From the fig tree, learn its lesson…
Start a book study group
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.
“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
Here is an excellent, short read: Leading the Public Into Emergency Mode: Introducing the Climate Emergency Movement
This paper, originally published in April 2016, under the title, Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement introduced a new paradigm for climate action: emergency mode. Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD, argued that, in order to protect humanity and the living world, the climate movement must tell the truth about the 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, as the policy response.
In the three years since publication, Margaret Klein Salamon’s recommendations have been largely adopted by several new climate groups — Extinction Rebellion, School Strikers, Sunrise Movement, and more — leading to tremendous breakthroughs. This paper, updated May 2019, combines the theoretical discussion of emergency mode with an overview of the young but fierce Climate Emergency Movement.
To download a free pdf, click here.
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.”
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.)
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, Pslam 24:1,2, Psalm 104:10-15, Colossians 1:15, Revelation 21, Matthew 25:31-46, Romans 8:19-21.
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 how to discuss faith and climate, check the brief handbooks available for free download on the Creation Care resource pages of The Episcopal Church.
Receive a weekly bulletin insert
Do you think that having a “green” corner in your parish newsletter or bulletin is a great idea, but you don’t have time to research or write one? Do you want a religious insight to accompany your “green” tip? Episcopal Climate News is here to help!
Every Monday, to help Christians live out our faith in daily life, ECN offers a green-living tip and a theological quote that your parish can use in its weekly newsletter or bulletin. For more information about weekly bulletin inserts, visit Episcopal Climate News.
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.
Offer educational programs on the biblical and theological basis for Creation care.
Congregational Watershed Discipleship Manual: This new resource aims to help 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.
To explore other curricula and resources, visit Creation Justice Ministries and Earth Ministry.
Organize a film series about God’s creation and the struggle to protect it. Host a screening in your parish hall.
To publicize your event in the Diocese of Western MA, contact our Communications Director, Vicki Ix: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some suggested films:
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?
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 screening of HOW TO LET GO OF THE WORLD, visit: bullfrogcommunities.com
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.
This Changes Everything
Directed by Avi Lewis, and inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller, This Changes Everything. What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?
“A film that brings our peril into focus and what we might learn from despair.”
–Alice Walker, author and activist
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.
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.
The trailer is available here. To live stream the whole movie, you need an HBO subscription.
Home: The Movie
World-renowned photographer, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, released Home on World Environment Day, June 5, 2009. Shot in 54 countries and 120 locations over 217 days, Home is almost entirely composed of aerial footage showing how everything on earth is interconnected. Though the visually stunning images inspire a sense of awe, wonder, and appreciation for our home planet, this film was produced to awaken a collective conscience and responsibility. Home poses the prospect that unless we take responsible action to protect the earth’s resources, we risk losing the only home we may ever have.
Director Yann Arthus-Bertrand made this film with the intention that it be freely available to all without restriction. Watch the full movie online! Click here to watch the trailer. Click here to watch the full movie.
What does the Green New Deal mean for communities of color?
Wondering how the Green New Deal might affect communities of color? Watch a one-hour video for a conversation on that topic.
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, in recent news, or 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.
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.