TILLING & KEEPING IN THE TWIN CITIES

“Tilling” refers to cultivating, ploughing or working, while “keeping” means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving. This implies a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature. Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. — Paragraph # 67 ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

So I made it almost half way through Pope Francis’ encyclical on my flight home from Minneapolis. The section above captures the efforts of those I met this past week. The potential for collaborating in the Twin Cities on sustainability initiatives to address climate change (the focus question for my visit) is substantial.

The range of those already engaged include mentor Technology of Participation (ToP)® trainers, Minneapolis city officials, policy researchers, sustainability leaders, artists, community developers and service providers. All shared the urgency of climate change and the challenge of identifying appropriate actions to initiate. Acknowledging that Minnesota is already the “Land of 10,000 Coalitions”, there was recognition perhaps one more would be timely.

Conversations included:

• connecting the environmental issue to the grass-roots and engaging minority leaders from low-income communities;
• pending expansion of community solar gardens transforming energy consumers into owners of renewable energy; and
• how to best shift images and cultural values to build consensus for behavioral change.

One anecdote from the wisdom of the young was the 8th grade hip-hop composition: How is hurting the earth not criminal?

Sean & SolarThe Alliance for Sustainability, among its many activities, is working with congregations to explore community solar options and watershed stewardship. They have produced a YouTube Video that explains the benefits of joining a community solar garden. Sean Gosiewski, the Alliance’s Executive Director, has 30 years of experience bringing community leaders together to envision and build sustainable communities, providing hands-on tools and training to build community, health, wealth and local resilience. He has received a Technology of Participation Champion’s Award from the Institute of Cultural Affairs.

The Minneapolis Office of Sustainability is launching a “green zone” initiative to provide a framework for city policy and investment for minority, low-income communities that are over-burdened with pollution. The City’s Neighborhood and Community Relations department strives for equitable access by addressing and removing barriers to civic participation and meaningful engagement.

Many potential collaborators in the Twin Cities are already “tilling and keeping” to assure that climate change is not inevitable; it’s preventable.

Don’t know if it’s on the Pope’s playlist; but here’s this week’s addition to the U2Cando playlist:

Whenever God shines his light on me
Opens up my eyes so I can see
When I look up in the darkest night
I know everything’s going to be alright
In deep confusion, in great despair
When I reach out for him he is there
When I am lonely as I can be
I know that God shines his light on me

“Whenever God Shines His Light On Me”
Van Morrison

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