Words to Understand Climate and Faith


Photo of mountains in Kentucky
Mountains of Kentucky

Happy Women’s History month!
There are so many women who have and are leading on climate in the US, and around the world (do an internet search!), business women, scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs, writers, artists, indigenous women, faith leaders and more. I have been reflecting this week on all the women who throughout my life taught me to walk gently on the earth.

“Waste not, want not,” and many other similar sayings were common as I was growing up. My mother and grandmothers lived that out through gardening, composting, canning, quilting, darning, knitting, living as simply as possible, reusing everything, and thrifting before it was fashionable. My maternal grandparents lived in the Appalachian mountains, where I spent much of my childhood romping on the hills or in the creek, always among the trees. Trees have been an important constant in my life. There are so many that I have loved. I remember so well the first tree seedling I planted. It was given to me by a woman who also told me how to care for it. I went back to visit that pussy willow tree after we moved away.

Photo of Troublesome Creek, KY
Troublesome Creek, KY

Before seminary, I had not thought about how nature and environmental issues intersects with how I live out my faith. I had never heard a single sermon or participated in a Sunday school lesson about creation and our call as caretakers of it before seminary. My tree hugger self was separate from my Christian faith in my mind. Then in seminary a woman professor named Dr. Emily Askew introduced me to ecofeminist Sallie McFague. In almost an instant, everything changed for me, from how I understood my faith and my call to ministry, to my future (now current) work. I finally had words to understand and to speak about what I had always known in my heart. I could see the interconnectedness of all creation and of all faiths like never before.

I give thanks for all the women who continue to teach me and give me ways to understand and speak about climate like ecowomanist Melanie Harris, indigenous activist Sherri Mitchell, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, ecogrief theologian Hannah Malcolm, the authors and editors in All We Can Save:Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, and the women partners and staff at ecoAmerica with whom I am blessed to work. I pray that you will find some time to reflect on the women in your life who have and continue to teach you how to love and care for creation, and for the women who have given you words to understand and speak about it with others as that is one of the most important things we can do.

Check out this Climate Action Sheet on Climate and Faith, it will give you words to talk about climate with others.


About the Author:
Rev. Carol Devine, Blessed Tomorrow Director, ecoAmerica

Additional Resources:

Blessed Tomorrow Resources

Blessed Tomorrow – Ambassador Training

American Climate Leadership Awards 2023: Zoom Registration

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