Encyclical Letter LAUDATO SI’ – Pope Francis Addresses Climate Change

Pope Francis 2015

Pope Francis
“Now, faced as we are
with global environmental deterioration,
I wish to address
every person living on this planet.”

This past Thursday, Pope Francis appealed to “every person living on this planet” to come together to tackle climate change.

Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others,” he said.

Climate change is one of the defining moral and ethical issues of our time. The poor, and those living in developing countries, are the most at risk for increased flooding, food insecurity, and climate conflict.

In December, world leaders will meet in Paris at the U.N. Climate Summit, tasked with reaching an agreement to cut global carbon emissions. Help us build grassroots momentum for climate action at this Summit:
Sign the petition, calling on world leaders to reach a meaningful climate agreement in Paris.

At the end of the 82-page encyclical letter, LAUDATO SI’, meaning “Praise Be,” Pope Francis offered 2 prayers: “A prayer for our earth,” and “A Christian prayer in union with creation,” explaining: 

“The first, we can share with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator, while in the other we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.”

A prayer for our earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
A Christian prayer in union with creation
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!

Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!

Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!

Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!
Amen.

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Part-Time, Contracted Job Opening: Field Organizer, KY Sierra Club

Apply for this Part-Time Contracted Position with KY sierra Club -  MTR Field OrganizerOur Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club (aka the Kentucky Chapter), is looking for a part-time organizer to support our work on Mountaintop Removal in Eastern Kentucky.

The position is available on a contract basis, and is grant-dependent.

The contractor must live in Eastern Kentucky.  Below are the position details and application instructions.

Job Opening:                       Part-Time, Contract-based Field Organizer

Application Deadline:      Friday, May 28, 2015

Position:           Part-Time Contracted Field Organizer (grant dependent)

Location:          Eastern Kentucky

Department:   Sierra Club, Cumberland (Kentucky) Chapter

Reports to:      Cumberland Chapter Mining Co-Chair, Alice Howell

Background: Currently, the Eastern Kentucky Coalfields are in a period of significant transition as coal mines close at more rapid rates than any time in the recent past.  There are fewer than 11,000 coal jobs left in Kentucky; significantly less than there were even a year ago. The practice of mountaintop removal (MTR) mining has left the Central Appalachian region with legacy pollution to water, air, land, and communities that will take monumental funds and efforts to abate into the foreseeable future.

The presence of the Sierra Club – partnering with our allies who have worked to end the devastating practice of MTR mining, and supporting the ongoing efforts of citizens in the region to secure a just economic transition for the future – is crucial to further the work that we have been doing in the region for many years. The geography and culture of the mountains requires on-the-ground, personal involvement with local residents to accomplish the networking and relationship building necessary to make a difference. 

Scope: Part-Time contract field organizer to work, for up to 25 hours/week, in the coal producing region of Eastern Kentucky (Central Appalachia Mountain region) to advocate for a clean energy future and sustainable economies in the coalfields of Kentucky while repairing and restoring our waters and land.  The contract will run through the end of 2015 with the possibility of continuations into 2016.

The Eastern Kentucky Contract Organizer is responsible for working with the Sierra Club’s Kentucky Chapter in the development of strategies and priorities aligned with the Beyond Coal Campaign.

Potential goals include:

  1. Increase capacity in the Eastern Kentucky coalfield regions.
  2. Maintain an active presence in leveraging existing Economic Transition work in the region to build new partnerships on the ground, and strengthen existing alliances.
  3. Coordinate work with Sierra Club organizers working on MTR mining issues in Central Appalachian states.
  4. Inventory the availability of funds for economic transition; especially projects geared toward reclamation/restoration.
  5. Collaborate with Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program.
  6. As part of Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice work to end MTR mining; work to support the Alliance for Appalachia’s regulatory agency demands outlined in its Grassroots Progress Report released in December 2014.

