30 Days of Action: Water Wars

How much water is used during a five minute shower?

How much water goes into producing one pound of beef?

What percentage of the human body is made up of water?

How many people in the world live without access to clean drinking water?

These aERDLogore just a few of the questions addressed in Episcopal Relief and Development’s Act Out series; Empowering Youth to Heal a Hurting World, Clean Water and Sanitation. This curriculum is designed for 11-15 year olds to be used in an over-night thematic retreat. It can easily be adapted for older youth and to a camp setting or a series of weekly youth group activities.

The hope is that participants will not only learn facts about clean water but also learn how they are connected—to one another and to the people around the world who experience the lack of clean water as part of their daily lives. There are many community-building activities throughout the event, with the hope that as youth begin to feel more connected to one another, particularly those they don’t know well, they will also begin to feel connected to their brothers and sisters worldwide.

It is important for our rising generations to learn about the inter-connectivity of human activity in the world. Environmental factors are intertwined with those experiencing poverty and privilege. We need to begin with raising awareness and offering ways for youth to act toward reconciling human activity in helpful ways in the world.

In addition to education we can encourage the rising generation to give to “green” efforts across the world. Try out the Gifts for Life catalogue at Episcopal Relief and Development. The Green Gifts Section would make a good project for a class or group to engage during a season.

Share your ideas and efforts for acting.

30 Days of Action: How does your Garden Grow?

We welcome guest blogger and Climate Change Activist James Pickett to 30 Days of Action at the Episcopal Youth Ministry blog today. Jimmy attended the Episcopal Youth Event, Marked for Mission, in Philadelphia last summer from the Diocese of Western Massachusetts. He is a first year college student in Maine and invites us to dig deep, literally, to consider the impacts of commercial food production and to learn about growing our own food to help address climate change. Share your response to Jimmy’s invitation in the comments here or using social media with hashtags #episcopal #30Days #episcoyouth.

The Fifth Mark of Mission is one of the most important to me. If we don’t treasure creation, the other marks of mission cannot be accomplished. I am currently a freshman at Unity College in Maine where I am studying Sustainable Agriculture. I feel called to be a steward of “this fragile earth, our island home.” (Book of Common Prayer p. 370) If we turn our backs on God and we don’t care for God’s Creation, we will destroy the interconnected web of life.

ABC_peoples_climate_march_jt_140921_16x9_992This past September I marched with hundreds of thousands of people in New York City in the People’s Climate March to demand Climate Justice Action. My dream is to own a small organic farm to feed those around me in a way that doesn’t harm the earth.

On a more day to day basis, when I’m not in class of course, I volunteer my time to service. I am working with an organization in the town of Unity called Veggies For All. We grow and distribute food to the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry and other pantries in the area. With the help of many volunteers, using sustainable methods, we grew and donated over 33,000 pounds of food to those in need last year alone. Since the start of VFA about 100,000 pounds of food has been grown and donated.

I am also a member of the Unity Peace Jam Scholars group. PeaceJam is an international organization that “creates young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody.” There are many different Calls to Action in PeaceJam including Ending the Cycle of Violence, Rights for Women and Children, and Restoring Earth’s Environment, just to name a few. As part of the Scholars group, I have the opportunity to mentor younger activists and work with them to strive to make the world a better place.

EYE_square_banner_FINAL_whiteI’m doing more than simply Treasuring* creation , and in doing so I am also trying to Tend* those around me by feeding them when they are hungry and attempting to Transform*  injustice and violence to justice and peace for all. What are you going to do?

May the Peace of Christ be with you and may He grant you a bountiful harvest in all that you do!

Jimmy Pickett

*The theme “Marked for Mission” was discerned by the Episcopal Youth Event Mission Planning Team who shared the following words as a way to remember the Five Marks of Mission; Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform & Treasure #EYE14

30 Days of Action: Let there be Light!

Welcome back to Action Wednesdays!

Last week we invited particpants to conduct a Household EnWord-cloud5regy Audit. This week we are continuing to raise awareness about energy consumption at home with some suggestions that your youngest to oldest residents might take up. This could be a family evening project at home, a Sunday school field trip around your church building, or a vestry tour to begin taking the first steps of being more “green” with your facility.

The baby step is to simply count how many and what type of lightbulbs are in your building. Children who often move from one room to the next without turning off lights may find it fascinating to comprehend how many lightbulbs are typically on at any given moment, especially after dark.

A next step would be to compare the types of light bulbs in use, and tips_light_bulbsthe types available for purchase. The U.S. Department of Energy hosts a wonderful website called Energy.gov with a special page all about lightbulbs that we have linked right here. Did you know that “by replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $75 each year?” And those sorts of savings also translate into less demand on the energy grid.

To take a vastly different approach on the issue of lighting, you could join a “Climate Justice” project like St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Davis did this year when they partnered with non-profit SolarAid. This organization is helping replace kerosene lamps with solar lights. To learn more you can read a recent story about the project here.

Today’s action goal is to help us recognize the demands we make upon our natural resources simply to create light when and where it is dark. How bright and efficient is your place? Share your findings with us in the comments below or by posting to social media using the hashtag #30Days.

30 Days of Action: Energy Audit

file6031307832256Just how big is your carbon footprint?

Today we begin with a very simple activity at home. You can choose to do a room, or your entire house. How many things are plugged in? How many appliances and electronic devices are never unplugged? How many of the devices are never turned off? How many cords are plugged in for occaisional use? Did you know that some of these items “leak” electricity?

Your simple action today is to unplug and turn off those items that have no reason to be on 24/7. Try and remember to unplug and turn off every day to reduce your electricity consumption and help lessen the demand on the grid.

If you want to go deeper check out this simple lesson plan from Teach Engineering. They provide an online curriculum for K through 12 that includes downloadable worksheets and resource links for conducting a Household Energy Audit. This particular lesson is targeted for eighth graders and could very easily be accomplished as a family activity.

We encourage you to share your findings and tell us what you learned and how it impacted your household behavior in the comments below. Tweet or Facebook post your findings using the #Episcopal #30Days hashtags!