Thursday, June 8, 2017

6/17 CCC Summer Readings

June 2017 Creation Corner Column

Summer June Readings

God, Send forth your Spirit and renew the face of all the earth.  from Psalm 104
After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene.  Jedediah Purdy.
Archaeology's Footprints in the Modern World: Michael Brian Schiffer.
Audubon, On the Wings of the World.  Fabien Grolleau and Jeremie Royer.
Continental Divide: A History of American Mountaineering.  Maurice Isserman.
The Crystal Reef: How Climate Change is Affecting Our Oceans (video). Cody Karutz.
Dictionary of Christianity and Science: The Definitive Reference for the Intersection of Christian Faith and Contemporary Science.  Edited by Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss.
Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts that Will Save Us.  Sara E. Gorman and Jack M. Gorman.
Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis.  Christopher D. Cook.
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.  Paul Hawken, ed.
Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future.  David Grinspoon.
The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age.  David S. Abraham.
For the Love of All Creatures: The Story of Grace in Genesis.  William Greenway.
The Forest Unseen:  A Year's Watch in Nature.  David Haskell.
A Gathering of Larks: Letters to Saint Francis from a Modern-day Pilgrim.  Abigail Carroll.
George Washington Carver:  A Life.  Christina Vella.
The Golden Shore: California's Love Affair with the Sea.  David Helvarg.
A Good That Transforms: How U.S. Culture Undermines Environmental Reform.  Eric T. Freyfogle.
The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable.  Amitav Ghosh.
The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World.  Paul Gilding.
Green Growth: A U.S. Program for Controlling Climate Change and Expanding Job Opportunities.  Robert Pollin.
How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist.  Andrew Newberg.
Grizzly West: A Failed Attempt to Reintroduce Grizzly Bers in the Mountain West.  Michael J. Dax.
Journey of the Universe.  Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker.
Lighting the World: Transforming Our Energy Future by Bringing Electricity to Everyone.  Jim Rogers.
Living With Lead: An Environmental History of the Coeur d'Alenes, 1885-2011.  Bradley D. Snow.
Making a Good Life: An Ethnography of Nature, Ethics, and Reproduction.  Katharine Dow.
My City Highrise Garden.  Susan Brownmiller.
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative.  Florence Williams.
The Party's Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies. Richard Heinberg.
Plentitude: The New Economics of True Wealth.  Juliet Schor.
Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of Keeping Pets.  Jessica Pierce.
Rust: The Longest War.  Jonathan Waldman.
Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition.  Charles Eisenstein.
A Safe and Sustainable World: The Promise of Ecological Design.  Nancy Jack Todd.
Science For Seminaries Video series (Am. Assoc. for the Advancement of Science dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion).
Seed: The Untold Story (dvd documentary on importance of seed diversity). Vandana Shiva, Jane Goodall.
Solartopia: Our Green-Powered Earth.  Harvey Wasserman.
Stewart L. Udall: Steward of the Land.  Thomas G. Smith.
Thirst for Power: Energy, Water, and Human Survival.  Michael E. Webber.
Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.  Bill Nye.
The Vice of Luxury: Economic Excess in a Consumer Age.  David Cloutier.
What Stands in a Storm: Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South's Tornado Alley.  Kim Cross.
The Winona LaDuke Chronicles: Stories from the Front Lines in the Battle for Environmental Justice.  Winona LaDuke.

Two books re: Beauty are
Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved By Beauty---An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother.  Kate Hennessy.
The Fight for Beauty:  Our Path to a Better Future.  Fiona Reynolds.

Titles by Antonia Juhasz:
Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill
The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry

Titles by George Monbiot:
Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea, and Human Life.
Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning.
How Did We Get into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature.

Titles by Jack Spencer:
This Land: An American Portrait (Photography). .
Native Soil (Photography).

From the archive:
1968 Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man.  Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
1969 The Chasm Ahead.  Aurelio Peccei.
1972 The Limits to Growth.  Dennis Meadows et al.
1988 The Collapse of Complex Societies.  Joseph Tainter.

Reflection for discussion:  Some people seek to have "power over" nature (domination, exploitation), and some others are seen as loving nature ("nature worship", "tree huggers").  May we adapt the following quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., taken from his work In Search of Integrity, and reprinted in the recent issue of Annals of Earth (a publication of Ocean Arks International, vol. XXXV, number 1, 2017), to better understand the relationships of power and love as they apply to nature, the environment, God's creation.  Thus the result is an emphasis on environmental justice.  As has been remarked, we will save what we love, and we will not save what we do not love.

"Power without love
is reckless and abusive,
and love without power
is sentimental and anemic.
Power at its best is love
implementing the demands of justice,
and justice at its best
is power
correcting everything
that stands against love."

