Recently, I’ve had two opportunities to share what our Green Team is doing and what motivates me to action. On Earth Day, Bill Getz, Kerry Whitaker, and I joined other environmentalists at the UCC spring meeting in Auburn. We shared some of the actions we’ve taken over the last few years to educate and inspire people in our community to make positive change. In early May, I spoke to a group of freshmen at Greely about what motivates me and to encourage them to advocate for the environment. Both groups shared steps they’re already taking from recycling and composting to reducing energy and saving resources. Hearing others’ stories inspires me and so does the desire to keep doing the work – there is still work to do.
Safe Chemicals Update: Federal Chemical Policy is Broken – Maine People Affected
Federal chemical policy dates back to 1976. Maine people are polluted with dozens of hazardous industrial chemicals, according to a study conducted by the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine with help from the University of Southern Maine, and co-sponsored by Natural Resources Council of Maine. In 2006, 13 Maine men and women volunteered to have their bodies tested in the first-ever study of chemical pollution in Maine people. This study found a total of 46 different chemicals (of 71 tested) in samples of blood, urine, and hair. On average, each participant had measurable levels of 36 toxic chemicals in their bodies.
Advocacy in Action – Marching on the Capitol – May 22, 2012
By the time you read this, I will have ridden a bus to Washington DC and back with a group of environmental activists to participate in a National Day of Action, pushing Congress to pass the Safe Chemicals Act. Stay tuned for updates. A woman riding the bus to DC is one of the 13 volunteers tested in the Body of Evidence study.
Paths to Reform – GreenFaith Update
The Green Team has collected over 50 signatures from this and other UCC churches to move the Safe Chemicals Act out of committee and onto the Senate floor for a vote. GreenFaith is advocating to reform the Federal law governing toxic chemicals and has crafted an Interfaith Statement for Chemical Policy Reform:
As religious leaders and people of faith and conscience from diverse traditions, we affirm that reforming current chemical policies is vital to protecting people and life on God’s Earth.
Our Shared Call: Four Religious Values
The world’s faith traditions (including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism) share values that serve as a foundation for ethical decision-making regarding toxic chemicals. Four core values shared by the world’s great traditions are as follows:
- All life is to be respected.
- People of faith must ensure that air, water, and land – which belong to the Divine – sustain life on Earth.
- Society owes justice and care to its most vulnerable people and communities, and to future generations
- Our faith traditions call us to protect and promote the health of the human body.