Wednesday, January 25, 2023



Woman of Power, Woman of Grace:  FOR CREATION

by Diane Waddell with Jerry Rees


Jerry Rees and I came to know Carey Gillam through her father Chuck, a true eco-warrior, a member of Village Presbyterian Church, and a staunch defender of Earth Care. Chuck had been a faithful and outspoken member of our Presbytery Earth Care Team for several years and had not mentioned anything about his amazing daughter.  After he humbly told us about her, our team has followed her work, met with her, shared her work with others, and has been constantly amazed.  Carey exemplifies hard work and self-sacrifice (at a world-class level) in trying to make the earth safer and less toxic.


It has not been easy.  Early on, she worked so hard in her job with Reuters—uncovering the unfortunate facts about the devastating effects of glyphosate—that her position was changed by some powers that were.”


Nevertheless, she kept pursuing the facts and now is able to share what the public needs to know to help protect our lives and the well-being of Gods Good Green Earth.  We bring to you her story (which is far from finished) and invite you to read her books and follow her current work through US Right to Know, a not-for-profit food industry research group. Here is the rest of her story…


Carey Gillam is an investigative journalist and author with more than 30 years of experience covering food and agricultural policies and practices, including 17 years as a senior correspondent for Reuters international news service. She has won several industry awards for her work. Her first book, Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science, was released in October 2017 and won the coveted Rachel Carson Book Award from the Society of Environmental Journalists, as well as two other awards.


Carey's second book, a legal thriller titled The Monsanto Papers - Deadly Secrets, Corporate Corruption, and One Man's Search for Justice, was released March 2, 2021.


Gillam has been asked to speak all over the world about food and agricultural matters, including before the European Union Parliament in Brussels, the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, and to public officials, organizations, and conferences in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Argentina, France, and The Netherlands. She has also been an invited lecturer to several universities, including Emory University, Berkeley Law School, Washington University, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the University of Iowa, the Cambridge Forum in Harvard Square, and others.


She has served as a consultant on, and participant in, several documentaries, including the award-winning Poisoning Paradise, released in June 2019 by actor Pierce Brosnan and his wife Keely Brosnan. A new documentary based on Careys books Into the Weeds will have its U.S. release on Earth Day in April.


Gillam writes regularly for The Guardian. Her work has also been published in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Time, and other outlets.


In May of 2022, Gillam helped launch a non-profit environmental news outlet called The New Lede as a journalism initiative of the Environmental Working Group.


You can receive updates on Gillams work by subscribing to her free Substack called UnSpun.


Gillam speaks to issues of food safety and security, environmental health, agricultural issues, corporate corruption of regulatory policies, as well matters about journalism, fake news, corporate pressure on media, and more.


Carey, we appreciate you greatly and thank you for pursuing justice for earth and her inhabitants.



Diane Waddell and Jerry Rees are members of Earthkeepers of Heartland Presbytery.  Jerry is a member of Village Presbyterian Church, which hosts Earthkeepers meetings.



Matt Walker braves the cold.

Going Car Free

by Eric Diekhans


Lake View Presbyterian Church’s choir director Matt Walker didn’t have a grand plan to go car-free. It just kind of happened.


Thirty years ago, Matt arrived in Chicago in an aging Chevy Metro. “When my car broke down and it was just too far gone to repair,” Matt says, “I thought, I'll just have to run out and buy another car. In the meantime, I took public transportation and walked, and I started riding my bike, I found I could defer getting that car a little bit longer.”


Matt grew up in Flint, Michigan, where kids free-wheeled through his residential neighborhood. But in a city dominated by General Motors and car culture, few people saw the bicycle as a means of transportation.


Matt found that he could get around on Chicago’s public transportation, but riding a bike was often easier and more convenient. “It started like, ‘It's summer, it's a nice day. I think I'll ride to work.’ After a while cycling became more habitual during nice weather. And then a couple of times, I got caught in bad weather and I realized, ‘Well, that's not so bad.’”


He didn’t miss the frustrations that came along with taking the bus. “There’s the moment, when I’ve just missed the bus and realize, I’m going to be standing there another 40 minutes, and if had been there two minutes earlier, I could have been on that bus.”


Matt liked having the sense of control that came from riding his bike. Traffic didn’t affect him as much as it did when he was riding the bus, and he reliably knew when he would reach his destination. His day job is as a custom framer. His ride to work is three miles and consistently takes about 20-30 minutes. On the bus, the trip takes anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half.


When Covid hit, Matt was thankful he didn’t have to ride a crowded bus. He continued to commute by bike until winter, when a big snowstorm hit Chicago. Then he switched to walking.


Finding a Church Home


Matt grew up in an evangelical church, but when he was looking for a church home in Chicago, Lake View Presbyterian was closest to his apartment. "I poked my head in,” says Matt, “and decided I didn't need to look any further.”


