Outpouring of hope: Hundreds of churches register to create Climate Hope Cards
What does hope for the earth and climate justice look like?
For artistic youth from United Church of Christ congregations across the country, it takes many forms. It could be a heart-shaped planet, a call for clean electricity or a collage of real moss and leaves.
These are just a few examples of submissions to the UCC’s Climate Hope Cards art contest.
So far, nearly 300 churches in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia have registered to create Climate Hope Cards.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the passionate and creative response to the first-ever Climate Hope Cards art contest,” said UCC environmental justice fellow Andy Wells-Bean, who is leading the campaign. “We were hoping for maybe 150 congregations to participate during the contest’s first year. Having over 280 already registered shows that there is a strong desire for youth programming and for climate action within the UCC.”
Winning postcards to the White House
The campaign, sponsored by UCC Environmental Justice Ministries, kicked off in October. It started with the art contest, which runs through Nov. 30, gathering postcard designs from church youth nationally.
The contest will culminate in a Jan. 7 ceremony on Zoom where environmental justice leaders will announce winning artwork. These designs then will be printed on postcards.
The campaign’s next step asks churches to help collect and distribute cards to elected officials. Congregations that register to participate will receive the postcards from Environmental Justice Ministries.
With help from church people, the final step will include delivering postcards to local lawmakers, elected officials and even the White House. The deluge of Climate Hope Cards will urge immediate government action to address ongoing environmental justice crises.
Need for climate action now
The climate emergency isn’t going away. On Oct. 26, the World Meteorological Organization reported that releases of the three main greenhouse gases reached record highs in 2021.
The same day, the United Nations warned that countries’ commitments to emission reductions are insufficient. Because of this, the global community is “still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required” to adequately address the climate crisis, according to Simon Stiell, executive secretary of U.N. Climate Change. The U.N. urged world leaders to attend its Climate Change Conference (COP27) Nov. 7 to 18 and speed up emission reduction plans.
The WMO also will be presenting findings at COP27. The news is expected to be dire. In a pre-conference release, the organization asserted that accelerating amounts of “greenhouse gases — methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide — continue to drive climate change and extreme weather.”
During the UCC’s next Creation Justice webinar Nov. 9, panelists will discuss COP27 and its ramifications. They particularly will focus on how climate change and other environmental concerns affect the continent of Africa.
“Not only is the U.N. summit in Africa, but Africa is the continent least responsible for the climate crisis and yet most vulnerable to its destructive impacts,” said the Rev. Brooks Berndt, UCC minister for environmental justice.
Join the Climate Hope Cards campaign
The urgent threat of climate change is what prompted UCC environmental justice leaders to create the Hope Cards campaign.
“Headlines can give us reason for climate despair. Our churches can give us reason for climate hope,” Berndt said. “That hope comes from taking action. It comes from calling upon our elected officials to enact solutions that match the scale of the crisis. This is what the Climate Hope Cards campaign does.”
Not artistically inclined and/or not a kid? No worries, you still can participate.
Wells-Bean noted that anyone invested in climate justice can help create hope, even if they aren’t an art-making child.
“If this UCC effort for climate and environmental justice is meaningful for you, please make a contribution today to support Climate Hope Cards,” he said.
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