United Church of Christ

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.

Letter to Pollinators: Creation Care and Eating Meat

In the last issue of the Pollinator, an invitation was extended to readers to write a “Letter to Pollinators” in response to a prompt that highlighted two seemingly contradictory opinion pieces in the Guardian over whether those who care about the environment should stop eating meat. In response, we received the following letter from the Rev. Sarah Horton-Campbell of Common Life Church & Farm: (More.)

Should You Give Up Meat to Save the Planet? Tell Us What You Think

Toward the end of 2018, Oliver Milman wrote a piece for The Guardian entitled, “Why Eating Less Meat Is the Best Thing You Can Do for the Planet in 2019.” Notably, The Guardian ran an oped earlier in the year by Isabella Tree with a title that might initially seem to contradict Milman: “If You Want to Save the World, Veganism Isn’t the Answer.” What are creation justice-minded people of faith supposed to do when it comes to eating? And should we even be focused on individual diets rather than larger issues of agricultural policy? The Rev. Brooks Berndt is collecting response for The Pollinator, the UCC's Environmental Justice Newsletter. Send Brooks a 250-words or less “Letter to Pollinators” to share your thoughts.

By the way, did you know that in 2011 the UCC passed a resolution on Mindful and Faithful Eating?


Vatican Calls for Rules of the Road in Space

Moriba Jah, a space debris expert at the University of Texas in Austin, thinks we can learn a valuable lesson from the early history of mining in the United Sates. That industry harmed the natural environment and led to the loss of human life because government was slow to regulate its activities. We are going to repeat this history in space, Jah says, unless the international community adopts some rules to foster responsible stewardship of the space environment. (More.)

Our Path to a Green Church

One Sunday at coffee hour,  I noticed that styrofoam cups were being used instead of paper cups.  This experience eventually led to a wider adoption of sustainable practices at church, in our homes, and in the wider community. In retrospect,  it was a smooth process as most of the congregation recognized the dangers of climate change and the need for all of us to take concrete actions to protect God’s creation from the most serious threats. (More.)


Chopping down Denial: A Call for Spiritual People


350.org’s intention to transition to 100% renewable energy, as soon as possible, is surely a big new idea and reminds us of the New Deal. This Green New Deal is as daunting as it is daring. It is as scary as it is sacred. When something really bad is happening, like the new reports that show how accelerated climate change really is, a small response is pitiful.  It is actually a process in deep denial. What spiritual people can do most and best right now is to help people start the process of stopping the denial. That is indeed a small step by step process.  But it is more in our wheel house than making the scientific arguments. (Even though the strong decreases in the price for solar and wind energy help 350.org’s scientific argument along.) More...

Resolution for the New Year: Protect the Children



The Cleveland City Council Must Act to Prevent Lead Poisoning!

In 2018, it was reported that the City Council of Cleveland planned to pass an ordinance to address the lead poisoning of children by the end of the year. That never happened, despite the fact that they were considering a resolution initially proposed in 2017. Even in 2017, action on lead was long overdue. In 2015, the Plain Dealer began an investigative series entitled “Toxic Neglect: Curing Cleveland’s Legacy of Lead Poisoning.” The series highlighted the severe impact of lead on thousands of children in the Cleveland area while noting, “The problem isn't a new one. We've known about it for decades.” It has been more than three years since the moral consciousness of the city was pricked, and yet we are in much the same position now in confronting this solvable problem. To a significant extent, the crisis we are facing is a crisis of leadership. The time has come for the City Council of Cleveland to act! Email the City Councilors of Cleveland today to demand that they pass a lead safe housing ordinance as soon as possible. Anything less is morally unconscionable as children continue to suffer. (More.)


Space Debris Could Undermine Hurricane Relief Efforts After 2021

In 2015, the UCC General Synod passed a resolution on Responsible Stewardship of the Outer Space Environment. Through a regular series of articles, the UCC maintains its commitment to addressing the serious threats posed by space debris

North Atlantic hurricanes have increased in intensity, frequency, and duration since the early 1980s, but Earth observation satellites that play a critical a role in post-storm rescue and relief efforts are endangered by space debris. (More.)

The Good News: Morning Reads

If you are looking for where the divine is at work today in caring for God's creation, then check out these stories... (More.)

Taking Flight Post-Election

As we emerge from this recent election season, I am drawn to the image of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. While the transformation of caterpillars into butterflies is hidden from view, science writer Ferris Jabr explains that the process notably begins with a digesting of old tissues as the building blocks of a new body materialize and grow. In taking in the results of the election, I believe many of us have spent a fair amount of time this past week in a digestive period. (More.)

What Will You Leave Them?

it_is_often_those_who_do_not_use_the_majority_of_the_resources_that_suffer_from_the_scarcity..pngThe fight for our children's inheritance is going on trial.  Juliana v. US and has been dubbed as, "The Trial of the Century." It is the Children's Trust trial that was filed in Oregon in 2015. This trial is 21 youth from the age of 10-21. This lawsuit is over the climate and the inheritance of future generations. Yes, I did say inheritance. I don't use this term loosely. I use this term in its truest definition. Inheritance is something passed down. It is a word that challenges us to take a long look at how we are looking at the generations that will come up behind us. They are asking the question, "What will you leave us?"(More.)