Tag Archives: personal discipleship

Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth

Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth (New York: Penguin, 2005)

Knowledge of environmental issues and sustainability is increasingly important as industrialization and climate change continue to wreak havoc on our ecosystems and our psyche. As temperatures rise—and icecaps shrink and storms lash our coastal areas into oblivion—being smart about carbon footprints, waste streams and consumer choices becomes increasingly important for all of us.

Green Living, from the award-winning editors of E: The Environmental Magazine, offers a thorough, step-by-step plan for every making aspect of your life earth-friendly, from the laundry room to the kitchen.

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert (New York: Bloomsbury, 2006)
Long known for her insightful and thought-provoking political journalism, author Elizabeth Kolbert now tackles the controversial and increasingly urgent subject of global warming. In what began as groundbreaking three-part series in the New Yorker, for which she won a National Magazine Award in 2006, Kolbert cuts through the competing rhetoric and political agendas to elucidate for Americans what is really going on with the global environment and asks what, if anything, can be done to save our planet.

Now updated and with a new afterword, Field Notes from a Catastrophe is the book to read on the defining issue and greatest challenge of our times.

Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth

Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth by Larry Schweiger of the national Wildlife Federation (Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2009).

“This is an unabashed call to each and every American to moral duty for the future of life on earth,” begins National Wildlife Federation president and CEO Larry J. Schweiger in this stirring exposé and call to action. Speaking to us not just as a conservation leader but also as an outdoor lover and a parent, Schweiger describes the causes and effects of global warming on our wildlife, ecosystems, and human life as we know it.

Forecast: The Consequences of Global Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, From Darfur to Napa Valley

Forecast: The Consequences of Global Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, From Darfur to Napa Valley by Stephen Faris (New York: Henry Holt, 2009).

A vivid and illuminating portrayal of the surprising ways that climate change will affect the world in the near future—politically, economically, and culturally

While reporting just outside of Darfur, Stephan Faris discovered that climate change was at the root of that conflict, and began to wonder what current and impending—and largely unanticipated—crises such changes have in store for the world.

Forecast provides the answers.

An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergence of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It

An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergence of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It by Al Gore Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2008).

An Inconvenient Truth—Gore’s groundbreaking, battle cry of a follow-up to the bestselling Earth in the Balance—is being published to tie in with a documentary film of the same name. Both the book and film were inspired by a series of multimedia presentations on global warming that Gore created and delivers to groups around the world. With this book, Gore, who is one of our environmental heroes—and a leading expert—brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world; photographs, charts, and other illustrations; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming

Climate Change Begins at Home: Life on the Two-Way Street of Global Warming

Climate Change Begins at Home: Life on the Two-Way Street of Global Warming by David Reay (New York: MacMillan, 2005).

Packed with provocative case studies, calculations and lifestyle comparisons, this entertaining and authoritative book makes the complexities of climatology understandable and challenges readers to rethink their notions of ‘doing their bit’. The paperback edition features a new preface from Mark Lynas, author of High Tide: News From a Warming World

10-Minute Energy Saving Secrets: 250 Easy Ways to Save Big Bucks Year Round

10-Minute Energy Saving Secrets: 250 Easy Ways to Save Big Bucks Year Round, by Jerri Farris (Gloucester: Fair Winds, 2005)

Energy bills are going to be sky-high this year –that is, unless you are prepared! 10-Minute Energy Saving Tips will arm you with hundreds of easy, innovative ways to cut your heating bills (and your cooling bills next summer!).

A New Climate for Theology: God, the World, and Global Warming

A New Climate for Theology: God, the World, and Global Warming by Sallie McFague (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008).

A New Climate for Theology not only traces the distorted notion of unlimited desire that fuels our market system; it also paints an alternative idea of what being human means and what a just and sustainable economy might mean. Convincing, specific, and wise, McFague argues for an alternative economic order and for our relational identity as part of an unfolding universe that expresses divine love and human freedom. It is a view that can inspire real change, an altered lifestyle, and a form of Christian discipleship and desire appropriate to who we really are.

A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming

A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming by Michael Northcott (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2005).

In this groundbreaking book Northcott examines theological attitudes to climate change, from the complacent to the apocalyptic, and the ethical implications for all Christians.

Climate Justice: Ethics, Energy, and Public Policy

Climate Justice: Ethics, Energy, and Public Policy by James Martin-Schramm (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010).

Energy issues and climate change have loomed up from issues at the horizon to confront humanity directly and vitally. They are now pressing public-policy challenges of monumental scale and import. James Martin-Schramm draws on decades of involvement with ethics, public policy, and environmental ethics to provide this lucid and astute analysis of the problems and options for addressing energy and climate change.

