2018 Eco-Justice Workshops

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Environmental Racism: When Climate, Cultural Biases & Race Collide

We will explore how environmental abuses often take place in communities of color. And, we’ll also spend our time together learning how people of faith responded to those abuses and its effect on oppressed people. However, we won’t leave the space without sharing stories and potential solutions.

Rev. Jason Carson Wilson, United Church of Christ, Justice & Witness Ministries
Climate Justice Council (UCC) members

Going to the Garden: Utilizing Church Land to Assist Displaced Communities

Churches have land, time and monetary resources that can be used to assist displaced communities. Hear from faith-based groups that have found ways to utilize church and unused land as productive farm tracts, and work with the leaders to brainstorm ways for your own faith community to utilize your resources for the benefit of displaced communities. Case studies will include Lybrook Community Ministries in New Mexico and Capstone Community Gardens in Louisiana, among others.

Millions Uprooted: Our Moral Obligation to Confront Climate Change

Millions of already vulnerable people around the world are struggling with the devastating effects of climate change. Climate change is uprooting entire communities from their homes, causing significantly more frequent and more extreme weather events including droughts and floods. For rural communities who depend on agriculture, it’s even harder to grow and secure food. This is why we must all act now—the faith community, governments, and businesses. In his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si, or “Praised Be,” Pope Francis makes a strong moral argument for why we must all confront climate change. The administration and Congress must reflect commitment to climate change through both policy and budget priorities. Hear firsthand from international leaders on what is being done to confront climate change in their countries, and reflect on what can be done differently at home.

Safe Water Access As a Push Factor Within the United States

Learn from Christian leaders who are active in environmental justice ministry in three unique places: the checkerboard region of New Mexico near the Navajo Nation; Flint and Detroit, Michigan; and the Ohio River Valley of West Virginia. Each of these communities have experienced loss of access to safe water, and in each case, faith communities have needed to take action to provide basic clean water access for their neighbors. Join us to learn about ways corporate and government powers have tried to use water access to push people out of their homes, as well as the role the Church has played, and must increasingly play, to defend God’s gift of water, as well as maintain resilient communities that can stay in place.

Rev. Jim Therrien, Lybrook Community Ministries in New Mexico
Mama Lila Cabbil, Peoples’ Water Board in Michigan
Rev. Robin Blakeman, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition in West Virginia

Moderator: Shantha Ready Alonso, Creation Justice Ministries

Uprooted: Communities Displaced by Extractive Industries

Indigenous and other vulnerable communities in the United States and around the world are being uprooted by corporations seeking profits in minerals, oil, gas, timber and even renewable energy projects. Hear the stories of these communities and of environmental and human rights defenders who are courageously speaking out to protect their land, water, health and way of life. Participate in an interactive activity to examine our own relationship with a throwaway culture driven by extractive industries. Leave with ideas for personal actions and policy solutions to curb a harmful extractivist model and justly transition to a model in right relationship with Earth and all God’s people.

Marianne Comfort, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Presenters
John Din, Missionary Society of St. Columban’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation coordinator in the Philippines
Cesar Gamboa, Derechos Ambiente y Recursos Naturales in Peru
Chloe Schwabe, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Climate Justice Simulation

Participate in an interactive role-playing exercise that helps attendees understand some of the concerns of an environmentally degraded community and learn about ways to respond. The United Methodist Women developed climate justice simulation experience is based on real situations faced by three U.S. communities in their struggles to contend with and organize around environmental injustices. Through the course of the role-playing simulation, participants will: 1. Gain knowledge about the local conditions that aggravate climate change; 2. Move toward more informed advocacy in solidarity with local communities; 3. Be introduced to the work of three community organizations addressing these particular climate justice issues. Description of the Zones: The simulation includes three zones. Each zone represents one community. The Industrial Zone depicts an urban neighborhood that is dealing with the effects of many toxin-producing plants. The Indigenous Zone describes a Native American community that is facing the results of resource extraction. The Mountaintop Removal Zone portrays a community in Appalachia that is experiencing the negative health and environmental impacts of mountaintop removal. Afterwards, learn about ways United Methodist Women is addressing climate justice and how you can be involved.

Elizabeth Chun Hye Lee, Executive for Economic and Environmental Justice, United Methodist Women
Emma Sampson, Be Just. Be Green Jurisdictional Guide, United Methodist Women

Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations