Creation Care under the Sun

This is my own Great Idea – based on Sarah Lawrence’s, ‘A Little Child Will Lead Them‘, in which congregations were encouraged to support children and youth in creating a school group of climate care advocates.

Congregations may not have whole groups of kids who will break into climate care teams, but we can support individual children and youth in their climate care and repair hopes and dreams.

Steps are simple and fairly self-directed by the young person (or people):

  1. Background check at least one adult with climate care awareness and basic acumen.
  2. Invite young person and adult to get to know one another during congregational events and/or on their own time.
  3. Encourage the young person to discern a particular climate care project or task. Invite them to research/learn what the task entails with regard to materials, time, human resources, etc.
  4. Youth/child and adult create an action plan: defined mission, financial support, additional partners, scope and sequence of project.
  5. Provide both with spiritual practices to sustain them in their efforts. This might be shared in a large-group setting to support numerous multi-generational climate care partners/teams.
  6. Execute throughout the summer.

Here’s an example:

  1. As her aunty, I am a background-checked safe person to pair with my niece.
  2. We already know one another, but I’ll gladly spend an afternoon going for a walk, enjoying a malt, and talking about what God is calling us to care for this summer.
  3. We share a love for – and time at – our Up North lake: no brainer. That lake is regularly threatened by at least three encroachments:
    1. invasive species – our association has established an excellent set of interventions – but perhaps more can be done?
    2. encroaching structure – our county regularly side-steps laws and codes, enabling a growing number of egregiously over-sized structures, manicured lawns, and gas-guzzling vehicles to populate the waters – can we intervene?
    3. new algae blooms – historically, the lake has been fed by numerous deep springs that bubble up through cedar bogs which filtered run-off; those bogs are being replaced by manicured lawns and giant septic systems, which means less filtration, loss of shoreline erosion protections, and a significant increase in nitrates and other harmful chemicals – can we utilize the lake-wide newsletter and/or petition our neighbors to greater awareness, caution, and even reparative care?
  4. My niece and I would determine which need is greater or which we have the most capacity to address, lay out our action plan, and spend the summer executing, inviting our neighbors to remember that climate care is not just about the now, but future generations’ lives – not just their enjoyment of these waters, but their very lives – depend on us making changes right now, today.
  5. Throughout the summer we will revisit a variety of contemplative practices to ground in God’s care and encouragement, revitalize our spirits in the face of the inevitable frustration and set-backs, and remind us of our oneness with the creation we seek to rejuvenate.
  6. We might even report back to our larger group and/or the entire congregation to remind us all that this work is the work of God’s Beloved Community, not our’s alone; and to remind and inspire the community in doing additional essential climate care work.

Develop relationships. Curb climate-crisis-related anxiety and despair. DO something about the climate crisis. Show future generations that elders and parents care. Be God’s Beloved Community. It’s all in here!