Category Archives: Education

Confused about our way forward?

As there has been continuing conversation and controversy emerging since Michael Moore’s film: Planet of the Human, we decided to share some feedback from a Lutherans Restoring Creation member.  Thanks to Josh Thede, an active member of the Central States LRC Mission Table.

Our LRC community plans to discuss the broader challenge of how to make progress in this ministry when consensus on solutions seems vague,  if not conflicting.  Join our next Connection Call. 

Katherine Hayhoe has some of the most compelling information:
Post 1 
Post 2 

Bill Mckibben’s response is interesting,  featured in Rolling Stone (click here).  Above photo from Rolling Stone’s piece.

Both Project Drawdown and Pachamama Alliance have good resources to move forward.
This TED talk is a great overview of that concept (click here). 

There may be a worthwhile conversation about infinite growth and GDP as a takeaway from the film. There is some interesting progress around “Donut Economics” (click here for TED talk). 

More reflections in response to the film and considerations when moving towards a host of energy solutions:

Advocacy vs. Politics

Thanks to Tracey DePasquale, Director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Pennsylvania who joined our Connections Call on May 6th, 2020  to help discern the definition of politics. Hear her commentary here, followed by a discussion including insight from Ruth Ivory-Moore, ELCA Advocacy, Director of Energy & Environment. 

Click here to listen to the call. 

Resources mentioned and related to the call:

See all Advocacy-related resources here!

Ecumenical Resources

Introducing the Season of Creation

http://www.seasonsonline.ca - Introducing the Season of Creation! Four weeks of Bible readings included in the Pentecost 2, 2011 Seasons of the Spirit resources that concentrate on God's creation and our relationship with it. For more information visit http://www.seasonsonline.ca/30/season_of_creation

Season of Creation ~ 2019

Season of Creation

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby: “The outlook of climate change is not potentially bad; it is potentially fatal for the most fragile countries and regions on earth...”

Christians Climate and Culture with Katharine Hayhoe

Since the time of Galileo, science and faith have been framed as two opposing, or at best, non-overlapping systems. Skepticism about the effects of climate change—exhibited by many Christians in the U.S.—perpetuates this perceived warfare between science and religion. Mounting scientific evidence clearly documents the risks posed by climate change to the poor, the needy and other vulnerable populations – the very people Christians, and other communities of faith, are called to love. Regrettably, those who deny climate change often believe they are in the right, making a moral stand. Combining basic tenets of the Christian faith with recent findings from the areas of climate science, psychology and sociology, Katharine Hayhoe—a world-renowned climate scientist and an evangelical Christian—will discuss potential reasons for these disagreements and the role that shared values may play in moving us forward past these barriers. This lecture is in part made possible by the Center for Healthy MInds' Loka Initiative, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Lectures Committee, the Center for Religion and Global Citizenry, Upper House and the Outrider Foundation.

ELCA Caring for Creation Today: Pass it on!

The moment is now. The opportunities are many. The resources exist and are expanding. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is responding as stewards of God’s good creation, and we need more #CreationCareAmbassadors to spread enthusiasm and information and help strengthen our response. Learn about what’s happening and how you can make a difference through this webinar hosted by ELCA Advocacy and our ecumenical collaborator, Blessed Tomorrow. Maybe being a #CreationCareAmbassador is for you. Let's pass it on.

