From the fig tree, learn its lesson…
Climate Emergency Webinar: LEARN
In May 2021, members of the two Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts recorded a one-hour video about what we need to learn about the climate crisis.
Consider the connections
How does COVID-19 connect with climate justice?
6 lessons coronavirus can teach us about climate change – a short article by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Climate Leadership Amidst COVID-19 – from ecoAmerica
A collection of pieces by writers and reporters – from Yale Climate Connections
Climate in the Time of Coronavirus – from Grist, an ongoing, special series of articles in a newsletter
How does racism connect with climate justice?
Racism Is Killing the Planet – The ideology of white supremacy leads the way toward disposable people and a disposable natural world. An article by Hop Hopkins.
Defending Black Lives – a three-minute video from 350.org
We Don’t Have To Halt Climate Action To Fight Racism – “It’s time to stop #AllLivesMattering the climate crisis.” An article by Mary Annaïse Heglar.
A collection of the latest pieces from activists, journalists, and writers – from Yale Climate Connections
A list of some articles and books about the connections between racism and the environment – from the New York Times
“Environmental Racism – When #BlackLives Don’t Matter,” a statement by Anglican Communion Environmental Network released on Juneteenth, June 29, 2020
Start a book study group
Rooted & Rising
Begin with the new book co-edited by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Leah Schade, Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis.
This collection of 21 essays by a wide range of faith-based leaders is for readers who worry about the climate crisis and want to draw from the wisdom and spiritual resources of fellow pilgrims grappling with grief and despair.
Divided into seven sections, the book provides study questions and suggested spiritual practices that make it an excellent choice for a book group.
Rooted and Rising is available at a 30% discount if you buy it directly from the publisher and use the code: RLFANDF30.
The BTS Center recorded short (less than 20-minute) interviews with seven contributors to Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, including the book’s editors, Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. The videos can be viewed here. Watch these videos on your own or as part of a group book study.
“This book put new steel in my spine and fired up my resolve. You need this book, and the Earth needs you to take its message and resources to heart.”
— Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration
Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth
This excellent short book introduces a new paradigm for climate action: emergency mode. Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who founded The Climate Emergency Declaration campaign. She argues that, in order to protect humanity and the living world, the climate movement must tell the truth about climate emergency and act as though that truth is real – employing emergency communications, militant tactics, and demanding an emergency mobilization from the government and all society.
Facing the Climate Emergency shows how we can use our fear, grief, pain and other painful feelings evoked by the climate crisis to transform ourselves, so that we re-imagine our life story and become climate warriors. Discussion questions after each chapter make this a fine choice for a book group.
Face the truth. Accept your fears. Become the hero that humanity needs.
For an overview of Salamon’s approach, read her article, “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: Introducing the Climate Emergency Movement”
Climate Church, Climate World
You could also read Jim Antal’s inspiring book, Climate Church, Climate World, which includes questions for group discussion.
Jim’s book received a strong review in the Chicago Tribune: “Do you believe in God? Then you have a moral duty to fight climate change, writes Jim Antal.”
As Bill McKibben writes in the Foreword: “Jim’s never-ending witness is the best incitement to optimism that I can imagine. At first he was a voice crying in the wilderness, but now everyone right up to Pope Francis is singing from the same hymnal. The world owes him a mighty thanks.”
All We Can Save
A collection of essays and poetry published in 2020, All We Can Save features perspectives on the climate crisis from fifty-eight women across the United States.
Here are some other books to suggest, ranging from theology to basic science and a hands-on workbook.
Pope Francis, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home (released in 2015, this groundbreaking encyclical is a must-read. Many study guides are available on the Internet. Global Catholic Climate Movement offers many fine resources on Laudato Si, including videos, written guides, resources for Advent and Lent, and more.)
Sallie McFague, A New Climate for Theology: God, the World, and Global Warming, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008. (An Episcopal theologian whose book is for anyone interested in the theological challenges posed by the climate crisis.)
James A. Nash, Loving Nature: Ecological Integrity and Christian Responsibility, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1991. (A classic introduction.)
Naomi Klein, On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, New York: Simon and Schuster, 2019. (She calls for an urgent social and economic transformation that is surprisingly similar to that of Laudato Si.)