Christianity, Climate Change, and Sustainable Living

Christianity, Climate Change, and Sustainable Living by Nick Spencer, Robert White, and Virginia Vroblesky (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2009).

Amounts and patterns of consumption and production in the West have reached a level that cannot be maintained. Lifestyles based on our present way of creating and using energy are no longer environmentally sustainable – and are threatening the health and well-being of both planet and people. Our activities and the policies that shape them need to change. In light of those realities, Spencer, White, and Vroblesky offer serious Christian engagement with the emerging issue of Sustainable Consumption and Production. They analyze the scientific, sociological, economic, and theological thinking that makes a Christian response to these trends imperative and distinctive. And they offer a practical conclusions that explore and explain what can be done at the personal, community, national, and international levels to ensure that next generations will have the resources necessary for life. Firmly rooted in the good news of the Christian faith, this is, above all, a constructive and hopeful book that offers a realistic vision of what the future could and should look like.

Giving Voice to My Community and Bringing ELCA Advocacy Home

Giving Voice to My Community and Bringing ELCA Advocacy Home

By: Fumi Liang, Huntington Beach, CA

I am Fumi Liang from Huntington Beach California and I want to tell you a story about a group of senior citizens who are trying to make a difference in caring for the environment.

My friend Dick started a program called “Paper Rollers” many years ago. About 20 seniors came to church every Thursday to make 20 lbs of newspaper rolls and sell them to a floral company. When Dick passed away, nobody wanted to take over his job to organize this program. As a leader of a senior ministry at my church, I could have moved away from this project, but I didn’t want Dick’s legacy to die. So I took over and I’m glad I did, because I found out how much these seniors care about the land our God created.

The seniors in my church worry about how we’re not taking care of the land we live. They want to continue to do as much as they can to keep our land healthy for their next generation. They taught me, through their action, to be deeply concerned about our environment and the effect climate change will have on my grandchildren’s lives. I sincerely hope that through the Green Climate Fund, government can help combat climate change so we can keep the earth green and clean.

This is the message I gave when I met with the offices of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Scott Peters on Capitol Hill as part of the ELCA’s Advocacy Convening in Washington, D.C. last year.

This convening occurred in the midst of Pope Francis’ visit to Washington. It was the time for the ELCA to get together with the Episcopal Church to share prayers, formation, and practice of our baptismal mandate to strive for justice and peace. This was the first time that ELCA Advocacy invited community leaders from across the United States to attend the event alongside ELCA bishops. I was one of 17 community leaders invited to attend and learn how to become an effective Advocate. Having said that, I was very nervous about participating because I didn’t have any idea about what I would be expected to do.

I knew nothing about ELCA Advocacy; who they are and what they do for what purpose. Everything was new to me. I just had to trust and asked God to give me His extra mercy to guide me through this new challenge.

I was impressed by one of the speakers who emphasized how important it is for us to be truthful when we talk about the issue that matters to us. I always thought that religion and politics should never mix together. However, I discovered during my time in Washington that it could work beautifully if the contact between religion and politics was not for the disputes of powers, money and fame but for the purpose of serving people. After all, people come to church for help and comfort. They want to find the answer of their needs and heal for their pains. If church cannot do that for them, who else can?

Through my participation in the 2015 Advocacy Convening, I realized that the ELCA’s Advocacy ministry can help provide opportunities to make a difference. While in Washington, we urged Congress to provide appropriate funding for global health and refugee services, emergency food assistance, and other development programs through the international Affairs Account; to promote robust structures that help developing countries adopt clean energy technologies and adapt to climate change impacts through the Green Climate Fund; and to protect children and families in Central America by investing in poverty reduction, human rights, and citizen security.

Prior to meeting with Congress, I received training on how to address your opinion effectively. I practiced and prepared my own story and its relation to climate change and environmental issues. It was a great challenge for me to deliver what I wanted to say within 2 to3 minutes. I was grateful that Bishop Finck, Bishop Erwin, Mark Carlson of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy California helped me shape my story and present it during our meetings. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would voice my concerns on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

After I returned from my trip, I shared my experience with my senior group on Thursday during their “Paper Rollers” time. They were so pleased to know that the ELCA is concerned about our environment and that I was able to give voice to my community’s experience. When I saw their delighted faces, I felt really blessed because I didn’t just attend a fun event in Washington, I was also able to bring ELCA Advocacy home to them by sharing my experience.