The Coronavirus and the Climate Crisis

For Vacation Bible School

Home Sweet Habitat: Crash Course Kids #21.1

How would a Polar Bear do if you put it in the desert? Not well. But why? Why can't anything live anywhere? Well, this has to do with Habitats and how animals (including humans) are suited for living in one place over another. In this episode, Sabrina talks about how these Habitats form Food Webs and how those Food Webs help us understand a lot about the world. This first series is based on 5th grade science. We're super excited and hope you enjoy Crash Course Kids! Venus Image Credit: Brocken Inaglory https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus#/media/File:Venus-pacific-levelled.jpg ///Standards Used in This Video/// 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the idea that matter that is not food (air, water, decomposed materials in soil) is changed by plants into matter that is food. Examples of systems could include organisms, ecosystems, and the Earth.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include molecular explanations.] Want to find Crash Course elsewhere on the internet? Crash Course Main Channel: https://www.youtube.com/crashcourse Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/YouTubeCrashCourse Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/thecrashcourse Tumblr - http://thecrashcourse.tumblr.com Credits... Producer & Editor: Nicholas Jenkins Cinematographer & Director: Michael Aranda Host: Sabrina Cruz Script Supervisor: Mickie Halpern Writer: Allyson Shaw Executive Producers: John & Hank Green Consultant: Shelby Alinsky Script Editor: Blake de Pastino Thought Cafe Team: Stephanie Bailis Cody Brown Suzanna Brusikiewicz Jonathan Corbiere Nick Counter Kelsey Heinrichs Jack Kenedy Corey MacDonald Tyler Sammy Nikkie Stinchcombe James Tuer Adam Winnik

Franklin and Friends: Polar Explorer SPECIAL! | Funny Animal Cartoons for Kids by Treehouse Direct

Join Franklin and his family as he leaves Woodland on a "special" journey to the North and South Pole! Subscribe to Treehouse Direct for new clips, episodes, and more! http://goo.gl/IsTLa7

Polar Bears 101 | Nat Geo Wild

How do polar bears survive their Arctic habitat? Is climate change affecting their population? Learn how polar bears have adapted to life on top of the world. ➡ Subscribe: http://bit.ly/NatGeoWILDSubscribe #NatGeoWILD #PolarBears #Educational About National Geographic Wild: National Geographic Wild is a place for all things animals and for animal-lovers alike. Take a journey through the animal kingdom with us and discover things you never knew before, or rediscover your favorite animals! Get More National Geographic Wild: Official Site: http://bit.ly/NatGeoWILD Facebook: http://bit.ly/NGWFacebook Twitter: http://bit.ly/NGWTwitter Instagram: http://bit.ly/NGWInstagram Learn more about polar bear: https://on.natgeo.com/31eamR5 Polar Bears 101 | Nat Geo Wild https://youtu.be/1zRGzlWqce4 Nat Geo Wild https://www.youtube.com/user/NatGeoWild

* POLAR BEAR * | Animals For Kids | All Things Animal TV

* POLAR BEAR * | Animals For Kids Quality, educational videos for kids. Made in the UK. Subscribe to All Things Animal TV! here: http://bit.ly/V2i7GP ----------------------- Ed and Eppa are learning about Polar Bears. An action packed and informative wildlife series for kids featuring two adorable aliens, Ed and Eppa, who come to Earth to explore. Eppa knows lots about the Earth's wildlife and decided to bring Ed on his first voyage with her so that she can tell him all about animals’ habits, where they come from, how they live, eat and sleep. Using live action animal footage with animated characters superimposed, this series is a delight for kids worldwide ----------------------- JUNGLE ANIMALS: Chameleons: http://bit.ly/1gCsPaC Snakes: http://bit.ly/1frKx0Q ----------------------- AFRICAN ANIMALS: Elephants: http://bit.ly/1nOBgcD Zebra: http://bit.ly/1hCGC1P Leopards: http://bit.ly/1krhhhU ----------------------- WATER ANIMALS: Sea Otters: http://bit.ly/1g7CyGT Sea Turtles: http://bit.ly/1dIn40B ----------------------- AUSTRALIAN ANIMALS: Platypus: http://bit.ly/1jLjDqL ----------------------- SNOW AND ICE ANIMALS: Penguins: http://bit.ly/1eZk3am Sea Lions: http://bit.ly/1pFip3o ----------------------- PET ANIMALS: Rabbits: http://bit.ly/P02wV5 ----------------------- FARM ANIMALS: Goats: http://bit.ly/1nVjeRZ Pigs: http://bit.ly/1kLgSBk Cows: http://bit.ly/QI9Ci4 ----------------------- AIR ANIMALS: Crane Bird: http://bit.ly/QZ2ldL --------------------------------------------------------------------- Stay connected with All Things Animal TV: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allthingsani... Web: http://nurseryrhymestv.com/ Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/1170915... TESL http://www.tes.co.uk/mypublicprofile.aspx?uc=3951926 Check out our other channels: Nursery Rhymes TV: https://www.youtube.com/user/NurseryRhymesTV1 Things That Go TV! https://www.youtube.com/user/ThingsThatGoTV Baby Education TV: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNcH3g9yVAr0gTuuohTAtpQ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lutheran Theological Connections

