First United Methodist Church at Work for the Environment
As people of faith, the members of the Planet Church committee believe the earth has been entrusted into our care. We offer our congregation education, inspiration and opportunities for action in response to pressing environmental issues.
On Earth Sunday, April 21st, Shovel and Rake and Planet Church teamed up to show off the First Church campus to five Sunday School classes.
On display were the Rose Garden, where the kids learned about water, its uses and conservation; the Brockman Courtyard, where they learned about habitat and wildlife; and the grounds just east of the Sanctuary where they assisted the Shovel and Rake crew in planting a Korean Dogwood.
In addition, the classes learned about our church’s efforts at energy efficiency in the Fireside Room, and in Collins Hall, they had a chance to pair plant smells—like mint—with snacks made from the plant—like mint cookies.
Everyone had a good time, and we all got a chance—again—to experience appreciation for our wonderful church grounds, and gratitude for Shovel and Rake’s phenomenal care taking.
On Saturday April 20th, eighteen First Church members joined almost fifty other volunteers at Tryon Creek State Natural Area for an Earth Weekend service project.
The crew was assigned to pulling English Ivy from a site upslope from the creek.
Pulling ivy is slow work, but thanks to many, many efforts like ours, Tryon Creek has been able to remove this destructive invasive plant from almost 1/3 of the park’s 645 acres.
Thanks to all who were able to help!
Try the tips in this list to reduce water and energy use, eat better and closer to home, and recycle more. If you’re already practicing the easy steps, try some of the harder ones…or come up with steps of your own. The planet will love you for it, and in the process you may learn to live slower, cheaper and healthier.
Join Planet Church for this family outing in service to God’s Creation.
Get down and dirty with Planet Church, SOLVE [www.solv.org] and others as we join to pull invasive English Ivy* at Tryon Creek State Natural Area on Earth Day Saturday, April 20th.
We have enjoyed the use of Tryon Creek many times on First Church family hikes (with another one scheduled for June 2nd), and we thought that Earth Weekend would be a good time to pay the park back.
Please meet us at Tryon Creek (11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd.) at 9:00am, or gather for carpooling at 8:30 at the FUMC parking lot (parking at Tryon Creek is tight). The work party will end at noon.
Work gloves and a light snack will be provided, but be sure to bring water, and dress for the weather and possible off-trail work (sturdy shoes and long pants are strongly recommended), and be prepared for a 15 to 20 minute walk to the work site.
All are welcome, except that children must be 5 or older to join the party (babies in backpacks are OK, but bear in mind that the work is physical and there will a 15 to 20 minute walk to the work site).
Anyone 14 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and all minors must come with a signed volunteer release form, available here.
If you have questions or are interested in attending, please get in touch with Planet Church at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would also ask that you RSVP to the same address if you plan to come, as Tryon Creek needs to know how many volunteers to expect. Let’s all pull together on Earth Day Saturday!
* English Ivy, beautiful as it is covering the walls on Ivy League campuses, is a serious scourge in northwest forests. In Tryon Creek, Forest Park and elsewhere, it our-competes our native plants, covers tree canopies (stopping photosynthesis), takes over the forest floor and destroys precious habitat. This is why English Ivy is classified as a noxious weed in Oregon, where its sale, transport and propagation are banned.
On Wednesday, March 13th, a contingent from FUMC’s Planet Church went to Salem to join nearly 200 people from faith, business, medical, educational, environmental and other communities to oppose granting a permit to Ambre Energy for construction of a coal export terminal at the Port of Morrow.
Concerns about coal exports range from the local (health, livability, etc.) to the global (pollution, climate change and more). Perspectives from some of the event organizers can be found at Power Past Coal, the Sierra Club and Columbia Riverkeeper.
For faith perspectives on coal exports, check out Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s board resolution (pdf) as well as this statement from Earth Ministries (pdf).