Bill McKibben, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, New York: Times Books/Henry Holt, 2010. (A scary and readable overview of the situation we’re in.)
Bill McKibben, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2019.
David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2019.
Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds. (An accessible, easy-to-use workbook that shows how to dramatically reduce CO2 output in your household; makes a good four-week series; available from Empowerment Institute. Check out the kid-friendly version, too: Journey for the Planet.)
Offer educational programs on the biblical and theological basis for Creation care.
At its most recent General Convention (2018), The Episcopal Church adopted The House of Bishops’ 2011 Pastoral Teaching on the Environment as an official position of the Church, a document that urges every Episcopalian “to acknowledge the urgency of the planetary crisis in which we find ourselves.”
“A Life of Grace for the Whole World, Leader’s Guide: A Study Course on the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Teaching on the Environment”
“A Life of Grace for the Whole World” re-claims the theology of salvation and redemption for all creation. Using The House of Bishops’ 2011 Pastoral Teaching on the Environment as a guide, “A Life of Grace” engages participants in understanding how the call to care for Creation informs and deepens our love for God and God’s work in Creation, and how that finds expression in the faith life of individuals and churches. There is a leader’s guide, a book for adults, and a booklet for youth.
Sent to the Episcopal Churches of Province One (New England) in 2003, “To Serve Christ in All Creation” is the first pastoral letter on the environment from the Episcopal Church. It provides a good brief overview of our urgent biblical and theological call to protect God’s creation.
What does the Bible say about climate change? This 30-minute podcast from Citizens Climate Radio features three American Evangelicals who consider faith, theology, and global warming. Kyle Meyaard Schaap, National Organizer and spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA) and Corina Newsome, YECA steering committee member on the diversity and civic engagement subcommittees, along with Rev. Josh Gibson, pastor of Emmanuel Bible Fellowship Church in Sunbury, PA, chat with host, Peterson Toscano, about the Bible, stewardship, loving our neighbor, heaven, and earth. Discover how these Evangelicals approach the often political topic of climate change, and learn how to connect with Bible believers, who may not be environmentalists but care very much for what happens to people and to our earthly home.
Here is a list of the various Bible passages referenced: Genesis 1:26, Genesis 2:15, Leviticus 25:4, Psalm 24:1,2, Psalm 104:10-15, Colossians 1:15, Revelation 21, Matthew 25:31-46, Romans 8:19-21.
For an adult ed program, invite your congregation to reflect on our Christian call to advocate for climate health. Visit the Advocacy page for a video, study guide, and list of resources.
Interfaith Power & Light offers a wealth of Christian and interfaith study guides for adult education groups.
Read and discuss A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding
Resilience in Your Church: Download the Faithful Resilience series (provided by Creation Justice Ministries) for a 6-part guide to equip you with theological reflections for sermons or bible study, questions for reflection or conversation, action steps for your church, and examples of churches that are building resilience in their community. The series features six parts:
Part 1: The Land We Inhabit
Part 2: The Fierce Urgency of Now
Part 3: Resilience and Restoration
Part 4: Climate Migration
Part 5: Building Resilience
Part 6: Resilient Worship
Creation Justice Ministries is an excellent source of webinars and educational materials, with a particular focus on churches and climate resilience. Examples of resources on climate resilience: recorded webinars on “How to Become a Climate-Resilient Church”; “Climate Resilience & Faithful Democracy”; “Spirituality, Trauma, & Climate Resilience.”
Congregational Watershed Discipleship Manual: This resource helps congregations become disciples of their watersheds and of the world’s waters. One manual has an interfaith emphasis, and one has a Christian focus. Find out more and download a free copy here.
Learn how to have conversations about climate change and how to connect climate and faith.
#TalkingClimate Handbook: How to have conversations about climate change
“Having conversations about climate change in our daily lives plays a huge role in creating social change.
We take our cues about what’s important from what we hear our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors talking about. Politicians also need strong social consent to implement successful climate policies.
But talking about climate change, especially beyond the green bubble, is hard. That’s why we’ve produced an evidence-based, practical guide to help make those conversations easier and more meaningful – and to come out of them feeling inspired and connected.”
