Tag Archives: Youth

What Does A Strike for Climate Look Like?

The Global Climate Strike (9/20 thru 27) was an opportunity for many people of faith to lift up their voices as witnesses to the critical moral issue of our time and accompany a generation of youth who are calling for the end of “business as usual”.  What does that look like? What are all the various expressions of this witness and action? Below are some illustrations and examples – send us what your congregation/circle is doing. 

Check out Kim Acker,  member at University Lutheran, Palo Alto explaining her reason for taking to the street – Watch clip here prior to their arrest as a result of civil disobedience. 

Check out some scenes from Lutherans on the streets:

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So We Can Restore Creation

While caring for the environment can feel overwhelming, it’s when we stand together, each doing our part, that we find hope, gain strength, and make a difference. Find a tool below to help celebrate God’s gifts to us!

Download (Click Here) the information shared from Portico and Lutherans Restoring Creation at Churchwide Assembly 2019 to celebrate our progress and map the long way we still need to go to restore creation.

Join Up

Adults, start by taking the LRC Personal Covenant.  In 5 – 10 minutes, complete your covenant with creation. You’ll start to receive LRC’s monthly Good Green e-News linking you to other Lutheran earth-keepers and helpful resources.

ELCA Retirement Plan members, invest consciously using Portico’s ELCA social purpose funds. Call a Portico Financial Planner at 800.922.4896 to learn whether you’re in the social purpose funds and how to make that choice.

Children, take the Child’s Pledge With Creation.  Print out this out and discuss with your family. Tip: Frame your completed pledge using a larger piece of cardboard like a cereal box and decorate it with magazine photos that are important to you.

Teens, take the Youth Pledge. Then, walk through the Your Day experience, reflecting on how your daily decisions can impact others with whom we share this planet.

Inspire Others

Rally your congregation to take the Congregational Covenant with CreationThen, use LRC resources to create an action plan with support from LRC mentors.

Active Earth-keepers, become a Green Shepherd in your synodAs your synod’s point person for LRC and ELCA Advocacy and Stewardship outreach, learn to identify, connect and motivate other “green sheep” in your synod.

 

YOUTH: How can YOUR decisions impact your global neighbor?

While the following pledge form was originally poised to the hundreds of Lutheran youth attending the 2018 Gathering in Houston, these questions help people of any age recognize their impact and how many tools their are to make changes of habit that offer fulfilling prayerful actions to every step of their day.  To put the questions in context check out the walk through presentation: Your Day – Your Global Neighborhood.

As you consider the unintended impacts of our daily actions,  commit with hundreds of other youth to try a few things differently. Our collective prayers are being listened to – our collective actions are being felt:

Voices from the ELCA – Caring for Creation Today

God’s work. Our hands. from ecoAmerica on Vimeo.

ELCA churches across the country are working to serve our neighbors and to ensure that how we live does not harm others, including those yet to be born, vulnerable populations, and even life other than human.  We have an ELCA Social Statement written over 25 years ago on the topic, but how do we live that out?  The compilation of voices above give some examples, but it is clear we need to do more.  Lutherans Restoring Creation can help you determine what next steps your congregation can make. Click here for a Step by Step guide to begin work now from your pulpit, pews, and personal life.

Sarah Habermehl Locke

Campus Minister, Jacksonville Campus Ministry

Sarah Locke is currently the campus minister for Jacksonville Campus Ministry in Jacksonville, Florida. Previously she served in various capacities at Jacob’s Porch (Ohio State’s Lutheran Campus Ministry), and Gamecock Lutheran (University of South Carolina’s Lutheran Campus Ministry). In 2012 she began seminary at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in South Carolina where she met her husband Daniel. They now both serve in Jacksonville as pastors and try to keep up with their son Bennet and husky Cooper.

My Daughter’s Inheritance

Reflections on “Public Witnessing” with your children

by Phoebe Morad, Lutherans Restoring Creation

As someone who has worked in some facet of environmental action for over 20 years, you’d think that fear, guilt, and longing would consume my anticipation of what world I leave for my children. Fortunately, since I found my place among faith-based communities looking for solutions through eco-justice minefields, I’ve been able to see past the numbness of daunting objectives. I’ve also been able to bring my kids along for the journey.

