By Manley Olson, Member, Westminster’s Eco-Justice Ministry Team
Mother Earth, our planet, needs your help.
Climate change, pollution, rising sea levels, deforestation, fossil fuel use, threatened extinction of many species of plants, animals, birds and insects, and the list goes on. World leaders raised these issues recently on a global scale at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Their conclusion is we must do more.
Westminster often ends worship with the phrase “Steward the Creation,” in the charge and benediction. This charge has its roots in the biblical story of the Garden of Eden, in which human beings were told to take care of the world before them. Today, the admonition to “Think Globally, Act Locally” reflects a stark reality: while we despair at the monumental task of slowing climate change, the actions we take in our own backyard may contribute to the necessary cultural shift that will ultimately save our planet.
Westminster’s Eco-Justice Ministry Team (EJMT) advocates for environmental justice at a national and global level, but the primary focus of our work is local: in our church, in our homes, and in our community. We work with our legislative partners to advocate for laws that reflect a more sustainable approach to living in concert with other plant and animal species. We push for a greener and more sustainable campus for Westminster. We’ve instituted organics and recycling at the church and created ‘green guidelines’ for purchases. And we are expanding our understanding of what environmental injustices have been inflicted upon our neighbors in communities of color.
Here is a list of projects, activities, and discussion topics being considered for 2022 and we encourage you to join us to help us make these things happen:
- Achieve carbon neutrality at Westminster
- Install solar panels on church roof
- Share earned solar credits with low-income partners
- Study COP26 reports
- Electric vehicles (Host an Electronic Vehicle Expo; Install EV charging stations in WPC’s garage)
- Host an Environmental Justice Film series
- Continue to work with groups such as Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MNIPL), Presbyterians for Earth Care (PEC), and Environment Minnesota
- Host a Social Justice Forum on “Greening Your Investment Portfolio” for Westminster and individuals
- Host a Hennepin County Fix-It Clinic
- Raise monarch butterflies on our green roof
- Join Department of Natural Resources projects to collect seeds and re-establish prairies
- Collaborate with Camp Ajawah on environmental education
- Team up with Westminster’s Families, Youth and Children’s Council to develop eco-justice projects for church school
- Encourage congregation to install solar panels on their houses
- Support efforts to preserve the Boundary Waters Canoe Area