Possible Job Activities:

  1. Partner w/the Kentucky Chapter’s Outings Program, to increase outings activity in the region tied to restoration projects, to create demand for preservation of the Appalachian Mountains and their unique, natural diversity.
  2. Identify and support economic diversification efforts in conjunction with Sierra Club organizers and allies in Central Appalachian states.
  3. Continue ongoing work to develop key connections and build powerful alliances with those communities that have a vested interest in the success of a clean energy economy, including clean tech businesses and entrepreneurs, people of color & civil rights groups, organized labor, and low income organizations.
  4. Work with allied organizations to find funds through Abandoned Mines Lands/Appalachia Regional Commission/Brownfields programs to support the work of economic transition in the region.
  5. Build regional citizen support by finding local programs that are geared toward reclamation/restoration/sustainable energy/energy efficiency of a targeted area and help apply for those funds.

 Knowledge and Skills:

  • Passionate about social justice, clean water, and clean energy.
  • Experience in the environmental or social justice field that includes research and organizing campaigns, press relations, and public speaking.
  • Experience with regulatory agencies is helpful.
  • Self-directed and ability to guild the development of strategies and priorities.
  • Good written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability and effectiveness working with volunteers and diverse teams.
  • Requires travel.
  • Valid driver’s license, satisfactory driving record, and proof of auto insurance required.

Application instructions:  

To apply, please email the following materials, no later than Friday May 28, 2015:
your resume, 2 references, and a cover letter that includes your location, willingness to travel, and why you are interested in this position.

Apply for this position

Sierra Club is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to a diverse workforce.

Kentucky Sierra Club: The Cumberland Chapter (aka Kentucky Chapter) of Sierra Club was founded in 1968, encompasses the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky, and is comprised of 6 active Groups throughout the state.  http://kentucky.sierraclub.org

Beyond Coal Campaign: The Beyond Coal campaign is a nationwide grassroots effort to eliminate coal’s contribution to global warming no later than 2030 and replace the existing coal infrastructure with a clean energy economy fueled by wind, solar, and geothermal. The Beyond Coal campaign is working to stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants, retire and replace the existing fleet of coal plants, and keep the U.S. coal reserves underground and out of world markets. The Beyond Coal campaign is dedicated to ending the devastating practice of mountaintop removal and supporting a just economic transition in Appalachia. To learn more about our campaign visit: http://beyondcoal.org.

National Sierra Club: Sierra Club has grown to become America’s largest grassroots environmental advocacy organization–and also one of its most effective. At its core, the Club promotes outdoor activities and environmental activism on both the local and national levels through political lobbies, education, outings, and publications. The Club’s more than 2.6 million supporters are organized into state and regional chapters throughout the US and Canada. Sierra Club publishes books, calendars, SIERRA magazine, and The Planet – an activist newsletter. Its current issues include moving beyond coal-fired power, promoting clean energy, stopping the worst of the natural gas boom, and expanding iconic landscapes across the U.S. The organization was founded in 1892 by world renowned naturalist John Muir. http://sierraclub.org/

Working at the Sierra Club, no matter what your position, means that you are working to build a green, equitable, 100% clean energy future for generations to come.

This position is part-time, and grant-dependent.

Download and/or print the full job description and application information.

Posted in Climate Change, Coal, Energy, InTheNews, Mining, Mountain Top Removal, Renewable Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Job Opening: KY and IN – FT Sierra Club Beyond Coal Senior Campaign Rep

Job Opening - Sierra Club Beyond CoalSierra Club’s ground-breaking Beyond Coal Campaign is seeking a Senior Campaign Representative to work in southern Indiana and western Kentucky with a talented team to phase out aging coal plants and replace them with clean, renewable energy. The Beyond Coal Campaign is a nationwide effort to eliminate coal’s contribution to global warming no later than 2030 and replace the existing coal infrastructure with a clean energy economy fueled by wind, solar and geothermal.

This position will be based in Evansville, IN or Owensboro, KY.