 

 

 

 

Watershed Discipleship

Watershed Discipleship is a website and organization based on the idea that the best way to orient the church’s work and witness is through bioregionally-grounded planning and action which focuses on the actual watersheds we inhabit. The website includes a blog, links to articles by Ched Meyers and others, and information about watersheds. Read more: Watershed Discipleship Movement and Resources

Rev. H. Paul Santmire writes for the rest of us

Behold the Lilies: Jesus and the Contemplation of Nature:  A Primer  (2017)

Read a chapter: From Lake Wobegon to the Streets of Manhattan: Behold then Follow

Behold the Lilies, by the Rev. H. Paul Santmire, draws from the riches of the author’s long-standing work in the theology of nature and ecological spirituality, especially from his classic historical study, The Travail of Nature (1985), and from his Franciscan exploration in Christian spirituality, Before Nature (2014). In this new volume, Santmire maintains that those who would follow Jesus are mandated not just to care for the earth and all its creatures but also to contemplate the beauties of the whole creation, beginning with “the lilies of the field.” His first-person reflections range from “Scything with God” to “Rediscovering Saint Francis in Stone,” from “Taking a Plunge in the Niagara River” to “Pondering the Darkness of Nature.” Behold  the Lilies offers brief spiritual reflections that can be read in any order, over a period of time. This accessible primer will be welcomed not only by those who have already identified themselves with the way of Jesus but also by others who are searching for a contemplative spirituality attuned to global ecological and justice issues.

Water Conservation in Your Home

Why conserve water:

  • Fresh water is a precious and scarce commodity in the world.
  • Develop the habit of rationing water, because sustainable lifestyle requires it.
  • Reduce carbon emissions by using less hot water.
  • Lower energy use at water facilities plants.
  • Protect the local watershed from polluted runoff.
  • Save money for other ministries.

Efficiency, Conservation, and Protection.

  • Efficiency refers to products put in place to save energy and be Earth-friendly.
  • Conservation refers to human actions to save energy and be Earth-friendly.
  • Protection refers to human actions to protect Earth from degrading products and processes.

Efficiency actions:

  • Purchase Energy Star appliances.  www.energystar.gov.
  • Put low flow aerators on faucets in kitchen, bathrooms, and wash stations.
  • Install low-flush toilets. Or use toilet balloons in older toilets to reduce water use.
  • Check faucets (+outside) and toilets regularly for leaks and runs. Repair immediately.
  • Install push-button faucets in bathrooms.
  • Set hot water temperature at moderate rate (around 140 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Install on-demand water heating system.
  • Put blanket (at least 3 inches) around standard water heater.

Conservation actions:

  • Do not let faucet run.
  • Run dish washer only when full. Wash small loads by hand.
  • Rinse dishes for the dishwasher in a bowl rather than under running water.
  • Store drinking water in refrigerator. Do not let the faucet run until the water is cool.
  • Avoid bottled water. Use safe water bottle to be refilled with tap water.
  • “Bring your own” safe reusable water bottle to be filled for use outside the home.
  • Avoid use of disposal. It uses a lot of water. Compost food scraps.
  • Wash cars by hand (sponge and bucket) rather than in carwashes.

Water Outside:

  • Use rain barrels to collect rain to water plants.
  • Native grasses require less watering. Avoid watering lawn at all.
  • Set the mower high to preserve moisture in the soil.
  • Mow less often and leave the grass clippings on the grass as compost.
  • Plant trees to provide shade that preserves moisture in the soil.
  • Plant drought resistant shrubs and flowers.
  • Use watering can rather than hose for plants and flowers. Avoid sprinklers.
  • If you water at all, do so early in the morning or in the evenings.
  • Put bird baths to provide water for birds, when and where it is safe for standing water.

Protect the Environment:

  • Do not put toxic items down the drain: cleansers, bleach, detergents, and so on.
  • Do not put grease, fat, or cooking oil down the drain.
  • Make grease balls with nuts and raisin to hang for birds to feed on.
  • Avoid use of pesticides or herbicides or weed killers. These will run off into the water shed and pollute local waterways.
  • Plant a rain garden containing special plants with deep roots that absorb water so it does not runoff from roofs into the watershed or water ways.

Educational actions:

  • Get the family on board.
  • Put up reminder signs: Attend to water leaks. Do not let faucet run. Run dishwasher when full.

Advocacy and Public Witness:

  • Restore degraded water habitats such as local streams and lakes.
  • Promote the preservation of wetlands.
  • Learn about water problems around the globe.
  • Advocate for policies and laws to slow global warming.
  • Oppose practices of extraction for oil, gas, or minerals that threaten water resources.