April 2020
Earth Day turns 50!
This coming week, Earth Day will be celebrated for the 50th time!

If you're like me, this comes with a bit of sadness alongside the celebration. First, although we have known about the damage humanity is causing the Earth for over 50 years, we continue to struggle to care adequately for our common home. Second, we must celebrate at a distance rather than gathering to plant trees or mark the occasion together in other ways. Many of us may be mourning the loss of events we had planned or hoped to participate in.

Many Earth Day events are available online, however, and we encourage you to participate in them! This can be an important time to reflect and learn, so that when we can gather together again when we can participate in restoration projects, worship experiences, and educational opportunities in person we will be ready to jump in and meet the needs of our community and world.

The following online events are available for free, and hopefully they will help you feel connected to the world outside your door as we mark this important anniversary. They are created by and for people of faith across the country. We hope they will inspire you to remain committed to the work of enacting justice for people and alongside creation, with the help of our Creator God.
Cherice Bock
Creation Justice Advocate
(503) 221-1054, ext. 228
Faith-based or local 50th Earth Day events
V irtual Events :
  • Earth Day Sunday multi-faith worship service at Washington National Cathedral, April 19, 11 am Pacific Time.
  • Creation Care worship gathering, Evangelical Environmental Network, April 22, 9 am Pacific Time.
  • "The Earth Is the Lord's": Environmental justice webinar with The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., April 22, 10 am Pacific Time.
  • Earth Day Singalong: SAGE, a Portland-based environmental organization, invites people of faith and others to join for a 15-minute Earth Day virtual singalong, April 22, 8:30 pm.
  • Free film screening of The Human Element: get a link to watch the film during Earth week (April 17-26), and consider gathering virtually with others from your congregation for a discussion after watching it.
  • Unity Central Oregon Earth Care Team invites you to participate in a virtual "Earth Day Birthday Film Festival" with them, including Fantastic Fungi April 21, and documentaries from April 22-28 including Cowspiracy (on Netflix), Dirt Rich ($3.99 on Vimeo), The Story of Stuff, and True Cost of Food. A Zoom discussion on April 29 at 5pm will provide an opportunity for discussion. Contact us to get the Zoom link!
  • #ClimateStrikeOnline, #FaithClimateActionWeek, and #Christians4Climate: Participate during Earth week in this online climate strike, organized by youth climate activists such as Greta Thunberg. Show the world that people of faith care about the planet, too!

Curricula & Resources :
Environmental Justice in the COVID-19 Era
A few days before Governor Brown issued a "stay home, stay safe" policy to help slow the spread of COVID-19, she issued an important Executive Order about climate change and clean energy (discussed in last month's newsletter).

In recent weeks, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon has been working to ensure the important commitments Oregon has made to environmental protection continue, even in the midst of the pandemic. Here are several ways we have been making the voice of people of faith heard regarding environmental justice, as our state and world deal with COVID-19:

  • Supported a letter to Governor Brown from Beyond Toxics, requesting our state agencies adhere to Oregon's Environmental Protection Act, even as the federal government loosens environmental regulations during the pandemic. (You can sign the letter at the link, too!)
  • Wrote to the Oregon Legislature along with Northwest Energy Coalition and other partners, requesting $1.4 billion in additional funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to address impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic impacts.
  • Participated in online meetings with Governor Brown and her staff in relation to the pandemic response and details of Executive Order 20-04 on climate and clean energy.
  • We continue to partner with the Renew Oregon Coalition as we move into the implementation portion of the clean energy and jobs policy work we have been engaged in for the last several years. EMO is positioned well to speak up for environmental justice for our state's frontline communities, communities of color, and those who will be most adversely impacted by the current and future effects of climate change.
Interested in becoming a "Cool Congregation"?
Interfaith Power & Light has a program to guide congregations through reducing the carbon footprint for their worship building and congregants' individual homes called "Cool Congregations." IPL is hosting a webinar on April 30 at 12 p.m. (Pacific) to learn about the program and their new carbon calculator. Here are two ways to get involved:

  1. Register for the IPL webinar.
  2. Email Cherice Bock to join with other faith communities in Oregon in becoming a Cool Congregation.
GreenFaith Calls for Care & Resilience
As we are in the midst of the social distancing measures, economic fallout, and public health impacts of the Coronavirus, GreenFaith is hosting weekly Zoom calls for Care & Resilience. These gatherings bring together people of faith from around the world who care about the planet and want to positively impact their immediate communities during this time. Each week, interfaith leaders offer prayers, readings, and brief words of encouragement and challenge. Participants break into small groups and talk about how we're doing, and how we're reaching out to our communities. Out of these sessions, they have created a couple of very helpful resources that can encourage you to reach out to your immediate community in this time, and gain spiritual sustenance.

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, all events are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital events can be shared , too, so if you make plans for Earth Day and 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