6 lessons coronavirus can teach us about climate change  

Out of caution, many are keeping physical distance from each other. But out of compassion, many are helping any way they can — staying connected by phone or internet with those who are lonely; sewing masks for desperate health care workers; making donations to groups that help migrants and the homeless; pushing for policies that protect the lowest-earning members of society. If there was ever a time in which humanity …

Greta Thunberg compels us all to be prophets

This op-ed, co-written by Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, was published in newspapers in Louisville, KY; Frankfort, KY; and Northampton, MA (December 18, 2019). The picture of Greta Thunberg on the cover of Time magazine as its 2019 Person of the Year is both inspiring and sobering. Standing on an outcropping of rocks at the ocean’s edge, she gazes toward the sea. The splashing waves at her feet are a …

Global climate strikes: Standing for life

On September 20, 2019, more than 4 million people around the world went on strike to demand bold action to stop the climate crisis. Global Climate Strikes, inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, were carried out in more than 150 countries, from Australia and the Pacific Islands to India, Turkey, Europe, and across the United States. Countless people of faith, including Episcopalians, took part, and I am thrilled to say …

Our planetary cathedral on fire     

Firefighters risking everything eventually brought the flames under control, and, some twelve hours after it began, the fire was snuffed out. We awoke the next morning to study the ruins and to give thanks for what was still standing: bell towers, pipe organs, and rose windows. Rebuilding began. But Notre Dame is not the world’s only holy place: every culture has equally precious places that mediate the transcendent. Every mosque …

Here to stand with trees

Below is a statement about biomass that I gave at a public hearing held by The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) in Springfield on June 5, 2019. My name is Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. I’m an Episcopal priest with an ecumenical job. I serve as Missioner for Creation Care for the 375 churches of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, and also for the Episcopal Diocese …

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 …