This final quotation from The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning, by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks:  "Science is about explanation.  Religion is about meaning.  Science analyses, religion integrates."


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

5/17 CCC: World Environment Day, Archives, Advocacy

Creation Corner Column

May 2017 Potpourri: World Environment Day (WED),  Archives and Advocacy

 "Sing with all the people of God, and join in the hymn of all creation."  Verse from the Hymn of Praise/Canticle. Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978 Augsburg-Fortress Publishers, p. 61.

1.  "Connecting People to Nature" is the theme for the June 5th World Environment Day (WED), encouraging us to personally adopt a motto of "I'm With Nature".  Since the 1970s this global platform, and its different yearly theme, has helped raise awareness for taking action on urgent environmental issues, thus safeguarding nature.  The question for us is this:  Is our natural heritage at the heart of our identity, as a nation, state, county, city, municipality, bioregion, etc. 

The WED website provides toolkits, multimedia, news, theme information, etc.  The international Environmental  Sabbath initiative ("Give Earth a Rest") began in 1985, and was launched by a World Conference of Women.  It is raised up yearly the first Sunday of June (June 4, 2017).
2.  From the Archives:  In 2007 the Reader's Digest published a $30.00, 320 pg. book, entitled Global Warning: The Last Chance for Change about climate change (warming), prepared by Paul Brown.  It noted that the main cause of global warming was excessive emissions of Green House Gases (GHS) due to human activities.  During his year of research the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere went up 4 ppm.  Such continues to increase, and to avoid the worst effects we must keep the global warming increase down.

Regrettably, ten years later, some reports now say the December 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change seems outdated, for even if the emission limits goals of nations are achieved (and they are voluntary, lacking any binding enforcement mechanisms), climatologists expect a global warming of more than double the goal limit of the agreement.

The Reader's Digest book concludes with 30 pages of "What Can Be Done" suggestions.  You, the reader, are aware of such.  So if you are in awe of the power of the earth's climate and weather systems, be inspired to do something for climate change, and do it today.

As naturalist and veteran broadcaster Sir David Attenborough is quoted as saying at the beginning of the book: "How could I look my grandchildren in the eye and say I knew about this and I did nothing."

3.  Advocacy Advice comes from many sources.  One from The Wilderness Society newsletter offers 8 ways of making your voice heard on issues that matter to you. Contact your members of Congress frequently, and at key times; attend town hall meetings and public forums; meet directly with your lawmakers; say thank you and applaud good actions; help rallies and protests succeed; organize your own event; use your social networks (FaceBook, Google+, Instagram, Linkedin, SnapChat, Twitter, WhatsApp, Youtube, etc.); and contribute to media coverage, such as newspaper letter-to-editor opportunities and urging coverage of an issue.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

4/17 CCC: Earth Month Rogation Readings

Friday, March 10, 2017

3/17 CCC: Climate Caretakers: Biblical, Scientific, Business

March 2017 Creation Corner Column

Climate Caretakers: Biblical, Scientific, Business

"The Good News is a 'lamp shining in a dark place.'"

John Elwood, of Climate Caretakers, combines biblical, scientific, and business approaches in his monthly Evangelical blog, , now in its 7th year.  It reflects his "hearing the gospel's call to care for an injured planet" as an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.

Covering such themes of faith, science, and justice, his resources list includes 24 on-line, 42 books and 5 videos.

Tracking CO2, now at over 400 ppm, is Earth's CO2 home page,
The  is about the global warming misinformation campaign, and tries to clear the public relations pollution that clouds climate science.

Other recommended sites include Climate Progress, Skeptical Science, the U.S. Drought Monitor, EcoWatch,, etc.

Following Elwood's "Action" suggestions, one finds  It notes what corporations do to reduce carbon emissions by pledging to use 100% renewable energy resources.  The private sector uses 1/2 of the world's electric consumption, and some of the most influential companies' pledges come from Walmart, P&G, Nike, Nestle, Microsoft, GM, Google, FB, Johnson & Johnson, Starbucks, etc. is brought to us by   It works with businesses, governments, NGOs, etc., and the Carbon Disclosure Project ( that motivates companies and cities to disclose their environmental impact, thus helping to drive sustainable economics.

Both of these are members on the, urging 100s of investors and businesses to create a low carbon revolution.

One Coalition member, The B Team, goes beyond Plan A ("business as usual") to Plan B, for transparency and anti-corruption.  "B" corporations are conscientious, not just for sustainability and minimizing harm, but also for maximizing their positive impact.  Thus, people using business as a force for good. 

There is a news-stand magazine, "B", and BestForTheWorld web sites.