Earth Day 2016, my daughter was 8, armed with her stuffed animal tree frog and outfitted in her hand-written “end plastic pollution” t-shirt and in silent (yet fervent) agreement with the small cohort who gathered at Senator Ed Markey’s office. We came as representatives from area houses of worship who wanted to emphasize the moral imperative to protect a special part of the Atlantic Ocean habitat. Months later, these advocates, and thousands of their peers, were grateful to hear that the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts area was declared a Marine National Monument by President Obama as part of the Antiquities Act.

Thea’s patience was tried when waiting from April to September to hear the results from the petition she took part in – but what a result! The first marine monument on our eastern shores made into a sanctuary to act as a nursery for more fish to feed people and an undisturbed ocean bed as researchers only just began to explore the gifts in this underwater Eden. I wanted to grab this 4th grader by the shoulders before she went into school shouting triumph and warn her: “It isn’t that simple: just because we talked with our representatives, stated our case, and joined others in laying out the importance of this matter – that doesn’t usually result in seeing anything actually changing.” But I bit my tongue and hoped that this would mean exactly that.

Then 2017 happened. The Antiquities Act being used as a tool for upholding Theodore Roosevelt’s intentions to preserve natural treasures is up for debate as the tide of leadership shifts. Was Thea paying attention to my one-way conversation with the news on the radio as Sec. Zinke re-assessed the validity of “our victory”? I decided to keep her on the roller coaster for the rest of the ride. Off we went again to the JFK Federal Building in October to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office to speak with her staff alongside the Creation Justice Ministries team and others who had worked with local fishing coalitions and marine biologists.  Our appeal was to hold firm to conserving the area:  an investment in the future of our fishing industry and the collective impact of ocean care as a climate change mitigation had to trump the short-term worry over economic impacts.

I’m so glad Thea brought her sketchpad to take notes as we spoke with the voice on the speaker from Warren’s DC office; “…fisher people did not feel invited,” she notes alongside drawings of happy fish. That particular point was certainly contended, but the feelings remain. Everyone knows how it feels to not be invited to something, not to be heard. The conversation emerged from our hour in Warren’s office that faith-based groups are uniquely situated to bring together disparate factions and help foster healing interactions. Our next twist on this roller coaster is going to be a long climb: encouraging relationship building between a broader faction of the fishing economy and the faith leaders in their midst to consider how to provide for their loved ones while acting as stewards of the natural gifts meant to share with other generations.

 

As we left Warren’s office Thea and I were excited to see some of her “adornments” on the shelves. She has a rock collection too! There are a few stuffed animals among her books. Being able to relate to Senator Warren’s gender and interests may be the first hook to my daughter’s aspirations, but I hope that isn’t the part that lasts longest. I’m grateful that she gets to see that progress is no straight road. She’s just had a glimpse as to all the diverse interests we need to consider in discovering “justice”. The Elizabeth Warren she will see on campaign ads soon, is not the one and only person to look for all our answers. That is not a true leader’s role. So many, many people are part of the efforts to make a better common home for all. I pray that we can all find a unique role in serving our neighbors needs as St. Paul refers to in his letter to the Corinthians:

 

If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.   (1 Corinthians 17-20)

 

 

Kristina Johnson, Colleges and Universities Page Student Editor (past)

My name is Kristina Johnson. I am currently a student at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. As I have grown in both my faith and my passion for the environment, I have continually found ways in which the two intertwine. I find that there are many ways in which God is calling us to be stewards for the beautiful earth which he has created. I believe that creation care is not just something that we as Christians should do, it is something that we are called to do. This is why I am currently pursuing a double major in Environmental Studies and Religion. I want to find a way to promote the development of sustainable practices, influenced and founded by faith.

At my home congregation, Hosanna Lutheran Church, in Rochester, MN, I sought to promote this idea by developing a program called VBS Plus. This after-VBS program allowed kids to put the Christian call to care for God’s creation into action through faith-based environmental service projects. These little actions such as planting flowers, watering the Hosanna Community Garden, and picking up trash around the church introduced the importance of creation care to kids at a young age.

At Luther, I have worked to promote sustainability on campus in several ways. I have worked in the Luther Gardens, which seeks to promote eating local by growing produce which will be served to students in the cafeteria. I am also a student coordinator for Luther’s Cafeteria to Community program. With this, I help direct the volunteers that package leftover cafeteria food and I help deliver the frozen food to the First Lutheran Church food pantry in Decorah.

Throughout my daily life at both my home, and in my dorm, I see the importance of applying my faith towards my practices which impact the environment. Through actions such as: setting up a compost bin at home, sewing together reusable “paper” towels, or simply taking the few extra steps to turn off a light that nobody is using, I seek to carry out these practices not because I feel obligated to do so, but because I feel the call to care for God’s creation.

