“Faith communities are a growing part of the climate change movement.”
– Naomi Klein, Chicago Film Premier of This Changes Everything, October 20, 2015
October had a lot of action planning. The Chicago office of the Local Initiative Support Corporation [LISC] selected the Institute of Cultural Affairs to incorporate our methods to maximize participation and community engagement in four day-long sessions for its new Chicago Plans initiative, launched on October 2nd. Ten communities were selected to enhance their skills in convening community stakeholders. With a flash back to my CANDO days at the Chicago Association of Neighborhood Development Organizations, two of the groups involved were assisted in their start-up in the mid-90s by CANDO’s Demonstrating, Enabling and Empowering Development [DEED] program led by Patricia Bell: West Humboldt Park Development Council and Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation.
Naomi Klein and her film director husband Avi Lewis chose to be at the Chicago Film Premier of This Changes Everything, which screened in 50 cities on October 20, 2015. As my blog followers may remember, the book left quite an impression on me. With the film’s visuals, the call to action is even more compelling and the personal stories of the struggles even more gripping.
Aningi Jyothi of the Sompeta Women’s Committee is a matriarch in Andhra Pradesh, India. While singing sweetly, she battled fiercely along with her fellow villagers to successfully fight a proposed coal-fired power plant that would have destroyed their life-giving wetland. In the course of this struggle, they helped to ignite a nationwide movement.
Crystal Lameman, Treaty Coordinator and Communications Manager of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Alberta’s Tar Sands country, is a young indigenous leader fighting for access to a restricted military base in search of answers about an environmental disaster in progress. That fight is now working its way through the Canadian courts. “If you drink water, if you breathe the air, this is about you,” Crystal warns in the film’s closing.
On October 23rd, ICA convened its Fall Sustainability Forum for the Faith Community. The opening keynote was by Bishop Sally Dyck, Northern IL Conference of the Methodist Church. She shared how she co-authored with her niece, Sarah Ehrman, A Hopeful Earth: Faith, Science, and the Message of Jesus because her niece asked “what are you doing about climate change?”
The forum’s Eco-Justice/Policy working group learned from Melissa Brice about the Urban Church of the United Methodist’s Divestment Campaign from fossil fuels. The campaign calls for the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits to screen petroleum and natural gas from its investments. (The board began screening some coal from its investments in January 2015.) As the campaign website’s preaches: “We are United Methodists who believe it is wrong to profit from wrecking God’s creation.”
Rev. Brian Sauder, CEO of Faith in Place, challenged the 90+ attendees to have the “Audacity to move Apathy to Action.” ICA is committed to changing the conversation about climate change. Apathy will not save our planet; only the courage to care for God’s creation.
On a personal note, let me assure my blog followers who know me that I am sustaining my faith in the Chicago Cubs. Despite having been there for the Game 4 loss to the Mets and my World Series Game 5 ticket for November 1st not being valid at Wrigley Field, as Eddie Vedder sings, Someday We’ll Go All The Way.