“Sound the Alarm for Climate Action”
On Wednesday, March 13th, First United Methodist Church will join with churches and other groups around the region in ringing bells to “sound the alarm for climate action.” For three minutes, beginning at 12:30pm, the First Church carillon will ring out with the strains of “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.”
The organization Sound the Alarm for Climate Action, with the support of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and other organizations, is coordinating churches, synagogues, mosques, other civic groups and individuals to create this mid-day bell-ringing extravaganza.
Watch—and listen—for this event online and throughout the community, and as you hear our bells—or other bells around the city—take a moment to think of the earth and reflect on actions we can take individually and collectively to combat climate change.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama will visit Oregon between May 9th and May 11th, 2013.
Saturday, May 11th he will appear at Memorial Coliseum for an Environmental Summit.
In the morning a panel of distinguished speakers, moderated by David Miller of OPB’s “Think Out Loud,” will discuss “Universal Responsibility and the Global Environment.”
Panel participants in addition to the Dalai Lama will include environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki; Oregon Environmental Council Executive Director, Andrea Durbin; Senator Jeff Merkley; and Representative Earl Blumenauer.
In the afternoon, the Dalai Lama will present a public lecture titled “Inspiration for the Global Environment.”
There is one ticket for both events. Prices start at $24, and go on sale beginning Monday, February 25th.
More information about this and other of the Dalai Lama’s Oregon activities can be found on the Dali Lama Portland 2013 website. Tickets are available at the Rose Quarter Website.
If you are interested in attending with a contingent from Planet Church, please contact us at mailto:email@example.com.
It isn’t really spring yet, but crocuses are up, seed catalogs are in the mail (or at least the e-mail) and some of the early-bird gardeners I know are talking about getting seed in the ground.
As nature prepares to renew herself, and we prepare to turn our attention again to God’s green earth, we thought we might remind people about the important issues raised by invasive plant species: plants from distant lands that can play havoc with the balance of nature.
Invasive species, unlike mere weeds, reproduce and propagate aggressively, have few natural controls and can overwhelm ecosystems. Sadly, some of these plants are exceptionally beautiful. Scotch Broom, Purple Loosestrife and Yellow Flag Iris come to mind…along with perhaps the deadliest beauty of all: English Ivy.
A list of Oregon’s most noxious plants can be found here. And if you’re a little vague about what some of these alien species look like, check out the City of Portland’s “Invasive Plants” poster.
As you’re planting your back yard this spring, be sure not to green it up with any of these plants, and if you find some of these miscreants in your garden, take a minute and pull them up by the roots.
SAVE THE DATE: Planet Church is planning an Earth Day Ivy Pull at Tryon Creek State Natural Area for Saturday, April 20th. Watch the website for more about this family friendly event.
To Tend And To Keep” is a Creation Care Action you can try at home, brought to you by Planet Church.
“Living Waters” to be the theme for the fourth annual event.
Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s environmental working group is holding the fourth annual Earth Care Summit on Monday evening, January 28th at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 12405 SW Butner Road, Beaverton, Oregon. The Summit will begin at 5:30pm (with an optional of St. Andrew’s site at 4:30) and end at 8:45pm.
The theme of the summit is “Living Waters”, and it will feature a keynote speech by William Skylstad, Roman Catholic Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Spokane, and co-author of the Columbia River Pastoral Letter: “The Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good”. Workshops will touch on the sacredness of water in our traditions, current concerns about water here and around the world, and practical ideas about how to care for our planet’s living water—in our homes and in our congregations—as the 21st Century unfolds.
St. Andrew Lutheran Church is itself distinguished for the thought the congregation has put into caring for the environment as stewards of a forest and wetland on their grounds, as well as for the recent completion of an environmentally-conscious remodel. Summit attendees will have the opportunity to tour St. Andrew’s grounds, as well as to visit the many tables provided by environmental organizations around the metro area. A Summit flyer can be found here (pdf version), and more information is on the EMO website.
