We can’t just be individuals, we need to join together and be a movement. It makes you less grief-stricken.
The best antidote to feeling powerless is activism. It doesn’t make you less sad, but adds hope, solidarity, and love.
(Bill McKibben 12/24/18)
Climate Emergency Webinar: ADVOCATE
In May 2021, members of the two Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts recorded a one-hour video about how to advocate for bold progress in solving the climate crisis.
At its 2019 diocesan convention, the Diocese of Western Mass passed a resolution, Good News For All Creation, which calls on clergy and lay members “to stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable victims of the impact of climate change, especially women, poor people and people of color,” by advocating for climate justice. The resolution urged congregations “to join with other faith and secular climate action groups to advocate to protect vulnerable people/land/species, and actively to support legislation at municipal, state, and federal levels that would keep fossil fuels in the ground and support a rapid, just transition to a clean energy economy.”
How will you and your congregation join the struggle to resist expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure
and demand new sources of renewable energy that are accessible to all communities?
“The one thing we need more than hope is action.
Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.
So instead of looking for hope, look for action.
Then and only then, hope will come.”
(Greta Thunberg, 16, TEDx talk in 2018)
How are Christians called to advocate for climate health?
This half-hour video shows how Christians can advocate for a safe and healthy global climate. It explains six different types of advocacy and offers suggestions for concrete steps that you and your congregation can take. To use this video as part of an adult education program, download the study guide here. To download a list of annotated resources for climate advocacy, click here. How is God calling you to help restore a safe and healthy climate?
Join (or lead) a Faith in Action Team
Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light is mobilizing people of faith as an irresistible political force for creation care and climate justice. MassIPL has a long history of helping houses of worship to conserve energy, but it has also come to realize that greening congregations, while important, does not sufficiently confront the climate crisis nor address the systemic injustice that undergirds it.
Click here to read how MassIPL is mobilizing people of faith for political engagement.
Please consider joining (or leading!) a Faith in Action Team to advocate for climate justice in Massachusetts. You can sign up here.
To support MassIPL in this vital work, please consider making a donation.
Join EPPN, a grassroots network of Episcopalians across the country dedicated to carrying out the Baptismal Covenant call to “strive for justice and peace” through the active ministry of public policy advocacy.
Creation Justice Monthly Action
Every month, Creation Justice Ministries updates a timely set of actions that Christian communities can take. Be sure to bookmark www.creationjustice.org/action and visit each month to see how you can take action.
Support the Poor People’s Campaign
This ‘National Call for Moral Revival’ understands that everything we care about – confronting racism, avoiding war, relieving poverty, and restoring the health of the natural world – is connected.
Learn about and support the Sunrise Movement
The Sunrise Movement is building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.
Learn about and support Third Act
Over 60 and eager to help solve climate change? Join ThirdAct.org, environmentalist Bill McKibben’s new initiative to harness the wisdom and resources of elders (people over 60) to ensure that we leave a fair, stable planet for future generations. The powerful Sunrise Movement is led by folks under 30. What if folks over 60 got organized and began to have as big an impact?
Climate justice is linked to racial and economic justice. ECM “builds relationships and collective power across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for racial and economic justice as the expression of God’s transforming love. We do this by developing, convening, mobilizing, and funding prophetic leaders in Episcopal communities, grassroots organizations and faith-rooted organizations.”
Go public with your prayer!
Create a symbolic action that is public and ecumenical. Here are some possibilities for symbolic action from the SeasonofCreation.org planning toolkit. Might one of them be adapted for your community?
- Prayers at a location of environmental harm. Examples include a prayer service on the site of a mountaintop removal mine, in front of a waste incinerator, or a beach at risk due to sea level rise.
- Symbolic actions of environmental healing could include a tree planting or placing or blessing solar panels on a congregation building.
- Prayers at a location of environmental injustice, such as by a highway ramp forced through a lower income community, or a part of the city where nature is lacking.
- Incorporating creation and the poor in a prayer service, bringing symbols of nature inside or having the prayers led by members of an affected community.
As Peter Sawtell (founder and Executive Director of Eco–Justice Ministries) writes, “Think about where you live. Where do you hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor coming together? Where is there ecological injustice? Who are some of the poor, the marginalized, the most severely impacted, who give voice to that injustice? How can your church join with others to name the desecration, and to proclaim hope and healing?”
