Creation Care Network E-news
June 2020
Message from Margaret...
Dear friends,

• On this National Day of Mourning and Lament, we pray for all those who have perished from COVID-19. 

Yesterday we celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost During yesterday’s service we heard a portion of Psalm 104, which lifts up the glory of God’s creation, including “the great and wide sea with its living things too many to number, /creatures both sm all and great” (Ps. 104:26). We heard about the whale, “that Leviathan, /which you have made for the sport of it” (Ps. 104:27). How wonderful to imagine a playful God who thoroughly enjoys the act of creativity! 

How healthy are the oceans? How can we #ProtectOurHome?   World Oceans Day   is on June 8. The Smithsonian Institution will celebrate the occasion from 4:00-5:00 p.m. by playing excerpts from two movements of A Passion for the Planet , ” the beloved climate oratorio that many of us heard at its premiere in Northampton one year ago. The round-table discussion that follows will include composer  Geoffrey Hudson Bill McKibben  (author and environmentalist), and  Peter Murphy  (Alaska Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program). Before the program, we encourage you to  l isten to the full oratorio here The program is free and will be presented as a Zoom video webinar. A link will be emailed to all registrants.  Click   here   to register.

• Last month I delivered two pre-recorded sermons in worship services for Episcopal churches in Lincoln and Winchester. Below is an excerpt from one of them – “‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’: Searching for steadiness in a precarious time” (the full sermon is posted here ): 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” When Jesus said this, he wasn’t denying the reality of suffering and death. He wasn’t repressing his emotions or dodging painful facts: he knew full well that he was on the brink of being arrested, tortured, and killed. Yet he was able to say to his friends, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” How? Because he was rooted in the love of God. Because he knew that nothing could separate him – or us – from that love. Because he knew that through the power of his Spirit, we would be drawn, as he was drawn, into the divine life that circulates at the center of everything and that can never be destroyed. That is the great promise of today’s Gospel passage: at the deepest level of our being we belong to God; we abide in God and God abides in us. 

The sermon suggests three spiritual practices to keep us attuned to God during this precarious time of coronavirus and climate crisis.

• After I preached the above sermon at St. Anne’s-in-the-Fields in Lincoln, I heard from one of its parishioners, my friend Alex Chatfield, a climate activist in the Diocese of Massachusetts. Looking for a way to engage in climate protest during a time of physical distancing – and, coincidentally, a couple of days after the service – he and his daughter Olivia dropped a banner from a bridge to greet an empty coal train heading to Ayer. Alex explained that the train was returning from Bow, NH, where it had “delivered its deadly cargo to Merrimack Station. In this age of social distancing this seemed like a good way… to tell the hedge fund that owns the plant that we are watching what they are doing when they think no one is paying attention.” 
Photo: submitted
The banner reads: COAL IS NOT ESSENTIAL #NoCoalNoGas .

• The essay I co-wrote with Leah Schade for Earth Day Network, “Six Lessons Coronavirus Can Teach Us About Climate Change,” made its way into the 2020 Earth Day Digital Flip Book , distributed in newspapers in southern California, including Los Angeles. 
• A new report by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows that despite the theory that people have only a “finite pool of worry,” public engagement in the issue of climate change remains at or near historic high levels – even during the pandemic. As the New York Times explains, researchers had expected the coronavirus to displace concerns about climate change. It hasn’t .

• In May I did two live interviews for The Weather Channel – quite a surprise invitation! They wanted to hear how faith connects with the climate crisis and coronavirus. I was glad to share some thoughts. 
Margaret is interviewed by The Weather Channel. Photo: submitted.
• Do you have favorite authors or chapters in Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis ? Several contributors to this multifaith anthology will carry out live interviews
about climate activism, interfaith friendship, and moral vision. The host will be another of the book’s contributors, Huda Alkaff (founder and executive director of Wisconsin Green Muslims).

Webinar at 12 Noon on June 1 : Rabbi Mordechai Liebling and Rev. Fred Small
Join the Facebook Event here . A flyer is attached here . You can pre-register here .

Webinar at 12 Noon on June 8 : Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda and Jay O’Hara
Join the Facebook Event here . A flyer is attached here . You can pre-register here .

