And so the first National Day of Prayer and Reflection on Global Warming has come to a close. We haven’t heard from every participating school, but those we have heard from suggest that the campus community of conscience is, more and more, grappling with the challenge before us. At the University of Chicago, they met with dance and drumming and meditation (and made it into the paper–see the story below!). At Stanford, students, community members, and clergy gathered outdoors in a redwood grove on a day of sun and clouds to contemplate what is being lost and how much we can still save. And at Eckerd–well, let’s let them tell it, in the email from the wonderful Patrick Schwing, posted below. To our knowledge, they are the first school to combine prayer with mud wrestling.
There is so much more to do. We have ten years, at the most, to begin to reverse our carbon trajectory. Instead, despite the change in the conversation, our emissions continue to increase. We have not yet, as a society, taken up the burden before us. We have not yet choosen to save ourselves and our children. But we can. Global warming is a terrible threat, but it is also a door for us to pass through, together. The way is still open. We have been thrilled by the dedication of the clergy, the passion that students are devoting to the world that we can build, and the possibilities before us. This day has been a window into a better path; we hope that future days of prayer continue to drive us all to pray with our feet, moving forward into a better future and actively calling for change.
And now, the news:
Down here at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida Campus
ministries and the Center for Spiritual Life were a huge presence at
two events this Earth Day week. We promoted the Global Warming Prayer
first at our annual on-campus EARTHFEST, which we sponsored a place
for prayer all day long. We had anywhere from 50-100 participants
just for the prayer space. We also had many more participate in our
mudwrestling event and take information on The Young Adult Ecumenical
Forum on Environmental Justice in Boston in July, and Sowing Seeds in
Washington, D.C. in June.
We were also a presence at Speak St. Pete, Earth Day Celebration
at the Mahaffey Theater (Progress Energy Center). This evenbt is
sponsored by the U.N. Environmental Programme and had 1400
participants from 75 countries registered for online participation on
top of those at the theater. Global Warming Prayer materials were
made available to all of those that attended along with Earth Flags,
organic cotton T-shirts and a chance to see Lori Michaels and Stephen
Longfellow-Fiske perform. The highlight of the night was the proposal
from Sam Keen (www.samkeen.com) to create a GLOBAL JUSTICE INDEX.
Eckerd College has accepted this challenge and plans to implement the
index as soon as possible. You will be hearing more about this in the
near future. We look forward to next year!
And here’s coverage of the Chicago event from the Medill Reports…
Faithful bring moral perspective to global warming
Environmentalists aren’t just eating organics and hugging trees during Earth Day weekend — some also believe in the power of prayer.
Two Chicago organizations are among the main sponsors of the National Campus Day of Prayer and Reflection on Global Warming with dozens of events being held Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
People of faith have key perspectives in stopping global warming, and are often more environmentally friendly than secular activists realize, said David Aftandilian of the University of Chicago Religion and Environment Initiative, one of the event’s organizers.
“There has been a lot said about climate change on the science and policy fronts,” he said. “But global warming is not often enough talked about as an ethical and personal issue of responsibility for all of us.”
The Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Hyde Park is also one of the national sponsors.