Monday, July 25, 2011

Creation Corner column, July 2011: Hopeful messages

Inasmuch as the Lutherans Restoring Creation web site ( sets out to offer some hope that the environmental crises might be responded to in a positive, restorative way, that, indeed, it is God's will and work that such be done, and that it is in our hands to accomplish the same, the focus in the Creation Corner column for July 2011 has that emphasis.

And because much can be learned by people of faith about the subject from the secular press, examples here will be cited from those sources.

Sandra Steingraber, in a piece from the June 2011 issue of In These Times wrote of something called the "well-informed futility" syndrome, a phrase coined in 1973 by Gerhart Wiebe, that suggests that when we are overwhelmed by information about a credible problem we may feel we haven't the personal resources to effectively respond to it. Thus we can become paralyzed by it, and that sense of futility prevents us from taking any action to solve the problem.

Her subject in that article, confronting climate change and overcoming our fossil fuel addiction, entitled "Despair Not" ( has now been responded to by readers in the current August 2011 In These Times issue and on-line at .

Readers are urged to view that dialog. Steingraber, an Ithaca (NY) College biologist, is the author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment (1997), Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood (2001), and Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis (2011).

A second source providing hopeful encouragement is the July-August issue of the Utne Reader, which takes its articles from the "alternative" (not mainstream) press ( .

Articles there, in the order they appear, include excerpts about

...elementary education environmental literacy (Governing) and the "greening" of public schools (Sustainable Industries), p. 15

...the "patron saints" (Wisconsin Benedictine sisters) of green living (Sojourners), p. 20-21

...landscape architecture and wildlife crossings (Landscape Architecture), p. 23

...predictive models of climate change (OnEarth), p. 27

...human shelters in wilderness (Colors of Nature), p. 35, 37

...four excerpts on our complicated relationships with animals, including articles from the book Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat; the book The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them; the magazine The Believer; and the book Beautiful and Abundant: Building the World We Want pgs. 50-59

...being "grounded" ("earthing") as an aid for overcoming chronic pain and insomnia (Spirituality & Health), pgs. 70-71

Even the advertisements in the current Utne Reader issue offer some helpful advice, such as for an eco-friendly auto club, an advanced degree in ecological psychology, a water bottle not made of plastic, green festivals, and the new book by Richard Louv, The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder (also reviewed in the August issue of The Lutheran, p. 42) and available from .

And, thirdly, from a foreign source, The Guardian Weekly ( comes these pieces: editorial from May 27, "At war over climate", notes that the USA military is "taking on global warming skeptics", and cites several sources.

...Greenpeace, perhaps the world's most recognizable and sophisticated global eco-charity, is to launch its Rainbow Warrior III from Bremen shipyards in northern Germany(July 15). Greenpeace has helped to "bear witness to some of the more blatant acts of ecological destruction--- from whaling and oil exploration to nuclear testing and industrial fishing---that were occurring in the remote oceans." Doing climate-change research in Greenland, monitoring the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and trying to stop Arctic off-shore drilling have been other pursuits. In the coming year the maiden campaign will be to sail up the Amazon as part of a protest against deforestation.

...In Australia, a carbon emission-cutting tax plan targets the nation's 500 worst polluters (July 15) international court for crimes against the environment is being proposed by a candidate for the French presidency (July 22). Eva Joly won the primary race for the environmentalist party, Greens-Europe-Ecology. She is the fraud prosecutor who successfully brought charges in the 1990s corruption scandal of the oil company Elf.

Note: Michael Ochs writes this column from Williamsport PA.

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