Good Soil AA

Good Soil is an alternative version of the Christian story/message/claim. I'm interested in how the natural sciences interact with and ferment God's story of life and God's story of Jesus. The title "Christianity: A Re-Boot" is my way of saying it is time to think of the Christian Faith in a different way. This is a 5-part series - each part under 15 minutes. Find the Talks on YouTube at Good Soil AA, Good Soil BB, Good Soil CC, Good Soil DD, Good Soil EE.

Krost - David Rhoads Why We Don't Act and How We Can

The Krost Symposium is an annual academic event. This year’s theme, Environmental Justice: Texas Responses to Global Crisies, explores exactly what environmental justice is and how we can work together to solve current issues that will impact future generations. David Rhoads spoke to the audience via video conference. Texas Lutheran University students experience a challenging academic environment that sets a path for life-long learning. Our students engage in high-impact educational experiences that include civic engagement, aesthetic expression, critical thinking, and a focus on intercultural and global knowledge in a community that welcomes the interplay of faith and reason. Learn Boldly. Live to Inspire http://www.tlu.edu

God's work Our hands

ecoAmerica's Blessed Tomorrow program and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are partnering to empower climate action and advocacy and advance climate solutions.

Lutherans Restoring Creation | Freedom of a Christian

Hear from LRC board member, Pastor Sarah Locke, about what it means to be a Christian freed in Christ, working toward the reconciliation of all creation.

Using Season of Creation Resource

Introduction to "Let All Things Now Living: A Worship & Preaching Resource for Season of Creation Year A." This resource was developed by the Creation Care Committee of the Northern Illinois Synod (ELCA) for use by congregations of the synod.

For Discussion Groups

If I just explain the facts, they'll get it, right?

Global Weirding is produced by KTTZ Texas Tech Public Media and distributed by PBS Digital Studios. New episodes every other Wednesday at 10 am central. Brought to you in part by: Bob and Linda Herscher, Freese and Nichols, Inc, and the Texas Tech Climate Science Center. Be sure to subscribe! http://globalweirdingseries.com https://www.facebook.com/globalweirding http://kttz.org http://katharinehayhoe.com

Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot make short film on the climate crisis

Environmental activists Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot have helped produce a short film highlighting the need to protect, restore and use nature to tackle the climate crisis. Living ecosystems like forests, mangroves, swamps and seabeds can pull enormous quantities of carbon from the air and store them safely, but natural climate solutions currently receive only 2% of the funding spent on cutting emissions. The film’s director, Tom Mustill of Gripping Films, said: 'We tried to make the film have the tiniest environmental impact possible. We took trains to Sweden to interview Greta, charged our hybrid car at George’s house, used green energy to power the edit and recycled archive footage rather than shooting new.' Subscribe to Guardian News on YouTube ► http://bit.ly/guardianwiressub Support the Guardian ► https://support.theguardian.com/contribute #naturenow #climatecrisis #gretathunberg CREDITS Narrators: Greta Thunberg & George Monbiot Director: Tom Mustill Producer: Triangle Monday DoP & Editor: Fergus Dingle Sound: Shaman Media GFX: Paraic Mcgloughlin Online: Bram De Jonghe Picture Post: Special Treats Productions Mix: Mcasso Music Audio Post: Tom Martin NCS Guidance: Charlie Lat Music: Rone / InFiné Music The Independent film by Gripping Films(Tom Mustill) was supported by: Conservation International Food and Land Use Coalition Gower St With guidance from Nature4Climate Natural Climate Solutions http://www.grippingfilms.com FIND OUT MORE: #naturenow http://www.naturalclimate.solutions Today in Focus podcast ► https://www.theguardian.com/news/series/todayinfocus The Guardian YouTube network: The Guardian ► http://www.youtube.com/theguardian Owen Jones talks ► http://bit.ly/subsowenjones Guardian Football ► http://is.gd/guardianfootball Guardian Sport ► http://bit.ly/GDNsport Guardian Culture ► http://is.gd/guardianculture