Planet Church is a co-sponsor of the Summit and has reserved a table for this event, and we invite all interested parties to join us at St. Andrew Lutheran Church on January 28th. FUMC members who would like to sit at the Planet Church table can register at the church office (suggested donation, $25). Registration is also available through EMO’s website or by calling (503) 221-1054. Anyone who is interested in scholarship opportunities should contact Planet Church via firstname.lastname@example.org
(photos courtesy of Carol Gilden)
Each Sunday between now and December 23rd, you’ll see our Alternative Christmas giving table in Collins Hall after worship.
Staffed by program reps from Planet Church, Church & Society, and Global Mission, they’ll offer you easy ways to support life-changing programs by giving a gift in the name of your friend or family member.
Check it out this Sunday after worship.
If you’re concerned about coal exports and would like to make a difference, Planet Church urges you to attend a “No Coal Workshop” on Saturday, December 1, from 3-5 pm.
The workshop will be held at Rose City Park United Methodist Church, 5830 NE Alameda St.
There you can learn about submitting effective comments and other advocacy skills that can be used at the December 12 hearing on the Cherry Point Coal Export Facility Environmental Impact Statement to be held in Vancouver.
Sponsored by Power Past Coal.
NOTE: Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon has requested a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement before permits are granted (their full statement can be found here).
Faith Community Responds to Bill McKibben’s Climate Change Tour
On Tuesday, November 27th, First United Methodist Church will host an EMO-sponsored gathering of the faith community to respond to Bill McKibben’s 350.org “Do the Math” tour. The gathering will be held in the Fireside Room from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Bill McKibben’s “Do the Math Tour”, which came to Portland on Nov. 8th brought a powerful and clear message on how ordinary people might make the biggest impact in slowing global warming. “The math” is that fossil fuel corporations have five times the amount of fossil fuels it is safe to burn to stay below 2 degrees Centigrade of warming and they plan to burn it all. Anything more than 2 degrees C of warming risks catastrophe for life on earth. Thus, concerned citizens must challenge the business plan in order to protect life. A key path is divestment in fossil fuels. Faith communities experienced success in using this approach to undo apartheid in South Africa.
The conversation will address the following questions:
- What are possible roles for faith communities in fossil fuel divestment?
- What are the pluses and minuses of this strategy and what are other additional options for actions such as clean energy investment?
- What are faith communities already doing?
Participants will receive a copy of the publication “Peak: Investing at the Edge of Ecological Limits.”
Present as a resource will be Dr. Darrell Reeck, who has a blend of professional pastoral, educational, and financial experience. Ordained as a United Methodist pastor, he served for many years on the teaching and administrative staffs of University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. He was involved with South Africa divestment issues and works with Portfolio 21 (then Progressive Investments), a socially responsible investment firm in Portland. He served as Associate Director of Northwest House of Theological Studies and as Executive Secretary, United Methodist Development Fund. His book, Ethics for the Professions, was published by Augsburg Press.”
Within the last few weeks, the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon Board of Directors has passed a resolution advocating “for full disclosure about the impact of coal transportation on the most vulnerable among us, including those in communities throughout the United States and abroad, and [demanding] that adequate information be generated and made available to the public on the proposed projects and that adequate opportunity for meaningful public input be given.”
Those who share EMO’s and Planet Church’s concerns about the current plans for coal export through the Pacific Northwest can comment to elected officials through the Power Past Coal website. Be mindful that there are only a few days left to comment, so anyone desiring to voice their concerns should do it soon.
The full text of the EMO resolution is below.
EMO Resolution on Coal Export Terminals
September 19, 2012 (revised October 1, 2012)
Whereas, communities of faith across the religious spectrum share a deep commitment rooted in values of justice and stewardship to protecting the most vulnerable including children, the elderly, the unborn, and those in poor health from environmental health hazards including air pollution and climate disruption.
Whereas, the burning of coal is a harm to public health due to toxic emissions, notably mercury, as well as carbon dioxide, a major contributor to harmful climate disruption which has many serious public health and environmental impacts.
