PPEAT Meeting Minutes: June 14, 2022

Public Policy and Environmental Action Team Minutes

June 14, 2022

6-7 PM

Via Zoom 

Facilitator: Sarah Braik

Minutes: Sarah Braik

Present: Dick Farnsworth, John Hennessy, Mary Linneman, Sarah Braik, Ralph Cordes, Meredith Tipton, Barbara Ryland, Ruth Roemer, Shana Rose, Jeri Edgar, Sam Allen, Theodore Kanellakis, Paula Gillies

The Cathedral of St. Luke sits on unceded Wabanaki territory. We acknowledge that we have benefitted from the exploitation and subjugation of those whom our forebears failed to understand and honor. 

We also acknowledge the legacy of colonization embedded within the technology, structures, and ways of thinking we use every day, leaving significant carbon footprints and contributing to changing climates that disproportionately affect indigenous people worldwide.

Let us acknowledge all this, and take collective responsibility to make good use of our meeting time, and to work towards dismantling the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism, to preserve lands and waters for future generations, and to support indigenous sovereignty. 

Reflection: “Hopelessness is the enemy of justice.”  Bryan Stevenson

  1. Announcements
    1. Reminder: we have been asked by the vestry to complete safe church training
      1. Instructions for completing Safe Church Training
    2. Refugia and Resilience: Sanctuaries for Our Spirit, Ocean, and Climate Thursday, June 30, 2022 @ 6:00 PM On Zoom (Register to receive link). Dr. Debra Rienstra explores the ecological concept of “refugia” as a model for the church in a time of climate change. Along with an ecologist, Dr. Rienstra will lead us in an exploration of refugia faith, drawing connections between the refugia of the spirit and the refugia of God’s creation. Join us to explore how your congregation can be a place of refugia, creating space for healing our spirit, climate, and creation.
  2. Shana Rose was our guest to tell us about her work on climate anxiety
    1. She does a sustainability podcast on the intersection between climate change and mental health, and attended COP 23 and COP 25. She sees the psychological and spiritual effects of climate change particularly among young people. The APA has called “chronic fear of environmental doom” a  psychiatric disorder, but it is not at this point a formal diagnosis and therefore treatment is not covered by insurance. Lack of political will to combat the problem is the most salient cause of climate anxiety. 
    2. Shana mentioned three organizations that work on this issue; the Climate Psychology Alliance of North America, the Climate Psychiatry Alliance, and the Climate Mental Health Network
    3. Shana’s podcast is called Sustaining with Shana.
    4. Shana chaired the creation care team of her former church and was instrumental in developing a series of liturgy hikes.
    5. She recommended the following books:
      1. For the Beauty of the Earth
      2. Ecopsychology
      3. Sacrifice Zones
      4. The Nature Fix
      5. Don’t Even Think About It
      6. Generation Dread
    6. Shana can be contacted at shana@sustainingwithshana.com and her website is www.sustainingwithshana.com.
  3. Diocesan and legislative updates (John Hennessy
    1. The Maine Council of Churches met last week and agreed that they did everything well during the second legislative session. John is preparing his final analysis of the second session and will share it with us.
    2. Tribal legislation 
      1. July 19 celebration at Wolfe’s Neck-stay tuned for more details [Ted informed me after the meeting that this will most likely be postponed til September.]
      2. Reading:
        1. Decolonizing Colonial Systems: Serving as Tribal Ambassador to the Governments that have Historically and Perpetually Oppressed our Nations, by Ambassador Maulian Dana
        2. Tribes push for Golden bill to ensure Wabanaki benefit from future federal laws
        3. One Nation under Fraud: A Remonstrance a must read from the The Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations, a history of the legal relationship between the State of Maine and the Maine tribes, a story of “deceit, greed, theft, neglect, isolation, and genocide.”
  4. Ongoing matters 
    1. Diocesan Climate Justice Council, Earthkeeper and Sep. 1-Oct 4 Season of Creation updates 
      1. The June meeting was canceled due to illness, and the next meeting is scheduled for July 11. The Council is working on a guide for Earthkeepers that should be ready mid summer. 
      2. Appoint team to work on Season of Creation services-Sam, Mary, Dick and Barbara. Sarah will connect them with Ben and send the link to the 2022 guide.
      3. Bishop’s letter on climate justice
      4. Diocesan Climate Justice Council letter
    2. Collaboration with Beloved Community update (Mary)
      1. Beloved Community distributed copies of African American Communities and Climate Change at last Sunday’s 10 AM service. St. Luke’s will honor Juneteenth at next Sunday’s 10 AM service with a guest choir from South Carolina 
    3. Voting
      1. Interfaith Power and Light launched its 2022 Faith Climate Justice Voter Campaign
  1.  Environmental Voter Project is already conducting phone banks
  2. League of Women Voters suggestions (Mary)
    1. We will discuss these in more depth in July. Mary would like us to read the LWV suggestions and be thinking beforehand of how we can contribute. 
  1. New matters
    1. Portland Pride Parade steps off from Monument Square Saturday June 18 at 1pm, proceeds along Congress Street to Congress Square Park, down High Street to Park Avenue, where it enters Deering Oaks Park by Mellen Street, and lasts for about an hour. Festival is 1pm to 5pm in Deering Oaks Park — Vendors, Solidarity Orgs, Main Stage Performances, Beer Garden, Chem-Free Lounge, etc! Look for the St. Luke’s contingent. There are T-shirts for sale. See attached order form.
    2. BARS (Ban Assault Rifles & Save Children) (Jeri Edgar and Paula Gillies)
      1. Paula spoke about the Uvalde shootings being a tipping point for her, and she and Jeri made and passed out orange ribbons on Sunday. Jeri did some research and found dozens if not hundreds of organizations around the country, mostly local, working on banning assault rifles. Paula asked our advice for how to create a united front to finally put an end to assault rifles. Suggestions included:
        1. Create or encourage the creation of a coalition of such organizations
        2. Contact the Maine Council of Churches and the Episcopal Peace Fellowship
        3. Submit a resolution at Diocesan Convention supporting the banning of assault rifles-John Hennessy can be a resource.
        4. Stay focused on Maine and don’t reinvent the wheel-there are lots of organizations doing great work, i.e. medical and educational groups
        5. Ruth Roemer would like to work with Jeri and Paula and Sarah will connect them.
  2. Action items
    1. Complete Safe Church training
    2. Read “One Nation under Fraud
    3. March in the Pride Parade and buy a T-shirt
    4. Sam, Mary, Dick and Barbara will connect with Ben re: planning Season of Creation services
    5. Ruth, Jeri and Paula will plan next steps on BARS
  3. Next meeting Tuesday July 12, 2022, 6-7 PM-we will brainstorm Covenant of Creation commitments and continue our discussion of LWV suggestions for encouraging people to vote in November