Tag Archives: Paris

Islamic Horizons: Divest and Reinvest

Reprinted from Islamic Horizons, September-October 2016, pp. 38-39
written by Saffet Abid Catovic, one of the authors of the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change. [Recommended further reading about mosques in Morrocco taking action, and about a mosque in North Carolina responding to the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change.]
Islamic Horizons COP21 and divestment

Muslims involved in the environmental “green” movement often cite two of Prophet Muhammad’s (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) hadiths: “Indeed the world is green and sweet, and indeed God has left you to remain to see how you behave. So beware of the world, beware of the world” and “People have common share in three (things): Grass (herbage/vegetation for humanity and animals), water and fire (light, heat and power, which includes the electrical power derived from burning fossil fuels and other sources of energy).”

Most conflicts throughout history, regardless of their size, can be tied, in one way or another, to one side’s access and/or control over these finite life-sustaining resources. Currently, these resources are not being shared equitably, in terms of the present members of creation and those yet to come. Just as the global faith communities and their leaders have declared their intent to battle climate change by releasing statements and declarations (e.g., the Papal Encyclical on the Environment and Climate Change and Laudato Si), local faith leaders must continue to mobilize their congregations to pursue this cause.

Meeting in Istanbul on Aug. 17-18, 2015, over 60 Muslim scholars, academics, and environmental activists from around the world adopted an Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change. This bold grassroots initiative was driven by various NGOs, including…

Read the rest of the article at Islamic Horizons (you will have to navigate to pp. 38-39), or via a PDF of the same article.

The Islamic Declaration on Climate Change that was released in the space between the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, and the COP21 talks in Paris.  You can find links to the encyclical, the Islamic Declaration, and many other multifaith resources published in that time period on our website here.

We recommended clicking through to read about how these statements are leading to actino in mosques in Morrocco, and in a mosque in North Carolina.]

Paris COP21 Report-back: presentation and discussion with Pittsburgh filmmaker Mark Dixon

The Paris Climate Summit (COP 21) received unprecedented levels of coverage, and officials and proceedings were held in prayer by people of all faiths, from all corners of the world.  In the end: a new agreement was reached!

Whether you’ve read a lot or only a little, you are welcome to join us for a thoughtful presentation and discussion with Mark Dixon, citizen journalist, who traveled to witness this important moment.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 4.19.15 PM

Tuesday, January 19, 7:00 PM
hosted by First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh,
5401 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

PA IPL particularly encourages clergy, lay leaders, and faith-linked green teams to attend, and to follow up with a lunchtime conference call discussion about responding to climate change in our own congregations, Friday 2/22 12:15-1:00 PM.  RSVP for more info.

Co-sponsored by PA Interfaith Power & Light, the Environmental Justice Committee of The Thomas Merton Center, and Pittsburgh 350.org

Shrinking your foodprint part 2—habits

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11, while the international climate talks (COP 21) are going on in Paris.  Check out this piece from the World Council of Churches about food justice and climate change called COP 21: how climate change affects access to our daily bread

Today, in part 2 of Shrinking Your Foodprint: foodprint-shrinking, efficient habits… (what we eat is coming tomorrow, I promise!)  Want more inspiration?  Refer back to this post for videos where you can listen to smart people talk about food, faith and food justice.