The Compost Story (Trailer) by Kiss The Ground

Enter the Compost Challenge at thecompoststory.com for a Giveway worth $2K May 7 - 13th. Composting is the most important action humans can take to regenerate our planet. The Compost Story was produced by Kiss The Ground and Elevate A follow up to The Soil Story http://bit.ly/2pmOgg3 a 5-min video on how soil can sequester carbon from the atmosphere to balance the climate LEARN: http://www.kisstheground.com FOLLOW: facebook.com/kissthegroundca instagram @kissthegroundca pinterest.com/kiss_the_ground twitter @kissthegroundca

The Soil Story by Kiss The Ground

WATCH the follow up, The Compost Story! http://bit.ly/2ov6zf8 MIRA LA VERSION EN ESPAÑOL AQUI! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-y9qGNajBQ Science meets inspiration in this tale of nature’s best hidden innovation: soil. The Soil Story, created by Kiss the Ground, is a five-minute film that shares the importance of healthy soil for a healthy planet. Learn how we can “sequester” (store) carbon from our atmosphere, where it is harmful, and pull it back into the earth, where it belongs, through regenerative agriculture, composting, and other land management practices. The film was directed in partnership with Louis Fox, best-known for the acclaimed viral series, “The Story of Stuff”. LEARN: http://www.kisstheground.com FOLLOW: facebook.com/kissthegroundca instagram @kissthegroundca pinterest.com/kiss_the_ground Twitter @kissthegroundca

Katharine Hayhoe Interview on Christian Broadcasting Network Raises a Ruckus

Conservative Evangelical Christians are known to be skeptical, as a group, of climate science. Evangelical Scientist Katharine Hayhoe has been reaching out to her fellow Christians to explain climate science, and has become one of the most important communicators on the issue. Here she is a guest on one of the most widely watched Christian cable news programs.

ELCA Caring for Creation Today: Pass it on!

The moment is now. The opportunities are many. The resources exist and are expanding. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is responding as stewards of God’s good creation, and we need more #CreationCareAmbassadors to spread enthusiasm and information and help strengthen our response. Learn about what’s happening and how you can make a difference through this webinar hosted by ELCA Advocacy and our ecumenical collaborator, Blessed Tomorrow. Maybe being a #CreationCareAmbassador is for you. Let's pass it on.

Katharine Hayhoe Assailed by Angry Climate Denier in Austin

LRC Webinar

A Just Transition for Fossil Fuels Workers is Possible

PERI co-director Bob Pollin describes his plan that guarantees pensions and wages, shifts workers out of the industry through retirement rather than job losses, and helps the country meet the UN climate goals Visit http://therealnews.com for more videos.

Using Season of Creation Resource

Introduction to "Let All Things Now Living: A Worship & Preaching Resource for Season of Creation Year A." This resource was developed by the Creation Care Committee of the Northern Illinois Synod (ELCA) for use by congregations of the synod.

InfoSharing from Experts

Stewardship of the Animals: Jennifer Boley, Executive Director, Nature & Eclectic Outdoors

Delivered at the 2017 Creation Care Fest & Extravaganza at Christ the King Lutheran Church.

Stewardship of the Soil: Ron Lohr, Owner of Golden Rule Home & Garden

Delivered at the 2017 Creation Care Fest & Extravaganza at Christ the King Lutheran Church.

Stewardship of the Plants: Jaime Gonzalez, Community Conservation Director, Katy Prairie Conservancy

Delivered at the 2017 Creation Care Fest & Extravaganza at Christ the King Lutheran Church.