Wartburg College Offers A New Twist to the Common 3R’s of Sustainable Living

The majority of people have probably heard of the 3R’s of Sustainable Living:  Reduce, reuse, recycle. Wartburg College has added two extra categories to their list: Refuse and repair.

“You have probably heard of the 3 R’s of waste reduction (reduce, reuse, recycle) but there are actually 5 R’s at Wartburg College. They should be considered in this order too.

  1. Refuse – if you don’t need it don’t take/get it

  2. Reduce – only take what you really need, you can almost always get more

  3. Repair – just because it may be inexpensive to get it new, repair will keep it out of the landfill

  4. Reuse – if you are done with it, maybe someone else can use it

  5. Recycle – if there are no other options, recycle, keep it out of the landfill”

Wartburg Sustainability strives to promote these five R’s through sustainable practices around campus.

To read more about Wartburg’s sustainability efforts, click here.

Sustainability in Action: Tips for Going Green from Texas Lutheran University

  1. Buy local produce, and services whenever possible.
  2. Set up a recycling station in your kitchen
  3. Invest in mason jars. (Although they are made for canning and preserving, they are great reusable containers for holding dry goods and spices.)
  4. Compost.
  5. Abstain from buying convenience packaged item. (If you do, recycle the plastic and cardboard components.)
  6. Use your money to support earth friendly and sustainable practices.
To read this article, click here.

Young Leaders Emerging from Central States Group

The Central States Synod Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) Mission Table is made up of volunteers from across the Synod who feel passionate about caring for creation and want to empower others to learn and act on behalf of all that God has made. Through monthly conference calls and offering workshops throughout the Synod, we share God’s story in creation and facilitate the sharing of stories about how congregations can use worship, buildings and grounds, education, discipleship in daily life, and advocacy to be better stewards of creation. Here are two stories from recent workshop attendees:

Kaylie Ines is a senior at Bethany College and will attend Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in the fall. She is a member of Reformation Lutheran in Wichita. Kaylie writes,“By attending the LRC workshop I was able to engage and reflect on what it means to be an advocate for sustainability – as a Lutheran and as a being. I got a better understanding of why Lutherans care for all of creation. It took my perspective from just a theological idea and expanded it to think about the ethical imperative for the church. I am thankful for this experience and the fellowship shared at the workshop. It was inspiring to engage others and to share ideas on what we can do to help care for creation. I have brought this knowledge and passion back to campus with me and have shared them with our campus pastor. We are looking to organize an Earth Day celebration event. My goal is to help rebuild the interest in creation care with younger students by doing smaller projects to peak an interest and leave behind ideas for bigger projects for a team to tackle when we have sustainable numbers. Our Earth Day Event will also engage others in creation care as we we partner with a local church and our on-campus Art Club!”

Josh Thede is a member of the City of Mission, KS, Sustainability Commission; President of the USGBC Emerging Professionals – Central Plains Chapter; and works as an Acoustical Consultant at Henderson Engineers in Lenexa, KS. Josh did volunteer service in Peru where he lived and worked in the Amazon Rainforest for three weeks doing reforestation, animal monitoring, research, and organic agriculture. He also served as a Camp Counselor at Carol Joy Holling in Ashland, NE. Josh is looking for a Lutheran congregation in the KC area that will help him make a positive impact on the planet. Josh writes, “I was impressed and encouraged by the activities churches are already doing, including solar panels, energy star-rated buildings, up cycling plastic bags into sleeping mats, sending youth outdoors in nature, reducing waste, and composting. I enjoyed that the event was framed in ‘creation care’ which is a different perspective than the secular climate action and clean energy that I am more familiar with. It was an incredible group of people including venture scouts, pastors, congregation staff, college students, camp directors, youth leaders, professors, carpenters, hikers, and more. Each had their own perspective and approach, but the overall theme was consistent: The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 25), and protecting the Earth should be a priority for all people and congregations. I left encouraged that by the Grace of God, we have hope that our actions will create a positive change to reduce the sin of greed and overconsumption, and increase protection and preservation of Earth.”

 

Wagner College Offers a Unique City Studies Minor

In this minor, students study how transnational migration, public policy, labor issues, global finance, environmental sustainability, and the arts are handled in major cities. Field trips in New York City and opportunities to travel to other American and foreign cities give students an intimate and hands-on approach to urban issues. To read more about this minor, click here.

