Ecojustice Ministries and the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
Here are some thoughts on Ecojustice Ethics and suggestions for ecojustEcitice witness and activities at the congregational level.
We know that environmental degradation has greater impact on the lower income and minority segment of our community. For example, 70% of all people in the US who live within a 2 mile radius of a polluting facility are people of color. We believe this raises ethical issues that must be addressed as part of restoring God’s creation.
EPA’s definition of Eco-justice
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys:
- the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
- equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
A number of prominent Christian leaders have written about Eco Justice Ethics including:
Pope Francis from Laudato Si, On Care of of Common Home
Cultivate and preserve the earth. The human person is in danger. Share in the work of creation and cultivate it. Protect the earth and ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. Earth’s riches belong to us all and so should be fairly distributed. Support and conserve both the natural and human environment. Address the gap between the rich and the poor. Some problems are hunger, lack of water, pollution, waste, climate change, desertification, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, and deforestation.
Theologian Dieter T. Hessel from ECO-JUSTICE ETHICS
A healthy earth community, both humans and non-humans, requires advocacy and action on urgent environmental issues in ways that connect with struggles for social and economic justice. Devastation of the environment and economic injustice go hand in hand. The vision and values of eco-justice ethics express a spirituality grounded moral posture of respect and fairness toward all creation, human and nonhuman. Ecojustice ethics are shaped by religious insights and scientific knowledge, interwoven with social, economic and political experience.
We suggest that you urge your parish and parishioners to consider taking the following actions to stop further degradation of the environment, repair the environment where possible and work toward eco-justice. It is the right thing to do.
- Learn about past and present environmental injustices, including the disproportionate placement of toxic sites in areas that are predominantly African American.
- Stand in solidarity with our indigenous population as they fight for the right to clean water in New Mexico (uranium mining) and South Dakota and North Dakota (Dakota Access Pipeline).
- Educate your community and implement recycling
- Advocate for clean energy
- Promote church, home, and business use of renewable sources of energy
- Change to hybrid or electric vehicles
- Replace impermeable surfaces (such as driveways or parking lots) with permeable surfaces
- Assess environmental issues in your neighborhood, city, state, and country, and take action and advocate for ecojustice.
- Conserve water
- Donate leftover unspoiled food to the needy
- Control erosion and water runoff from your property
- Reduce water, electricity, and gas or oil use.