In honor of Faith Climate Action Week and our many members who are driven by faith to protect our earth, we present a guest blog from MCEA board member and Pastor, Carol Tomer.
WRITTEN BY: Carol Tomer, Lead Pastor at Pilgrim Lutheran Church & MCEA Board Member
As I write this, I am hearing news that the largest non-nuclear bomb the United States military has ever used has just been dropped in Afghanistan. That’s quite a “biggest ever,” a new milestone that some of us wish we had not achieved.
This week is Faith Climate Action Week. I challenge you to take some of your biggest actions ever in caring for creation this week, because of your faith — whatever your faith tradition, your faith community, or the “ultimate concerns” (Paul Tillich) that ground your life. Let’s make news with milestones of love for our earth, not bombs.
Here’s a definition of love that I believe is truly interfaith, from the architect William McDonough: “We are called to love all the children of all species for all time.” Not just our own species, not just for this climate action week, but for all time. Love that’s wide and everlasting, the biggest love ever.
The Christian mystic Meister Eckhart wrote, "God creates everything with everything else in mind." It seems that we keep doing the very opposite: using everything with very little else in mind.
Our call — so fundamental in so many faiths — is to love more than self, family, and lover. Oh, that narrow circle is sometimes hard enough to love. But if we love only self, family and lover, it’s so easy to not only have very little else in mind, but also to trample so much that is beyond our small circle.
Our call is to love deeply and widely — to love our neighbor, near and far — to love the whole creation, having “everything else” in heart and soul and mind.
I am full of hope about our capacity to love the whole creation. I have hope not only because of my own greening community of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in St. Paul, but I am also hopeful because of each of you in the MCEA wide webs of dedicated and faithful action. Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech and his mental flight through history, I offer this short litany of hope:
As brother Martin said, “Something is happening in our world.”
This week, this year, in ways that are the “biggest ever,” we can say that people are waking up to the realities of climate change and to the call of creation care.
But we won’t stop there.
People in Minnesota are mobilizing for action and the healing of all of creation.
But we won’t stop there.
People all around this country and the world are mobilizing for action, giving up the denials of our past and present and stepping up, stepping out, putting our feet down, sticking our necks out, and living out our faith and deepest concerns.
But we won’t stop there.
The leaders of so many countries are waking up – and listening and changing and acting – because our leaders have been elected to make the imperfect but courageous decisions that love requires -- and we are holding them accountable.
But we won’t stop there.
Each of us is acting in small and big ways to love all the children of all the species for all time.
But we won’t stop there.
In fact, we will never stop. We will never stop.
Because it will take all of us -- and it will take forever. For love never ends.
Bless you for acting on your love and your faith -- today, tomorrow, forever — the biggest love ever. Because love takes all of us, and it is forever. Love never ends.
WRITTEN BY: Kari Cooper, Development & Communications Associate
Science, scientists, and evidence-based policymaking are under attack. Budget cuts, censorship of researchers, disappearing datasets, and threats to dismantle government agencies harm us all, putting our health, food, air, water, climate, and jobs at risk.
That’s why there is a national March for Science taking place on Earth Day, which this year falls on Saturday, April 22nd. One of the 514 satellite marches taking place that day is in Saint Paul beginning at 11:00 AM, with the starting point being at the Cathedral.
MCEA proud to be a partner organization of the March for Science-Minnesota, and we hope you come out that day to support the movement!
MCEA’s RegenerateMN Committee is also hosting a meetup prior to the march at Nina’s Coffee from 9:00-10:30 AM. Join us for coffee and camaraderie as we get amped up to march! A limited number of signs & posters will be available to those who gather with RegenerateMN.
Science is a critical tool that MCEA uses in order to defend Minnesota’s environment from poor regulation and the adverse effects of climate change. We are working everyday to advocate for Minnesota’s environment, its natural resources, and the health of its people. We have seen an unprecedented assault on science around the country, but also here in our own Minnesota legislature. We need you to join us in solidarity as we show our decision makers that science is critically important to build a better future!
For more information, visit the March for Science-Minnesota webpage.
Click on the image above to watch the testimony on video.
Chair, Members of the Committee. My name is Darrell Gerber. I’m the Natural Resources Associate at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.
Thank you for the opportunity to give input on HF707.
I would like to highlight what is being cut in order to move money from the general fund to the Clean Water Fund.