Whereas, the transportation of coal from the Power River Basin of Wyoming and Montana on rail and barge through Oregon and Washington is being proposed to create a new gateway for shipping coal to Asia. On a daily basis, this would entail a significant number of trains loaded with coal coming through the Portland area in addition to coal barges on the Columbia River, that would contribute additional diesel emissions and coal dust to the environment and disrupt the flow of traffic, including for emergency vehicles in areas with at-grade crossings.
Whereas, in the past year, many communities along the proposed routes have either opposed the transportation of coal by train or barge through their community, or requested that the US Amy Corps undergo a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) so that the health and community impacts can be adequately known before coal projects move forward.
Whereas, in June 2012, the EMO Board of Directors joined the call for a PEIS.
Whereas, the rules recently enacted to reduce health impacts from coal burning should not encourage industry to provide US coal to areas with less strict air quality standards. As people of faith we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. Knowingly enabling pollution of the air of that global neighbors breathe is morally unacceptable. Also, it is well known that pollution from Asia contributes to pollution in the Pacific Northwest due to the pattern of air currents across the Pacific Ocean.
Whereas, further dependence on cheap, dirty coal slows the transition to clean renewable energy and energy efficiency. Oregon and the Northwest have positioned themselves to be global leaders in clean energy and serving as a coal gateway undermines this leadership.
Therefore, be it resolved that the EMO Board will advocate for full disclosure about the impact of coal transportation on the most vulnerable among us, including those in communities throughout the United States and abroad, and to demand that adequate information be generated and made available to the public on the proposed projects and that adequate opportunity for meaningful public input be given.
Be it further resolved that the EMO Board supports Senator Wyden’s request to President Obama that he use his authority under the Energy Policy and Conservation act to create a robust framework around energy exports that considers environmental and economic impacts.
Since the following was published earlier this month, Bill McKibben’s presentation at First Congregational UCC has sold out! However, there will be a simulcast of his talk at Portland State University, and it’s free. For more information, visit the website called “Do The Math”.
Bill McKibben, one of America’s most pervasive-and persuasive-prophets of Climate Change is taking his “Do the Math Tour” on the road. Do the math, that is, as in “three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe”-2o Celsius, 565 Gigatons, and 2795 Gigatons. (Come to the program to learn more!)
“This won’t be your typical lecture tour,” McKibben promises. It will pick up where his Rolling Stone article, “The Reckoning” left off, and at each appearance he will be joined by a rotating cast of speakers, activists, and musicians along with some of the world’s leading thinkers, visionaries, and change-makers, including Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein, Josh Fox, and more. The Portland appearance will be at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1126 SW Park Avenue on Thursday, November 8th at 6pm. ( The Portland cast is still to be determined.)
Bill McKibben has been raising consciousnesses about Global Warming and Climate Change at least since The End of Nature was published in 1989. He is a former staff writer for The New Yorker, and is currently the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College in Middlebury Vermont (where he teaches Sunday School at Middlebury United Methodist Church). In 2009, McKibben founded 350.org (350 being the amount of atmospheric CO2 in parts per million felt to be the upper limit for climate safety), and 350.org continues as one of America’s leading Climate Change organizations.
Planet Church will subsidize $20 per ticket for up to eight people to attend the Food Justice Event.
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership invites you to the Food Justice Fundraiser on October 18, 2012 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the First Christian Church, 1314 SW Park Avenue.
This event will feature Tracie McMillan, author of The American Way of Eating. McMillan is an award-winning investigative journalist who went undercover working various jobs in the food industry to explore issues of food and justice.
The event will also include a panel of local leaders and updates on IFFP’s work, including an exciting new project to empower low-income residents in east Multnomah County to improve food access and economic opportunity in their community.
The total cost is $45, and $25 of that is tax deductible. Purchase tickets at EMO’s secure website.
To take advantage of the $20 subsidy, please submit your receipt to PlanetChurch@fumcpdx.org.