The Sierra Club seeks highly motivated candidates to work with a dynamic team in a rapidly changing energy industry. Ideal candidates are skilled campaign strategists and experienced project managers with a passion for environmental and social justice outcomes. Environmental experience is a plus.

This position is full-time, exempt, with benefits.

Read the full job description and see how to apply here.

Posted in Climate Change, Coal, Energy, InTheNews, Renewable Energy | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 KY General Assembly Wrap-Up

Weather and Short Session Challenge 2015 Kentucky General Assembly

Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort, KY

Kentucky Capitol, Frankfort
photo by: C. Summers (Thanks, Chuck!)
____________________________

Your Legislative Information

KY House District #:
can be found here
KY Representatives by District

KY Senate District #:
can be found here
KY Senators by District

Chapter Legislative Committee

Committee Members:
Ruth Bamberger (Chair), Tom Morris, Joan Lindop, Ray Barry
Wallace McMullen, Jeff Hampton, Sherry Otto (staff)

Resources:
Chapter website (Legislative)
Chapter blog (Legislative)
Bills we are tracking

Help support our work in Kentucky - Donate

by Ruth Bamberger, Legislative Committee Chair
Cumberland Chapter, Sierra Club

This year should go down as one of the most unproductive sessions of the KY General Assembly, and nature ironically had a lot to do with it.  After a very successful Clean Energy Lobby Day in February with strong participation by Sierra Club volunteers, the highly publicized House hearing on the Clean Energy Bill was cancelled because of snow. The KY Sustainable Energy Alliance had arranged for Kacey Hoover of North Carolina Sustainable Energy Action to testify at the hearing, only to learn that her flight to Louisville had been cancelled as well.

Even though most of the bills we supported did not go very far, there were a few victories for the Energy/Environment agenda. The biggest was HB100 which allows local governments to establish Energy Project Assessment District (EPAD) programs for property owners who want to make energy efficiency improvements in their buildings. Under this program, a local government offers bonds to investors and the money raised is loaned to consumers and businesses to make energy retrofits and install renewable energy in their structures. The loans are repaid over a number of years through an annual assessment on the owner’s property tax bill. We anticipate that Governor Beshear will sign the bill.

Fracking has now become a reality in the state, as the Division of Oil and Gas Resources held a hearing in late February on a permit requested by Horizontal Technology Energy Company of Pennsylvania for a deep well drilling in Johnson County. In anticipation of an increase in horizontal drilling, SB186, known as the KY Oil and Gas Modernization Act, was passed and sent to the Governor for his signature. This legislation provides protections for landowners by requiring water well testing and identification of chemicals used in fracking. An attempt was made during the Senate hearing to place a two year moratorium on fracking in the state, but the effort failed. The Sierra Club opposes horizontal hydrofracking, but this legislation does offer some protections to landowners.

Other bills supported by the Sierra Club had no hearings this session, including HB523, the Tax Credit for Land Conservation, and HB372, which provides setbacks for residential property lines in proximity to landfill deposits such as coal ash. SB90, which would terminate the requirement for a permanent storage site for nuclear waste from nuclear power plants, passed the Senate this year, but the House took no action. The Sierra Club remained strongly opposed to this bill.

Those who follow the legislative process are always ready for the unpredictable and crazy things that can happen to bills. The Sierra Club supported HB93, establishing protections for endangered plant species, only to see it morph into a horse racing bill! HB131, the Stream Saver Bill, prohibiting dumping of mountaintop waste into valleys and streams, wound up with an amendment to delete all sections of the bill and require the EPA to appear before the US Congress!

The General Assembly sets up Interim Committees while not is session and we will be monitoring the work of these committees as they pertain to the Sierra Club agenda.

The sixty day session next year will generate more opportunities to move our priorities along.

Posted in Climate Change, Coal, Efficiency, Endangered Species, Energy, Fracking, InTheNews, Legislation, Mining, Mountain Top Removal, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Renewable Energy, Surface Mining, Waste, Water | Leave a comment