Matt was busy pursuing work in theater, and it took several years until he joined the choir. He then became a deacon. When his term ended, he thought he’d go back to just being a member of the congregation. But shortly before Easter, the choir director quit.


“I volunteered just as a stop gap, with no intention of making it my job. In the meantime, they were doing a job search, and I knew they don’t usually hire a member of the congregation.”


Matt finished out the year as temporary choir director. The church wasn’t having luck in finding a permanent replacement. Matt finally asked Joy Douglas Strome, Lake View’s pastor at the time, for the permanent job. The church had to get special dispensation to hire a member, but the process came to a satisfying conclusion for everyone.


One of the best perks of his position is that Matt can ride his bike to choir rehearsal and Sunday service.


Over the years Matt has seen a lot of improvements in Chicago’s bike infrastructure, though the city still has a long way to go. “I lived in Uptown for years and they never had bike paths, but now they have great bike paths on Broadway. I’m more likely to go to a neighborhood with good bike paths than not, especially during the summer street festivals. It makes the neighborhood more attractive for commerce, for street festivals, and street fairs, I think they’re a good addition to any neighborhood, especially for major thoroughfares.”


Matt offers several tips for people thinking of going car free, or just using a bike as a transportation alternative. “If you live in an apartment, definitely find a building that has a safe, covered place to put your bike.”


“Proximity is also important,” Matt continues. “I live in a neighborhood where I don't have to go long distances to whatever I need. Also proximity to work. I lived in North Andersonville (on Chicago’s north side) for quite a while. Anytime I had to go anywhere, it was an hour and a half to two hours. So it was a great workout every day. The only problem was it was much harder when the weather was bad.”


Matt also advises investing in good saddlebags. “You don't have a trunk. You can't just throw everything in the backseat of the car.”


Matt rides year-round, and offers some winter riding tips. “Loose layers in cold weather. If I’m comfortable on a cold morning, a half hour into my ride I’ll be sweating. Good gloves, good waterproof boots, and something to cover your head and face. If those are covered, you can wear fairly light clothing over the rest of your body, because you don’t want to get sweaty.”


Matt also has safety tips “I haven’t had an accident in years. When I ride my bike, I assume everyone is trying to kill me. I assume cars don’t see me. Always be aware that nobody is aware of you.”


Matt always wears bright clothing. At night, he uses a minimum of three lights.


If you’d like to learn more about commuting by bikes, there are many books, websites, and blogs you can check out. You might also want to read How Cycling Can Save the World by journalist Peter Walker.


Eric Diekhans is a fiction writer, Executive Director of the Greater Chicago Broadcast Ministries and a member of Lake View Presbyterian Church in Chicago.



Natalie Ward, JOY Market Coordinator (left) and Jessica Witt, gardener and CSA-manager

Justice, Outreach and Yoga For Creation

by Diane Waddell


We love it when a plan comes together! We are grateful to God for our opportunity!


Our New Worshiping Community, Justice, Outreach, and Yoga (JOY NWC), in St. Joseph, Missouri, is part of Heartland Presbytery. We started out as an ecumenical group celebrating and bringing to life Pope FrancisEncyclical, Laudato Si, in our community. This group is now a part of our JOY gathering, embracing justice and healing for Creation.


Our six leaders engage with our community and within our buildings sacred space (a beautiful little church/chapel). They are working on a CSA (community supported agriculture) offering, which includes wondrous baked goods!


Anne adds her beautiful native flowers, herbs and vegetables grown in her greenhouse. She often donates the native plants to our local parks and spaces where our group has been invited to “plant native.


LuAnn shares her native plants and expertise by planting native flowers in an historic park site (and has spent countless hours recycling cans and bottles after concerts.)


Saundra is a fabric artist. She dyes wool with natural dyes and spins on her spinning wheel, making lovely and creative pieces.


My granddaughter Elizabeth loves working with clay and has enjoyed making multiple items of pottery, which are quite popular.


Jessica has added a wonderful affirming and positive spirit to the market. She sells gems and jewelry and shares about their healing properties.


We are grateful that the community has been supportive of our efforts, and have found that the market is a place where vendors can commune and community members come together to share bounty of Gods creation and the gifts and talents of their neighbors. We host outside when possible, inside when needed, and sometimes both, depending on the weather.


We are so appreciative of the PCUSA and grassroots groups, including Presbyterians for Earth Care. We have chosen to ground ourselves in Matthew 25 and also receive the four offerings offered by the denomination. We have shared programs on sustainable farming, such as a review of Kiss the Ground,” and enjoy partnering with another ecumenical group in Kansas City called Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition for more programs on sustainable agriculture and creation care.


Diane Waddell is former moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care.