• I will be the chaplain for the June 27 - July 3 opening session of the 2020 Season of Chautauqua Institution . The week’s theme is “Faith to Save the Earth.” I will deliver a live sermon by remote video feed every day. Located in southwestern New York State, Chautauqua was founded in 1874 and is renowned for its lively summer schedule of public lectures and artistic events. For the first time in its history, Chautauqua’s events will be offered online this year, so please consider joining us. For more information and to register, visit the link above.

• I am very happy to tell you that the Rev. Fred Small was just hired as the new executive director of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light . The press release, “Waking the ‘sleeping giant’ of religious climate activism,” will tell you about Fred and make it clear why I am excited about this new chapter in the interfaith climate movement in Massachusetts. To view the press release, click here .

MassIPL, a statewide network of over 250 congregations, has also unveiled a new website . The mission of this non-profit, non-partisan organization is much bolder than simply helping houses of worship to “go green” – it is also increasingly engaged in mobilizing a robust interfaith response to the climate crisis. To quote from the new website: “Spiritual transformation, congregational transformation, and political transformation go hand in hand. None can succeed without the rest.”

I encourage you to sign up for MassIPL’s newsletter and to stay in touch.

Support Carbon Pricing and a Realistic Roadmap to 2050
From MassIPL’s latest newsletter, here is how we can affect climate policy in Massachusetts: Right now, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is planning how to achieve the Commonwealth's goals under the Global Warming Solutions Act and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. MassIPL submitted  comments , urging the Baker Administration to adopt a strict definition of net zero emissions, set stringent 2030 and 2040 interim goals, and ensure that environmental justice is addressed in all actions taken. People of faith can make a difference by submitting comments on the MA Decarbonization Roadmap here . Scroll down to ‘Provide feedback’ and click on ‘Fill out this form.’ Here's some sample text for you to use or adapt (a personalized comment is always more effective than boilerplate!):

“As a person of faith and a supporter of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light, I believe that protecting Creation, our descendants, and the world’s most vulnerable people is a moral responsibility. It’s vital that we achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and we can’t wait until the last minute to make transformative changes to our infrastructure, economy, and energy and transportation systems. We need a hard target of 50% emissions reduction by 2030. To get there we’ll need carbon pricing across all sectors, whether by carbon fee and dividend or cap and trade. These elements are crucial to the success of the MA Decarbonization Roadmap.”

As you celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, I hope you will take a few moments to add your voice to this urgent effort.

• Good news! In May, 42 faith institutions from 14 countries announced their divestment from fossil fuels. This is the largest divestment from fossil fuels from faith institutions around the world to date. Faith communities have a long history of leadership to divest from fossil fuels and the banks that finance these extractive industries.
Faithful America created this image to honor the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’, which connects climate change, poverty, and social justice.
• Five years ago, in June 2015, Pope Francis released the encyclical,  Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home . I remember the excitement of traveling to DC to join the crowds that gathered to welcome him when he visited the US. In his encyclical, Pope Francis proposes an integrative approach to religion and ecology. For an overview of the meaning and message of this encyclical, and for other links and resources, visit Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology .

• I am reading a short book that I heartily commend to you, Margaret Klein Salamon’s Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth . Trained as a clinical psychologist, Salamon is the founder and leader of The Climate Mobilization . Salamon is adept at helping readers to recognize the psychological barriers that blind us to the truth of climate crisis, and she knows how to tap our inner and collective capacity for taking action. Here is an excerpt of the book: “ Facing the climate emergency: Grieving the future you thought you had .”

I wish you a healthy, safe, and Spirit-inspired month!

(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care
Raccoon by the Mill River. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement
Tell the Baker Administration to Set Concrete
Interim Goals for MA Decarbonization
MA Decarbonization Roadmap

To achieve long-term emission reduction goals within the Commonwealth, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is undertaking a planning process to identify cost-effective and equitable strategies to ensure Massachusetts reduces...

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Interfaith Resources
Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light
Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light

We see the earth not simply as an elegant mechanism, but as a miracle of creation. We see people not only as producers, workers, and consumers, but as unique and precious souls. We see ecological healing and environmental justice as our sacred...

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World Oceans Day - Uniting Ocean Action Worldwide on 8...

Together We Can Protect Our Home. June 8th is World Oceans Day. Get Involved!

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MBJ photo: Tipper Gore, 2014