Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Conference attendees will put faith into action


Davis Community Meals board member Mike Fitzgerald empties scraps into a compostable bag in the kitchen at the Episcopal Church of St. Martin on Thursday evening. Handling the food scraps from the twice-weekly meals this way has greatly reduced the amount of trash sent to the landfill, organizers say. The practice has spread to all church operations. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

“Our current way of living is not compatible with the planet we live on. The good news is, we have an opportunity to do something about it now. If we make changes in our lifestyle and in our public policy in relation to the Earth itself, future generations will reap the benefits of our wisdom and self-restraint.

“For people of faith, it means caring for God’s good and sacred creation. For everyone, it means working together to preserve the only home we have.”
— The Rev. Daniel Smith, Lutheran Church of the Incarnation

By Beth Robbins and Lynne Nittler

As drought grips California and climate scientists predict more of the same in a warming world, Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice will bring attention to the connection between science and values at its second annual Interfaith Climate Crisis Conference, “Putting Faith into Action.”

The conference will run from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at the United Methodist Church of Davis, 1620 Anderson Road. All are welcome at the free event, but donations will be accepted with gratitude. Registration begins at 1 p.m., but attendees are encouraged to pre-register at http://coolfaithsyolo2.eventbrite.com.

“Last year’s conference reinforced my awareness of the urgency of action on climate change and encouraged me to believe that meaningful action is possible,” said Jim Cramer, one of this year’s organizers. “This year’s conference is well-timed to remind us that climate change involves wild fluctuations in extreme weather conditions, not just global warming.

“We need constant reminders of the urgency of the situation and also practical guides as to what we can do. This year’s conference should contribute to both goals: motivation and meaningful action.”
Keynote speaker Adrienne Alvord, California and Western states director of the Union of Concerned Scientists, will discuss how science and faith can work together to inspire action on climate change.

“The worlds of science and faith both have an urgent and compelling mission when it comes to addressing climate change,” Alvord said. “This talk will provide information on ways to think and talk about climate change and the science underlying it that can help overcome the fear and reticence that many experience and inspire action instead.

“I bring good news, too, about how local action is galvanizing real change in California.”

In addition to learning a new song by the late Pete Seeger, participants will choose two of six workshops:

* Libby Sholes, director of special projects of the California Council of Churches, will lead “Speaking up: How to be effective educating and influencing policy-makers (politicians) and opinion-makers (media).” Participants will learn how to use their individual and united voices to effectively counter big money that can destroy democracy.

* “Taking Action for Climate Justice — How Values Become Behavior” will explore personal and cultural barriers to action and help participants learn how working for climate justice can encourage their growth as individuals and people of faith. The facilitator will be Elisabeth Robbins, a retired family therapist and member of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.

* Debra Chase, a personal chef and cooking instructor, will demonstrate how to use local, organic, seasonal produce and “unplugged” techniques for vegetarian and vegan cooking for a green and healthy “food print.” Her presentation, “Cooking for a Cool Climate,” will include climate tips and recipes. She also will provide snacks for the mid-afternoon break.

* Two parallel workshops will look at “Greening Our Households” and “Greening Our Places of Worship.” Each will offer a panel discussion on increasing home/physical plant energy use, transportation and consumption. Panel members encouraging a green home will include Sharon Hale, Chris Soderquist, Nick Buxton, Maria Contreras, Mark Tebbutt and Michelle Millet.
Relating their experiences with greening their places of worship will be Jim Cramer, Soderquist, Kristin Heinemeier and Janet Lane.

* A reflective workshop on “Interfaith Statements on Climate Change,” led by Stephanie Carucci of the Davis Friends Meeting, will consider a collection of faith statements from major faith groups and discuss establishing an eco-faith community.

The conference is sponsored by Cool Davis and Interfaith Alliance partners: Green Task Force of Davis United Methodist Church, Green Sanctuary Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, Green Faith Action Team of Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, Care for God’s Creation Commission of the Episcopal Church of St. Martin, EarthCare Group of Davis Friends Meeting and Davis Community Church as well as Congregation Bet Haverim and St. James Gospel Justice Group of St. James Catholic Church.

For more information, email infor@cooldavis.org.



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