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)
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)
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.
The 2020 election will set the nation’s course on climate change. That’s why Interfaith Power & Light is mobilizing people of faith to vote with climate and creation in mind this year with the Faith Climate Voter Campaign. This is a national campaign but has a major focus in 7 states: Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
If you live in Massachusetts, you can support the Faith Climate Voter Campaign by reaching out to people of faith in these focus states and encouraging them to get more involved and to vote in November.
IP&L will give you all the tools and training you need to volunteer remotely from home!
If you or your congregation is interested in volunteering to help the Campaign in one of the 7 focus states, please fill out this form and the Campaign will plug you into volunteer activities you can help with. Don’t forget to take the Faith Climate Voter Pledge and ask others to do the same!
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.
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 that is centered in the Pioneer Valley and dedicated to building a powerful, unstoppable climate movement.
“We work in our communities and in collaboration with diverse partners across the region to educate, advocate, and mobilize for climate justice. Please visit our website and join our monthly gatherings to see how you can get involved in our many projects and campaigns, and sign up for our e-newsletter at climateactionnowma.org/newsletter.”
Carbon Fee and Rebate Group of Climate Action Now Western Massachusetts
“Scientists agree that the extraction and burning of fossil fuels is the main causes of climate change. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that putting a fee on carbon pollution must be a part of the solution. We in Massachusetts can be leaders and a model for other states and our nation by adopting a carbon fee and rebate program.
In the Massachusetts legislature, Representative Jennifer Benson’s bill, H2810: “An Act to promote green infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions,” would place a fee on carbon pollution, give 70% back to Massachusetts residents and businesses, and use the other 30% to develop renewable energy. It would help groups hardest hit by the fee such as low income residents. We work to persuade our elected Massachusetts officials to support this and other bills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To help us, please contact Mary Jo Maffei at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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 “We are mothers, grandmothers, and other caregivers coming together to build a powerful grassroots movement to ensure a swift, complete, and just transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean and renewable energy. We meet monthly, to eat, build connections, plan and learn. Our aim is to bring a voice of heart and caring for future generations to our actions.
Local campaigns have included zero-energy town by-laws, cities joining together to buy their own energy and “green the grid,” and stopping gas leaks. State-wide we have supported legislation to stop expansion of natural gas, and support environmental justice initiatives and carbon pricing. Lately we’ve been talking about how to discuss climate change with different ages of children and how to use our own stories to reach other adults.
At events, we may provide activities for children while we talk to caregivers. We welcome your help. Please get in touch to find out when we’re next meeting. Contact email@example.com.”
Massachusetts Sierra Club Peer Outreach Individual and local action alone won’t solve our climate crisis; we need policy change. Join the MA Sierra Club’s team of “Climate Callers” and make 10 calls each week to fellow Sierra Club members in strategic MA legislative districts, mobilizing them to attend a training or meet with their representative. By dramatically increasing constituent pressure in key legislative districts, we are growing the number of state legislators who are climate champions.
To become a Sierra Club Climate Caller, contact Lilly Lombard, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 you motivate you to engage in an act of peaceful civil disobedience? What support would you need?
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.
“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?”