The Pollinator: UCC Environmental Justice Blog

The Pollinator is a digital platform of the UCC for the sharing of ideas and inspiration. Its focus is the building of a faith-filled and faith-rooted movement for the care of creation.

Sign up to recieve the Pollinator newsletter to get regular updates from our UCC Minister for Environmental Justice, Rev. Brooks Berndt.

Where Things Stand with the Dakota Access Pipeline

Marlene_Gordon1200.jpg

The construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the ensuing protests from Indian Tribes and their allies garnered the international spotlight last year.  The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose homelands about the Missouri River, emerged as the leading voice as thousands of indigenous people from across the United States, Canada, and the world joined them in protest of pipeline that became known as “the black snake.” DAPL is a $3.8 billion 1,168 mile-long pipeline that will carry up to 500,000 barrels of fine crude oil per day from the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota to a river port in Illinois.  The pipeline crosses the Missouri River, the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the region.  The pipeline had already been rerouted away from Bismarck, North Dakota, a mostly non-Indian population. (Read more.)


Empowering Youth in Environmental Justice

ejc1.jpg

A new and engaged community was formed at the 4th Annual Environmental Justice For All! Retreat, which took place at United Church of Christ’s Silver Lake Conference Center in Connecticut this past weekend. A signature program of the UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center, this Retreat marked a new chapter for the program. (Read more.)


Four Bookmarks: Capturing Foundational Truths for Churches Today

SAWTELL.jpegWhen I am visiting churches, I often pass out four bookmarks that contain what I believe are foundational truths for the church in our time.  Today, I want to reflect further on what those bookmarks have to say. (Read more.)


We’re Our Own Worst Asteroid

Rev. Zack Jackson When I was a kid, I was obsessed with dinosaurs. (I simply cannot understand anyone who wasn’t/isn’t!) Fantasy and mythology are fine, but dinosaurs were real—you can actually touch and see their bones. I’m far more excited about my son’s dinosaur toys than he is, but he is only 2 years old. My very favorite topic of study and discussion when I was young was the mystery of how and why these creatures vanished. How could monsters that powerful simply disappear? Was it the result of a dinosaur war? Overpopulation? Aliens? Were they late for the Ark, and Noah got impatient? (Read more.)


Touchpoints: How a Village Church Reaches Out to the World

cropped-ducc-front-door1.jpg

Saugatuck and Douglas are sister cities — sibling villages, really — on Michigan’s West coast, arranged around a river harbor that flows into Lake Michigan. Our borders interlace to the degree that most residents and no tourists in this town have any idea when they are leaving one village to enter the other. The nearest communities that most people would recognize as cities are Chicago, around the bend of the lake, Grand Rapids to the north, Kalamazoo, east and south of us, and South Bend, over the Michigan border to the south. A majority of the people who own property here have summer and weekend places.

Why the geography lesson? Because it’s important in understanding how a Creation Justice Team at Douglas United Church of Christ has come to reach beyond these villages to the broader world. (Read more.)


With a Meal at the Heart of Worship, a Church Connects with Creation

plate-alethia-williams.jpeg

After graduating from Harvard Divinity School in 2014, Zach Kerzee received the support of the United Methodist Church to start a new church in Grafton, Massachusetts. The church centers its community life and worship around a meal shared at tables every Thursday evening. The food for the meal comes from an organic farm next door. Through this and other practices, the church has helped pioneer a unique and innovative approach to ministry. I interviewed Kerzee as part of a series of interviews with church leaders who are envisioning and bringing to life new ways of being church while having a notable emphasis on creation care and justice.  (Read more.)


The Climate March as an Empathy Test

A recent viral video explores the simple question, “What if Earth treated us the way we treat Earth?” Scenes show a young girl dressed in a planet Earth costume as she gives humans a dose of their own medicine. One man is forced to inhale car exhaust. A woman lounging in a pool has oil poured on her. Two men relaxing in a park have garbage dumped on them as the girl yells, “Biodegrade that, punks!” In a clever way, the video uses the humor of role reversal to instill empathy for our damaged and degraded planet. (Read more.)


Lesson from Pope Francis: How to Frame Climate

FrancisBook.jpegWhat follows is an excerpt from Donna Schaper’s book I FRANCIS. In the book, Schaper professes her love for the pope through a series of letters.  For Schaper, one of the pope’s attractive qualities is his ability to frame climate change as a moral issue. (Read more.)


Our Deteriorating Space Environment: A Status Report

Stephen Hawking, the physicist and cosmologist, thinks it is a near certainty we will destroy our planet with nuclear war, genetically engineered viruses, or climate change. In order to survive, he says, our species must establish settlements on other planets or their moons. (Read more.)


The Many Paths that Lead to Creation Justice

CreationJusticePathways-crop.jpg

“Diversity” was the key word for “Creation Justice Pathways in North Carolina,” the interfaith, multifaceted summit cosponsored by the Creation Justice Network of the UCC’s Southern Conference and the North Carolina Council of Churches on March 24-26. (Read more.)


Contact Info

Brooks Berndt
Minister for Environmental Justice
700 Prospect Ave
Cleveland, OH 44135
216-736-3722
berndtb@ucc.org