Oakland church

Archive for Green

Orange Sky in the Morning is a Call to Support the Green New Deal

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On Wednesday morning, here in the Bay Area, we awoke to the strangest shared experience.  Even our cats were wondering… what’s going on? Why is the sky as orange as a pumpkin? Why is it getting darker rather than lighter? Why can’t I smell smoke? Will it get worse?   When will the locusts come?   As Marvin Gaye once sung it, “What’s going on?”
 
By now, many of you have read about what’s going on.
 
What’s really going on? Human induced climate change. Let’s do what we can in this upcoming election to support the Green New Deal! Thank you to our denomination, the UCC for being the first Christian body to endorse the Green New Deal!  Thank you to Skyline Church for initiating the resolution at our 2019 NCNC Annual Meeting, as it made it’s way up to the National UCC body.
 
Here are excerpts from my presentation at last year’s NCNCUCC Annual Meeting. I’d be happy to share more from my presentation, or from my climate change talk at Annual meeting.
 
What is it:

The Green New Deal (GND) marks the 1st time that Congress has been presented with an opportunity  to act on climate change by taking a vote that recognizes the scope of the challenge , the urgency of the crisis,  the intersectionality of the numerous justice issues that are amplified by climate change; the opportunity to act on climate in a way that also addresses racial injustice, economic injustice,  and the need to create clean, healthful, and family supporting jobs that our planet needs; and the opportunity to deploy solutions that address all of these moral challenges.

Here’s why it’s important: 

1. The GND addresses the most important justice issues that the UCC has been committed to for decades. It demands that the federal govt. address injustice of climate change in a way that also tackles the systemic injustices that disproportionately affect vulnerable and front-line communities, including racial injustice, economic injustice and the need to create clean, healthful, and family supporting jobs that our planet needs. 

2. The GND acknowledges the necessity of assuming moral responsibility for intergenerational harm caused by the failure to act on climate change and the urgency of acting on a comprehensive scale to reduce the catastrophic future generations will inherit.

3. The GND offers tangible hope in the face of threats that are becoming more and more real – in the US & world-wide- or to put it another way it’s up to us to transform these threats into opportunities. To create fair paying secure jobs,  secure clean air and water, redress manifestations of environmental racism, and pursue a just transition to clean and renewable energy.  

Here’s what we can do locally: 
 
1. standup for science & continuing to learn from new science

2. discuss climate change more often – at church, home & in social encounters

3. tell others that we already have all the tech. we need to achieve the goals of the GND

4. incorporate into our worship  & community leadership an awareness of climate change, its conseq. esp. for vulnerable & front-line communities, & make the changes science says we must & technology says we can

5.  help our communities prepare for extreme weather events & to become a resource

6. lift up this reality of millions of people, regardless of their political affiliation or resolve to support the GND

7. engaging federal state & local agencies as advocates for policies & legislation that advance the goals of GND including its commitment to address systemic injustice, that disproportionately affects front-line invulnerable communities.

8.  advocate for a just transition for all those workers & communities most dependent on fossil fuel energy so that they also have opportunities for clean healthful &: family supporting jobs that heal our planet. 

And here’s a resource from UCC – 10 Ways to Mobilize.

Plant of the Month at Skyline – August

Buckeye butterfly

Checkerspot butterfly

Red monkeyflower

Orange monkeyflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sticky Monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiacus, formerly Mimulus aurantiacus)

This perennial shrub, the monkeyflower, is a mainstay native of the East Bay Hills , with it’s orange trumpet-shaped flowers and sticky, aromatic, bright green leaves; growing on dry rocky slopes or in shady areas. Look closely to see the “monkey face” of the flower, and touch the leaves to feel the stickiness.  Medicinal, drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, it provides food for hummingbirds, bees, and for larval  buckeye and checkerspot butterflies.  At Skyline Church, we have orange and red- flowered Monkeyflowers in the Labyrinth, at the head of the Redwood trail, and near the Gazebo.

The Miwok people (Marin and Contra Costa counties) used the plant to treat minor ailments such as sores, burns, diarrhea, and eye irritation. They used the colorful flowers for decorative purposes. 