The Handbook’s advice is structured around the mnemonic REAL TALK:
Respect your conversational partner and find common ground
Enjoy the conversation
Listen, and show you’ve heard
Tell your story
Action makes it easier (but doesn’t fix it)
Learn from the conversation
Keep going and keep connected
For 15 steps to create effective climate communications, communication guidance for faith leaders, and many other resources, visit the Creation Care pages of The Episcopal Church.
Receive a daily summary of climate change news.
Subscribe to free daily emails from Climate Nexus. This excellent resource gives you a quick update on the day’s top climate-related stories. To sign up, contact: email@example.com.
Receive Fossil Free Digest every 2 weeks
Subscribe to stories and news on climate organizing that matter and inspire, brought to you every two weeks by 350.org, the global grassroots movement for a fossil-free world. To sign up, visit here.
Explore TED talks and podcasts
Seven of the Best TED Talks on Climate Change: This series includes a talk by Katharine Hayhoe, the atmospheric scientist and Evangelical Christian who is a renowned communicator on faith and climate. She is clear, positive, and down to earth.
How to Save a Planet is a podcast that asks the big questions: what do we need to do to solve the climate crisis, and how do we get it done? Join journalist Alex Blumberg and scientist and policy nerd Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, as they scour the Earth for solutions, talk to people who are making a difference, ask hard questions, crack dumb jokes and, episode by episode, figure out how to build the future we want.
Watch a film about God’s creation and the struggle to protect it
In alphabetical order, here are some suggested films to watch as individuals or as a congregation.
In addition, take a look at this list of climate justice films, assembled by the climate justice ministry of St. Anne-in-the-Fields (Lincoln, MA). Since 2015, their climate justice ministry has sponsored a film series highlighting challenges to our climate future, our environment, and vulnerable people who are already threatened by our changing planet. They serve a simple vegetarian soup supper before each film. They accept donations to pay for the screening rights to each film, and they have nice collection of DVDs in their library. For more information about how to get your own film series started, email Alex Chatfield: adchat (at) aol.com.
Climate Change & Biodiversity Loss
This concise, 13-minute YouTube video gives an overview of the climate crisis and makes the connections between climate change, species extinction, animal welfare, and livestock production for the animal-based diet.
Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops
Narrated by Richard Gere, this series of five short educational films shows why global warming’s feedback loops are alarming scientists, and why we have less time than we think.
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. What are your thoughts about – or experience with – nonviolent civil disobedience? What would motivate you to engage in civil disobedience?
Entangled is an award-winning, feature-length film about how climate change has accelerated a collision between one of the world’s most endangered species, North America’s most valuable fishery, and a federal agency mandated to protect both. The film, by the makers of Lobster War and Sacred Cod, won a Jackson Wild award, known as the Oscars of nature films. It also won Best Conservation Film at the Mystic Film Festival. For screenings, visit here.
How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change: A film by Academy Award® nominee Josh Fox, Director of “Gasland”
“This is a brave film that pulls no punches in exploring the impacts of climate change on human society. Combining a personal perspective with a global survey of community responses to the challenge, it is simultaneously a tragedy about climate change and a celebration of human potential. Like the director, you may find yourself both crying and dancing.”
–Susan Clayton, Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies, College of Wooster
If you are interested in hosting a virtual screening of HOW TO LET GO OF THE WORLD, visit: bullfrogcommunities.com
Ice on Fire
Produced by Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio, George DiCaprio and Mathew Schmid and directed by Leila Conners, Ice on Fire is an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never-before-seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis. The film goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming.
Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Al Gore’s sequel to his groundbreaking documentary, An Inconvenient Truth: AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL sounds the alarm on the climate crisis and shares the truth of clean energy solutions. “Fight like your world depends on it.” For a trailer of the film, click here.
Inner Climate Change
This is a Findhorn Foundation production, inspired by the people who participated in the April 2019 “Climate Change and Consciousness” conference held at the Findhorn Foundation, Scotland. The one-hour film weaves a touching and often intimate narrative from their personal insights and resolutions in the face of inner and outer climate change. Among those featured in the film are Vandana Shiva, Charles Eisenstein, Jonathon Porritt, Xhiutecatl Martinez and Polly Higgins (RIP). Many more youngers and elders from around the world add their voices to the call for us to stand up as the creators of our reality.
