Saturday, August 8, 2015

Act locally and nationally for environmental justice and an earth restored

This week I was thrilled to be able to bring Timothy Murphy, executive director of Progressive Christians United, to speak about environmental justice at ICUJP. His message was clear and powerful: we need to keep in mind the big picture (a radical transformation of our economic system to make it earth-friendly) and at the same time work locally to make incremental changes needed to help shift public attitudes and make a difference in the lives of those who are the most impacted, namely, low income people. I have included the latest PCU newsletter below. I recommend that you support this extremely important organization. Timothy is doing some very fine work!

I was also pleased to receive an email from another eco-activist friend, Joe Morris of Santa Monica Meeting, informing me  about an interfaith march on Climate Change in DC in Sept. This is the time to do all we can to let our officials know we take this concern seriously.  Note  that our Yearly Meeting approved two minutes on climate change that we are being asked to consider. See
Here is Joe's letter: 

Please consider joining the historic Interfaith March on Climate Change on Thursday morning, September 24th, in Washington, D.C.   O n the National Mall in Washington, D.C., it may become the largest ever march and rally on climate change.    It is scheduled to coincide with Pope Francis's address on September 24th to a joint session of Congress.  
Quaker Earthcare Witness together with an ecumenical coalition of dozens of other religious and secular groups, e.g., Church World Service, Religions for the Earth, Islamic Society of North America, Franciscan Action Network, Sierra Club, and Citizens Climate Lobby, will call for a strong and binding international climate treaty and commitment to making lifestyle changes as a moral duty to humanity and our shared global environment. 
If you wish to attend, check out their website:   Contact me for information about connecting with others locally who will be attending.  My phone: 310-828-4195 or   If you ever plan to go on a climate change event, this is the one!
Joe Morris
PYM Unity with Nature Rep
Santa Monica Meeting

PCU E-Newslettertr
August 6, 2015  
Environmental Justice 
Is Local
Dear Anthony, 

Grassroots groups around the country should be congratulated for the government's release of the Clean Power Plan to reduce emissions from power plants, for they know that national victories are the outgrowth of many cumulative local efforts. They remind us that if we want to have healthy communities and minimize climate disruption, we have to fight where we are. Some call it "watershed discipleship." Others use the phrase: think global, act local. I like "planetary gospel." What matters is the activity itself!

It can sometimes seem that the big fights and inspiring campaigns happen in far-flung places: federal approval forShell to drill in the Arctic, and the blockadia-style action in Portland to stop such drilling, for example. However, when we focus exclusively on inter/national news actions, or think that politicians speaking publicly on an issue is the beginning and end of it, we greatly misplace our own crucial role.

Last week, I attended a city commission gathering in Carson, CA, focused on the need to expand a ban on fracking there. Approximately 100 people gathered and spoke; there was nothing particularly flashy about it. It was about people protecting themselves and fighting for environmental justice. To protect people's health essentially requires at least 1500 feet separating residents and extractive industries. The LA metro area is an oil region, but the consequences of any extraction so close to existing neighborhoods inevitably impacts people's wellbeing. I was inspired by the testimonies I heard from allies across the region as well as residents of Carson demanding that they be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

The fight in Carson is not over. Before the end, they will need to hear from other allies and people of faith. Last week's EPA announcement is one prominent step amidst hundreds of others that need to be taken by people like us. And while we take one step in the right direction, our country sometimestakes five backwards elsewhere. We can help ensure that at least in our region, we are actively part of the solution for healthy neighborhoods, against environmental racism, and towards the end of extraction. We can't wait for people from far away to solve this. This is our problem.

Please see below two workshops over the next week that can help you engage with these issues. Stay tuned for upcoming faith-rooted solidarity actions alongside our neighbors touched by the racist effects of fossil fuel extraction. I hope to see you there!

With an eye to the local,

Timothy Murphy
Executive Director

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This Week From PCU
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Action & Events

 Saturday, August 8: Climate Change and Faith
PCU is offering a training on forming small groups to study and act on climate change. This training is targeted to persons wanting to organize a group of friends, church members, etc. It will be offered online through google chat: no need to worry about driving in traffic! It will be led by PCU's executive director Timothy Murphy as well as the atmospheric scientist Jill Craven. Time: 10 AM - 12 PM. Contact the office to register.

Tuesday, August 11: Walk the Talk

Next week in South Pasadena you have the opportunity to "Walk the Talk" of how any efforts to care for the earth must naturally be integrated with other justice issues like poverty, public health, and pollution effects.

The bi-lingual (Spanish/English) event will include:
  • an overview of some of the most important religious writings on ecology
  • the latest on California legislation and ways we can lend our voices
  • resources for households & congregations to be more energy/water-efficient
  • a presentation by GRID Alternatives of Greater Los Angeles, which installs NO COST solar systems on homes in regionally- and income-qualified owned homes.
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, August 11, 8:30-11:00am-breakfast included!
PLACE: Holy Family Catholic Church, 1527 Fremont Avenue; parking across the street behind St. Joseph Center, 1524 Fremont Avenue
RSVP here.

Organized by Interfaith Power and Light and co-sponsored by Progressive Christians Uniting.

Save the Date: Friday-Saturday, September 18-19
Confronting the Powers: An Anti-Racism Workshop

What is the difference between racism and personal prejudice? How can we dismantle racism internally and socially? Why does racism still grip the United States?

If these questions interest you, you should consider attending PCU's fall 1.5 day workshop, organized in collaboration with the Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism Committee of the Disciples of Christ! You don't have to have been trained before. All it requires is some time and an open heart and mind. Activists, laity, clergy, and allies are all welcome! The training will be at Westminster Gardens in Duarte, CA. Costs will be minimal other than for food and hotel (if you live too far away to commute). A flyer is included. Contact Paulina to indicate your interest. Click here to download the flyer.

Anniversaries in the News

Voting Rights 50 Years On 

In the midst of a broad assault to roll back voting rights, it's worth celebrating where the spirit of the Voting Rights Act is being strengthened. At the Voting Rights Act's 50th anniversary, California is moving towards restoring voting for persons with felonies who are under community supervision. Click here to read more.

Atomic Attacks: Never Again 

Wednesday afternoon, or August 6 in Japan, marked the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima with a nuclear weapon. Groups and activists both local and international remembered this event through a moment of silence and vigil. Read more here and here.
Quote of the Week

Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

~Pope Francis, from the encyclical "Praised Be"

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