Earth Day Began 50 Years Ago – Video of Skyline’s Virtual Celebration

Here’s a video of our Earth Day Celebration!  Skyline honored this special Earth Day with music, stories, and tree planting on the beautiful campus of Skyline church in Oakland, using Zoom.   Skyline is a green congregation.  

We were honored to have Mary Ellen Hill, Storyteller and teacher, Pastor Laurie, Catherine Kessler, and more. 

The Human Element, a Documentary about Global Warming- View and Discuss

View The Human Element free between April 17-26;  Discussion Sunday April 26 after service.

An arresting new documentary from the producers of Racing Extinction and Chasing Ice, environmental photographer James Balog captures the lives of everyday Americans on the front lines of climate change. With rare compassion and heart, The Human Element relays captivating stories from coast-to-coast, inspiring us to reevaluate our relationship with the natural world.

Thanks to a partnership with Earth Vision Film, Interfaith Power & Light is able to offer you this inspiring film. It’s a must see for people of faith concerned about the impact of climate change on human life in the United States.

To see a preview and to sign up to watch this film for free, click here.   Here is the link to The Human Element with Spanish subtitles!  (Password: THE-2020)

SIGN UP HERE to view the film April 17-26  

 
We will be discussing the film on 4/26 after worship. For more info, contact Catherine Kessler or Pastor Laurie

Oakland’s Draft 2030 Equitable Climate Action Plan – Town Halls

The Green Team and Justice and Witness Team request your attention and action:
 

To Oakland Residents:
  You are invited to either of these 2 TownHall Meetings, to review and give your comments on
                        Oakland’s Draft 2030 Equitable Climate Action Plan 
Visit this link to comment directly on the draft, and join us at a Town Hall to review and discuss the Plan as a community.
Town Hall 1: Saturday, November 2
Location: Rainbow Recreation Center
5800 International Blvd.
Time: 1-4 pm (lunch at 12pm)
RSVP: https://climatejusticetownhall1.eventbrite.com

Town Hall 2: Wednesday, November 13
Location: Lincoln Square Recreation Center
250 10th Street, in Chinatown
Time: 6-9 pm (dinner at 5:30)
RSVP: https://climatejusticetownhall2.eventbrite.com 

At the Town Hall meetings, Oaklanders will come together to dive further into the ECAP and the draft Actions, and vote on what needs to be kept, improved, or eliminated. Food and childcare will be provided. Simultaneous interpretation will be available with advanced request. Both Town Halls will cover the same material.
For more information or if you need a ride, contact Catherine Kessler via the office at 510-531-8212   office@skylineucc.org.

Climate – a Global Grassroots Movement for Life

Days after global protests calling for climate change action, the United Nations held a special climate summit where world leaders and other officials gathered to hammer out specific pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.N. made science very visible in advance of this meeting.  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/fiery-calls-to-action-at-un-climate-summit-dont-win-pledges-from-worst-emitters

Recently, the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank, measured the percentage of people in the US who believe that climate change is a threat to the well-being of the planet. The results were more telling than even I expected.  94% of liberal democrats believe it is a threat, but only 19% of conservative republicans do. Perhaps even more frightening is that only 57%  of all people in the US do. 

In Europe, the very question would illicit incredulity because they KNOW climate change is a threat, just like they know the earth is round and the sun is hot. How this became a matter of opinion in this country is a frightening tribute to politicians’ ability to use the media and the bible to manipulate our trust in the most basic science-based facts. 
 
Relatedly, if we can be made to doubt something so obvious, what other things have we been made to believe that simply aren’t so? Well, a good portion of people in this country believe that tax cuts for the rich will help the poor and middle-class. Many people believe we went to war with Iraq because of 9/11.  Apparently, many people still believe that capital punishment deters crime and that guns make us a safer nation. 
 
I have been so moved by the clarity of Greta Thunberg, the voice of a young prophet of our times, challenging insatiable greed, at the expense of life itself.
 
I give thanks to Skyline for being a part of the movement, to reform our understanding and our ways of what it means to be good stewards of this precious planet, and embodying inclusive love of all people, especially the most vulnerable. I give thanks for advocating for the Green New Deal, as part of this global grass roots movement for life.  

