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.
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.
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’sDraft2030 Equitable Climate Action Plan Visit this linkto 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
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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:
Reduce beef portion size (adult needs are met with 3 oz.or 21grams of protein at one time)
Reduce frequency of beef gradually to monthly; substitute poultry, seafood, plant protein.
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.
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!
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.
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?
News outlets from the New York Times to Mother Jones Magazine have praised the leadership of California at the November UN climate summit in Paris. The LA Times portrayed Governor Jerry Brown’s active presence in Paris as representing not only the crafting of his “political legacy” but also his preoccupation with preventing “catastrophe.”
Yet environmental lawyers, community activists, and faith leaders are increasingly bringing to the public’s awareness what has long been California’s dirty secret. In a state known for its environmentalism, environmental racism has remained a festering, unbridled sin.
Environmental racism is the placement of low-income or minority communities in close proximity of environmentally hazardous or degraded environments such as toxic waste, pollution and urban decay.
Skyline Community Church UCC in Oakland has been active in struggles against environmental racism here in California, particularly with respect to fracking and the proposed coal terminal in Oakland.
On Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016, several members of our Green Team joined me as I addressed an interfaith rally outside Oakland’s City Hall in seeking to delay consultant work that could bring the city closer to having a coal terminal. Becky Taylor, a former Oakland Port Commissioner and a member of Skyline’s Green Team and I spoke at the City Council meeting against coal. In my remarks, I spoke of the pride I feel about Governor Brown’s environmental leadership in Paris, but then asked, “Why would we want to be complicit in prolonging and accelerating this environmental and humanitarian health crisis?”
The combined will, wisdom, voice and energy of the interfaith community of Oakland, its people, and prayers resulted in the City Council voting to delay the opening a coal terminal in Oakland!
Skyline is a small but mighty force for environmental justice here in Oakland! Thank you Skyline!!
Here are a few articles that reference our good work!
Statement by Rev. Laurie Manning, pastor of Skyline Church UCC-Oakland Hills, and UCC Northern California representative for Environmental Justice 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?
As Flint Michigan reminds us, environmental toxins particularly impact poor children of color, globally, & locally. West Oakland has many parallels to Flint. (%90 black & Latino, where residents already experience high rates of poverty and unemployment).
This is a local health issue. The children of West Oakland are already contending with fumes & noise from the Port. We need to ask ourselves, what if it were our own children?
Now the proponents of the coal partnership in Oakland argue that it is bringing a $52 million investment and will bring almost $3 mill in annual property taxes and 2300 jobs.
But at what cost? What cost to the environment: excavating coal in Utah, transporting it here by rail, & shipping it by ocean to be burned in China? What cost to human lives in every step of the coal production process: the health risks to those most vulnerable; the miners in Utah; the residents of West Oakland; and those who breathe the air in China?
I’m so proud of Governor Brown, and his global leadership in environmental justice. Speaking out in Paris, and at Vatican, Governor Brown echoed the global scientific community’s unanimous pleas to leave 90% of fossil fuels in ground. Why would we want to be complicit in prolonging and accelerating this environmental and humanitarian health crisis?
Furthermore, besides the moral argument, there’s an economic argument. It’s a bad investment for Oakland. The demand for coal and the coal industry are rapidly failing. Why would Oakland want to invest, even in the short term, as major coal companies are going bankrupt? As Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize economist, has recently noted, “fossil fuels are the way of past, renewables are way in the future – if we care about the future, we care about switching.”http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/01/opinion/wind-sun-and-fire.html?_r=0
Finally, there’s the voice of the people. According to the recent Sierra Club survey, 76% of Oakland residents are against coal in the port.
Surely, there are healthier and safer long term sources of jobs and revenue that will benefit all of the people of Oakland.
At Skyline, we’re committed to nurturing the spiritual development of children and youth by equipping them with the tools they need to discover faith-filled answers… for themselves.
God has no hands but your hands, no feet but your feet, no face but your face. Join us in cultivating a more just and compassionate world, working together to understand and meet the real needs of our local community (Food Bank) and beyond (Sierra Leone School).
At Skyline, we’re committed to nurturing the spiritual development of children and youth by equipping them with the tools they need to discover faith-filled answers… for themselves.
We recognize the fragility of the earth and our own capacity to do harm. It is urgent that, as earth’s stewards, we make a commitment to our children and future generations to minimize our impact on the earth. We are working locally and globally in these efforts.