Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Preview of PEC's 2017 Conference in Portland, Oregon

Putting a Face on Climate Change

by Holly Halllman, Advocacy Committee Chair

Last January, in an article about Abby Brockway, John Fife was quoted as saying that Presbyterians are good at reform (in fact we are legendary for it), good at charity (we are a shirt-off-our backs denomination), good at advocacy (we are bright, articulate, politically savvy people) and it isn’t enough.  He says we have to take the next step and resist.  Rick Ufford-Chase is leading the way with his new book entitled Faithful Resistance.  Both moderators of PC(USA) are urging us to a new level of engaging the problems that thwart our earth.  Furthermore, at our last PEC conference, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson challenged us to get out into the streets.

As the Advocacy arm of Presbyterians for Earth Care looks toward the next conference in Portland, Oregon, it wants to seriously consider the admonitions of these church leaders.  It is no longer good enough to come together and speak/listen to the issues.  We already know the issues, don’t we?  Let us then explore the next step—let’s learn resistance. The people who taught John Fife and Rick Ufford-Chase flowed over the southern border of our country.  The teachers we can listen to and act with in Oregon are waiting for us to come and experience their challenges. 

For the last two years we have focused on water and how it has been changed by the use of fossil fuels.  Now we want to take that lens and turn it just slightly.  Those who can teach about resistance live by the rising waters, the growing deserts that lack water, the places where the water from their tap smells of gas, places where dams have stopped the fish from returning, places where ice no longer forms in the winter to buffer their communities from the battering of fierce storms.  It is their stories that we must hear and their directions we must take.   We have skin that is not the same color as theirs.  We have privileges that distance us from the realities of their lives.  They have much to teach us, we have much to learn.  Resisting together, respecting, finding the common ground of our shared humanity—that is the next step.

PEC, through our Advocacy Committee and our Sept 26-29, 2017 Portland conference planning team, is beginning to gather stories -- names, and places of persons affected by climate change and erratic weather patterns.  Nan Fayer, our SE Regional Representative, shares her recent weather/water experience.

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