Stewardship of the Waters: Bruce Bodson, Executive Director, Bayou City Waterkeeper

Delivered at the 2017 Creation Care Fest & Extravaganza at Christ the King Lutheran Church.

ELCA Webinar on Blessed Tomorrow's Moving Forward Guide

Christians Climate and Culture with Katharine Hayhoe

Since the time of Galileo, science and faith have been framed as two opposing, or at best, non-overlapping systems. Skepticism about the effects of climate change—exhibited by many Christians in the U.S.—perpetuates this perceived warfare between science and religion. Mounting scientific evidence clearly documents the risks posed by climate change to the poor, the needy and other vulnerable populations – the very people Christians, and other communities of faith, are called to love. Regrettably, those who deny climate change often believe they are in the right, making a moral stand. Combining basic tenets of the Christian faith with recent findings from the areas of climate science, psychology and sociology, Katharine Hayhoe—a world-renowned climate scientist and an evangelical Christian—will discuss potential reasons for these disagreements and the role that shared values may play in moving us forward past these barriers. This lecture is in part made possible by the Center for Healthy MInds' Loka Initiative, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Lectures Committee, the Center for Religion and Global Citizenry, Upper House and the Outrider Foundation.

Doug Tallamy: Bringing Nature Home to Lancaster

Dr. Doug Tallamy, Professor of Entomology - University of Delaware ""Bringing Nature Home to Lancaster" March 22, 2018 at Franklin & Marshall College

Carbon Issues

Going Carbon Neutral: How to Reach Our Goal to Care for God’s Creation

In 2017, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) passed a watershed resolution that encouraged the church to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 to reduce our carbon footprint and serve as better stewards of creation. This means that we will no longer be contributing carbon emissions to the atmosphere. But how can we reach carbon neutrality? This webinar by Green Chalice shares success stories, guidance, and tools to achieve carbon neutrality through our ecumenical partners in Blessed Tomorrow, Creation Justice Ministries and Interfaith Power and Light.

Christians Climate and Culture with Katharine Hayhoe

Since the time of Galileo, science and faith have been framed as two opposing, or at best, non-overlapping systems. Skepticism about the effects of climate change—exhibited by many Christians in the U.S.—perpetuates this perceived warfare between science and religion. Mounting scientific evidence clearly documents the risks posed by climate change to the poor, the needy and other vulnerable populations – the very people Christians, and other communities of faith, are called to love. Regrettably, those who deny climate change often believe they are in the right, making a moral stand. Combining basic tenets of the Christian faith with recent findings from the areas of climate science, psychology and sociology, Katharine Hayhoe—a world-renowned climate scientist and an evangelical Christian—will discuss potential reasons for these disagreements and the role that shared values may play in moving us forward past these barriers. This lecture is in part made possible by the Center for Healthy MInds' Loka Initiative, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Lectures Committee, the Center for Religion and Global Citizenry, Upper House and the Outrider Foundation.

Katharine Hayhoe Assailed by Angry Climate Denier in Austin

CCL Training: The Economics of Carbon Fee & Dividend Policies

Join Robert Archer, US-AID economist (retired) and CCL Economic Policy Network contributor in a presentation on new ways of thinking about the key components of the three dimensions of CCL's flagship policy. Core Volunteer Training is a webinar series to help newer CCL supporters connect with each other from across the world and empower them to achieve their larger goals for climate advocacy. Skip ahead to the following section(s): The Fee (2:41) The Dividend (15:08) The Adjustment (20:18) Final Summary (27:50) Presentation Slides:http://cclusa.org/economics-cvt CCL Community Training Page: https://community.citizensclimate.org/resources/item/19/58

Finding Community in our Holy Waters During a Time of Isolation

While many are anxious and isolated during this time of response to a pandemic, we offer these reflections on this week’s readings. (If there are other recordings you wish to share as a balm to soothe and inspiration to act for the common good please submit them here.)