 

Guide to Green Degrees and Careers

With environmental issues gaining traction in the social consciousness, green careers are constantly growing in both popularity and availability. In turn, colleges and universities are offering more degrees which lead to green jobs. This guide was created to help prospective students understand what their sustainability education options are and what type of careers these programs lead to. The guide was developed in part by Nurit Katz, Sustainability Coordinator at UCLA, and provides an in-depth look at the typical green career path, top-paying green careers, and more. To visit this site, click here.

 

Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois practices sustainability in Dining Services

Augustana College: Rock Island, Illinois is promoting sustainability via their sourcing and disposing of food. The college’s “Farm2Fork” Program invests in the health of the broader community and strives to build regional and local food systems. The “Farm2Fork” Program utilizes local and regional foods in food service operations throughout the college.

Augustana is also promoting through their partnership with Wesley Acres, which converts fryer oil into bio-diesel that is used to heat their green houses to extend the growing season and also to run farm equipment. Augustana also composts all pre and post consumer food waste.

 

 

Numerous Schools Offer Students the Opportunity to Live in a Community Committed to Living More Sustainably

There are currently eight ELCA schools that seek to promote sustainable living in community by designating on-campus houses.

Here is the list of links to active houses and residence hall floors that dedicate themselves to living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle:and residence hall floors as “sustainable”. The students living in these houses and dorms make a commitment to improve their daily practices in a way that will reduce their impact on the environment.

 

 

 

Augsburg, Gettysburg, and Luther Colleges Strive to Reduce Food Waste While Helping the Community

Augsburg College and Gettysburg College are participants in The Campus Kitchens ProjectAs part of this project, volunteers from these two colleges use unused food from the campus as well as local grocery stores and farmers markets to make meals that are given to those in need. The Luther College Cafeteria to Community Program is very similar. This student-initiated program packages left-over food from the cafeteria, which is then distributed to a local food pantry. Some of this food is packaged into reusable containers which the recipients bring back to be refilled.

 

Extended Growing Season at Concordia Moorhead (2015)

Concordia has extended their growing season through the installation of a high tunnel, or hoop house, warmed by a solar air system. Last spring, Concordia received a grant to build a high tunnel. Further research showed a solar air system could extend the growing season even longer. Additional funding made it possible. Solar panels capture sun energy that heats air pumped through tile lines underneath the soil. This combination extends the growing season from Valentine’s Day to Thanksgiving.

Capital University Practices Sustainable Printing

Capital University is practicing sustainability by reducing their amount of paper waste. That’s why they started the Going Green Print & Copy Program. Capital took a look at how much students were using printers and copiers and decided to allot a $50.00 – or 500 page – print and copy credit to each student per semester. This limit is projected to reduce excessive printing and save Capital over 120,000 printed pages each semester.

Take a look Capital’s printing tips!

Think Before You Print

You can help Capital preserve the environment and save energy with these printing tips.

Learn to review and edit documents online, so you only have to print a final copy.

Use email, CDs, or flash drives to distribute documents when possible.

Print on both sides of the paper.

Reuse before you recycle. Use the back of waste paper as scratch paper.

Recycle waste paper when you’re finished.

 

Concordia Moorhead Creates Interactive Sustainability Map

Concordia Moorhead has created an interactive map which shows sustainability-related initiatives and features that are found throughout the Concordia Moorhead campus. These include: experiential learning sites, institutional initiatives, landscaping, student initiatives, transportation, and energy. This map allows users to click on the images in the description for a link to more information on Concordia’s website. To view this map click here.

 

 

Muhlenberg’s Green Team Promotes Smart Recycling Practices

At the beginning of each school year, Muhlenberg Green Team members reach out to all students during move-in to collect cardboard and recycling, and educate the campus regarding recycling on campus. This year, Muhlenberg recycled 1.28 tons of cardboard, a 25% increase from previous years. A Green Team was organized by the campus Environmental Action Team, the Sustainability Coordinator, Kalyna Procyk, and Plant Operations Assistant Director Jim Bolton. To learn more about this event and other campus initiatives at Muhlenberg click here.

Augsburg College Offers Course Titled: The Calculus of Sustainability (2012)

Augsburg College has found a way to combine mathematics and sustainability education! In “The Calculus of Sustainability” students spend the first eight weeks of the spring semester studying coffee plantations in Nicaragua. With this knowledge, they create projects ranging from calculating the carbon footprint of coffee production to building a large-scale differential equation model. To read more about this course, click here.