September 2020
Oregon's Changing Climate
Greetings,

This month, the immediate dangers of climate change have felt closer than ever. Many of us experienced wildfires much closer than felt comfortable, and we found yet another use for masks in 2020: protection from smoke. Some of us evacuated our homes; many human homes were devastatingly lost, in addition to the homes of creatures who live in Oregon forests. EMO coordinated congregations across the state to serve as evacuation sites, and there is much to do to prepare for the next disaster.

While no weather event or natural disaster can be completely attributed to climate change, many of the compounding factors setting the stage for these conflagrations can be attributed to human activity, from accidentally starting fires to causing the climate conditions that have created more arid conditions and have reduced the health of the forests. (See the "September advocacy action" below for more information on the connection between fires and climate change, and an action you can take to support strong climate policy in this area.) The massive fires make our work toward creation justice feel especially pertinent and pressing.
Please join us on Oct. 4, 2:30-4 p.m., for a Season of Creation gathering (a virtual event via Zoom). We will gather to worship together, build community with people of faith across the state who care about creation justice, and learn together. It is St. Francis of Assisi's feast day, so we will hear about his concern for creation, as well as hearing about the creation-oriented practices in this part of the Jewish calendar.

This will be our inaugural event where we begin organizing our regional Circles, groups that will work on regional climate justice issues together in the future. Register now.
Cherice Bock
Creation Justice Advocate
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Oregon Interfaith Power & Light
Creation Justice Webinars
EcoFaith Recovery will host our next creation justice webinar on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. They will lead a storytelling workshop where we can learn how to share about our care for the climate and for racial justice in ways that activate our family and community to vote our faith climate justice values this November (and beyond). Register today!


Four webinars have already happened, and you can watch the recordings or learn more about the organizations by following the links below. Visit our website to see all the registration and recording links.

Climate justice events & resources by our friends & partners:
Sept. 26: Climate Change & Disaster Preparedness webinar, Lutheran Disaster Response, Northwest region, 10-11:30 a.m. Check out the other webinars in this series on climate change, disasters and racial justice, with a line-up of excellent speakers.

The first webinar will feature The Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing (New Testament ecotheologian), Solomon Duke, and The Rev. Charles Bower, and will be moderated by The Rev. Dave Brauer-Rieke.
Sept. 29: Portland Harbor Community Coalition is hosting a Portland Metro Council Candidates Forum, 6:30-8 p.m., providing an opportunity to ask about creation justice, racial justice, and candidates' plans to support the clean-up of the Portland Harbor Superfund site, including the proposed Willamette Cove recreation area.
Sept. 29, Oct. 1, Oct. 8, Oct. 14: Renew Oregon and the Department of Environmental Quality are hosting a series of town hall sessions about the Oregon Climate Action Plan (OCAP), the plan Governor Brown created by executive order in March. Make your voice heard, and stand up for bold climate action by just means!
Oct. 7 and following Wednesdays: Free, 14-session online course on Watershed Discipleship studying the book Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith & Practice (ed. Ched Myers). The second session features EMO's Cherice Bock. Other scholars, activists, ministers and chapter authors will share about their creation justice work each week. Sponsored by Clean Water for the World and the Wesley Foundation at the University of Michigan.
1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursdays through Election Day: EcoFaith Recovery and EMO/OIPL continue to host gatherings to organize and encourage our congregations and communities to vote in our Just Vote: Harnessing Our Values for Climate and Racial Justice. Meetings are on Zoom from 8:45-11:15 a.m. Sign up for a link!
Season of Creation podcast series: St. Anthony Catholic Church in Tigard, OR's "Reclaiming Social Justice" podcast focuses on creation justice this month, with episodes on Sept. 2 featuring Cherice Bock (EMO/OIPL's Creation Justice advocate) and on Sept. 9 featuring Matt Cato (member of EMO's Creation Justice committee).
September advocacy action: fire and climate
Near the Siuslaw River, photo credit: Dan Morrison
Historically large wildfires continue to rage across the West Coast. Nine Oregonians have lost their lives, 40,000 Oregonians have been forced out of their homes, and countless thousands have been exposed to record-setting levels of air pollution, especially the unhoused and farmworkers.

Although fires are not new to the West Coast, experts are telling us that the present disaster is anything but natural. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have created a drier world that, in the past 40 years, has become a tinderbox, yet our country has done little to curb its emissions. Instead, politicians are emphatically denying the connection between GHG emissions and wildfires and protecting the reputation of the fossil fuel companies that fund their campaigns. How can we hope to save our state from burning when many politicians won’t even acknowledge this risk?

Luckily, we in Oregon have important voices speaking the truth about the state of our climate. Governor Brown recently called the fires a “wake-up call” on climate change, and she has already taken the first steps to address the crisis by signing the Oregon Climate Action Plan in March. Senators Wyden and Merkley have also been allies on this. Sen. Wyden spoke about the urgency of addressing climate change on the Senate floor two weeks ago, while Sen. Merkley made the same point in response to President Trump’s statements to the contrary. Both have voiced their support for a Green New Deal.

As citizens, it is important to both call for action when it is needed and thank our representatives when they act. This month, take a moment to call or email the offices of Gov. Brown, Sen. Merkley and Sen. Wyden to thank them for speaking and acting on the truth of climate change.
Have an event to share?
If you're hosting an event related to creation justice, let us know and we will help you publicize it! Right now, most events are virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital events can be shared, too, so if you want others to join your digital events, please let us know! Email Cherice Bock to share it with our networks.
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
503-221-1054 | emo@emoregon.org | emoregon.org