Another Coalition member,, works with advocates, investors and companies to integrate environmental and social considerations into business decision-making, the goal being sustainable prosperity.

"All of my creation is an effort to weave a web of connection with the world.  I am always weaving it because it was once broken."  Anais Nin 
This blog, seen at began in March 2011, 6 years ago.  It originates with the newsletter of the Williamsport PA based United Churches of Lycoming County (UCLC) (, where it began in 1997.  

The UCLC is a 70-year old ecumenical body partnering with 180 congregations, engaged in ministries such as the Shepherd of the Street, Food Pantry, Campus Ministry, Fuel Bank, Devotion Line, newspaper sermons, broadcasting,  institutional worship services (825+), social concerns advocacy, monthly print and on-line newsletter, interfaith outreach dialogue network, community ministeriums cooperative services, etc.

Its director is Baptist minister Rev. Gwen N. Bernstine.  The late Lutheran pastor Rev. Dr. Alton Motter (d. Aug. 5, 2003 at age 95), author of Ecumenism 101: A Handbook about the Ecumenical Movement, and other titles, was her predecessor.

This column blogger, Michael Ochs, may be reached at

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2/17 Creation Corner: News You Can Use

Creation Corner Column for February 2017:  News You Can Use

"Let Justice Flow Like Streams...of sparkling water, pure, enabling growth, refreshing life, abundant, cleansing, sure."  first verse, Hymn 763 in "With One Voice: A Lutheran Resource for Worship" hymnal.

Headlines of "Global Warming In Overdrive" prompt concerned readers to respond.

A recent global evangelical God-centered effort committed to care for the climate through regular prayers and action, with an emphasis on glorifying God and loving our neighbors is .

An international grass-roots environmental group that trains and supports volunteers to build relationships with elected representatives in order to influence climate policy is the ten-year-old .  Also see .

Another online action center is the ,fighting pollution and climate change (it's for dads too!)  It is supported by the 50-year-old Environmental Defense Fund.

For whatever part of God's creation you hold dear, and wish to protect and defend, if you cannot be an "activist" there are many opportunities for you to be a "clicktivist" (signing petitions online), and/or being a "checktivist" (sending financial support for that cause).

As Earth Day April 22, 2017 approaches consider the materials your denomination has for caring for creation at its website (Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, etc.).  Look for the ecological ministries at

Consider the resources at the Earth Day Network and its 2017 campaign theme of "Environmental and Climate Literacy" (March for science, green schools and cities, endangered species, reforestation, communities of faith for the environment, etc.).

European Christian churches are organized as the European Christian Environmental Network ( ).

Following Earth Day is the Stewardship Week in late April.  The 2017 theme is "Healthy Soils Are Full of Life".  Materials are from the National Association for Conservation Districts ( .

And be mindful that the annual Arbor Day celebration is the last Friday in April.

From the archives:  1992: The Garden of God: Selections from the Bible's Teaching About the Creation.  Glenn Paauw, assisted by Cal DeWitt and John Stek.  International Bible Society.

Inspiring Quote:  "Hope and optimism are different.  Hope has to do not with thinking everything's going to be O.K., but seeing that it's not and then you move anyway".  Anna Deavere Smith, Time magazine, Nov. 7, 2016, p. 64.


Friday, January 6, 2017

1/'17 Creation Corner Col: New Year Reflections

January 2017 Creation Corner Column

Reflections upon a New Year

"...a glad new year to all the earth."  (concluding line of "From Heaven Above", Hymn 51, Lutheran Book of Worship)

Scripture in bold print; secular quotes in regular font.

Job 12: 7-8 "...ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth,and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you."  Come forth into the light of things, let Nature be your teacher.  William Wordsworth
Psalm 104:24  "How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all: the earth is full of your wisdom."  Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.  John Muir

Psalm 138:8  "Oh Lord, do not abandon the works of your hands."  The greatest threat to our future is apathy.  Protest sign slogan

Psalm 90:12  "Teach us to number our days so that we may apply our hearts to wisdom."  We repeatedly lose touch with what we intend our lives to stand for.  Barry Lopez

Isaiah 24:5-6a  "The earth is defiled by its people, they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the covenant.  Therefore a curse consumes the earth."  You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.  William Wilberforce

2 Chronicles 7:14  "If my people...turn from their wicked ways...I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  In a dark time, the eye begins to see.  Opening of a poem by Theodore Roethke

Genesis 2:15  "And God put (us) in the garden of Eden to keep and serve it."  Its a phenomenal planet.  I wanted to give something back.  A Conservancy contributor

Hebrews 3:13 "Support one another daily."  What a country chooses to save is what a country says about itself.  Mollie Beattie