NRCCC in 2012 Earth Day Week Events in Washington, DC


The NRCCC was very active during Earth Day Week 2012 in Washington, DC. NRCCC partnered with Blessed Earth and The National Cathedral to sponsor a luncheon to honor Wendell Berry with its 2012 Steward of Creation Award. This is the 14h year that this award had been extended to honorees. Approximately 250 religious leaders attended the honorary luncheon.

Prior to the luncheon, Matthew Sleeth, founder of Blessed Earth, preached on creation care to several thousand worshipers at two morning services in The National Cathedral. Special guest Wendell Berry was featured in a Forum held between the two services (Video). Berry is an acclaimed poet, farmer, and social critic who practices ecological wholeness.

The following evening (Monday April 23), Berry delivered the Jefferson Lecture for 2012 at the Kennedy Center, the highest honor the Federal government gives in the Humanities. [Video]

Earth Day Network is a long-time partner with NRCCC in the logistical arrangements and promotion of NRCCC events in Washington, DC, including the luncheon. While a cold, rainy Sunday dampened the Earth Day events on the Mall, the streaming broadcast of that event went all over the world.

The NRCCC sponsored a Conference on Climate Change on Monday April 23 at St. Sophia's Cathedral in Washington. Opening remarks were given by climatologist James Hansen, 350 org. leader Bill McKibben (video), NRCCC's co-chairs Rev. Owen Owens and Rabbi Warren Stone, and conference organizer Tom English. 24 workshops followed. Co-sponsors included the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Earth Day Network, and the Presbyterian Synod of Southern California and Hawaii. (See a report by Lucy Chumbley for Episcopal News Service)

At the conclusion of Monday's Climate Conference, Tom English and Lise Van Susternen each received a Steward of Creation Award.

On Tuesday April 24, the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC) sponsored a day long series of events, including an early morning vigil at the Martin Luther King, jr. Memorial beginning at dawn, followed y a procession to the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church for an Interfaith service, followed by another procession an outside service near the Capitol. In the afternoon, members made visits to congressional offices to advocate for effective climate policy.

Tuesday afternoon April 24, a NRCCC delegation met with officials of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for 90 minutes, focusing especially on religious perspectives on climate. All major religious organizations have statements on climate change and all have concluded that this is a most serious matter which government should address. During that meeting, NRCCC proposed the establishment of an advisory board of religious leaders for consultation on religious and ethical considerations on climate and other environmental issues. (See Tom Theriault's detailed report)

Wednesday afternoon April 25, a NRCCC delegation met with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to discuss the need for religion to address the severe problems of ocean environmental degradation. This was the first meeting NOAA has had with religion. NRCCC will begin to explore the spiritual dimensions of the seas toward developing a religious ethical framework. NOAA will offer scientific knowledge.

On Thursday, April 26, the Evangelical Environmental Network held their Global Day of Prayer for Creation Care. Several from the NRCCC attended. The gathering began with a prayer breakfast attended by about 150 people. The program centered on worship, prayer, and scripture, with short talks interspersed. The attendees then divided into two groups for the afternoon, with one group led by Jim Ball focusing on public policy on climate followed by a meeting with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and the other group led by Nancy Sleeth working on developing education strategies for congregations and communities.