  1. Put the lid on when you’re boiling water.
  2. Only boil as much water as you need.
  3. Cover or contain things in the fridge (moisture makes the compressor work harder, and your food will be less edible sooner, too)
  4. Store food that needs to be eaten in high-visibility places.
  5. Cook whenever possible!  You’ll create less landfill waste, and use fewer take-out containers.
  6. Think of the oven as the SUV of your kitchen.  Use it when it’s the right tool for the job, but don’t leave it running when there’s nothing in it, and try to use all the space when it’s on.  You can also heat once, cook twice to save a little warm-up time.  In the summer: avoid the oven, it’ll heat your house up.  Must use it?  At night, when you can open the windows!   In the winter, when you’re done cooking, leave the door open for a bit (if you can, safely) to let the heat into the house.
  7. Choose a strategy: EITHER make only what you will eat, OR purposely make extra and freeze portion-sizes, pack ready-to-go lunches, or share with a neighbor.   Do you make award winning chili?  If your neighbor has a different quantity-cook specialty, make double and swap — 2 meals for one prep!
  8. Buy things in less packaging.  When you have a choice of heavier or lighter versions of the same food (think canned beans v. bagged beans), or refrigerated or shelf-stable versions (think salad dressing) choose lighter (fewer emissions to transport) or stable (eliminate refrigeration.
  9. Pick a month (January?) and make that the month you clean the coils in the back of your fridge or the vent at the bottom, change any filters, and check for a good seal with no leaks on both fridge and freezer.
  10. There is need to run hot water in the sink to wash your hands —its the soap, water, and friction that get the job done.
  11. Clean-up: Be efficient with your hot water when you’re finished with your meal.  Scrape your plates.  If you’re handwashing use a basin or stop the sink rather than letting the water run. If you use a dishwasher, experiment to figure out if you can skip the rinse, and see if your model lets you air dry instead of heat-drying.

Mmmmm. Food. Shrinking your foodprint part 1

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11, while the international climate talks (COP 21) are going on in Paris.  Check out this piece from the World Council of Churches about food justice and climate change called COP 21: how climate change affects access to our daily bread

There are so many ways to shrink our “foodprints.”  Today, we’ll address the one part of the puzzle most people don’t associate with climate change: avoiding waste

Don’t waste.  Seriously.  Food waste is a huge problem.  Click on the graphic below for lots more info.  In 2013 alone, Americans threw out over 37 million tons—or 74 billion pounds—of food (source).  Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 4.27.35 PM

Improve together! There is so much generational wisdom to tap into here.  Think about interviewing all the folks in your congregation or community who lived through culturally lean times, and cooked most of their own food.  You’ll find people who know how to make amazing soup stock from not-so-edible remainders.  You’ll find people who know how to plan a series of menus that draw on part of the one before, making something different and new (so it doesn’t feel like leftovers) using some of the same ingredients, so that you can use everything up.  You’ll find people with amazing systems for freezing leftovers that will be the basis of another meal — and finding them when they’re needed.  You will even find people who know how to “put up” backyard garden overflow.    Add to that our much-easier modern access to varied spices and recipes, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a great potluck+PDF recipe or instruction book.

Here’s an excellent demonstration by a guy in England (who uses the Food 52 website based in NY as his resource).  I find that quesadillas or wraps, pizza, omelettes and salad can absorb many small-quantity leftovers.

The rest of his waste-less-food page has lots of tips: I recommend the first video on the page (though I haven’t done it yet).

Pro tip: Sell By, Best By, and Use By dates are all a little different.  Learn more about what you can really eat and when, and remember that if you pop something in the freezer by one of those dates, you can safely eat it long after the date has passed.

Compost.  Food waste in landfills often doesn’t get enough oxygen to break down well, and ends up producing methane, a much stronger greenhouse gas.  Plus, your flowers and veggies will looooove your compost.  If you go for an indoor worm bin, you’ll also get compost tea.  Your houseplants have never looked better.   Tune in soon for a story from St. Martin in the Fields’ Blessing of the Heap.

Waste matters.    Food waste (not including the linked land-use changes) accounts for  About 1/3 of our food waste occurs at the consumer level.  That’s the place where we are totally in control.  Nearly 2/3 is wasted in production and distribution.  Consumers can help with the 2/3 part, too, by asking groceries for special lower-price bins of not-so-beautiful produce for example, or by working with groceries, restaurants, kitchens and food pantries to help with a gleaning program.  (Get a glimpse of the problem and some solutions in this National Geographic article; this partner article is subtitled: producing the food we throw away generates more greenhouse gasses than most entire countries do)

I’ll leave you with this, quoted in an article about a Food and Agriculture Organization report:

“Finally, produced but uneaten food vainly occupies almost 1.4 billion hectares of land; this represents close to 30 percent of the world’s agricultural land area.”

