-Narine Biography

Picture courtesy of amintakilawan.com/

Aminta is a community organizer, activist,  writer, and singer born in New York. In 2013, Aminta co-founded Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, a New York State non-profit organization committed to promoting social justice through the values at the heart of the Hindu faith. Through Sadhana, Aminta has worked closely with the Queens-based Indo-Caribbean population to promote environmentally friendly worship practices, particularly at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Aminta has also been a spirited bhajan and Hindi film song singer since the tender age of 9. In 2015, in an effort to increase civic engagement and political awareness in her community, Aminta began writing a column for her local newspaper, The West Indian.

Aminta received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Fordham College at Lincoln Center in 2010. She received her Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School in 2013.  After graduating from law school, Aminta served as a New York State Public Service Excelsior Fellow under New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. While she originally thought she’d become a trial lawyer, she found her true calling in policy-making. She is a Senior Legislative Counsel for the New York City legislature. In her capacity at the New York City Council, Aminta drafts and negotiates legislation spanning from areas such as women’s rights, poverty, housing and homelessness, and child welfare. Aminta is admitted to practice in the New York State Bar.

Aminta’s photo, “Shiva, the God of Destruction, Destroyed,” won third place in the Religion and Environment photography contest. Aminta stated, “Hindus have worshipped at the banks of Ganges and the shores of other bodies of water for centuries. Jamaica Bay is basically a closed system, so whatever lands in its waters stays until it is removed. The Ganges and many other bodies of water have become polluted by the use of many user groups. The Ganges, one of the major rivers of India, also known as Ganga Maa, is said to have made her abode in Shiva’s matted hair in order to prevent the destruction of Prithvi (Mother Earth). The flow of the Ganges also represents the nectar of immortality. Shiva is regarded as “the Destroyer” among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. He is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and the arts. Here, Shiva is found broken in the sands of Jamaica Bay, during a cleanup organized by the photographer, Aminta Kilawan-Narine and her husband Rohan Narine.”

Religion-Environment Photo Contest Winner: Tony Losekamp Winner

Picture courtesy of Tony Losekamp

Tony Losekamp is a second year seminarian in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Environment and Natural Resources in 2017. He has been Catholic his whole life and chose to study environmental sciences out of a love of science and nature and a desire to help make the world a better place. While in college his faith became his own when he had to decide for himself to go to Mass on Sundays, go on retreats, join Bible Studies, go to adoration to worship Jesus in the Eucharist, and build a personal relationship with Jesus. At some point he realized that if he was going to be Catholic, he was going to have to give everything to the one who gave him everything. In giving himself completely to Jesus, he became more free to love. He finished his degree while giving more and more time to Saint Paul’s Outreach and the Newman Center, gaining missionary experience and building a love for life. That is what brought him to Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary of the West.

Tony’s photo won second place in the Religion-Environment photography contest with “Spiritual Tree.” Tony stated that, “I took this photo in Hocking Hills, Ohio, on the trail between Old man’s cave and Cedar Falls. It was spring and the forest was exploding with life. The air hummed with excitement and power that is comparable with excitement and power of a rich spiritual life in communion with God.”

Religion-Environment Photo Contest Winner: Jacob Taylor Biography

Picture courtesy of Jacob Taylor

Jacob Taylor is a lifelong resident of the Mill Creek watershed in SW Ohio. He earned his BA at the University of Cincinnati for literary and cultural studies, and is currently studying environmental theology at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. His interests include community gardening, herbalism, reading the mystics, and pining for the revolution.

Jacob’s photo won first place with the title, “Theotokos in the Apothecary.” He states this about his photograph: “The guiding question behind my work concerns what it means to live incarnationally & eucharistically in the age of the Anthropocene. How can I, with Mary as a model, bear Christ into a world where the heavy foot of human domination and extractive economics has driven our common home into a mass extinction event? I continue to draw strength and meaning from my tradition’s central sacred story of incarnation — it gives me the courage to keep moving and struggling towards shalom against the odds, trusting the mystery of “God with us” as we face this bewildering moment in human/geological history. Theotokos calls me to remember that something profound occurs when we consent to the invitation of God. At the core of the Christian eschatological vision is the unwavering assertion that all things are being made new and that human beings are invited to conspire with God in this process of restoration. May we, with Mary, have the courage to say yes, come hell or high water. ”

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Muslim-American Views on Climate Change: A National Survey

Picture courtesy of advocacy.isna.net

The Muslim-American Views on Climate Change: A National Survey is a survey conducted by the Islamic Society of North America, in coordination with ecoAmerica. It is meant to measure the attitudes of Muslim-American communities about climate change and its causes, impacts, and responses.  A clear message from the Qur’an states that unhealthy and unsustainable lifestyle will disrupt the balance that God created on planet earth and the negative repercussions are detrimental to all of creation. From the 30th chapter of the Qur’an:

”Corruption has flourished on land and sea as a result of people’s actions and He will make them taste the consequences of some of their own actions so that they may turn back” (30:41).

To read more on the Muslim-America views on climate change, click here.

The Ecology of Prayer

Picture courtesy of .paxgaia.ca

The Ecology of Prayer is an essay written by Fred Bahnson in Orion magazine where he discusses how crucial it is for people of faith to actively be engaged in stopping climate change and making the world a more sustainable place. Bahnson directly asks Christians:  “If the underlying message is that we just need to green up our lifestyles without any real sacrifice, what’s the point? But no, I fear that the crisis before us will ask far more of us than we realize. Climate change can’t be just another bullet point on the church mission statement. We need a deeper form of political engagement, one that leads us to confront the darkness of the human heart.” To read The Ecology of Prayer, click here.

Sisters of Earth: Hopes and Dreams

Picture courtesy of globalsistersreport.org

How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy, is the subtitle of Joanna Macy’s book Active Hope, which was the inspiration for Sisters of Earth gathering that took place July 12-15 at Mount Saint Joseph, home of the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati was chosen as the location partly because of the ancestral inspiration of Sister of Charity Paula Gonzalez, who promoted solar power and sustainability projects and teachings throughout the Catholic world. This year, nearly 100 women from the United States and Canada began by remembering Sister Paula and discussing questions like: Who are we? Where are we? How did we get here and what is possible? And — where do we go from here? To read more on the Sisters of Earth and the Cincinnati gathering, click here.

Cool Congregations Challenge

CCC 2018

Picture courtesy of coolcongregations.org

The Cool Congregations Challenge is an annual contest run by Interfaith Power & Light. The contest is meant to recognize “cool congregations” that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models within their communities. There is a $1,000 prize and the applications for 2018 are now open. To learn more or apply to the Cool Congregations Challenge, click here.