March 15, 2020 – 3rd Sunday in Lent (John 4, 5-42) – Woman at Well – Pr. Susan Henry – House of Prayer, Hingham MA

Continuing Education Certificate Offered in Creation Care – Lexington Seminary

For such a time as this … Lexington Theological Seminary’s new Creation Care Continuing Education option for pastors and congregational lay leaders prepares you for more effective leadership as we unpack issues that directly impact ministry today. This six-course series is designed to meet the needs of today’s leaders in the church, allowing you to study online and earn 8 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) within a 12-month timeline, culminating in a Certificate in Continuing Education. Beginning in September 2020, Creation Care will consist of the following courses:

  • Sallie McFague Environmental Theology (September 2020) Dr. Emily Askew
  • Climate Change: Caring for Our Planet, Caring for Ourselves (October 2020) Rev. Dr. Richard R. Coble
  • Church, Society, and the Ethics of Global Warming (November 2020) Rev. Dr. Christy Newton.
  • Food and Faith (March 2021) Rev. Dr. Wilson Dickinson,
  • Creation Crisis Preaching and Worship (April 2021) Rev. Dr. Leah Schade
  • Womanism, Creation Care, and Justice (May 2021) Dr. Mitzi J. Smith

Tuition – $1,100 + fees, with option for monthly payments and lump sum discount.

Applications must be completed by July 15, 2020.  apply.lextheo.edu

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day as Church Together but Apart

Augustana University Outdoor Classroom

Augustana University students gained the benefit of learning outside with the addition of a new outdoor classroom on campus. The classroom was finished in time for use by classes this past fall.


An anonymous sustainability grant funded the project. David O’Hara, Augustana’s director of sustainability, led the project because of the benefits it can provide to the students and the campus community. 


The classroom itself is a lesson in sustainability.


Materials:The entire classroom is made of South Dakota stone, representing different parts of the state and different geologic periods. These include an orchestra (the “stage”) made of slate from the Black Hills; and three concentric arcs of seats made of Sioux quartzite from Dell Rapids, “Dakota Mahogany” granite from Milbank, and Black Hills slate. Several other kinds of local crushed stone provide a foundation and a wheelchair- accessible path made of packed gravel.


Surrounding the orchestra is a ring made of recycled quartzite cobblestones that Rick Foster of Foster Landscaping (the company hired to build the classroom) salvaged. They used to pave Sioux Falls city streets and were recycled for this project. 


Sustainability:Most of the stone is laid dry (that is, without mortar) since mortar wears down with weather. The orchestra appears to have mortar in it, but that is a mixture of sand, gravel, and several other components that prevent weeds while allowing percolation of rain. The mixture will soften when wet, and then re-firm when dry, allowing the floor to maintain its integrity while it settles over the years. Where the stones meet the grass has been kept low to the ground so that it is easy to mow around the stones without chipping the stones or the mower blades. Large stones, rather than composites like concrete or bricks, were used because stones last much longer without maintenance. The classroom will cost nothing to heat, cool, clean, or light. 


Use:The outdoor space is available for use as a classroom, but it can also be used for theatrical and musical performances, alumni gatherings, weddings, baptisms, etc. The classroom will seat about 35 people comfortably. There is space for several wheelchairs on the orchestra as well.


Read more about this and other sustainability projects at Augustana University.

Muhlenberg College President Kathleen Harring and Other Pennsylvania Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Accelerate State’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

Muhlenberg College Interim President Kathleen Harring was one of 18 signatories of a letter sent in November to the Pennsylvania General Assembly urging lawmakers to enact market-based solutions aimed at reducing carbon pollution and increase in-state investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transportation.


In a news release announcing the efforts, Harring comments, “As an institution of higher education, we have knowledge and understanding of our most pressing environmental issues, including climate change. It is our responsibility to transform this knowledge to meaningful action, leading the way to a low-carbon clean energy future by supporting policies that will help us get there. These policies will enable us to use our campus as a living laboratory, provide opportunities for our academic programs and innovate in our physical operations in a way that can be replicated by others.”


