“God, Creation & Climate” Conference Tackles the Moral Dimension of Climate Change
Zero-Waste Event Seeks to Inspire Nebraska Faith Community in a Non-Partisan Setting
Religious and spiritual people from all backgrounds are invited to participate in a half-day conference to generate conversation on ways the faith community in Nebraska can respond to the challenge of climate change.
The conference, entitled “God, Creation & Climate,” will be held Saturday, March 21st, from 8:30am-1:00pm at Mammel Hall at the UNO College of Business Administration, 6708 Pine St., Omaha. Dr. Richard Miller, Professor of Theology at Creighton University, will keynote the event. Breakout sessions will follow on the following topics:
Talking About Climate Change in Your Congregation – Rev. Kim Morrow & Gaye Mason
Find out how your congregation can embrace climate change as a moral and justice issue. Learn practical strategies for starting the conversation, and take home a discussion guide curriculum based on Mary Pipher’s The Green Boat.
Clean Energy in Nebraska – Duane Hovorka, Nebraska Wildlife Federation
Find out the current status of clean energy development in the state—our recent victories and our goals for the future. Find out how people of faith can get involved in these efforts.
Divest from Fossil Fuels – Tyler Mainquist, Financial Advisor
Learn about the growing international movement to divest financial portfolios from fossil fuel companies. Learn how you can do this in your own life and/or begin to ask the institutions you are affiliated with to divest.
Go Solar at Your Church – Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric
Find out how your congregation can install solar panels on your church rooftop. Learn how much energy you can generate, how much you can lower your carbon footprint and how much money you can save.
Culture Change for the Faith Community – Daniel Lawse, Verdis Group
Learn how to become part of the culture change needed in your own community, congregation, or denomination. How can you make this real in your own life?
Introduction to Climate Advocacy – Ken Winston, Policy Advocate, Sierra Club
How can we take our desire for action on climate change to the next level? Hear about national efforts like Citizens Climate Lobby, 350.org, EPA Clean Power Plant Rule, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign, and state and federal legislation on climate issues.
Sustainable Facilities Management – Rick Yoder, UNO Sustainability Consultant
Learn how you can put sustainable practices into the daily life of your building’s operation. Find out how to get your community on board and have fun at the same time.
Climate Change for Nebraska
Dr. Don Wilhite, Professor of Applied Climate Science at UNL, will present the findings of the UNL climate report on predicted climate impacts to Nebraska. Learn from our own experts what we are likely to see in our home state in 50 and 100 years.
The day will conclude with a catered, zero-waste lunch and final plenary session. Sponsor tables will offer further information for attendees on how to get involved in various efforts.
The conference is unique in that it welcomes people of faith from all backgrounds to consider care for the environment. Care for creation is a central tenet in every major faith tradition, yet it has not received attention as a social justice issue the way other issues have. A growing religious environmental movement across the nation is recognizing the crucial role faith communities can play in shifting behaviors and attitudes toward improved environmental sustainability.
The mission of Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light is to facilitate the faith community’s response to our changing climate through community programs, education and advocacy. The organization was founded in 2009 and is one of 40 state chapters of the national Interfaith Power & Light network.
The conference aims to address the following questions: In the face of environmental calamity, how does our faith call us to protect life on earth? How much are our religious traditions responsible for the climate crisis? Can people of faith lead us out of it? Can we re-imagine our relationship with God and with the natural world? What actions can our communities take now to make real change? In sum, this event brings together people of all backgrounds to talk about the spiritual, moral and ethical implications of climate change.
“All too often, climate change is seen as a ‘dangerous’ issue to discuss in polite company,” says Rev. Kim Morrow, Executive Director of Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. “What we want to do is to take the sting out, and invite people to talk about climate change in non-partisan and constructive ways. The earth belongs to all of us, and climate change asks deeply moral questions of us. Real human lives will be affected here in Nebraska and beyond. The most important thing we can do right now is to inform ourselves of the changes that are happening, and to find out what we can do to mitigate them. When we come together and work on hopeful, creative and community-based solutions, we can change the world.”
The conference registration fee is $35 per person, or $25 per person if two or more register together. Students are $15 each. After March 7th, rates increase to $45/person and $20/student. Ticket price includes lunch.
Registration is available at http://God-creation-climate.eventbrite.com.