“Do we really want to go back to when rivers caught fire?” That is the question Lisa Brenskelle asks when engaged in discussions why we need to do a better job of caring for the environment. By day she is a Research and Development project manager working in Oil and Gas. When she’s not at work she stays busy with her husband, Elmer Ledesma, sharing ideas and resources for individuals and congregations that want to improve their track record in supporting environmentally healthy life styles.
Lisa was one of the first people to attend the Lutherans Restoring Creation training event in 2010. Five synods (geographic areas) within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) received grants to form synodical teams to support congregations in their synod in becoming greener. Their church, Christ the King Lutheran in Houston, formed a small team the following year. The team hosts events and inform people of resources available to help them reduce their negative impact on the environment.
Faith Communities Can Lead the Way
Today Lisa hosts monthly topics for individuals and congregation that want to get involved. via webinars. For the year 2018 the over all theme of the Webinars is Stewardship. Subthemes are care of plants, air, soil, water, etc. I recently attended an event, which was also a webinar, about the advantages of using solar power for homes and faith communities. The technology is in place. Now we need people to care enough to use it, ultimately greatly reducing their carbon contribution to the environment. Lisa also writes a monthly article for the Gulf Coast Synod’s electronic newsletter and provides congregations with bulletin insert blurbs.
She suggests that congregations that want to become more environmentally conscious and responsible begin with conversations with church staff and councils. Once that group of people endorses the need to do more, the next step is to form a small team who will bring ideas to the congregation for ways to improve the congregation’s impact on the local community. Lisa Brenskelle is available to serve as a resource to congregations wanting to go green. Contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org ways to get started or increase your efforts.
Today there are many excellent resources available, both through programs that may charge a small fee and through manuals with ideas for how to go green. One place to find resources is at Lutherans Restoring Creation.
9 Million People Die Each Year from Pollution
Caring about our negative impact isn’t just for the “tree huggers” among us. Lisa reports that more people die every year from pollution than from war and hunger combined. Each year over 4 million people die from air pollution alone. Five million more die from pollution in our water and soil, an astounding total of 9 million annual deaths due to pollution.
Some communities are more impacted than others, but we are all exposed to pollution through what we breathe, drink, and eat. You can read about it in an article published by Lancett. For several generations now most of us have been disconnected from the sources of our food, energy, and other resources. Most of us see nature from our climate controlled homes, offices, and cars. This can lead us to the false conclusion pollution is someone else’s problem. It impacts every living thing. All of our lives are dependent on the natural world. Why should we care? Because our lives depend on it.
- Air pollution is associated with bronchitis and heart and asthma attacks.
- Although the water coming into our homes is treated, we still ingest the unsafe water taken in by the plants and animals we eat.
- Whether humans are responsible or not, the climate is shifting. Weather is more erratic in recent years. The cold is colder and the hot is hotter. Storms are more severe and frequent. If there are some things we can do to mitigate the damage, shouldn’t we do them?
- The birds and bees matter. Without bees plants don’t get pollinated. Without pollination, we don’t get food from them. Birds also play an integral part in planting new plants.
Many Small Changes Yield One Big Difference
We don’t have to make drastic changes to make a huge positive difference. Many small changes will lead to one large improvement. Mother Nature thanks us for our efforts with cleaner air, safer water, healthier food, and a more beautiful planet Earth home. To learn more about steps we can all take to reduce the toxic water, air, and soil check out these resources:
- Climate of Hope, by Carl Pope and Michael Bloomberg
- 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save The Earth, by John, Sophie & Jesse Javna.
- The Silent Sky, by Allan W. Eckert
- Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson
Read, learn, respond.