In the letter, Harring notes that Muhlenberg’s environmental commitments include “reducing direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and educating our campus community about these efforts as outlined in our Sustainability Strategic Plan. We have reconfigured our campus infrastructure, installed high-efficiency lighting, applied a variety of energy efficiency technologies, metered and measured our emissions and incentivized bikes and buses among other initiatives as part of our commitment.”


Read the rest of this story and the letter sent to the Pennsylvania General Assembly from Muhlenberg College.

Student group pushes St. Olaf to divest from fossil fuel companies

Last year, a student group at St. Olaf took action to push the school to divest from fossil fuel companies.  Here is a portion of the article from the Manitou Messenger.


The Climate Justice Collective (CJC) is a new student group dedicated to increasing awareness about climate issues and pushing St. Olaf to divest its endowment from fossil fuel companies and reinvest those funds in socially responsible corporations. Formed Feb. 20, the group evolved from what used to be Divest St. Olaf, a student organization that also pushed for divestment.


St. Olaf’s endowment currently stands at about $520 million. Around 8.4 percent of endowment assets are invested in energy companies, according to Assistant Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Mark Gelle. In 2016, St. Olaf had invested over a million dollars in ExxonMobil, Chevron and Schlumberger, respectively, though Gelle said current investments are substantially different.


“Investing money in fossil fuel companies not only supports them financially but also morally,” CJC member Isaac Nelson ’21 said. “It is important that St. Olaf divests from fossil fuels because it sends a message that we do not support an industry that jeopardizes the wellbeing of future generations and the planet in exchange for short-term profit.”


One of CJC’s primary concerns about St. Olaf’s current investment policy regards the College’s January 2018 hiring of the investment firm CornerStone Partners.  St. Olaf no longer publicly discloses its various investment managers or specific investments because CornerStone Partners considers this information proprietary.


Making the investments visible “is the only way that you can make sure those investments are ethical,” CJC member Abby Becker ’21 said.


“Under the Admissions tab on the St. Olaf website it says ‘Oles are the people the planet needs,'” Nelson said. “If this school is truly interested in what the planet needs, it will divest. We believe that St. Olaf has a responsibility to its past, present, and future students to do so.”


Read the whole story from the Manitou Messenger.

Big Hill Farm at Gustavus Adolphus College

Big Hill Farm is a student-managed farm that values local food production and sustainable agricultural practices. Each summer, student leaders hire new student interns to plant, grow, harvest, experiment with new techniques, and oversee the management of the farm. Upon harvest, students bring food from Big Hill Farm to the cafeteria for use in the salad bar. Ultimately, Big Hill Farm serves as one step to integrate the student body into the process of sustainable food production.


Learn more about Big Hill Farm and other sustainability initiatives at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Dendroecology Research Lab at Carthage College

Human activities are profoundly changing natural communities across landscapes at rapid and accelerating rates. Sustainability research through the Geography and Earth Science Department’s Dendroecology Research Lab at Carthage College is helping to predict the fate of these ecosystems, particularly in the face of novel disturbance regimes and a changing climate.

Biogeographic research at Carthage College funded by the National Science Foundation has made important contributions at the interface of human impacts, ecosystem dynamics, and climate change. Specifically, Carthage students conduct research with Professor Joy Mast on the impact on tree regeneration of the altered conditions of a post-high-severity burn environment coupled with the drought conditions that foster high-intensity fires in the Southwest, as well as on wildlife use of the burned forests. In addition, Carthage students join Prof. Mast in research on wildlife use of forests after bark beetle epidemics to view the sustainability of habitats. Students study the resiliency of forests in light of sustainable forestry practices and restoration of forests through prescribed burns and thinning of unnatural fuel loads.

These studies advance biogeographical and ecological theory by examining successional dynamics in extreme climate conditions under a human-altered fire regime and wildlife responses to both high-intensity fires and large insect epidemics in conifer forests of the American Southwest.

Learn more about sustainability initiatives at Carthage College.