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Why a Green Team?

by Sung-ok Lee


United Methodist Women - Green Team
Orientation & Planning Meeting, April 7-8, 2005, Stamford, CT

Green Team for Environmental Advocacy:

The concept of Green Team’s work on environmental advocacy has the goal of realizing “environmental justice.”  Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people – regardless of race, ethnicity, income or education level – in environmental decision-making.  Environmental Justice work promotes the protection of human health and the environment, empowerment via public participation, and the dissemination of relevant information to inform and educate affected communities.  At the core of this work is a simple proposition:  a person’s access to clean air, water or soil should be a human right.  The environment is not our environment.  It is the Creator’s.  Being “…whole persons through Jesus Christ…” (United Methodist Women’s Purpose) includes restoring our Creation to its original balance.  There is no peace without justice and integrity of Creation.  There can be no integrity of Creation without peace and justice.

Scriptural Basis -  Isaiah 65:17-25

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth;
The former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating;
For I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people;
No more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, nor the cry of distress.

No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days,
Or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;…
They shall build houses and inhabit them;  they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit..
They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity;
Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
But the serpent – its food shall be the dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

This passage shares a vision of a world where people live in justice, peace and integrity with Creation.

Policy Base -  2004 Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church

  • Environmental Justice for a Sustainable Future, pp.83-89, BOR, states that:    

Humankind is destroying the global ecological balance that provides the life-support systems for the planet.  Sings of the crisis are evident all around us.  The global ecological imbalance produces environmental destruction.  The United Methodist Church will strive for a global sense of community to help achieve social, economic and ecological justice for all of creation.

Social Principals,¶ 160 states that “all creation is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it.  Water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, animal life, and space are to be valued and conserved because they are God’s creation and not solely because they are useful to human beings.  God has granted us stewardship of creation.  We should meet these stewardship duties through acts of loving care and respect.

  • Environmental Racism, pp.91-97, BOR, states that:

The United Methodist Church is committed to understanding and eliminating racism.  One generally ignored aspect is environmental racism.  People of color are disproportionately affected by toxic contamination due to the production, storage, treatment, and disposal process of hazardous materials and wastes.  As a result, their communities have become the dumping grounds for waste with devastating economic and health consequences… Therefore we ask our local churches, conferences and general agencies to join with other religious bodies and groups in actions to end this form of racism.

  • Protection of Water, pp.106-107, BOR, states that:

In the Bible water is a gift.  God covenants with God’s people and extends invitations to them to experience fullness of life.  A measure of this abundant life is God’s offer of water as a free gift without cost (Isaiah 55:1)…Water is an integral part of God’s radical expression of God’s love to all humanity.  Water cannot be monopolized or privatized.  It is to be shared like air, light and earth…Therefore, United Methodists shall affirm and educate that water is a basic human right to be shared and enjoyed by all God’s people; shall encourage and develop strategies for guidingprinciples protecting our water supply; shall support the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Developments commitment to reduce by half the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015; shall encourage and commit to good water management by all entities, corporations and communities; shall urge that all countries take responsibility for the way they use water.

ALL Resolutions Relating to the Natural World – Environment/Energy

2004 Book of Resolutions, United Methodist Church, pp.69-107

    1. Caring for Creation – A Study from a Native American Perspective
    2. Cease Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
    3. A Dioxin-Free Future
    4. Steps Toward a Dioxin-Free Future
    5. Energy Policy Statement
    6. U.S. Energy Policy and United Methodist Responsibility
    7. Environmental Justice for a Sustainable Future
    8. Environmental Law – The Precautionary Principle
    9. Environmental Racism
    10. Environmental Stewardship
    11. God’s Creation and the Church
    12. Law of the Sea
    13. Protection of Water
    14. Recycling and the Use of Recycled Products

Office of Community Action, Women’s Division, 475 Riverside Dr. Room 1504, New York, NY 10115, 212-870-3766, SLee@gbgm-umc.org, http://gbgm-umc.org/umw  

Date posted: Apr 15, 2005