On the occasion of Earth Day, a number of environmental resources are recommended by Brethren organizations and ecumenical groups in which the church participates:
The Green Bible: "The Green Bible" in the NRSV version is a new specialty Bible published by Harper Collins with the Eco-Justice Program of the National Council of Churches, the Sierra Club, and the Humane Society. Passages that speak to God’s care for creation are in green, and a study guide is included by contributors such as Brian McLaren and Desmond Tutu, among others. The Bible is printed on recycled paper using a soy-based ink. Order through Brethren Press for $29.95 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712.
Mindful Living Resources: From the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program, these are recommended for Christians to learn about environmental health and ways to protect God's creation and vulnerable populations. The program is offering "Mindful Living: Human Health, Pollution, and Toxics" offering a faith and justice exploration of health risks caused by toxic chemicals. The "Mindful Living Gathering Guide" provides a straightforward, step by step process for publicizing and facilitating an adult Christian education session on the issues. The program also suggests that congregations offer a Mindful Living Gathering for the community and then get back in touch with the program to "tell us what you learned, changes that you made, and how your faith sustains you in caring for Creation on Earth Day and every day." Go to www.nccecojustice.org.
Resource for Endangered Species Day: A resource on biodiversity titled "Tending the Garden," Also from the NCC Eco-Justice Program, is offered for those wanting to observe May 15 as Endangered Species Day. The resource is designed to help congregations remember those beings of God's Creation at risk for extinction. Go to www.nccecojustice.org.
"Green" Certification Program for Religious Institutions: The NCC Eco-Justice Program is publicizing a GreenFaith Certification Program offered by GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition. The program is for houses of worship, designed to help churches earn recognition as environmental leaders by carrying out a number of environmental activities over a two year period. "From eco-themed worship services and religious education to "green" facility management and environmental justice advocacy, GreenFaith provides a variety of resources and opportunities for religious-environmental action," the announcement said. Information and application materials can be found at www.greenfaith.org. The first application deadline for the program is May 1.
Postcard Campaign on Global Summit: Church World Service (CWS) is giving people an opportunity to take immediate action to fight climate change by participating in a national postcard "Countdown to Copenhagen" advocacy campaign aimed at the Obama administration and members of Congress. The campaign urges people to send President Barack Obama and lawmakers in Washington the following message: Attend the upcoming global summit on climate change; agree to cut carbon emissions that cause climate change; and provide fair and just funding to help poor countries deal with global warming. The agreement to be worked out at the Dec. 2009 meeting of world leaders in Copenhagen, Denmark, would replace the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement on climate change that expires in 2012. The campaign is part of CWS' broader "Enough for All" initiative and also outlines lifestyle changes individuals can personally commit to in order to lower their own carbon footprints. The Church of the Brethren is one of numerous Christian denominations to endorse the campaign. Go to www.churchworldservice.org for more information.
One Day Resource from the New Community Project: The New Community Project, a Church of the Brethren related nonprofit, is offering "ONE DAY" statistics in honor of Earth Day. The statistics give "a picture of one day in the life of our consumer society and of the planet as a whole, followed by ideas for making the world a better place for all living things," said director David Radcliff:
- "Earth Day impacts USA: 40 million water bottles and 150 million aluminum cans tossed, along with 1.8 billion pounds of other household trash; 9 billion miles driven (as much as the rest of the world combined) creating 9 billion pounds of CO2; 10 million hours in the shower emitting 150 million pounds of of CO2 (and that's just the teenagers!); 18,000 tons of beef consumed, requiring around 180,000 tons of grain and 37 billion gallons of water to produce; 400,000 cell phones tossed; 17 million tons of CO2 put into the atmosphere (from all activities); 375 million pounds of food spoiled/thrown away; 10 million pounds toxic chemicals released into the ecosystem; 200 people die from causes related to air pollution.
- "Earth Day planetary impacts: 50-150 species of plants or animals go extinct; 86,000 acres of rainforest are cut down; 100,000 acres of semi-arid land lost to desertification; 70 million tons of CO2 enter the atmosphere from human activities; the world's glaciers thin an average of 1/10th of an inch as a result of global warming; 500 people die as a result of global warming impacts (increased infectious disease, hunger, floods, and heat waves); 14,000 children die, at least in part due to an unhealthy environment.
- "Earth Day ‘Go’ actions for a healthier planet: go local, support local producers; go bicycle, make car driving the luxury it is; go lower on the food chain, a typical fast food burger meal requires 1,400 gallons of water and produces a pound of trash; go higher, let elected officials know you are for preserving nature, taxing harmful behavior, and not paying corporations to trash the planet (governments give $900 billion in tax breaks every year to corporations, often in support of actions that harm the planet); go public, get over your embarrassment at loving the planet (fish recyclables out of the trash or scavenge uneaten food off your friend's plateit won't save the world, but it will make a statement!); go Amazon, get involved in saving one of the most important parts of God's creation, the Amazon Rainforest. For more information go to www.newcommunityproject.org or contact New Community Project director David Radcliff at 888-800-2985.