May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate two significant events in history: the immigration of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869 (Golden Spike Day). The diversity and common experiences of the many ethnic groups are celebrated during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with numerous community festivals as well as government-sponsored activities. Photo, right, from the Library of Congress: Dressmaking Class at the Manzanar Relocation Center in California
In the United Church of Christ, the Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministries (PAAM) was organized in 1974 in San Francisco. The vision was to unite and move forward at the national, regional and local levels as Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans in the United Church of Christ, sharing each person's unique gifts. PAAM was voted into existence at the 10th General Synod in 1975 as a recognized Special Interest Group within the UCC. PAAM has initiated, sponsored, supported and participated in activities at all levels of the conference, worked for greater PAAM representation on all levels of conference boards, committees and staff. PAAM continues to address institutional racism within the church and society, is concerned with human rights and justice, and helps to support and strengthen clergy and lay leadership at the local level.
Over the 50 days of the Mission 4/1 Earth campaign, we are lifting our voices together by writing more than 100,000 advocacy letters on environmental concerns to elected officials and local and national newspapers. Each email and written letter counts toward our goal of shouting out for the environment! Visit the Mission 4/1 Earth advocacy page on ucc.org for more information on how to take action.
Below are some sample letters you may consider sending to your elected officials:
More than 780 million people around the world live without sustainable options for improved water. It is time to make a serious commitment providing water access in ways that sustain God's people and planet.
The State Department recently issued an environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. Advocates are concerned that the review ignores the far-reaching impacts the pipeline will have on wildlife, habitat, and climate change.
Urge your Members of Congress to Include Conservation Compliance in the Farm Bill
Our farming practices have a major impact on the health of our environment. Every five or six years Congress writes a new Farm Bill and they are working on a new one this year. The Farm Bill is the legislative package of federal farm and food legislation that sets the farm, food, and rural policy goals and priorities for our nation.
Take Action on Climate Change
As individual people of faith, we can power down our households and green up our communities, but 2013 will be the year when shouting out to our lawmakers can have its greatest impact. Tell your elected officials at every level to take climate change seriously as a moral imperative for change.
Protect Bristol Bay
Bristol Bay, Alaska, is a wild, largely unspoiled eco-system. Over a half a million square miles of rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands support the largest remaining wild salmon populations and habitat on Earth.
As advocates we have a unique opportunity to weigh in and help to shape legislation to address carbon emissions. Take action now!
Remember to record the number of advocacy letters mailed here. Happy writing!
Planting 100,000 trees: it's the second goal of Mission 4/1 Earth! Here are ways you or your church can contribute toward this goal.
The Arbor Day Foundation is partnering with the United Church of Christ to supply low cost seedlings as well as commemorative cards that educate as well as represent a tree planted in a global forest. Click here to learn how to purchase tree seedlings in quantity.
As an alternative to planting a tree at home, you or your church can purchase a tree that will be planted in a country where there is great need. One example: the LAMBI Fund of Haiti is planting one million trees to raise awareness about the root causes of deforestation and educate communities about ways to address these problems.
The cost for one tree is just $22. You can support this tree-planting initiative or similar projects in China, Kenya, Peru, East Jerusalem and elsewhere across the globe, by clicking here: plant a global tree.
There is no wrong way to count your hours. We are all at different points in our journey towards green living and the steps you take along the path, no matter how big or small, are important. Our ultimate goal is to work together to collectively transform the way we live our lives by becoming more intentional about our impact on, and connection to, the earth. Any efforts toward that end are valuable and should be counted.
There are a variety of ways to engage, but whatever you do must feel authentic to you. If you are just beginning to explore the impact of your life on the health of our planet, simply taking some time to pray and study may be what you need to do to get started. If you're already living an earth friendly lifestyle, now may be the time to add a new discipline to help you stretch beyond greening your own life, and move in to making changes to your community or church through a new program or advocacy. If you're a real pro, you may be able to achieve a full day of earth care by dedicating your personal habits, transportation, food choices, thoughts, and prayers to protecting the earth!
For some great, practical ideas for changes you can make...from substituting vinegar for commercial cleaners and using energy efficient bulbs to bicycling to work...download this list (pdf).
Watch a UCC video about earning earth hours here.
Learn about the environment on Darkwood Brew.
Download free worship services for your church here.
See what others are doing on the Mission 4/1 Earth Facebook page.
Remember to record your hours here!
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,