If the supreme disaster of our times is the closing down of the life systems of the earth,
then the supreme need of our times is to bring about a healing of the earth.
In 2020, the world will mark the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970.
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is Climate Action.
Earth Day Network says: “The enormous challenges – but also the vast opportunities – of acting on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary year… The time is now for citizens to call for greater global ambition to tackle our climate crisis…
“Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. Unless every country in the world steps up – and steps up with urgency and ambition – we are consigning current and future generations to a dangerous future.
“Earth Day 2020 will be far more than a day. It must be a historic moment when citizens of the world rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.”
To learn about Earth Day 2020, to find a local event, or to register one of your own, visit here. How will you and your congregation celebrate Earth Day this year?
Here are some actions we can take to restore God’s Creation:
Sign up for Sustain Island Home
The Episcopal Church’s new carbon tracker to help us make better choices around energy.
While everyone should feel free to explore the site, Sustain Island Home is intended to be used by congregations, not only by individuals. Our diocesan team would be glad to help introduce the carbon tracker to your congregation (perhaps at a coffee hour, Forum, or special event), and to diocesan groups. To bring a member of our team to your congregation for a demonstration of the carbon tracker, please contact our Team Convener, the Rev. Eric Elley (phone: 860/394-8728; email: email@example.com).
At its 2019 diocesan convention, the Diocese of Western Mass passed a resolution, Good News For All Creation, which encouraged use of Sustain Island Home. In this resolution, the diocese called on its members to support “efforts to live more simply, humbly and gently on the Earth and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.” Using Sustain Island Home is also a terrific way to implement a resolution that our diocese passed at its 2017 diocesan convention: We Are Still In: A Resolution to Fight Climate Change. That resolution pledged support of the goals of the Paris Climate Accord and “[called] on our congregations and every person of faith to set a moral example by making decisions of integrity in our energy choices.”
Moving Forward – A Guide to Climate Action for your Congregation and Community
This is an excellent, one-stop-shop guide to why faith communities feel moved to act on climate change, and what we can do – from stewardship (mitigation) to offering refuge (adaptation) to bearing witness (advocacy).
This free, ecumenical resource from Blessed Tomorrow can be downloaded here. Take a look! (Yes, that’s our diocesan banner in the lower right-hand corner – Love God, Love your neighbor, Stop climate change – being held up by your missioner for Creation care.)
RAYS THE VALLEY is our chance to bring community-owned solar options to everyone.
Individuals and churches are invited to join an exciting new initiative that will save you money on your electricity bills and also support the development of community solar energy. RAYS THE VALLEY is one of only 35 groups to be awarded a “Solar in Your Community” competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to broaden the access to solar power. Even if the roof of your home or the roof of your church cannot support a solar array, you can still take advantage of this money-saving opportunity to enjoy access to solar energy.
Interested in going solar and saving money for your organization? Visit the website for Co-op Power. Even better, have a conversation with someone from Co-op Power who can walk you through your options (phone: 413/772-8898, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Although Rays the Valley is based in the Pioneer Valley, it can help you join the solar revolution wherever you live in Massachusetts.
We salute Christ Trinity Church, Sheffield, for being the first church in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts to install solar panels! Congratulations! They used Sunbug Solar as their installer, and they describe the experience as “fantastic.” Do be in touch with Christ Trinity, Sheffield, if you’d like to hear how they raised the money and how they qualified for the state’s SMART program.
Another possibility: contact Resonant Energy to explore solar power for your church. Resonant Energy is one of the only programs that makes solar accessible for low-income households and nonprofits.
Enjoy this short video of the Boston Solar Interfaith Project, undertaken by Resonant Energy, through which five houses of worship in the Boston area came together for an interfaith solar project.
Start a Creation Care group or “green team.”
A Creation Care team seeks to inspire, educate, and support a congregation as it moves toward environmental sustainability and responsibility. How do you launch such a team? Where should it begin and what should it do? Take a look at a short guide to ways that a team can develop sustainability in church life by increasing energy efficiency and conservation, decreasing consumption and waste, encouraging clean energy, and advocating for ecological and climate justice.
“How to Start a Green Team at Your Church” is available here.
Interfaith Power & Light is a non-profit organization that provides a faith-based response to climate change by promoting energy efficiency, environmental justice, green job training, and policies that will lead to a sustainable future.
Many houses of worship in MA have become Creation Care leaders by lowering their carbon footprints by as much as 70%, while in the process saving as much as $30,000 per year on energy bills. Per capita, per hour of use, houses of worship are often among the biggest wasters of energy.
Review the IP&L website, sign up for the newsletter, arrange for an Environmental Stewardship Assessment, become a member, and help build a powerful religious response to climate change and environmental degradation.
For more information, please call 617-244-0755.
MassSave offers a free Home Energy Assessment (plus rebates and incentives)
By making our homes and other buildings as energy-efficient as possible, we use less energy and reduce the pressure to build new fossil fuel infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines. For information, visit here. For MassSave Multi-family Program for apartments and condominiums, take a look here.
Reduce your carbon footprint.
– Carpool. Walk, bicycle, or take the bus instead of driving. If possible, buy an electric car.
– Eat less or no meat.
– Start a community garden.
– Hang clothes outside to dry.
– Support your local farms and land trusts.
– Turn off the lights and have dinner by candlelight.
– Whenever possible, avoid buying plastic (e.g. bottles of water, straws, packaging).
– Organize a “100-mile meal” parish potluck: bring dishes whose ingredients were grown or raised within 100 miles of your church.
Trees matter. They are key to clean air and clean drinking water. They sequester carbon, and the latest IPCC report makes it clear that in order to avert climate chaos we must protect and enlarge our forests. Trees are essential to human health and survival. Trees are also essential to the human spirit. Biblical scholars point out that there is a tree on the first page of Genesis and on the last page of Revelation – the first and last pages of the Bible. There is a tree in the first psalm, and the Bible refers to its wisdom as a Tree of Life (Proverbs 3:18). Jesus calls himself the true vine (John 15:1).
Join the Arbor Day Foundation and receive 10 free trees. View the Plant Trees brochure.
Support the 2018 General Convention resolution to plant “Paris groves” in our Church’s 85 camp and conference centers. These trees serve as visible witnesses to the significance of the Paris Climate Accord. For information on how to help the Barbara C. Harris Camp & Conference Center plant disease-resistant American Liberty Elm trees, view the Paris Groves brochure.
“For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song,
and all the tree of the field shall clap their hands.”