No need to wait— the Paris Pledge

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11.

International leaders brought emissions-reduction commitments with them to this conference.  Those commitments are not yet binding, and they’re not yet enough to keep us under 2 degrees Celsius* of warming, but they’re working on it (keep those prayers flowing—they’re needed!)  We, however, don’t have to wait for an international agreement to make our own changes.  The  Paris Pledge is open to both congregations and to individuals; it is a promise to cut emissions 50% by 2030 and to zero by 2050.

Benedictines getting ready for the drive back to Erie after the Interfaith Moral Advocacy Training in Harrisburg in August 2015.
Benedictines getting ready for the drive back to Erie after the Interfaith Moral Advocacy Training in Harrisburg in August 2015.

One institution that signed on issued the press release that follows.  Thank you for your leadership, Sister Pat Lupo and the Benedictines of Erie!

NOTE: Both congregations and individuals may continue to add their commitments at the Paris Pledge website.  Signatures through last Wednesday have been added to a large scroll that is with the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham and Sister Joan Brown in Paris, which will be presented on December 11 at the conference, in the Blue Zone (that’s the zone with the international bigwigs).  Tune in tomorrow for the story of a congregation that has REACHED carbon neutral — including members’ transportation to church!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Benedictine Sisters of Erie Sign Paris Pledge

Erie, Pennsylvania – November 24, 2015 – Long known as environmental leaders in the Erie area, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie have taken a decisive step in their commitment to environmental sustainability by pledging to reduce their carbon pollution by 50% by 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2050. They along with 150 other Religious Organizations and 3,500 individuals have signed the Paris Pledge. A scroll with the pledge and all its signers will be presented at the international climate conference being held in Paris, France over the next several weeks. It is hoped that the 150 nations represented at CPO21, the 21st “Conference of Parties” will establish internationally agreed upon targets to curb ongoing Climate Change.

The Paris Pledge was developed by Interfaith Power and Light, an organization of 18,000 religious congregations and organizations located in 40 states throughout the US. Through this pledge they intend to lead by example and clearly state that Faith Leaders in the US are committed to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the impact of human activity on Climate Change.

“Care for the earth has been integral to the Benedictine Charism since our very foundation in the 6th century,” explains Sister Anne Wambach, Prioress. “The Erie Benedictines have consciously and deliberately included this responsibility in our community’s Corporate Commitment and have taken significant steps, both as community and as individuals, to deepen our understanding and take concrete and intentional actions toward sustainable living.”

Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si`, clearly lays out the crisis that our planet faces and calls all of us, all nations, all religions, all people, to a find a common solution to Climate Change. In his words: “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. . . .  Regrettably, many efforts . . . have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. . . . All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (14)

“We urge everyone to make his/her their own commitment to reduce carbon pollution through energy conservation, purchasing electricity from a ‘green provider,’ and making use of renewable energy products and sources,” Sister Anne continued. “If we expect nations to commit to significant energy policies, then we should do so ourselves, at home, in the workplace, in our churches, and in all the places that touch our lives.”

For further information regarding the Paris Pledge and practical ways to reduce carbon pollution, please contact Annette Marshall, OSB (572-8325) or Pat Lupo, OSB (490-3108).

 

*2 degrees Celsius never sounds like much.  It’s important to realize that that’s a global average.  The 20th century global average that is the baseline against which that change is marked is 13.9 degrees Celsius.  That means that a 2C increase for the Earth is proportionally the same as a 14 F increase in body temperature (for a deadly body temp of more than 112F) for a human being.  Perspective is everything!  

Praying with Paris — in Philadelphia and Harrisburg

The Paris climate talks (the 21st such talks) began on Monday, November 30.  People around the world held vigils and marches on 11/29 and 11/30 to show our leaders that we are with them in spirit, supporting the difficult, urgent, vital work that they are engaged in.  The people’s voices —including faith voices— have been vital in getting international leaders as far along as we are.

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11.

HarrisburgVigilMarch.11.29.2015In HARRISBURG, a multi-faith service hosted by Grace United Methodist Church was attended by about 120 people, and  made the evening news.  News coverage embedded at the bottom of this page (these links can expire quickly!)

Inspiring speakers included  Professor John Dernbach  (himself a Paris Summit delegate) and former PA Senator Franklin Kury (the author of Article1, Section 27 of our PA Constitution, and the recipient of our first PA IPL Visionary Award, back in 2011).   Father Jim Podlesny talked about the significance of the Pope’s encyclical and what it means for Paris.

 David Glasgow, music director of Unitarian Universalists of Cumberland Valley, provided opening music, with congregational singing of  We Would be One, This is My Song, and Blue Boat Home.    Harrisburg Drummers added color and energy.

Readings and reflections were offered by leaders from the Religion & Society Center, Baha’ís of Harrisburg, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of PA, Hadee Mosque, and PA IPL. 

The event concluded on the Capitol steps with a rousing speech by former pastor and climate activist, the Rev. Jerry Miller, along with other testimonies, more drumming, and singing of Let There Be Peace on Earth.