“We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 million people go hungry every day,” said the FAO’s director-general, José Graziano da Silva.”

Foxdale Retirement Community — caring for Creation in shared spaces

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11, while the international climate talks (COP 21) are going on in Paris.  News is about faith voices again!  Hear voices directly from the talks in these podcasts.

Tomorrow: some immediate actions for individuals and households!

Foxdale Village Retirement Community, a Quaker-directed community of incredibly busy “retired” people, partners with PA IPL in sponsoring and hosting programs for residents and the greater State College community, as well as in our tangible service project, Weatherization First. Their Foxdale Village Greens group is doing an incredible job of finding ways around apparent roadblocks, and always looking for the next challenge as they continue to shrink their community’s footprint.   They wrote up a number of their efforts for the county Waste Watchers Award, and kindly shared it with us.  They’ve been recognized by Centre County with an Emerald Award.

Foxdale Village has continued its active recycling program, this year recycling over 37 tons of glass, metal, plastic, and paper products, through Centre County recycling (who provided the statistics).  In addition, we recycle batteries, styrofoam, plastic bags, clothing, cardboard, CDs, DVDs, and other items to community sites throughout the area, and continue our twice a year yard sale that enables us to reuse and re direct furniture and “zillions ” of other items we no longer need. We even collect 1-5 gallon buckets that arrive via our food service, cleaning them, and distributing them for reuse.

New this year, with the help of county resources, we’ve expanded our composting,  giving any resident who wishes the opportunity to compost food and yard waste.  As far as we know we are the first (and maybe only) multiple-residence community to do this. As a result, our compost figures have grown significantly. In less than a year, we have contributed over 30 tons of food and yard waste to local composting.

This year Foxdale Village Greens have broadened their activities to partner with others in our community. 

  • This spring, we participated in the Sustainable Communities Collaborative partnership between PSU and the State College Borough. Two teams of students from Communication 420: Research Methods in Advertising and Public Relations Class came to Foxdale, conducting a survey and holding focus groups to help us take a deeper look into our recycling program and helping us to understand “The Motivation to be Green” in our community. The research produced good, useable information. In addition, the two student groups earned top honors at the Borough presentation at the end of the semester. 
  • This summer Foxdale was able to participate in the zero waste program at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. We were able to obtain large compostable bags that  enabled the environmental safe collection of food and compostable materials at the festival.
  •  EileenFlanaganHeadShotResized_miniWe have partnered with PSU’s Rock Ethics Institute, PA Interfaith Power & Light, and local churches in bringing two programs to the community. 
    •  In the spring we joined in bringing Eileen Flanagan, Quaker author, speaker & activist to Pasquerilla Spiritual Center for an, open to the public, talk and discussion of her newest book, Renewable.
    • This fall we co-sponsored and hosted an interactive talk covering the main points of Po12000841_10156255009660105_7046955859817689565_ope Francis’s encyclical, ‘Laudato Si’ on climate change, led by PA IPL’s Executive Director, Alison Cornish. The event was held in Foxdale’s auditorium the week before Pope Francis’s visit to the US and Philadelphia, and was well attended.
  • Residents in our workshop and members of our maintenance staff have participated in PA IPL’s community winterization program, Weatherization First. They have created insulating window panels and completed energy saving house repairs for folks who are not able to do their own.   
  • September 24, as a part of our 25th anniversary celebration, we hosted Business After Hours in the auditorium. We provided composting etc.. and had signs on all tables announcing that the event was a zero waste event and suggested that they should all adopt zero waste in their businesses. It was also announced, and a couple of us were there as resource folks. We have been members of the Chamber for 25 years also. It was well attended and we had a lot of interest.

