Resources for getting involved in structural change through environmental activism
MLK Series, Grace Cathedral 2017
Bishop Marc Andrus
Interfaith Power and Light was founded by Episcopal priest and Canon for the Environment at Grace Cathedral, the Rev. Sally Bingham. IPL began as an Episcopal Church initiative, and is now across the country and is indeed interfaith. The other, really significant transformation in the organization that is relevant for environmental activists is that IPL has evolved from being a “greening the Church” organization, focused on such things as getting energy assessments on church physical plants, replacing inefficient light blubs, getting solar on church roofs, to being an advocacy organization, too. Most recently IPL was a key member of a coalition of activists in Oakland to prevent massive coal transport through the city to the Port of Oakland.
“Since 1989, Baykeeper has advocated for the health of San Francisco Bay. We use science and clean water laws to improve habitats and communities reliant on a thriving Bay ecosystem” – that’s the tagline on the Baykeeper webpage. Baykeeper has played a major role in cleaning up our beautiful Bay, a Bay that serves an important function in the web of life that is our ecological home. The work of Baykeeper is advocacy work, but also supporting the work of dedicated lawyers who hold Bay Area communities to the best standards regarding clean water. The work of Baykeeper is not at all in the past; there are new threats emerging to the sustainability of the San Francisco Bay, and your involvement in and support of Baykeeper can make a difference.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is a smart, well-organized body that is action and result oriented. Their work falls under these categories: Climate and Energy, Oceans, Ecosystems, and Health. EDF projects are well-designed, and include evaluative measurements, so you have assurance that your participation and contributions are effective.
Episcopal Impact Fund used to be called Episcopal Charities. The sound thinking behind the grant-making activity of the Episcopal Impact is two-fold: the three areas of work (environment, public health, public education) are conceived of as interlocking and mutually supportive; and the grants are given to organizations working on eliminating poverty at the root. You can both give to support the work of EIF and you can volunteer to be part of one of their regionally-based action networks.
Bayview Mission is a Specialized Ministry of the Diocese of California with strong support from Grace Cathedral. You could sum Bayview Mission’s work up under the heading of food security, with food bank and sustainable urban gardening activities. The Rev. Deacon Nina Pickerrell is the founder and director of Bayview Mission.
I got connected with this exciting organization at the United Nations climate summits in both Paris and Marrakech. Getting involved in Climate Reality will amplify your voice in advocacy. For example, here is an innovative offering from Climate Reality:
SOME PEOPLE WAIT FOR THE FUTURE. LEADERS CREATE IT.
Ordinary people face challenges. Climate Reality Leaders embrace them. The Climate Reality Leadership Corps is a global network of activists committed to spreading awareness of the climate crisis and working for solutions to the greatest challenge of our time.
The program takes great leaders and makes them exceptional, providing training in climate science, communications and organizing in order to better tell the story of climate change and inspire communities everywhere to take action. The result is a dynamic group of world-changers shaping the conversation on climate in forums from family dinners to international summits and building a twenty-first century movement for solutions.
To find out about the next Climate Reality Leader Training visit: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/training
The Bishop’s Ranch is one of two camp and conference centers of the Diocese of California. I encourage you to take a personal retreat there, or to take part in one of their seasonal programs. Through being on retreat at the Ranch you can nurture your inner resources for the perseverance and courage needed for climate action and eco-justice work.