IMG_5098In PHILADELPHIA , PA IPL member congregation First United Methodist Church of Germantown  hosted an afternoon multi-faith vigil on Monday, 11/30.  The vigil and prayer was led by Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein, the Rev. Cheryl Pyrch, and song led by Daniella Forstater.  Participants from many local congregations, including the Sisters of St Joseph, the Germantown Jewish Centre, P’nai Or, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Unitarian Society of Germantown, host FUMCOGSt. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, the Shalom CenterSummit Presbyterian Church, and Good Samaritan Baptist Church and more!

in PARIS
Because of the attacks in Paris last week, planned marches and outdoor gatherings were not allowed, so the Place de la Republique filled with 10,000 pairs of shoes, “marching” without their owners.  Among them: Pope Francis’ shoes, and Ban Ki Moon’s shoes.

Nearly 10,000 people linked arms to form a human chain through Paris, stretched out along about 2km of the 3 km (2 mile) route of the planned march, rather than gathered in one spot.

Religious leaders delivered a multi-faith petition signed by nearly 1.8 million yesterday, and Cristina Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, broke out into a dance with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of South Africa, who was among those delivering the signatures to the talks.

HARRISBURG Fox43 coverage:

Methane Testimony: Dan Scheid

IMG_1844I want to thank the EPA for proposing this standard on methane emissions, which is crucial to slow climate change, to improve public health, and to protect our children’s future. I also thank you for inviting public discussion on this issue: it is not a special interest or partisan issue, but is of vital concern to every person now living on the planet, and especially to every resident of Pennsylvania and to every American.

I speak today not only as a resident of Pittsburgh but also as a person of faith, as a Catholic who is inspired by the recent visit of Pope Francis. As some of you may know, Pope Francis issued a major document called Laudato Si’ in June of this year. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis continues the Catholic Church’s longstanding teaching on climate change, affirming that it is real, that it is a moral issue, and that prudence demands immediate and urgent action.

The encyclical follows a familiar format for Catholic teaching: See-Judge-Act. The first element is to see what is happening, to rely on the “best scientific research available” (§11) today. And science is telling us that methane pollution persists for decades; that Continue reading Methane Testimony: Dan Scheid

Press Conference: Sister Donna

Sister Donna blesses new bioswale
Sister Donna blesses new bioswale

Prior to delivering her testimony at the EPA hearing, Sister Donna Zwigart participated in a press conference with several others.  

My name is Sister Donna Zwigart, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities whose WPA regional house is in Millvale, PA.

I want to thank you, our media representatives for taking time to hear us today as we Continue reading Press Conference: Sister Donna

LANCASTER— Multi-faith roundtable: How does Laudato Si resonate with our theology and practice?

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 4.47.26 PMTo be held in the Hafer Center, 2nd floor of the Schaff Library on the campus of the Lancaster Theological Seminary. Monday, October 19, 2015 

Roundtable begins at 6:30 RSVP
Register for an optional bag dinner beginning at 5:30.

share:
Click the image to download  a poster to share (8.5×14)
Get a 1/2-page, 2-sided  bulletin insert to share with your congregation, study group, or neighbors. (8.5×11)

The public is warmly invited.

Join clergy from multiple faith traditions for an in-depth roundtable discussion exploring Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si The discussion will feature national faith leaders, as well as leaders from Pennsylvania’s communities.  Participants will have the opportunity to join the discussion.

  • What do our faith traditions say about climate change, poverty, and the role of human beings in the order of Creation?
  • How does the encyclical speak to Catholics, and to people from traditions other than Catholicism?
  • How do we respond, as people of faith, to the challenges of climate change as felt in our households, in our congregations, and in our communities?

The public is warmly invited.
All RSVPs are appreciated.  Attendees must register in advance if they would like an optional box dinner beginning at 5:30.  Dinners prepared by Sugarplum & Tea.

Co-sponsored by PA Interfaith Power & Light, the Lancaster Theological Seminary, the National Religious Partnership on the Environment, and the Office of the Chaplain of Franklin & Marshall.

After Pope Week: Religous leaders standing shoulder-to-shoulder.

The Jewish Sabbath is on Saturday.  The Christian Sabbath is on Sunday.  Except for Seventh Day Adventists. Buddhists do not have a particular Sabbath Day.  We fast at different times, in different ways, for different reasons.  We have different beliefs about who leads, and how.

We could spend a lot of time of focusing on the differences in our faiths, but we are all Seekers.  We all turn to the wisdom and scripture of our faith traditions for hope, for solace, and for instruction.  We are all called to care for creation, to care for the most vulnerable people, and to work for justice.  Pope Francis released his encyclical, Laudato Si, in June.  In the anticipation of that event, in the build to his visit last week to the United States, and (in the climate change world) in the build to the international talks in Paris this December, many, many religious bodies and religious leaders have released statements from their traditions. (Jump to links)

These teachings are not new to Catholicism, nor are they new to other faith traditions. Recent statements from religious bodies are statements amplifying  Laudato Si : In Care of our Common Home with deep teachings and specific language from their own traditions.  It is time to offer all the wisdom we have, from all sectors, as we seek to find new and just ways to live in our Common Home.  Religious leaders recognize that. Continue reading After Pope Week: Religous leaders standing shoulder-to-shoulder.