Earth Day Sunday 2016, Soil and Water Stewardship Week and Arbor Day.
1. Earth Day is Friday April 22 this year. Observed as "Care for God's Creatures Day" by the good people at Creation Justice (Justice for God's Planet and God's People) the following Sunday (April 24), Earth Day Sunday churches are urged to raise up concern for the furry, feathered, finned, four-legged, and winged, the diversity of God’s creatures that inspires wonder and awe. From the Garden of Eden, to Noah’s Ark, to barn animals surrounding baby Jesus, to the vision of the lion dwelling with the lamb in Revelation, God’s creatures play an important role in the Bible and our Christian faith tradition. By their very being, all creatures give praise to God. Knowing and loving God’s creatures helps us better know our Creator. Earth Day Sunday 2016 will include liturgical resources, Bible study material, and invitations to take action by creating habitats and getting loud on social media for animals.
Materials will be ready in Word Doc format; click on http://www.creationjustice.org/creatures and follow link or enter the link in the search bar.
2. For the annual Earth and Water Stewardship Week of April 24-May 1, the theme of "We All Need Trees" is raised up the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), and for the first time all the materials for religious (and secular) leaders are in electronic format and are free of charge. These include activity sheets and placemats, posters, bookmarks, student booklets for different K-12 levels,, church leader's guide, litany and program inserts.
Emphasis is on the value of trees for our air, water, shelter, food, clothing, and our "souls". "A Forest's Job is Never Done", says the NACD motto, as they are working 24/7.
3. The Arbor Day Foundation annually promotes Arbor Day the last Friday in April, and the nationwide Tree City USA program effort to have municipalities promote their urban tree canopy.
4. A recent ad from the Nature Conservancy notes that nature cleans our air, and that trees absorb 1/5 of carbon emissions. See nature.org.
5. In Pennsylvania a public/private partnership is making an effort to help restore tree cover, especially in metropolitan areas, due to an alarming trend of tree loss there. See treevitalize.net.
Note: This blog has been issued for the past five years by LutheransRestoringCreation (http://www.LutheransRestoringCreationblog.blogspot.com) and originates as the "Creation Corner Column" in the newsletter from the sixty-year old ecumenical body of the United Churches of Lycoming County in Williamsport, PA (http://www.uclc.org) .
The preparer, Michael Ochs, is a 1965 graduate of Gettysburg College, and earned a Master of Liberal Arts in International Studies degree from Lock Haven University (PA) in 1989.
He is a member of the environmentalist Green Party of Pennsylvania and attends St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Williamsport, PA.