We continue to look for ways to improve and expand our sustainable practices both with our Foxdale family and with the broader community.

We truly appreciate being part of the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority’s Green Partnership.  

A prayer for the midpoint of the Paris talks.

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11, while the international climate talks (COP 21) are going on in Paris.

YairaThis prayer was written by Yaira Robinson of Texas IPL.  She wrote it for her home congregation to use on the Shabbat before the climate talks began.  Today is not Shabbat.  It is the midpoint of the climate talks.  It is the second Sunday of Advent (Christian), and the first night of Hanukkah (Jewish).  It is 2 days before Rohatsu, and we are all readying for the return of our Northern Hemisphere light beginning on the Solstice.

Tonight is a great time to settle in for a prayer that links us to the depths of our own faith traditions, that asks for help, and hope, a way forward through fear, rooted in deep conviction; asks for forgiveness, and for strength for us all, leaders and regular people alike.

Yaira’s beautiful prayer is below; her original post can be found here.  Do click through on the images to learn more about the art and artists.

We have some links to Paris COP background and more Abrahamic resources prepared in connection with the Harrisburg and Philadelphia vigils. Looking for resources from non-Abrahamic faiths?  Find the links you want on this page of encyclical-linked resources.

A Prayer for Paris Climate Talks

Adonai Eloheinu, v’Elohei Avoteinu v’Imoteinu—
Lord our God and God of our Ancestors—

God who separated the light from the darkness,
upper waters from lower waters,
and seas from land.

"Burning Bush" Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik Image Source

“Burning Bush” Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik Image Source

God who appears in a whirlwind,
in a burning bush, and
as strangers standing at an open tent.

Do You remember?
You freed us from that Narrow Place and
guided us through the wilderness,
appearing as a pillar of cloud by day,
and as a pillar of fire by night.

Do we remember?
You thundered, shook the mountain, and gave us Torah.
We were awestruck. We said:
“We will do and we will hear!”

Help us remember.
God, we’ve kind of messed things up.
We didn’t mean to. It was science and progress,
electricity and cars and plastic!

Chris Jordan "Cellphones #2, Atlanta 2005" from Portraits of American Mass Consumption

Chris Jordan “Cellphones #2, Atlanta 2005” from Portraits of American Mass Consumption

Plastic is amazing, God.
So useful.

But now, we’ve upset the delicate balance of Your Creation—
this beautiful, wildly diverse, interconnected,
pulsing, breathing planet full of life—

The storms are stronger now.
Drought more frequent, more severe.
Ice is melting, seas are rising, crops are shifting.

Hunger and disease, disaster and thirst
lead to suffering
and strife
and people—so many people—
having to leave home
in search of a safe place to live.

We didn’t mean for this to happen.
But now we know.
And now that we know, we are responsible—
we must act.

Please help us, God.
We need to make some changes, and fast—
but it’s hard.
We can do it—but it’s going to require a lot of work,
and we’ve never had to cooperate quite like this before—
all of us, all your diverse peoples, all over the world.

Climate change is a big challenge.
We’re going to have to work together,
somehow.

But it’s really, really hard.

Leaders from 196 countries are about to meet in Paris
to try to agree on a way forward.

God, please help them.
Give them wisdom, and the courage to do what’s right—
rather than what’s politically expedient.

God, please help us.
Global warming is scary.
Change is hard.
Give us strength, imagination, and hope.
There’s so much we can do, right here at home.
Help us meet new challenges with hearts that are open
and attuned to You.

the "tree" of the Lena Delta wilderness in Russia. Image Source

the “tree” of the Lena Delta wilderness in Russia. Image Source

For this little blue planet,
gift of water and breath and life amazing—
Thank you, God.

Please be with us.
Guide us.
Help us mend our ways,
heal,
return,
and repair—
Soon.

And let us say: amen.