Convention moves to balance ‘environmental’ and ‘economic’ justice

first_img Rector Shreveport, LA By Lynette WilsonPosted Jul 20, 2012 Rector Smithfield, NC Rector Martinsville, VA Rector Collierville, TN Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA July 28, 2012 at 1:29 am How far down this slippery slope of ecofascist nonsense are we going to go as a once honorable and industrious denomination? This form of Marxism does not survive intellectual scrutiny but instead thrives on emotional deception. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Comments (6) Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Director of Music Morristown, NJ Rector Bath, NC An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Jeffrey Parker says: The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Sarah Webb says: Advocacy Peace & Justice, September 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm I’m so glad to find this website and realize that the Episcopal church is confronting the challenge of climate change. Are there any resources available to help those of us who want to raise awareness in our local diocese? For instance, Maine has a 20% renewable-energy initiative on the ballot this November, and I’d love to raise awareness. I feel like there is a dearth of resources available to explain these issues clearly and concisely to a relatively uneducated audience. (As are most Americans, unfortunately. See above comment.)Some clear, fact-based charts, explaining the science, would be immensely helpful. Do such resources exist?(Griff, if you’re still involved in this site, I am Cephas’s sister–)Melissa July 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm I give thanks for the Very Rev. Cathleen Bascom in leading her community to take action on climate change solutions! Featured Events Convention moves to balance ‘environmental’ and ‘economic’ justice Submit a Job Listing Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Rector Hopkinsville, KY Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Melissa Jenks says: General Convention, Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Youth Minister Lorton, VA In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Press Release Service Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Rector Albany, NY Tags Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Phyllis Strupp says: Associate Rector Columbus, GA The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Featured Jobs & Calls July 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm This is a much more cogent article than most on this subject. I ask again: Is there any US Episcopal Church agreed upon definition of economic or environmental justice? Many legal documents begin with an early section that defines terms before beginning to use them in the rest of the document. Is there anything like that in the resolutions of the General Convention?The quote by Rowan Williams is something I think most people would agree with. Let’s focus on that. Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Rector Knoxville, TN Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Curate Diocese of Nebraska An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Environment & Climate Change, July 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm Lynette thanks for this informative article that shows in concrete ways how we are part of the created order, and the voices at convention who witnessed to this truth. Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Rector Pittsburgh, PA Peter Cabbiness says: Submit a Press Release Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Michael Maloney says: General Convention 2012 Rector Washington, DC Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Comments are closed. Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI July 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm This is excellent coverage of the tension that often exists between economic development and environmental concerns. We need another story on the more straight-up economic justice resolutions such as D87, Job Creation Legislation, and resolutions which address both environmental and Justice concerns such as C119 Clean Air Ports Act 2012. Mike Maloney, ENEJ Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Kivalina is the only village in Alaska’s Northwest Arctic Borough region where people hunt the bowhead whale, a cultural tradition and dietary mainstay that has been severely hampered by the thinning ice. Once, hunters camped on the ice for weeks at a time; now, they stay only a few days and mostly look for whales that have strayed from the herd. This historic photo shows a whaling team and was provided courtesy of Janet Mitchell.[Episcopal News Service] In the past 20 years the state of Iowa has experienced three crisis-level floods, the latest, in 2008, put nearly a third of the state underwater.“It was a 500 year flood, causing $60 billion in damages,” said the Very Rev. Cathleen Bascom, dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in downtown Des Moines, adding that the frequency of the floods “is what opened our eyes to the climate change issue.”The cathedral, which sits on High Street along with the four other remaining “old churches,” weathered the storms, but the low-lying areas – mostly home to low-income residents and immigrants – “suffered the most,” she said.