Thursday, August 11, 2016

August Earth Keeper

Sarah King’s Eco-Energy

by David Sholin

Around 1998, Sarah King issued an announcement calling together all interested in an ecology and justice focus within the (then) Arizona Ecumenical Council. As a result of that call, today, Sarah is the long-standing chair of the (now) Arizona Faith Network’s (AFN) Earth Care Commission.

Sarah King, Chair of Arizona Faith Network's
Earth Care Commission 
Through her commitment and leadership, the Earth Care Commission (ECC) has been and is involved in featuring a number of Earth Care events, gatherings and projects. These include Earth Day celebrations and conferences, calling attention to crucial environmental problems and concerns, such as water, soil and food. Her involvement continues to find Sarah organizing any number of outings and explorations in her beloved Southwest, leading many of us to better understand and challenge the degradation of our interconnected eco-systems and importantly connected sacred spaces and natural places.

Here’s a partial list:  Co-sponsor of Environmental Day at the Legislature for the past 6 years; hikes and outings to public lands in southwest part of the state in need of protection from rapid development, especially Great Bend of the Gila; delivering messages and sermons at churches in various parts of the state on behalf of Public Lands protection; working with groups of public and private stakeholders to develop a plan of action for the Arizona Sonoran Desert Heritage Act; hosting a number of Earth Care Conferences in partnership with other environmental organizations; writing op-eds and LTE's on behalf of public lands and national monuments; working with Arizona Coalition for Mining Reform and San Carlos Apache in appeals to legislators to save Oak Flat Recreation Area from mining interests.

To quote Sarah, “As part of the GreenFaith Fellow Class of 2016, I am upping my game as a leader in the religion-based environmental movement.  It's a challenging curriculum, and I've had to do some deep soul-searching as to my reasons for choosing this unique path of environmental stewardship. I feel very blessed to have the support of an extraordinary mentor, Rev. Fletcher Harper, and have developed a wonderful network of other leaders who believe--as I do--that the created world is a gift that we squander at our own peril.  Our collective wisdom traditions tell us that we are part of this wonderful and mysterious web of life, and the harm we do to one part of it, we do to all of it.” 

A related aspect of Sarah’s eco-energy, is her being instrumentally involved in the creation and on-going activity of the Arizona chapter of Interfaith Power and Light (AzIPL). Much of today’s important collaborations  found at work between ECC and AzIPL are a tribute to Sarah’s direction dedication.

Sarah lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, and worships at Flagstaff Federated Church. She has been married 39 years to her “supportive and long-suffering” spouse, Charlie. They have two children and two grandchildren, who, according to Sarah, “are my real motivation for everything I do through ECC and AzIPL. Leaving them a sustainable world is the greatest gift I can give.”

And just to stay busy, Sarah is the founder, director and lead player of the all-female, all-acoustic, all-volunteer steel drum band, Steelin’ the Night Away – often heard enhancing many Southwest environmental and church events.

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