Build the local climate movement
Reduce global warming pollution, strengthen the economy, and create a clean energy future.
There are many excellent eco-justice advocacy organizations. Find one that speaks to you! Here’s a short list of some fine groups that welcome and educate people of faith to become climate activists:
350Mass for a Better Future is a volunteer, grassroots climate action network that draws together activists from across Massachusetts. Join the local 350MA “node” in your area and see how you and your faith community can contribute to a better future. To receive the weekly newsletter, click here: Get Involved
Climate Action Now (CAN) is a people-powered, grassroots Western Mass organization dedicated to building a powerful, unstoppable climate movement. CAN leads a wide range of campaigns and projects to stop pipelines, coal, gas, and biomass; to support farming, forests, and food systems; and to pass strong climate justice legislation in MA). Join monthly gatherings and sign up for their excellent e-newsletter (climateactionnowma.org/newsletter).
Citizens Climate Lobby is an impressive volunteer climate group that empowers individuals to connect with their members of Congress and promotes climate change solutions like Carbon Fee and Dividend, putting a fair and rising price on carbon.
This sort of political advocacy can be soul work, too: see Rev. Margaret’s blog post, “Lobbying on climate change as a spiritual practice.”
Mothers Out Front is a national, volunteer-driven, grassroots organization with local chapters and statewide teams working to ensure a livable climate. “We build our power as mothers to ensure a swift, complete, and just transition to a clean energy future. Our members work collaboratively to design and win campaigns that push for big, transformational change at the local & state level. In spring of 2021, Massachusetts members launched the CLEAN HEAT, CLEAN AIR campaign. Our campaign seeks to provide clean air and a livable climate for all children in ways that center environmental, racial, and economic justice. Together, we are working to halt the expansion of polluting energy infrastructure and enact systemic changes that will provide clean, safe and affordable heat to homes and businesses across the Commonwealth.”
Are you considering non-violent civil disobedience for the sake of a livable climate?
To accelerate the transition to a clean, just energy future, a growing number of clergy and religious leaders are engaged in – or pledging to engage in – peaceful acts of civil disobedience. To read, sign, or support the pledge, visit ClergyClimateAction.org. It reads, in part: “We envision a livable climate for our communities, for the poor, for our children, and for all life. We call for immediate and robust public investment in climate solutions, including large-scale renewable energy. We will resist new fossil fuel development through joyful, faithful, spirited, and nonviolent direct action.”
A 40-minute film, Disobedience, now available for free download and streaming, tells the story of four communities preparing to participate in direct action to break free from fossil fuels.
Learn about Extinction Rebellion, an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimize the risk of social collapse. As its Home page states: “We are facing an unprecedented global emergency. Life on Earth is in crisis: scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making.”
What are your thoughts about – or experience with – nonviolent civil disobedience? What would motivate you to engage in an act of peaceful civil disobedience? What support would you need?
Rev. Margaret describes what it was like to be arrested for the first time in her sermon, “A Sacramental Life: Rising Up to Take Climate Action.”
Would you like to join a growing network of folks in and beyond the Diocese of Western Mass. who care about Creation and want to stay connected?
To receive Rev. Margaret’s “Creation Care Network” e-news, you can sign up here. Get a message from Margaret on the first of the month that includes opportunities to learn, pray, act and advocate for the earth.
Visit RevivingCreation.org to sign up for Rev. Margaret’s blog posts.
Check out our Facebook Group, Creation Care, and join the conversation.
Explore the resources of the Creation Care Justice Network (CCJN), a growing band of Episcopalians across Massachusetts working together to build a robust response to the climate/ecological emergency. Three working groups meet separately from time to time: Action and Advocacy, Spiritual Practice and Grounding, and Communications and Networking. To connect with our network and receive email updates, please sign up here. For more information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a spectrum of additional creation care resources, please visit Sustainable Life: Responding to the Climate Emergency, a collection of resources assembled and periodically updated by members of CCJN.
“Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive,
unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin
the pyramids of callousness, hatred,
(Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel)
What does the LORD require of you
but to do justice,
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”