Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis

Rooted and Rising Cover

Edited by Leah D. Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Rooted and Rising is for everyone who worries about the climate crisis and seeks spiritual practices and perspectives to renew their capacity for compassionate, purposeful, and joyful action.

Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas gather twenty-one faith leaders, scientists, community organizers, theologians, and grassroots climate activists to offer wisdom for fellow pilgrims grappling with the weight of climate change. Acknowledging the unprecedented nature of our predicament—the fact that climate disruption is unraveling the web of life and threatening the end of human civilization—the authors share their stories of grief and hope, fear and faith. Together, the essays, introductory sections, and discussion questions reveal that our present crisis can elicit a depth of wisdom, insight, and motivation with power to guide us toward a more peaceful, just, and Earth-honoring future.

With a foreword by Mary Evelyn Tucker and a special introduction by Bill McKibben, the book presents an interfaith perspective that welcomes and challenges readers of all backgrounds.

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A 30-minute conversation about Rooted & Rising with co-editors, Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Leah Schade, hosted by Huda Alkaff (founder and director of Wisconsin Green Muslims, and one of the contributors to the book)
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Margaret’s keynote address, “Rising as Fire,” for the conference, “Reality, Hope, and Action in a Time of Climate Change,” draws on themes from the book and includes a brief reading. (Recorded October 20, 2019, at St. James Episcopal Church, New London, CT. Video credit: Steve MacAusland.)

Reviews for Rooted & Rising:

If you’re part of the ‘choir’ regarding climate change, if you get it, if you’re on board, this is the book you need right now. It will help you keep singing, even when politicians and corporate leaders prove themselves bigger fossil fools than before, even when the news is bleaker, even when you lose hope for the tenth time, but still can’t give up. This book puts new steel in my spine and fires up my resolve. You need this book, and the Earth needs you to take its message and resources to heart.
— Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration

Huge problems—war, poverty, civil rights—experienced serious progress in America only after the religious community got committed. Just in time for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Rooted and Rising provides a powerful spiritual and moral case for people of faith becoming involved in climate activism.
— Denis Hayes, founder of The Earth Day Network

It is now clear: prophetic, spiritual resilience in the face of the Earth emergency is indispensable to our health and a catalyst for any eco-social transformation we might muster. In Rooted & Rising, climate activists beneath the Abrahamic canopy—Jews, Muslims, Christians—voice exactly what we need and show the way. Kudos to Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Leah Schade for convening this remarkable gathering and offering spiritual practices to accompany the inspiring witness.
— Larry Rasmussen, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary

Whatever your faith or spiritual background, this provocative collection of essays will stimulate new thought and action. This book is for everyone who has been frustrated by the lack of progress in addressing climate change. These pages will educate and inspire you and renew your strength.
— Sally Bingham, founder and president emeritus, Interfaith Power and Light

Rooted and Rising is a deeply personal series of essays by those who see climate activism as a calling. At a time when the challenge may seem insurmountable, this book is a celebration of community. These essays show us that doing the work becomes its own end, and that the fulfillment we find in each other and in nature nourishes and sustains us in the struggle.
— Nicole Ghio, Fossil Fuels Program Manager, Friends of the Earth

Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis is a true gem. Filled with inspiring personal stories, contemplations on how to live with honesty and compassion in the midst of climate disruption, thoughtful questions for the reader to consider, and creative rituals to access our deepest emotional responses to the climate crisis, this book is a must-read for anyone and everyone who cares about planet Earth and all of its inhabitants.
— Katy Z. Allen, eco-chaplain and founder of Ma’yan Tikvah: A Wellspring of Hope and co-founder of Jewish Climate Action Network

Hope flows, aided by spirit; fear and grief must be named and honored; resilience and justice are within us; holy paradoxes abound, as people of faith confront our climate-imperiled era. These are just a few of the vital messages delivered in this poignant, timely, diverse collection. I’ll be returning to Rooted and Rising often, and anticipate that many others will, too.
— Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Adat Shalom in Bethesda MD; Chair, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life