The big loser in this proposal are people who drink water. Some specific examples of the drinking water protections being cut:
Agricultural programs also take a big hit. This includes:
Despite the appearance of support for local governments, I’d like to close out by saying that they stand to lose the most by this proposal. Local governments stand on the front lines for water protection and restoration. Many of the programs I mentioned already directly assist local governments. Others worth noting are:
In a year where there is a $1.6 billion budget surplus it is disappointing to see an effort to remove over 12% of the Clean Water Fund in order to back fill cuts to the general fund.
We ask the committee to return to the latest Clean Water Council recommendations.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
(Testimony at the House Legacy Funding Finance Committee, March 27, 2017)
Thank you Mr. Chair and Members. Mark Ten Eyck representing the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. Thank you for this opportunity to testify.
MCEA opposes many of the policy provisions in this bill. To avoid repeating our previous testimony, we have a packet of written material for handout.
Today, I’ll start by saying: it’s not all bad. The Governor’s goal of a 25% improvement in water quality by 2025, and the related public process, is solid. Minnesotans expect clean, fishable, drinkable and swimmable waters. A 25% improvement to water quality would be a significant step in that direction.
Most all of the other provisions in the omnibus bill, however, weigh against us ever accomplishing that goal.
Beginning with the budget cuts, many of them are extreme. Of particular note, the nearly 85% General Fund cut for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is too much — by a lot. Also, taking $22 million from the Clean Water Fund to implement the buffer law would roll back the Legislature’s 2015 commitment to appropriate this money from the General Fund base beginning in 2018.
On the policy side, MCEA’s concerns are in three areas.
First, this omnibus would cut the public out of the environmental decision-making process by
Second, the omnibus would in many instances delay environmental decision-making— not streamline it. It would, for example:
Third, the omnibus would circumvent the input of experts and scientists doing their jobs. For example, it would:
And then, there is the buffer law: MCEA urges you: Don’t Ditch It in this omnibus. Two points.
In short and in summary, the omnibus is a story of delays here, streamlining there — creating some expediency for pollution permit applicants, but sacrificing important and longstanding protections for public health and the environment.
Thank you for hearing MCEA’s testimony today.
Minnesota's Largest Fishing, Hunting, and Outdoors Groups Urge State Lawmakers To Take Action Before It's Too Late
A broad coalition of Minnesota’s largest fishing, hunting and outdoors groups is warning state lawmakers that inaction could harm fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation and jeopardize the state’s $5.5 Billion tourism industry.
In a letter to top leaders of both parties in the Minnesota House and Senate, the coalition of more than 40 groups urges the legislature to pass modest license fee increases as proposed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and restore historical funding for fish and wildlife management.
Under the proposed increases, a deer hunting license would rise from $30 to $34. An annual fishing license would rise $3, from $22 to $25. Several other licenses are affected.
“Even with the $3 bump, Minnesota’s fishing license is an incredible bargain for a years’ worth of quality fishing,” said a spokesman for the coalition, John Lenczewski, executive director of the nonprofit conservation group, Minnesota Trout Unlimited. “That small increase costs less than a scoop of minnows or a bag of chips at the gas station,” he added.
Each year the Citizen Budget Oversight Committee (BOC) scrutinizes DNR expenditures from the Game & Fish Fund and reviews budget projections. In August 2016, faced with a looming Fund deficit, the BOC requested the DNR develop a package of funding, including license fee increases for fishing, hunting, ice shelters and the like, to ensure the solvency of the Fund without a reduction in fish and wildlife management. The DNR prepared the license fee increases and they were approved by Governor Dayton.
At the urging of groups of sportsmen and sportswomen, Minnesota Trout Unlimited and the Minnesota Conservation Federation, prepared a letter of support for license fee and revenue increases for fish and wildlife management. Numerous organizations quickly signed on. The letter is being sent to key legislators in the decision-making process.
The coalition urges their members and the general public to contact their state representative and senator, saying they support the proposed fee increases, and urge their legislators to return to the State’s longstanding practice of investing a small amount of the state tax generated by hunting and angling activity into the Game & Fish Fund.
The Legislature is expected to set spending targets in the next two weeks with agency budgets coming together quickly after the targets are set. Including license fee increases and additional general funds into the game and fish fund will allow the DNR to better manage the state’s natural resources, especially game and fish populations.
“This is the year to act,” said MCF executive director Gary Botzek. “Waiting until next year will cause delays in natural resources projects and programs,” he added.
“Minnesota’s natural resources are an incredible asset,” Lenczewski said. “Fishing and hunting are good right now, and people come from all over the country to enjoy it. We cannot afford to jeopardize that asset by shorting the game and fish fund.”
You can view the coalition letter here.