Join us this Sunday as we deepen our connection to this global grass roots movement for life. We look forward to celebrating Yom Kippur with Rabbi David Cooper, a passionate advocate for social and environmental justice, and  founding rabbi of Kehilla synagogue in Oakland. Here’s some info about David

Plant-Based Diet = PlanET-Based Diet

…by Catherine Kessler, Green Team Lead

I recently listened to Carl Sagan’s “The Pale Blue Dot,” a moving description of our planet written after Voyager 1 looked back at Earth as it left our solar system in 1990.  It reminded me of Earth’s fragility and the thin layer of atmosphere that makes our world livable.   We now have a little time left to save ourselves from devastation; the changes we have made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not keeping pace with the heating up of our atmosphere.  www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/earth/pale-blue-dot.html

So, we all must do more.  I am addressing something every person can do, that is actually simple, no added cost, and is significant to a healthy you and a healthy planet.

The world’s food system is responsible for about ¼ of the planet-warming greenhouse gases, C02, methane (“natural gas”) that humans generate each year. That includes raising and harvesting all the plants, animals and animal products we eat, as well as processing, packaging and shipping food to markets all over the world.

Meat and dairy, particularly from cows, have an outsize impact, with livestock accounting for around 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases each year. That’s roughly the same amount as the emissions from all the cars, trucks, airplanes and ships combined in the world today.

What about all the talk about eating more animal protein and very low carb for good health?

More recent evidence unequivocally shows that the plant-based diet is the best.  When studies are continued for longer periods on large groups, the outcomes show lower blood fats and blood pressure, healthier weight maintenance, healthier gut bacteria which in turn maintain a healthy immune system. (very low animal fat, high fiber, increase of beneficial plant compounds and the omission of  harmful compounds produced from charred meat).

So, what is a Plant-Based Diet?

It means using the main plant proteins (see below) instead of animal proteins, but does not completely eliminate the foods that may be part of special cultural celebrations. And it also has a significant amount of your Calories coming from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and plant oils, to lower risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Try making a gradual shift to mostly plant-based eating:

  1. Reduce beef portion size (adult needs are met with 3 oz.or 21grams of protein at one time)
  2. Reduce frequency of beef gradually to monthly; substitute poultry, seafood, plant protein.
  3. Plan several days of meatless meals by making a large pot of beans, or lentil stew.

For YOUR health, don’t increase intake of fatty pork (even though its carbon footprint is lower than beef and lamb.

Gradually move to making your protein source plant-based: Beans, lentils, hummus, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, nuts, seeds are the highest in protein quantity and quality.

This link provides a guide for decision-making.

Here is a vegetarian guide for selecting foods.

Enjoy increasing health benefits for yourself as you join with others to give our thin layer of atmosphere a long life!

Contact me through the office  (510-531-8212, office@skylineucc.org)

Earth Day – “I come into the peace of wild things…”

It’s Monday, Earth Day, and it’s a glorious spring afternoon. I am sitting in the Garden of Eden which exists in my back yard; as the warm sun kisses my shoulders through the shade of graceful redwood and bay trees, and my senses are filled with the fragrance of roses and trees.

It was Wendell Berry who wrote: 

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

All of us who know that all is not as it should be in the world, and it is easy for despair to grow-yet today, Earth Day, we remember our interconnection with Earth and with one another, while pledging to make a difference in how we live, work, and worship.

I give thanks that I am part of a faith community and a denomination that embraces God’s calling to us as active participants in caring for this Garden of Eden.

Join us this Sunday as we are blessed by the music of the Pacific Boychoir Academy, and learn more about how we are advocating for the Green New Deal!

Earth Day Thanks

What an amazing Earth Day celebration we had last weekend! (Although, I really believe that we should be honoring and celebrating the earth every day, especially now).

Special thank you’s on this Earth Day weekend to: 

  • Catherine Kessler, Chair of the Green team, for her tireless advocacy for the earth, and instilling best practices in nutrition, recycling, composting, and policy changes, locally & globally. 
  • Michael Armijo, for his knowledgeable dedication to our campus building and grounds.
  • Walter Jones, co-chair of the Green team, for his love of the “Garden of God” and the UCC.
  • Our talented musicians, Ken Medema and Benjamin Mertz, for Friday’s “Care for Creation” concert.
  • To all of you, for contributing your time, energy, and talents to our advocacy for our precious home, planet earth. 

