Five Ways to Expand Your Circle of Awareness and Advocacy
Think of your church as being the dot in the center of a series of concentric circles. The circles represent the broader world: your immediate community, your state, your region, your nation, and finally, the entire planet. Your congregation’s journey into creation justice ministry might begin with a focus on that dot in the center. It is common and often practical to start with immediate environmental concerns within the walls of one’s own building. An energy audit can be a useful place for a congregation to begin, but eventually as Christians, we are called to consider the plight of our neighbors, whether they are neighbors in our city, or neighbors in our interconnected, global world. Here are some ways to expand one’s awareness and advocacy beyond the dot at the center:
- Discover the change-makers in your own community.
When it comes to deep and sustained commitments to justice, there is no substitute for relationships with those who are in the struggle and who are most effected by environmental injustices. Whenever possible, seek out local organizations that can inform your congregation about the issues and causes in your own community. Explore ways to join in solidarity with their work.
- Read a book that expands your knowledge and your heart.
Raise awareness and inspire action with an environmental justice-themed book, like Winona LaDuke’s To be a Water Protector.
- Host a movie night.
Watching movies at church can be an effective means of opening a window into the broader world. Find suggested movies and practical tips for screenings through this online resource page.
- Do your own online research.
One of the most effective ways to generate awareness about the climate crisis and other environmental harms is to share with people compelling information about how they and their communities are affected. For each state, the EPA provides a two page summary of how climate change impacts it. There are a host of other websites that map forms of environmental harm ranging from coal ash ponds to factory farm pollution. Finally, the UCC mapped the location of 100 super polluters for toxic air emissions as part of its report entitled “Breath to the People: Sacred Air and Toxic Pollution.”
- Learn from an inspiring UCC success story of justice in action.
In a video, the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III tells an inspiring story and shares important lessons learned as he shares about the creation justice ministries of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
Did you know that every month the UCC collaborates with the People’s Justice Council and Alabama Interfaith Power & Light to offer a Creation Justice Webinar focused on faith-rooted advocacy, activism, and organizing related to environmental justice? Check out past webinars and sign-up to receive action alerts for future webinars.