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.

A Bright Idea Spreads: UCC Conference Gives LED Bulbs to Food Bank Clients

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More than 160 new LED light bulbs were brought by visitors and delegates to the UCC’s Penn Central Conference Annual Meeting this June as part of a mission project called “Bright Idea.” These light bulbs were then donated to a food bank in each of the conference’s eight associations. The food banks distributed the bulbs to low income clients.  The clients were asked to replace their most used incandescent light bulb with the LED bulb received. (Read more.)


Not a Sexy Problem, but a Scary One

The Second in a Series on Infrastructure Justice

Brooks-Berndt.jpgTry a new experiment today: Every time you use the water faucet, every time you make use of a bathroom, every time you drive down a street or highway, every time you turn on a light switch or simply use electricity (like you are right now with your computer)—every time you do any of these things—say to yourself, “Thank you, Infrastructure!” If you faithfully adhere to this practice of gratitude today, I am willing to bet that you will soon be saying, “Thank you, Infrastructure” more than you say “Thank you, God” or “Thank you, Jesus.” The point of this exercise is not to claim that “infrastructure” should be elevated to the status of deity. The point is to recognize just how important this vastly under-appreciated and taken-for-granted dimension of our everyday life is. (Read more.)


Transforming Minds: Report on Environmental Justice Retreat for Youth of Color

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Last month, eleven youth and three counselors joined me for the 3rd Annual Environmental Justice For All! Retreat at Silver Lake Conference Center in Connecticut. The retreat continued its tradition of providing an extravagant welcome to youth of color in recognition that communities of color (and low income communities) bear a disproportionate burden of environmental degradation as a result of industry and government policies. The retreat provided the opportunity for youth of color to lead the conversation and expand their knowledge of issues affecting vulnerable communities locally and around the world. (Read more.)


Infrastructure Justice: An Overdue Movement Whose Time Has Come

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Our nation’s infrastructure is in an ongoing state of crisis due to delayed maintenance and underinvestment. In the book of Isaiah, we can find inspiration for the call to address this source of current and potential suffering. Read the first article in a series devoted to this issue.


“Other Flints,” Part 2: Justice Rolls Down

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Good news out of North Carolina! Check out this update from Rev. Karen Richardson Dunn on the struggle to address coal ash pollution in the drinking water of North Carolina residents. Read about this important struggle and the role of the UCC within it.


Bringing Community Funded Solar to Your Church – Here’s One Way

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Part of an ongoing series on best practices for Creation Justice Churches

Community UCC is a relatively small (about 120 active members) congregation located in Raleigh, NC, that has long had an active interest in environmental stewardship.  We created our Justice in a Changing Climate Task Force (JCC) in 2007, recognizing that climate change will affect those with the fewest resources more adversely and sooner than the rest of us.  The JCC began with a focus on educational activities, attempting to engage the entire congregation, including the kids. (Read more.)


The UCC’s First Creation Justice Church!

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The Solar Panels of MCC United Church of Christ in the Valley, North Hollywood, California.

In March, the UCC launched a new program called Creation Justice Churches. While “green church” programs are often associated with the physical operation of churches through activities such as energy audits and recycling, the Creation Justice Churches program emphasizes a broader and deeper focus. In terms of breadth, it asks congregations to discern how they can expand their circles of awareness and advocacy beyond the walls of the church, because ultimately as Christians we are called to love our neighbors and care for all of God’s creation. In terms of depth, it asks congregations to discern how they can make creation care and justice integral to their own ongoing theology and worship. This May the UCC recognized its first Creation Justice Church: MCC United Church of Christ in the Valley, North Hollywood, California. (Read more.)


Racism, Prophetic Mission and a Sustainable Human Race

Civil rights history has left us a strong legacy of political advocacy connected to practical changes that are discussed at the kitchen table in everyday life.  The church has raised up orators--preachers and teachers who lead political and policy based campaigns. A generation of political success, have made the single-issue political/policy campaign the response of choice when faced with racism and other social iniquities. The single-issue campaign is a monoculture that has also had the unintended result of “weed whacking” racism. We all know what happens when you keep cutting off the top of a plant instead of pulling up the root—the stalks increase in number and strength. (Read more.)


Church in Oregon Divests from Fossil Fuels

riverside_front.jpegRiverside Community Church in Hood River has become the first faith-based congregation in the Gorge and the first within the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) to vote to divest funds from the fossil fuel industry. 

The action, adopted at a congregational meeting on May 15, makes Riverside one of a rapidly growing number of organizations, individuals and foundations in the nation that have chosen to divest from the fossil fuel industry because they recognize the moral obligation to take into account how financial investment decisions and activities affect all of planetary life now and into the future. (Read more.)


Church Habitat Restoration 101

habitat-restoration.jpgPart of an ongoing series on best practices for Creation Justice Churches

A church can become revitalized by connecting with God’s creation. This revitalization can be as easy as stepping outside the doors of your church to care for the land and natural habitat surrounding it. An important act of creation care that many churches can take today is habitat restoration. Because this can be a new concept for many church goers, this primer helps introduce the practice. (Read more.)


Contact Info

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