On Friday Night we held a benefit concert featuring two extraordinarily talented musicians, Ken Medema and Benjamin Mertz (see photos and videos below). We partnered with our local climate justice coalitions and supported the efforts of No Coal in Oakland, in their advocacy to keep coal out of the Port of Oakland. Thank you for your generosity.  We will donate a part of the proceeds to West Oakland Environmental Indicators,  a project begun by  Margaret Gordon, a Commissioner of the Port of Oakland.

On Saturday we had a workday, to clear away some of the rapidly growing plant life on our campus. 

Then on Sunday, we held an Earth Day service, featuring Oakland’s Major Libby Schaaf. 

After the service we engaged in a conversation with her about our partnership as people of faith, to create local policy changes  needed to reduce global warming, and to end environmental racism. 

This Friday, April 27th, join us for a potluck movie night, Al Gore’s powerful film, “An Inconvenient Sequel, Truth to Power”, from 7- 9 pm.  Here’s a review in The Guardian.

This weekend I will be away in Lake Tahoe, honoring the beauty of the earth and my birthday. Rev Ruth Sandberg will be leading worship.

Peace to you all, with love, Pastor Laurie 

Skyline and Taking Action on Climate Change

While Laurie is at the Climate Leadership Conference hosted by Al Gore, I looked through our website for blog posts about Skyline’s action towards climate health.  Here are just a few excerpts, and they speak loudly for the environmental justice stand of Skyline. 

Also, check out Laurie’s Gofundme page for her travel expenses to the Leadership Conference.   Thanks!
Blessings,  Nancy Montier, Office Manager.

Posted July 5, 2017:  The United Church of Christ General Synod 2017 has just overwhelmingly approved the Climate Resolution calling on clergy and congregations across the denomination to take action to protect the environment, and churches are lining up to stand behind it publicly. 

Posted April 25, 2017:  Join the Skyline contingent going to the Oakland March under the People’s Climate March on Saturday, 4/29 (100 days into the Trump administration).  We will meet at Lincoln Square in front of the liquor store at 10:00 am and carpool

Posted June 30, 2016: From Laurie’s speech at the June 25 No Coal Rally:  “I feel so much hope today, here with you, and here representing the voices of so many Oakland faith communities, including the dozens that are part of CIPL & the Sierra Club, in saying no to coal in Oakland ….  Tonight, our City Council will vote a/ bringing coal into W. Oakland from Utah to export to Asia. I think if they asked us,  we’d tell them right away – NO! no more coal dust, no more asthma, no more cancer, no more climate change!”

Posted Feb 17, 2016:  Statement by Rev. Laurie Manning at the no-coal-in-Oakland press conference outside City Hall Tues, Feb 16, 2016:  “We’re all familiar with “the Golden Rule.” It’s a universal principal, an ethic of reciprocity that teaches: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It teaches us to care about our neighbors.  Who doesn’t care about the kid down the street, or down the hill breathing dirty air?”

Posted Sept 22, 2015:  This week, millions across our nation will witness the words and vision of a man [Pope Francis] who has revolutionized a church and reinvigorated a 2,000-year-old gospel…. What’s revolutionary about Pope Francis is how he lives out his Christian faith through selfless good deeds, prophetic words to world leaders, and compassionate pastoral care. …We invite you to join us in praying for a transformative week for the US,…particularly with respect to climate change. …Skyline’s Green team is partnering … to host two prayer vigils on Wed Sept 23rd, at 6:30 am and 6:30 pm here at Skyline. 

Posted Aug 31, 2015:  As Pope Francis prepares to speak to the US Congress …about climate change, interfaith vigils are being held across the country. Skyline United Church of Christ, joined by members of other East Bay congregations concerned about the climate crisis, will host two interfaith prayer services for the climate – one in the morning and one in the evening.  WHEN:   SUNRISE at 6:30 a.m. &  SUNSET at 6:30 p.m 

Posted April 29, 2015:  THE WISDOM TO SURVIVE (a film) accepts the consensus of scientists that climate change has already arrived, and asks, what is keeping us from action? The film explores how unlimited growth and greed are destroying the life support system of the planet, the social fabric of society, and the lives of billions of people.The film features thought leaders and activists in the realms of science, economics and spirituality discussing how we can evolve and take action in the face of climate disruption.

Skyline’s commitment to a green, healthy world for all is clear in our actions.  What’s next?