What’s awesome about Oregon? Pretty much everything. Beautiful things are happening in Oregon for creation care, and they’re happening in faith communities across the state! Here are just a few collaborative organizations that are making a difference for the earth in Oregon.
Solar for Churches
The Oregon Clean Power Cooperative is helping churches and not-for-profits across Oregon put solar panels on their roofs through the Oregon Interfaith Solar Campaign project. Several churches in Oregon have already partnered with the Cooperative to both save money and help our planet face changing climate concerns by integrating solar energy sources into their communities.
The solar campaign empowers churches and other faith-based organizations to come together to bring community-owned, locally-generated renewable energy across Oregon.
Even if your church roof isn’t ideal for solar panel placement, it can still make a difference and participate in the cause to help reverse existing problems and prepare our communities so they can be more resilient in the face of future damaging natural disasters. Your community can partner by helping to educate others within and beyond your congregation; investing in projects to bring solar to faith communities, low-income neighborhoods, and tribes; and buying power from off-site community solar.
If you aren’t sure whether your church roof is eligible, you can learn more at the Oregon Interfaith Solar Campaign’s website.
Our Voice, Our World, Our Future
The youth of today bring fresh perspectives and renewed energy to continue the good work of bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth. Students at Rosemary Anderson High School produced a film to capture how changes in the environment are affecting economically disadvantaged communities in Portland, Oregon.
Produced by Wagging Tale Productions, Rosemary Anderson High School and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, the film examines the changing climate through the lens of local public opinion, pollution, health, economy, community impact, and homelessness.
This project is part of the Creation Justice program with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, which aims to help congregations improve their practices of environmental stewardship and environmental and ecological justice in an effort to love God’s creation through education, relationships, and advocacy.
The Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon has also offered a series of Care for Creation Webinars in Oregon this year, which covered such topics as the Portland Harbor Community Coalition, Rogue Climate, EcoFaith Recovery, and more.
Carbon Gardens with EcoFaith Recovery
EcoFaith Recovery is inviting 25 or more communities of faith to start Carbon Gardens in Oregon. Carbon Gardens are natural spaces designed to facilitate the work of soil-dwelling creatures, plants and trees to pull excess carbon dioxide out of the air in order to draw carbon back into the ground. We recently reviewed the documentary Kiss the Ground, which talked about this principle, in our At the Movies series.
EcoFaith Recovery provides instructions on how to start a Carbon Garden in your community. While other sustainability policies can get politicized, divisive, and expensive, Carbon Gardens have the potential to be very manageable, cheap, and actionable to truly make a difference in a very local, hands-on way.
Carbon Gardens are just one of many initiatives encouraged by EcoFaith Recovery. Located near the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in Portland, EcoFaith Recovery is a faith-based leadership development effort that strives to identify existing or emerging leaders and develop their leadership potential through EcoFaith’s “Practices for Awakening Leadership.” The organization also aims to empower leaders within faith communities to take “courageous public action for the recovery of human life and the healing of God’s creation.”
Since their founding, the organization has trained more than 30 young adult interns, taught 125 care for creation leaders, and led hundreds more individuals through curriculum, workshops, hands-on experiences, and activities in their communities to be witnesses to the importance of caring for each other and healing God’s creation.
The center also partners with the Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice, another Oregon organization, which recently acquired 10 acres of land in Yamhill, Oregon to work with indigenous and non-indigenous peoples alike to “uncover diverse areas of life such as permaculture design, religious topics, plant medicines, seed saving, Indigenous spirituality, leadership mentoring, entrepreneurship, forums of racial equity and empowerment, community empowerment, ecological justice and Earth-care.” The founder of Eloheh, Randy Woodley, has a new book coming out in January, called Becoming Rooted: One Hundred Days of Reconnecting with Sacred Earth.
Every church, every congregation, and every follower of Christ can make a difference, big or small, toward the holy and sacred work of preserving and restoring the earth we’ve been given by God. These three organizations are bringing together churches and leaders across Oregon; if you are from Oregon, find your place to connect!
What organizations are making a difference in your backyard for creation? Let us know!