God created the earth, and it is sacred. As Psalm 24:1 proclaims, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it.” Therefore we are called to stewardship of the earth. When we work to protect creation, we are answering God’s call to till and keep the garden (Genesis 2:15). In the face of deepening ecological crises caused by the earth’s warming, our call to act as earth’s caretakers takes on more meaning. Our efforts will curtail the shrinking of sacred waters, the endangerment of living creatures of every kind, and the vulnerability of our brothers and sisters in developing countries.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has identified food, transportation, and energy as the three key personal areas that need action to help stem climate change. Below, you can find links to learn more about these issues, get ideas on how to take action, and access theological reflections below in order to help your congregation care for God’s creation.
RECENT resources and ways to take action on climate on our blog! Resources for the fall 2015 visit of Pope Francis to the COP 21 talks in Paris in December 2015, and past resources from the December 2014 Presbyterian Hunger Program/PCUSA trip to Lima, Peru in conjunction with the UN COP 20 meeting.
Eating local food, organic or sustainable food, and less meat are all ways your food choices can help to curb climate change.
- Learn more about the relationship between climate change, food, hunger and poverty.
- The Hunger Program’s Just Eating? Practicing Our Faith at the Table curriculum helps congregations make connections between food and faith by exploring food’s impact on our health, the earth, and humanity. The curriculum is available for middle school students or high school students and adults.
- Search Local Harvest for places to buy local food near you.
- The Thoughtful Christian offers several study sessions on issues related to food and the environment, including Local Food: Global Good and How to Eat Responsibly.
Personal actions to reduce the climate impact of your transportation include: driving less, driving a fuel efficient vehicle, purchasing carbon offsets, and encouraging fuel efficiency standards.
- Car owners, check out the Go Green section on CarCare.org and read the latest tips for preserving the environment through your personal transportation choices.
- Host an Alternative Transportation Sunday, encouraging members to safely walk, bike, take public transportation or carpool to work. Use this worksheet to estimate carbon emissions saved and/or this Alternative Transportation resource to plan your Sunday!
Climate change continues to accelerate as we consume vast amounts of energy, personally and corporately. There are myriad ways to reduce energy including changing to fuel efficient lighting and appliances and using better thermostats and natural heating/cooling techniques.
- April 2015 Presbyterian Energy Tithe Challenge webinar by using EPA Portfolio Manager. Take this challenge to sign up for EPA Portfolio Manager, to save atleast 10% on your utility bills or energy use, and save money for your church's mission!
- Explore the EPA ENERGY STAR workbook for congregations.
- Web of Creation offers “The Environmental Guide for Congregations, Their Buildings, and Grounds."
Calculate your household carbon footprint and learn steps to lessen the impact on this EPA web site.
- Some utility companies offer free home energy audits. Contact your utility company today to ask.
- Find a “Do It Yourself” energy audit from Kansas Interfaith Power and Light.
- Consider solar panels for your church, or other purchases of renewable energy.
- Creation Justice Ministries (formerly the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program) has many theological and worship resources on climate and energy here.
- The Thoughtful Christian offers several study sessions on climate change in its Green Study Pack.
- The Regeneration Project has posted several sermons related to global warming.
Personal Lifestyle Changes and Advocacy
Personal consumption of commercial products, purchasing choices (including our investments), and our willingness to do public policy advocacy locally and in connection to brothers and sisters around the world, are all vital ways to engage in climate change action.
- The Enough for Everyone Program has developed the Green Living guide, which includes three sections on Green Consumption, Green Transportation and The Green House Effect (greening our homes). Living green means practicing our faith through caring for the creation. Learn more about how living green is an important part of just living on the Just Living Web site.
- Joining Hands partners around the world help us to learn about the need for advocacy in the United States on things like trade agreements, corporate contracts regarding extractive industries, and more. Read about global connections and campaigns here.
- Purchase fairly traded coffee and other products, Eco-Palms and Sweat Free T-shirts.
- Stand in solidarity with a Joining Hands campaign or food, hunger and economic justice work within the United States.
Presbyterian Church policies on environmental issues
- Read the PC(USA) policy brief on environmental issues from the Washington Office, which outlines policy statements arranged by environmental topics.
- Download “The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming” that was passed in 2008 at the 218th General Assembly.
- In 2006 the General Assembly passed a resolution urging all Presbyterians to become carbon neutral. Click to learn how to make your home and church carbon neutral.
- Search environmental issues on the Presbyterian Social Witness Policy Compilation.
Linked to you through appalachiancarbonpartnership, but am at GA right now, I am a water chemistry and technology scientist In Chicago Presbytery. Would like to explore ways to support GHG reduction through algae-farming having both for-profit and not-for -profit implications.