Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Continuing the work of Environmental Justice

Each August Earth Ministry transitions to a new Outreach Coordinator. As the team bids farewell to Dana, I am settling into Seattle and beginning to work with Greening Congregations. Although each Outreach Coordinator has different skills and background, each of us is passionate about environmental stewardship. Like Dana, Clare, Chris and others, I am spending a year of service to work towards social justice and to live simply and sustainably through Lutheran Volunteer Corps. As part of my commitment to social justice, I will be working with Earth Ministry on environmental stewardship.

On Monday, I hiked to Annette Lake with four other Lutheran Volunteers. The lush forest of the Pacific Northwest captivated me. At home in South Carolina, I recognize birds and can name each tree, and by the time I finished college in Minnesota, I was well acquainted with the prairie ecosystems. Now west of the Rockies, I hear new bird calls and discover new plants. As the scenery changes, I also meet new people and ideas. Along the trail, conversations with the other volunteers ranged from the musings of Aldo Leopold to the costs and benefits of eco-tourism, from current documentaries to amazement at God's creation around us. Listening to my fellow volunteers, I became increasingly excited to begin my work at Earth Ministry and to encourage the Christian voice in environmentalism.

In June I graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in physics. Although I was a physics major, I spent a term focusing on conservation biology research and studying environmental anthropology. Over the course of the semester, I became increasingly aware of the connections between the people and the land and how each impacted the other. Instead of focusing simply on numbers and genetics, I had to incorporate the fairness to the people who used the land. Each of us are connected to and part of the environment. Through environmental stewardship, we honor these connections and praise God for this wonderful creation. I look forward to continuing to explore our obligations to environmental stewardship with the Earth Ministry community over the next year.