Wednesday, September 30, 2015

10/15 Creation Corner Col.: Divestment, Eco-shopping, Slogans, New Words, Walking Routes, Carbon Footprint Calculators

Online Campaign
Divestment from fossil fuels in the 200 publicly traded companies that hold the majority of coal, oil and gas reserves.  Meant for universities, religious institutions, local governments, etc. 700 divestment campaigns worldwide. 

Shopping For a Better World
1000 companies that give back 1% of their sales to nonprofits dedicated to protecting our environment: http// 
Divestment is the tactic, climate justice is the goal.  To reduce fossil fuel use "Keep the coal in the hole, the gas beneath the grass, and the oil below the soil."

New Words/Definitions

Anthropocene:  suggests that the Earth has now left its natural geological epoch, the present interglacial state called the Holocene.  Human activities have become so pervasive and profound that they rival the great forces of Nature and are pushing the Earth into planetary terra incognita.  The Earth is rapidly moving into a less biologically diverse, less forested, much warmer, and probably wetter and stormier state

Hockey stick-shaped trajectories, popularized by Prof. Michael Mann at Penn State Univ., as seen on graphs, (see example below) depict accelerations, such as for earth system trends of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, stratospheric ozone, surface temperature, ocean acidification, marine fish capture, shrimp aquaculture, coastal nitrogen, tropical forest loss, domesticated land, terrestrial biosphere degradation. For socio-economic trends, the hockey stick shape occurs for world population, real GDP, foreign direct investment, urban population, primary energy use, fertilizer consumption, large dams, water use, paper production, transportation, telecommunications, international tourism.

Green Exercise versus Mall Walking

While walking in nature has been shown to be especially restorative, helping reduce stress and lowering heart rate and blood pressure, more so than city walking, many people choose to seek out malls for a walking regimen, as they also provide many advantages. See

Carbon Footprint Calculators

Carbon footprints express the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as carbon dioxide equivalents.  Such gases contribute to climate change, with global agriculture and food production accounting for 25 to 30 percent of the emissions.  Other variables, besides your food consumption, include how you heat your home, how much electricity and gasoline you use, how often you fly, and how you handle your garbage.

To check out your carbon footprint, see such calculators at

Note:  This monthly column began in October 1997, in the newsletter of the ecumenical United Churches of Lycoming County, PA ( and is thus starting its 19th year.  It was "adopted" as a blog by the web site in March of 2011.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

9/15 Creation Corner: Earth Consensus by State and Religion

Consensus on Fate of Earth at the corner of Church and State Streets:  Creation Corner Column, September 2015

Over the 2015 summer, with the issuing of the Papal Encyclical Letter on the environment (“On Care for Our Common Home”), and the “Clean Power Plan” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, some agreement seems apparent that provides us further encouragement for our obligation to be hopeful.

Described as “game-changing,” the EPA regulations have a goal of reducing overall U.S. carbon emissions by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030, and provide states flexibility to achieve such (applauded by both some state and fossil fuel corporate leaders).

President Obama stressed the importance of the measures, saying “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it” and “Climate change is no longer about protecting the world for our children and grandchildren, it is about the reality that we are living with right now.”

Pope Francis, in his 246 numbered paragraphs of the encyclical addressed to “every person living on this planet” offers many proposals to “help us escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us” (¶ 163).  “Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change (¶ 202), so that we “hear both the cry of the environment and the cry of the poor” (¶ 49), for both are related.

Calling for each of us, especially Christians, to have an “ecological conversion”, we need to be “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork” for that “is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (¶ 217).

One example of this emphasis on our original mandate of responsibility to the earth (from Genesis 2:15), to “till it keep it” (¶ 66, 67), in the Lutheran faith tradition, is the Offertory Prayer wherein “…we offer ourselves to your service and dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all that you have made…” (Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978).

Of course, some naysayers will object to this convergence of thoughtful linkages between the political and religious sectors.  However, as the editor of The Christian Century wrote (Aug. 5, p. 3):  “Religion and politics do mix…we want better health and education for everyone because neighbor love is one of our deepest values and commitments.  We want safe food, safe automobiles, and a judicial system that guarantees equal treatment for all.  And we want a sustainable environment for our grandchildren.”

Note:  Lutherans interested in the “Restoring” aspect of our web site name may be interested in the autumn issue of Earth Island Journal: News of the World Environment whose theme is “Return to the Native: Inside the Indigenous Movement of Resistance and Restoration.” .