by Jennifer Schrock

Handout: Priorities Caring for the Earth FN 

Recently, MCCN and the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions worked together on a handout to help churches discern what is most worth working on in caring for the earth. Doug Kaufman of CSCS and I hashed it out together. We were challenged to do so by Steve Thomas of Mennonite Men, who was seeking a resource for his organization. 

MCCN has an assessment tool for churches that covers a number of areas, but we have never tried to answer a question such as, “What are the most effective earth-friendly actions that faithful, shalom-seeking people can do?” If we had an answer, it was, “It depends on your context.” True. But Steve challenged us to do better than that.

We did not find the task easy. There is no silver bullet; we need silver buckshot raining down everywhere. Ultimately, we wove together guidance from Project Drawdown and our understanding of the special gifts that churches bring to the table. Project Drawdown is a research-backed analysis of the 100 most important actions that could turn climate change around. While many of the solutions are systemic and beyond the scope of most worshipping bodies–reshaping the electrical grid, for example–others, such as educating women and girls, are well-suited to church contexts.

The result is our new handout, Caring for the Earth: Top Priorities. The front side boils things down to seven areas that make a real difference in the health of the planet and a challenge: to root our work in worship and and expansive understanding of God. The back side gives some examples. Perhaps it still feels like an overwhelming list of options to you, but we’re dealing with a problem that has many angles. We hope you find it a useful communication and discernment tool.

Jennifer Schrock is the director of Mennonite Creation Care Network.