University of Dayton Divests from Fossil Fuels

Image courtesy of

In June 2014, the University of Dayton became the first Catholic university in the United States to announce their divestment from coal and fossil fuels. Members of the university staff see this move as part of the university’s commitment to “being a responsible steward of the Earth’s natural resources.” This decision was commended by the president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. Their decision was one inspired by faith reflection as well as a commitment to financial stability for the university.

Beyond divesting from coal and fossil fuels, the university has taken further steps to move their campus toward efficiency and sustainability. A signatory of the of The American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACU PCC) and a member of other sustainability committees, the university now has two full time employees who work to improve campus sustainability and offers academic programs in these areas as well.

The University of Dayton is also home to the Hanley Sustainability Institute.

Click here to be linked to The University of Dayton’s site on their efficiency and sustainability initiatives. Click here to be directed to the Hanley Institute homepage.

RENEW International

Picture courtesy of

RENEW International is a Roman Catholic ministry organization that fosters spiritual renewal by empowering individuals and communities to encounter God in everyday life, deepen and share faith, and connect faith with action. To read more about RENEW International, click here.

Religion and Environment Songs: Dust Bowl Dance by Mumford & Sons

Picture courtesy of

Song Picks by Natalie

Dust Bowl Dance is a song by Mumford & Sons. The song is describing the historical dust bowl that occurred in the 1930’s in the United States. The band is describing the hardships farmers had to endure. Many were forced to leave their land and some even died from the extreme dust storms that happened. The lyrics state,

“I’ve been kicked off my land at the age of sixteen
And I have no idea where else my heart could have been
I placed all my trust at the foot of this hill
And now I am sure my heart will never be still
So collect your courage and collect your horse
And pray you never feel this same kind of remorse”

Later in the song he then says,

“There will come a time I will look in your eye
You will pray to the God that you’ve always denied”

The band is telling the story of a boy that was a victim of the times and was forced to leave his land. I think that this connects to Christianity because he describes turning to God in his time of anger. Throughout the song, the lyrics describe the people who took the land as greedy and says they cannot love the land when they took it from the hands of the poor. I think that this then leads to the lyrics listed above, where they say “You will pray to the God that you’ve always denied.” I think that they are saying by being greedy and not doing anything about the land that was being destroyed by the dust bowl, which is what forced this boy to leave his land, that they are denying God. To listen to the Dust Bowl Dance click here. To view the lyrics, click here.

Interfaith Power & Light Statement on United States Leaving Paris Climate Agreement

Picture courtesy of

After President Trump announced that the United States would pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Interfaith Power & Light released a statement calling the action a sin. President of IPL, Reverend Sally Bingham, stated “I am not surprised, but I am profoundly disappointed that President Trump doesn’t have more compassion for the poorest people of the world who are suffering from the changing climate and more respect for 97% of the world’s climate scientists who have concluded without a doubt that humans are harming the climate. Abandoning the Paris Agreement is a sin.” To read more on this statement and what other board members of IPL stated, click here.

The Diocese of Southern Ohio: Earth Day Video

Picture courtesy of

Reverend Thomas Breidenthal, Bishop of The Diocese of Southern Ohio gave an Earth Day message from a butterfly garden by St. Johns Town street in Columbus. He had a short conversation about the privilege and responsibility that comes with caring for the earth. To watch this video, click here.

Ecowomanist Wisdom: Embracing Spiritual Rest & Active Contemplation

Picture courtesy of

Ecowomanist Wisdom: Embracing Spiritual Rest & Active Contemplation is a dynamic program put on my the MaryKnoll Sisters meant to invite people to examine the sacred earth from the perspective of women of African descent. Using Christian meditation practices, participants will be guided into consideration of how these women’s understandings help shape new direction for sustainable practices in the balance of earth. The event will be held from July 9th to July 14th in Ossining, New York. To view a flyer on this event, click here. To read more on how to register for this event and others like it, click here.

My Jewish Learning

Picture courtesy of

My Jewish Learning was launched in 2003 with the initiative to empower Jewish discovery for anyone interested in learning. Their website includes helpful guides on celebrating, eating, living, mourning, praying and studying. Their study section includes Science and Ecology, which includes articles written on Jewish Science, the ethical treatment of animals in Judaism, sustainable Jewish eating, nature and the environment, and more environment related posts. To learn more, click here.

2017 Faith Climate Action Guide

Picture courtesy of

Interfaith Power&Light has created a 2017 Faith Climate Action Guide. This guide lists easy ways everyone can get involved and help advocate for the health of our environment. To view the action guide, click here.

GreenSpot and St. Mary School

Picture courtesy

GreenSpot was founded in 2008 by former Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman as a place where people of the city can go to learn how to live, work, and commit to being green. Becoming certified as A GreenSpot is open to anyone from households, to businesses, to community groups. There are a list of commitments that must be made depending on the type of organization, but once they are met the application process can begin.

Recently, on January 30th, Columbus St.Mary School became a GreenSpot. The conversation first started in October of 2016 with Rebecca Mellino and the GreenSpot program. Between October of 2016 and January of 2017, members of GreenSpot, and Jerry Freewalt, head of the Catholic Creation Care team, came and spoke to the students about the program. Once the students became engaged and excited about the program, the school has had no difficulties keeping up with the responsibilities.

The students recycle and compost after breakfast and lunch. They rotate during recess and walk through the halls collecting the recyclables into bigger recycling bins. It is more than just the students that have gotten involved though. Teachers were given information on how to teach the different grade levels on how being green related to each of the students. Additionally, the staff members take turns delivering the recycled materials from the school to a drop off at Kroger about four times a week. Parents play an essential role as well, as they pitched in to buy small recycling bins for the classrooms and bigger bins for the cafeteria. The school also has plans to start a garden next to their building. Once it is built, they will have Boy Scouts, 4-H groups, and Night to Columbus to help care and maintain for the garden.

Christina Hickey is an art teacher at the school who is also in charge of marketing. She spearheaded the GreenSpot program and got staff members and students involved. The school’s student council is comprised of 4th through 8th graders that meet once or twice a month to talk and help out with recycling. Stepheny and Stephen are 6th grade student council members at St.Mary school who both recycle and compost at home. When interviewed, they both stated that they’re excited about the garden that is going to planted next to their school. Rose, a 4th grade student council member, was asked what it means to care for God’s creation and responded by saying “It’s really important. He made this for us. I don’t think we should trash it. I think we should cherish it.” Along with making the school a greener place, this program has made lasting impacts on students as well. Eayual, an 8th grade student council member that helps out every day stated that everyone should “think of the Earth as your life, take care of our life and don’t slowly destroy it.” He plans on attending Bishop Hartley high school where he aims to get students involved in recycling and caring for the Earth there as well.

To learn more about GreenSpot and their goals and purposes, click here. Additionally, Christina Hickey who lead the GreenSpot initiative at St.Mary School can be reached at for information on how to implement this program. To keep updated on St.Mary School and GreenSpot, follow their Twitter accounts at @stmaryschoolgv and @greenspotcbus.

Tikkun Olam

Photo Credit: what-we-do/2013-10-29-19-44-15/274-atid-programs/329-tikkun-olam

The Jewish Federation of Columbus has a program for community outreach known as Atid. One of the the experiences that this group provides is about the environment and sustainability. This outreach is known as Tikkun Olam, and it brings young people and professionals together to work towards sustainability and environmental stewardship in the community. To read more about this group and find out how to get involved, click here.