Interfaith environmental group moves past partisan politics

For the editor of National Geographic it all started with the arugula she bought to make a nice green salad. Then came working late, an impromptu dinner invitation and, days later, finding a bag of green goop in the back of her fridge. She “could have made six salads with what I threw out,” she says in the March edition of National Geographic.

For the Interfaith Environmental Group it all continued last Thursday with a presentation by Midge Breeden on food waste.

“If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the U.S.” (National Geographic, March, 2016).

Rabbi Evon Yakar of Temple Bat Yam, Tahoe added, “We must raise our young people to become people with whom we want to share the earth.”

This was followed by a presentation by Coco Crum showing the incredible growth in the use of sustainable energy worldwide which included a 10-minute clip from a Ted Talk by Al Gore.

This interfaith environmental group was born from meetings of Dixie Jennings-Teats, (co-pastor of United Methodist Church), Father Chuck Durante (Pastor or St. Teresa’s Catholic Community), Anne Macquarie and Crum with a goal of working together to make changes personally and as a community to help sustain our earth. We encouraged the 50 participants to SEE what the realities are related to the earth: warmer temperatures, rising oceans, drought, stronger storm systems, etc. We also looked at what each of our faith traditions had to say about care for the earth, drawing partially on Pope Francis’ recent Encyclical, Laudato Si.

The second meeting asked us to “judge” what behaviors and laws are helping and/or hurting the earth. Each person shared which issues they saw as most threatening to our health and safety.

The April 7 meeting is titled “action” and focuses on actions we can take to make a difference. Should we start a local campaign encouraging restaurants to use recyclable take-home containers instead of Styrofoam? Or a campaign to reduce microbeads polluting our waterways? Or a campaign to reduce food waste in restaurants? If you’re not going to eat the side dish or garnish, why not ask the waitress not to put it on your plate? Or maybe working with other organizations to advocate for policies moving the state to 100 percent clean energy? These ideas and others will be shared at our next meeting. The final meeting in May is about “commitment” when we decide individually and as a group what we are willing to actually commit to doing.

All are invited to the next meeting on Thursday, April 7 at the United Methodist Church meeting hall from 6:30 to 8 p.m. What other actions can you take personally or can we take as a group to help our planet? Bring your ideas! For more information call Midge Breeden at 883-2255.


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