U.S. religious leaders issue “Religious Declaration of Unprecedented Human Emergency”

What is an emergency? Merriam-Webster defines emergency as “an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action.” Does climate change count as an emergency? Not if an “emergency” is necessarily “unforeseen,” for when it comes to climate change, scientists have been sounding the alarm for decades, telling us that burning massive quantities of fossil fuels would lead to catastrophe. Of course, the fossil fuel industry …

Spiritual sustenance in a time of climate crisis

On March 10, 2019, I gave a presentation on spiritual sustenance at “Climate Change, Extreme Weather and Vulnerability: An Interfaith Summit on How to Respond.” Organized by CREW (Communities Responding to Extreme Weather), the event brought together faith leaders, policy makers, public health officials, climate activists, community organizers, and other stakeholders to discuss how climate resilience connects with racial and economic justice, and how faith communities (and other groups) can …

Conscious living, conscious dying: Sarah Cowles Doering (1926-2018)

My mother Sarah Cowles Doering died peacefully on November 16, 2018. She was 92 years old. Soon after she died, I wrote a brief account of the last days of her life and shared it with close family and friends. I am posting it below, with light edits, in hopes that this story will encourage all of us who wonder about the mystery of living and dying, and all of …

Tackling the climate crisis now: Clear mind, open heart, strong hands

This essay is based on opening remarks by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas at a Community Forum, “Tackling the climate crisis now,” held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Sandwich, MA, on November 4, 2018. The other speakers were Dr. Philip B. Duffy (President and Executive Director, Woods Hole Research Center) and the Rev. Dr. Paul Minus (Co-Chair of the Cape & Island Faith Communities Environmental Network). The event was part …

“BUT NOW”: A diocese takes action on climate change

This piece is based on remarks I made to the 117th Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, asking delegates to pass a resolution entitled “Creation Care in Our Congregations: Living Lightly on God’s Good Earth.” The resolution was created in response to the 79th General Convention, which affirmed the Episcopal Church’s intention, “in the spirit of the Paris Climate Accord,” to make “intentional decisions about living lightly and …

Now is the day of salvation: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, #WMARevival and Creation Care

Today’s blog post, which is  also on the Bishop’s Blog of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, is co-written by The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Bishop Doug Fisher. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is coming to the Diocese of Western Massachusetts on Sunday, October 21, to celebrate an Episcopal revival, with events at 1:00 p.m. in Pittsfield and at 5:00 p.m. in Worcester. Everyone is invited!  For more information, visit here. …

How to organize an interfaith environmental action: 13 steps

Faith-based environmental activism can take many forms. Your event could be small: a handful of people gather one evening outside a church, holding candles and praying for upcoming U.N. climate negotiations. Or your event could be large: hundreds of people share a multi-faith worship service at which they sing, preach, and pray about caring for Earth. Your event could be simple: a panel of speakers from different faith traditions discusses …

The week that was: world religious leaders confront climate disruption

Leaders of the Eastern Church and the Western Church, representing billions of people worldwide, spoke with one voice this month about the moral urgency of confronting the climate crisis. “A civilization is defined and judged by our respect for the dignity of humanity and the integrity of nature,” declared the head of the Orthodox Church, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in his keynote address for a three-day international symposium held …

Is carbon pricing a spiritual and ethical imperative?

It’s unusual to see a scientist, a politician, an economist, and a religious leader sitting together at one table to discuss climate change. Yet that’s just what happened at a public forum at Westfield State University entitled “Carbon Pricing – A Key Component in Solving a Warming Climate.” The four speakers included Dr. Carsten Braun (a climate scientist at Westfield State), State Rep. Jen Benson (D-Lunenburg, the lead co-sponsor of …

Jim Antal, climate hero

The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal is retiring as President and Minister of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ. I will miss him! Here’s what I said at his retirement celebration in Worcester. What a blessing to be here as we honor our friend Jim. I’ve been invited to speak about his leadership in protecting God’s Creation and taking action on climate change. Not everyone who wanted to be here …