October, 2021 

Since this is the first of what we hope will be many future online newsletters posted by the Creation Care Ministry, perhaps it would be good to begin with a reminder of the cathedral’s Mutual Ministry Goals, adopted by the Vestry on April 27—about six months ago:

1. Creation Care and Carbon Reduction 
  • In solidarity with future generations, grounded in our Christian duty to preserve and protect God’s creation and promote justice, we will educate, empower, and support the cathedral and its members to become carbon neutral by 2030.  

2. Restorative Justice and Systemic Change 
  • Drawing on our scriptural enjoinder to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, we will renew our commitment to seek and serve Christ in all persons, working toward restorative justice and the dignity of every human being while lamenting and working to change those systemic evils—in the church and the world—that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God. 

3. Innovative and Intergenerational Community 
  • As we envision ways of being Church in a post-pandemic world, we will foster spiritual growth and nourishing relationships among members of the cathedral community through intergenerational programming, small group gatherings, and innovative ways to incorporate those new to Saint Mark’s as we seek to become Beloved Community. 

The idea contained in these three goals is simple and yet profound: while ministries at the cathedral serve a variety of interests and needs, they also are interwoven, threads in a grand tapestry. We are interconnected, and yes, intersectional.

In this newsletter we will attempt to keep this in mind.

For example, the editor of this newsletter has begun to read the new book by the New York Times food writer Mark Bittman called Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal. He was led there by a review of the book by Bill McKibben in The Nation magazine. McKibben of course is one of the preeminent writers and activists in and on the problem of climate change. So why is McKibben interested in what Bittman has to say about food? He quotes Bittman: as agriculture and food processing became mass industries, we have created an agricultural system that “concentrates on maximizing the yield of the most profitable crops” which in turn has done “more damage to the earth than strip mining, urbanization, even fossil fuel extraction.”  (See the infographic below, from the BBC.)
So, what has this to do with “restorative justice”? It’s clear from Bittman’s own epigraphs to his book, which begin with Naomi Klein: "Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. . . .only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature."
Bittman then quotes the writer and environmentalist John Muir: "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." 

And finally, after a quote from Rachel Carson, he finishes his epigraphs with this: "Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice and equality." 

That quote is from Malcolm X.

Creation Care, Restorative Justice & Systemic Change: These go together like, well, soup and sandwich. We will be keeping our eyes on this connection. But Innovative and Intergenerational Community? This one we all need to work on. Speaking for myself, I trust that as we are doing our work in these first two categories in the context of Christ’s own love and His own passion for justice, we will draw a diverse group of folk to join us—people who will find that sense of community and belonging precisely in doing Christ’s work together in a time of deep need and crisis.

And for an example, check out the short and impassioned essay by a local sixteen-year-old that is linked to towards the end of this newsletter.

—Doug Thorpe, Creation Care Newsletter Editor
Here’s a link to a recording of the webinar Celebrating Old Growth: A Conversation with Robin Wall Kimmerer, Robert Macfarlane, and David Haskell that was held September 18. Over 8,000 people registered, which signals a deep interest in the weaving of scientific ways of knowing, traditional indigenous knowledge, and nature writing. This event was hosted by Orion Magazine, The Forest School at the Yale School of the Environment, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, and Yale Environmental Humanities. You can watch the recording here.
On September 1, Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and Archbishop Justin Welby released A Joint Message for the Protection of Creation. This is the first time that a joint statement has been released by the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion. The statement hopes to urge climate action ahead of the United Nations climate conference, COP26, in early November. For more, read articles from The Episcopal Church,  NPR, and EarthBeat.
On October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Vatican organized Faith and Science: Towards COP26. This day-long gathering brought together religious leaders and scientists to issue a joint appeal for COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held November 112 in Glasgow, Scotland. At the meeting, they released a joint message saying that “The world is called to achieve net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible, with wealthier countries taking the lead  in reducing their own emissions and in financing emission reductions from poorer nations.”  Learn more from the Vatican News,  Reuters, EarthBeat, and the  Catholic News Agency. Read Pope Francis’ address  here. Watch the broadcast  here.
A recent article in The Rubric by Emily Meeks highlighted facility improvements and collective community action impact to shape strategy to become carbon neutral by 2030. Find it on page 11 of the Fall 2021 issue, or read it online here.
Did you know that Olympic National Park is listed as both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve?  

Do you know what an International Biosphere Reserve is? Me neither, so I looked it up. According to UNESCO:  

  • Biosphere reserves promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. They are learning areas for sustainable development under diverse ecological, social and economic contexts, touching the lives of more than 250 million people. There are currently 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries, including 21 transboundary sites, that belong to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. 

(And do you know what UNESCO stands for? I thought I did until I realized I didn’t: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.)
The Yoruk Tribe is using California’s carbon offset/cap-and-trade program to buy back its land. Read about it here.
Faith and Creation

Left: Outdoor St. Francis Celebration and Blessing of the Animals on October 2, 2021.
Right: The new bottle-filling station in the narthex.
COP26: What to Watch For, What to Pray For

What can you be watching for in the weeks before the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow ? Read three recommendations published in the Episcopal Church's Creation Newsletter from Dr. Lisa Graumlich. Lisa is an active member on Creation Care at Saint Mark's and will be serving on the Presiding Bishop’s delegation to COP26.
2021 Diocesan Convention

Diocesan convention is this weekend! This year there will be two climate-focused sessions that all are welcome to join:
The Bishop’s Committee for the Environment presents:
Episcopal Households vs. the Climate Crisis

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 10–10:45 A.M. Join using this Zoom link.

The Bishop’s Climate Justice Task Force presents:
Climate Change: An Intergenerational Conversation About What We Need to Do Now

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30, 9:30-10:15 A.M. Join using this Zoom link.
Check out the full schedule here.
Attend COP26 Virtual Events
Episcopal Climate Advocacy at the UN: COP26 Kick-Off with the Presiding Bishop’s Delegation 
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 10 A.M. PST, Register here

Liturgy for Planetary Crisis: Episcopal Worship Service during COP26 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 8 A.M. PST, Register here 

COP26 Closing Event: Report Back from the Presiding Bishop’s Delegation 

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 11 A.M. PST, Register here 

Learn more about these offerings here.
TedX Seattle with Andrew Himes
Andrew Himes will be speaking November 20 at TedX Seattle on Change Our Buildings, Save Our Planet where he will explore how buildings and building material are both a major problem and a potential major solution for the crisis of climate change. Register for your free virtual ticket. Andrew is the director of collective impact at the Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington.
IPCC Forum
Download the slides or watch the complete video.
Autumnal Poetry Reading
Check out the poems Doug shared here.
Intergenerational Hike at Twin Falls
Check out the Creation-themed liturgy shared at the event, and see some photos here.
This essay is from Creation Care Ministry member Heather Sutkus’ friend and classmate, Anna Xie. Heather writes:

  • “I chose Anna’s article because I was struck by how her experience of childhood was dramatically different from my own. Whereas I grew up unaware of the toll my lifestyle had on the environment, Anna had to live with the consequences every day.”

Read Anna’s essay here.
Saint Mark’s Cathedral acknowledges that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Duwamish Tribe. [Learn more]