“One of the economic justice issues I was made aware of following the flood was that the levee above Birdland [a low-lying neighborhood in north Des Moines] was allowed to remain weak, so it broke,” said Bascom, adding that areas downriver, including the city’s financial district, have experienced re-gentrification. “So the water, then, was not a threat to higher income properties.”Bascom, an Iowa deputy to the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis July 3-13, testified before the National and International Concerns Committee in Indianapolis on behalf of a resolution to address environmental justice (B023).In a post-convention telephone interview with ENS, Bascom said one of the things she really liked about the resolution was its call to action, which implores institutions, the church, dioceses and congregations “to support to implementation of grassroots, community-based solutions to climate change,” including ecological restoration, promoting food sovereignty and making local adaptations toward resilience. The latter being something the cathedral has done already by mitigating storm-water runoff.Replacing dilapidated asphalt with permeable pavement and a filtration system, the cathedral has the capacity to keep 12 swimming pools worth of water out the storm-sewer system and out of the river, Bascom said. The cathedral also planted a garden, including native-plant species like prairie grasses, that is irrigated by the water. The garden also serves as a “welcome mat” and place of respite for nearby workers and a conservation laboratory for urban children, she added.In addition to B023, General Convention passed Resolution D055, which advocates for public policy to reduce climate-change emissions. Both B023 and D055, in addition to previous general convention resolutions, form the basis for the church’s environmental and economic justice work in the coming triennium.“To me, two of the issues about which the church is called to be more and more visible and proactive are climate change and poverty/economic inequity,” said Michael Schut, the Episcopal Church’s officer for environmental and economic affairs. “Resolution B023 calls us to ‘resist the development and expansion of ever more unconventional, dangerous, and environmentally destructive sources of fossil fuel.’”“That resistance may mean we need to be out on the streets in peaceful protest of such efforts. Such resistance obviously answers the call to be more proactive about climate change. But the resolution recognizes that in such resistance the church must support those who might lose their jobs in the transition from a fossil-fuel-based economy to a clean energy economy… which answers the call to address poverty.”Balancing the need to protect the environment while simultaneously working to alleviate poverty, however, can often leave Episcopalians in the trenches feeling at odds, especially in states like Pennsylvania where the unemployment rate is high and where generations have made a living working in the mines and the oil and gas fields.“Finding the social justice right mix representing the church’s good stewardship of the environment and its love and concern for people and to mitigate poverty is not an easy path,” said Joan Gundersen, who served as a deputy of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and on convention’s National and International Concerns Committee, in a July 17 interview with Episcopal News Service.In Pittsburgh, the diocese has a “double concern,” Gundersen said: “Of course we are interested in the environment, and making sure that whatever is done, is done safely, but we are also cognizant of the high unemployment rates and the hunger for jobs.”Pittsburgh sits over the Marcellus Shale, an enormous natural gas reserve lying a mile beneath the surface and covering an area from New York through parts of Pennsylvania into Ohio and West Virginia. Given its location near major population centers in the eastern United States, some see the Marcellus as ripe for development.In 2010, the city of Pittsburgh voted to ban corporations from drilling for natural gas, including hydraulic fracking, within the city limits. The diocese, which includes rural, high-unemployment areas like Northern Cambria, hasn’t taken a position on fracking and hasn’t had a “deep conversation” on the matter, said Gundersen. In addition, General Convention discharged a resolution to “oppose dangerous fracking.”During a hearing on Resolution D055, Gundersen testified that selling the resolution in Pittsburgh might not be difficult, but the same wouldn’t hold true in surrounding rural areas.