This timely book is not about overcoming climate change – it’s about climate activism as a devotional practice. It’s about honoring God, the Oneness that flows through everything. It’s about building community and loving our neighbors (including the whole natural world) and feeding the hungry and protecting the poor. It’s about the meaning of faith and about responding with all of our hearts and souls and might to meet the needs of this Climate era. It will motivate you and your communities to live as citizens of one earth.
— Ellen Bernstein, author of The Promise of the Land: A Passover Haggadah; Founder, Shomrei Adamah, Keepers of the Earth, first national Jewish environmental organization

Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Leah Schade have gathered the spiritual and practical wisdom we need for such a time as this. As ministers, activists and scholars, they know we must take bold action that heals the land, the waters, the skies and the whole family of God. They also know our faith traditions provide us with the fuel we need. I hope people of faith everywhere will open this book, explore the diverse and rich collection of voices, and be encouraged, challenged, informed, strengthened, rooted and driven to prayer and action.
— The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church

This stunning collection of essays is like nothing we have seen before. With its honest acknowledgement of the raw fear, anger, and despair evoked by the climate crisis, Rooted and Rising will take readers to places they have never been – but which they need to face. At the same time, the book lifts up something equally real: the extraordinary power of human beings to take collective action, if they so choose. Rooted and Rising shows how claiming our relationship with all of life is the foundation of spirituality (with or without religious faith); how the energy of our feelings can be turned into positive action; and how our lives can find purpose and meaning in this perilous time.
— Lise Van Susteren, co-author of The Psychological Effects of Global Warming on the United States: And Why the U.S. Mental Health Care System is Not Adequately Prepared and Emotional Inflammation

This important book is a collection of wise testimonies about how people of different spiritual backgrounds sustain their grit amidst the climate crisis: they release false idols, practice truth-telling, grieve, lament, breathe, pray, practice gratitude, embrace community, and live out their faith by taking action. I laughed, cried, and knowingly sighed as I identified with the experiences of these diverse climate justice leaders.
— Shantha Ready Alonso, executive director, Creation Justice Ministries

This book does more than sound the alarm about the ecological destruction we have wrought and the catastrophic doom that awaits. Sound the alarm it does. But most importantly, it leads us to think deeply about how we sustain ourselves and the rest of our sacred Creation after the alarm has been sounded. Through passionate storytelling, this book shares a wellspring of faith practices and inner resources that sustain readers in moments of despair and lead them to a place of hope in the midst of a terminal climate crisis. The strength, wisdom, and reservoir of faith that fill these pages inspire one to take action to save our Creation. And so, for all who sometimes feel hopeless but refuse to give up on ourselves and our earthly home, this book is a must read. It provides you with the ‘stuff’ to continue in the struggle to ‘midwife whatever new life will be born out of this cataclysmic time.’
— The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean, Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary and author, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God

In the face of an absolute emergency, the voices in Rooted and Rising represent an important source of inspiration and challenge. There is no time left for delay or half-heartedness in our response to the climate crisis, and these authors call on all of us to do everything we can for the sake of our precious planet.
— Fletcher Harper, executive director, GreenFaith

Rooted and Rising should be required reading at all Christian seminaries, rabbinical and Islamic colleges! This collection provides an important way forward for religious leaders to take action for ethical sustainability using the best sources in their own traditions while cultivating interfaith friendships to work for eco-justice
— David Grafton, professor of Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations, Hartford Theological Seminary


Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis
(242 pp. Hardback, ISBN 978-1-5381-2775-9, $65.00; Paperback, ISBN 978-1-5381-2776-6, $30.00; eBook, ISBN 978-1-5381-2777-3, $28.50) may be ordered directly from the publisher, Rowman and Littlefield. (Use this code for a 30% off discount: RLFANDF30)