• Reflection: Plastic, Plastic Everywhere
  • Upcoming Events
  • Advocacy Update and Jewish Advocacy Night
  • Trees for Sacred Places - New Funding!
  • Earth Day Ideas for Individuals and Congregations

Reflection: Plastic, Plastic Everywhere 

Not so long ago, American manufacturing was limited to materials such as metal, tin, wood, or glass. Household goods lasted forever, toys were heavy, and packaging was cumbersome! Then along came plastic. Suddenly we could mold sturdy material into any shape imaginable. A new era of medical advancements, convenience, and consumerism emerged. There’s no need to feel guilty about plastic altogether or advocate for a return to “life before plastic.” But, can we return to “life with less waste”? Or, “life with less convenience”? Or maybe, “life with more conscientious consumerism”?

The National Cathedral in Washington DC put together an excellent Plastic Fast for Christians entering Lent and offered to share it here. In addition to the great ideas on this list, IPC invites you to become a public advocate for less plastic degradation of the environment. This legislative session in Maryland, there are 2 bills being considered that advocate for less plastic. One bill is for a statewide bag ban, modeled after the successful ban in Washington DC. The other bill addresses plastic microbead exfoliators in skin cleansers and toothpastes. These plastic microbeads slip through wastewater treatment plants and end up in our waterbodies. As this video demonstrates, micro-plastics wreak havoc in our ecosystem and stay with us forever. (Please excuse whatever advertisement it plays before the video starts!)

On Sunday, Drew Brown from St. Bartholomew’s Church in Baltimore spoke at the Interfaith Forum and challenged everyone to “oppress our neighbors less.” She wasn’t talking about global issues and overwhelming problems. Rather, she stressed the importance of making reflective decisions in our daily lives so as not to burden others with our footprints. This video demonstrates that our everyday actions can harm Creation around us - even the seemingly small acts - right here in our own back yard. (Thank you UUC of Rockville for sharing the video at the Forum!)  

While society will never revert to “life before plastic”, we can mature in the way we use plastic. We can be discerning consumers and make intentional choices. We can speak to our legislators to bring the faith voice to bear on issues pertaining to wastefulness or products that damage the environment. We can continuously try to oppress our neighbors less. And simply trying to change our behavior is a prayer in itself. Maybe our prayer will carve a new path through the wasteland.

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." 
Isaiah 43:16-21

Upcoming Events

  • February 23rd - 7 pm - Clean Energy Rally - Details and RSVP here
  • February 24th - 11:30 am Clean Water Rally - Details and RSVP here
  • February 28th - all day conference hosted by the Watershed Stewards Academy - IPC will be presenting a workshop called “Living Waters, Tree of Life: Spiritual Metaphors for Watershed Restoration” - More details about workshops here and register here through Feb. 25.
  • March 3rd - 12 noon Rally to Support the 8-year Fracking Moratorium - Lawyer’s Mall, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD (north side of the statehouse circle) - Details and RSVP here
  • March 7th - all day workshop - Catholic Social Justice Convocation, Baltimore - IPC will be presenting a workshop on the connection between clean water and social justice issues - Details and Registration here
  • March 13th - Visioning Session for church leadership at Gwynn Oaks United Methodist Church, Baltimore - please keep them in your prayers as they embark on the Covenantal Partners Program

Call to Advocacy

New Advocacy Page 
Check out IPC’s new Advocacy Page! Here you can read about 6 bills in the legislature that have direct implications on the sacredness of Creation and our responsibility to advocate for it. Gather your congregation’s green team to discuss the bills and maybe even prepare letters to your legislators. Or, call your legislator directly to express your views. 

Jewish Advocacy Night
You’re invited to participate in the 2015 Advocacy Night sponsored by the Baltimore Jewish Council. Let your legislators know what you think about controlling polluted stormwater, plastic waste, and more. February 24th in the evening. Details here 

New Funding - Trees for Sacred Places Program

Since the Trees for Sacred Places program started in partnership with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay in late 2013, participating congregations have had a measurable collective impact! (photo credit: Dave Warren)

  • 1,200 trees planted
  • 500 trees given away to under-represented congregations in Anne Arundel County
  • Initially, these 1,700 trees will sequester 11 tons of carbon dioxide each year
  • When they reach 10 years of age, they will sequester 40 tons of carbon dioxide each year
  • Collectively these trees will intercept 1.7 million gallons of rainfall each year

We are excited to announce that we’ve secured additional funding to continue tree plantings in 2015! Plantings can take place at congregations, retreat centers, schools, seminaries, etc. More information on this program is available on our website. Please contact  [email protected] to explore whether your site is suitable.

Not enough space for a planting? That’s okay - we can pair you up with a nearby congregation or retreat center looking for planting volunteers. We want to hear from you! 

Earth Day Ideas

Menu for Action
Looking for something to do with your Green Team for Earth Day? Check out the Menu for Action for hundreds of ideas, activities, reflections, and ways to lead your congregation toward a culture of Caring for Creation. If you have an idea or activity to add to the Menu, please contact [email protected]. New listings are being added all the time!

Project Clean Stream
We are proud to help promote Project Clean Stream, a program of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Assemble your green teams or youth groups for an outdoor cleanup experience! Visit their website for a list of possible work sites and how to enroll.