“When you’re in the countryside where 39 percent of the population is unemployed and these fuels are their livelihood,” she said. “… How do you sell it in the rural depressed coal mining areas?”Unlike in West Virginia, where the state receives a bigger cut of the profits generated from resource extraction, which it can use to repair roads and for environmental restoration projects, Pennsylvania where infrastructure and regulation have lagged doesn’t receive the same revenue. And depending on where you are in Pennsylvania, reaction is mixed regarding environmental contamination, the extent and its existence, she said.A natural gas processing plant, Gundersen added, is poised to open along the Pennsylvania-Ohio border, bringing at least 2,000 jobs to the area.Resolution D055’s explanation states: “… Other costs of fossil fuels include oil spills, contamination of ground water with mercury and other pollutants from coal mining, and accumulation of improperly stored radioactive waste as a result of hydrofracking. There are many concomitant health care costs from our exposure to these pollutants…”It continues, “The continued use of fossil fuels is not sustainable.”Also during the testimony, the Rev. Barbara Schlachter, a visitor to convention from the Diocese of Iowa who helped found Iowa City Climate Activists, called attention to the real costs of low-cost fuels, as pointed out in the resolution’s explanation, and called for support for renewable energy sources. Schlachter said reducing reliance of fossil fuels is a “moral issue.”“What is going to happen to our environment, our atmosphere,” she asked. “It’s [climate change] has already come to some parts, and it’s coming here.”During his testimony on B023 before the committee, Austin Swan Sr., a deputy from the Diocese of Alaska, and a resident of Kivalina, an Inupiaq island-community where climate change threatens the community’s continued existence, shared his experience.“I am a lifetime resident of Kivalina, born and raised there. When I was a child, we had probably two-thirds more land and now have 35 percent of that land, all this loss due to erosion mostly in the last four or five years,” he said.And despite living in an environment rich in natural resources, including the world’s largest zinc mine located upriver, Swans said: “We still live in third world conditions. Where does that money go?”Proposed by Alaska Bishop Mark Lattime, the resolution resolves “That the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church stands in solidarity with those communities who bear the greatest burdens of global climate change: indigenous peoples, subsistence communities, communities of color, and persons living in depravation around the world…”The village of Kivalina sits on the tip of a six- to eight-mile-long barrier island – a quarter-mile at its widest – some 80 to 120 miles above the Arctic Circle between the Chukchi Sea and the Kivalina Lagoon in Alaska. It is home to about 400 people and reachable only by plane and boat in the summer and plane, and snowmobile in winter.Of the 200 native coastal communities in Alaska, varying degrees of erosion affect about 180 of them, according to the federal government’s General Accounting Office. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said that Kivalina is one of three native communities in need of relocation.As explained in the resolution’s explanation, Kivalina “has been ever-increasingly at risk because of global climate change. Loss of sea ice has led to increased coastal erosion, land failure, and unreliable, if not perilous, conditions for the practice of subsistence hunting.”In 2008, the village of Kivalina filed a lawsuit against 24 oil, electricity and coal companies, including Exxon Mobile Corp., Conoco Phillips and BP. The claim alleges that, as significant contributors to greenhouse-gas emissions, the corporations have exacerbated global warming, thereby accelerating erosion in Kivalina and leaving the island vulnerable to storm surge and flooding.Further, the resolution’s explanation stated, that Shell Oil was set this month to begin oil exploration in the Chukchi Sea, “the deepest source of Inupaiq food, cultural identity and spirituality alike.”California Bishop Marc Andrus, who endorsed B023 and sat on the National and International Concerns Committee, said the people of Kivalina “identify with the island and its surroundings,” and to move is not as simple as moving from Alabama to San Francisco, as he did when he became bishop.Not unlike with the Guarani, a formally nomadic indigenous tribe in Brazil that has lost much of its ancestral land, for the people of Kivalina to move, “is a kind of death,” he said.(Through a companion relationship with the Diocese of Curitiba in Brazil, the Diocese of California has supported the Anglican Church of Brazil’s efforts to stand with the Guarani.)While at convention, hearing the stories of the Guarani and the situation in Kivalina, who are in “much more extreme” situations, reminded Bascom, she later said, of a lecture Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams once gave called “Renewing the Face of the Earth: Human Responsibility and the Environment,” in which he said:“It is possible to argue about the exact degree to which human intervention is responsible for these phenomena … but it is not possible rationally to deny what the inhabitants of low-lying territories in the world routinely face as the most imminent threat to their lives and livelihoods.”– Lynette Wilson is an editor/reporter for Episcopal News Service. Submit an Event Listing Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Rector Belleville, IL Rector Tampa, FL Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC last_img read more