Watch this one-hour documentary free on YouTube here.
Kiss the Ground
Narrated by and featuring Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground is an inspiring and groundbreaking film that shows how regenerating the world’s soils “can completely and rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems and create abundant food supplies. Using compelling graphics and visuals, along with striking NASA and NOAA footage, the film artfully illustrates how, by drawing down atmospheric carbon, soil is the missing piece of the climate puzzle. This movie is positioned to catalyze a movement to accomplish the impossible – to solve humanity’s greatest challenge, to balance the climate and secure our species future.”
A Life on the Planet
David Attenborough’s magnificent documentary, A Life on the Planet, is streaming on Netflix. In its “Critics Pick” review, the New York Times notes that the famed naturalist has mapped how steeply the planet’s biodiversity has diminished over his lifetime. The film can be painful to watch, yet it ends of a note of sober hope. “The film’s grand achievement is that it positions its subject as a mediator between humans and the natural world. Life cycles on, and if we make the right choices, ruin can become regrowth.”
Pachamama Alliance, a global alliance drawing from the wisdom of Indigenous communities and modern knowledge to support personal and collective transformation, offers a selection of moving videos to watch and share with our communities.
What does the Green New Deal mean for communities of color?
Wondering how the Green New Deal might affect communities of color? This one-hour video offers a response to this question from People’s Climate Movement and Grist.
The Wisdom to Survive
Climate change is here. Will we have the wisdom to survive? The film features thought leaders and activists in the realms of science, economics and spirituality discussing how we can evolve and take action in the face of climate disruption.
Interviewed: Bill McKibben, Joanna Macy, Roger Payne, Herschelle Milford, Quincy Saul, and more.
Also, there are many short videos (less than 10 minutes long) that are wonderful to see.
Rise: From One Island to Another (6 minutes)
Watch this poetic expedition between two islanders, one from the Marshall Islands and one from Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), connecting their realities of melting glaciers and rising sea levels. Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and Aka Niviâna use their poetry to showcase the linkages between their homelands in the face of climate change. Through this video we get a glimpse at how large, and yet so small and interdependent our world is.
The science behind climate change and its causes has been clear for decades. And yet, it has not been enough to drive the change we need to see in order to salvage our planet. We hope this poem can spark the emotion and drive needed for more people to rise and take action.
This is an invitation to take a few minutes to watch this film, unplug from your daily distractions, immerse yourself in the beauty of our shared home, and let the poetry heal.
For a collection of informative (and very accessible) short videos by the renowned climate scientist and Evangelical Christian, Katharine Hayhoe, visit her Global Weirding YouTube channel. Her style is upbeat and forthright, and very appealing.
Bring together faith leaders in your town. Organize a panel or conference.
Climate change and environmental degradation can unite diverse faith groups in a common search for solutions. Invite your town’s religious leaders to speak about the environmental teachings of their religious traditions and about the actions that their congregations are taking.
Learn to protect dark nights
Unlike human beings, most mammals and half of all insect species are nocturnal. Artificial lighting can have devastating effects on the health of wildlife (you can find some information here, here, and here). LED lights are wonderfully energy-efficient, but did you know that blue-rich, overly bright LEDs are bad for both animal health and human health, according to the American Medical Association? Redder LEDs with shields are just as energy efficient and better for light pollution, but too few people know that they are an option or understand the need. Consider organizing a parish study group to learn more about light pollution.
You might wish to read The End of Night, by Paul Bogard, which looks at each aspect of our relationship to night and light (historical, artistic, ecological), including the spiritual role of night in our lives. In the Bible, many revelations of God are given at night (remember the star of Bethlehem, or God calling Abram outside to “Look toward the heaven and count the stars,” Genesis 15:5). Yet because of light pollution, 80% of North Americans cannot see the Milky Way at night.
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 in the Diocese of Massachusetts. You can sign up for email updates, and join one of its three working groups, which focus on Action and Advocacy; Spiritual Practice and Grounding; and Communications and Networking.
There is no such thing as “human community” without the earth and the soil and the air and the water and all the living forms.
Without these, humans do not exist. In my view, the human community and the natural world will go into
the future as a single sacred community or we will both perish in the desert.