Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In the U.S., African Amercans are the hardest hit by climate change

Captions: left Prof. Cricket with her Christmas scarf. Right: the Rev. Michael McClain of the National Council of Churches of Christ Eco-Justice Programs.(Photos by Naomi)

By Naomi Yaeger UMW Green Team Rep and Prof. Cricket, her determined little dog.

Prof. Cricket and I live in a northern city, Duluth, MN. We go for lots of walks and this keeps us in contact with the people of the neighborhood. While Duluth doesn't have a large population of African Americans, we live in a part of the city that has a larger population of minorities than other parts of this city of 80,000 people.

One thing my little doggie and I have noticed is that of our environmentally minded friends we do not see many African Americans. I serve as the editor of "The Hillsider". It is a newspaper for the core neighborhoods in Duluth and we work hard to cover issues that affect minority people. One of the people on the board of directors of this non-profit newspaper, an African American woman, also had noticed that not many of her African American friends and acquaintances were as interested in environmental issues. She lived only a block away and I used to stop by with Prof. Cricket when we went for walks. (Prof. Cricket was fascinated with her cat.)

Anyway, we would talk about many things and one day she phoned me to tell me about an African American man she had just met. He was interested in the environment and trying to get people to recycle and participate in other environmental programs. She said this was the first African American that she had met who was "into" the environment. To her environmentalism was low on her priority scale. She thought she had more pressing issues to worry about.

Well, anyway the above story illustrates my personal experience with minorities interest in green issues. Here is an article I wrote for our newspaper:

Baptist minister says impacts of global warming fall harder on African-Americans than others

In March I attended Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C. as part of my role as a member of the United Methodist Women’s Green Team for the state of Minnesota. Over 700 people of faith from across the nation attended this conference. The theme was “Enough for all.” On the last day we visited our representatives and senators on Capitol Hill
We learned about environmental racism, in which the people who are already living in poverty are often dealing with the effects of environmental degradation.

I met Baptist minister Michael McClain, a staff-member of the National Council of Churches of Christ Eco-Justice Programs. He spoke about how minority people have often felt left out of the environmental movement when in fact they are the ones who are hardest hit by environmental degradation.

He said, “The worst impacts of global warming fall harder on African-Americans than on anyone else in the United States.” He cited asthma rates are often higher in minority communities, and minorities will pay a higher percentage of their incomes to increasing energy costs.
McClain works to reach out to historic black churches, explain the ways in which climate change is impacting poor people and people of color, and invite them to sign the National Council of Churches’ Faith Principles on Global Warming.
He is also working on home insulation programs, which help people lower energy costs as well as lower their carbon footprint.
If you would like to learn more email McClain at mmclain AT nccecojustice.org or visit nccecojustice.org

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Eat fair trade chocolate at Easter time, urge Cadbury's to go fair trade in America

Many people eat lots of chocolate at Easter time.

Make sure you buy fair trade chocolate.

In England Cadbury's has made a commitment to selling fair trade chocolate.

Here is what Green America has to say:
he significance of this fantastic news is that Cadbury is the first major chocolate brand to go Fair Trade with one of its main product lines, one of the goals Green America has been striving towards. Cadbury's announcement proves what Green America has been saying for years: it is viable for a major chocolate bar to go Fair Trade without passing a significant cost increase to consumers. Congratulations on this important victory to all of you who have taken action by buying a Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate bar or writing a letter to bring us to this moment!

Read more here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

World Water Day is March 22

World Water Day Highlights Value of Water Resources

"On World Water Day, we are all called to think about how countries can collaborate to assure sustainable freshwater supplies for all people, especially when those supplies span different countries' borders. In doing so, let's all think about the value of water and call ourselves and others to a high standard of water stewardship."

Denver (Vocus) March 20, 2009 -- The American Water Works Association (AWWA (www.awwa.org)), the authoritative resource on safe water, today joined the United Nations and water advocates throughout the world in recognizing the 16th annual World Water Day, observed March 22, 2009. AWWA Executive Director Gary Zimmerman issued the following statement.

"World Water Day provides a great opportunity to focus on the immeasurable value of water and to recommit ourselves to being excellent stewards of our global water resources. AWWA's 2008 State of the Industry report found that water resources were the single top concern among North American water professionals over both the near- and long terms.

"In the developed world, we frequently take safe water for granted, expecting it will always be there when we turn on the tap. But as drought grips California, Texas and other regions in North America, we need to think about how we use water in our homes and our places of business. All of us - from scientists to resource planners to utility managers to consumers - have a role to play in maximizing the smart and efficient use of our valued water resources.

"On World Water Day, we are all called to think about how countries can collaborate to assure sustainable freshwater supplies for all people, especially when those supplies span different countries' borders. In doing so, let's all think about the value of water and call ourselves and others to a high standard of water stewardship."

Eighty-five World Water Day events have been planned across 27 countries as of this release. The United States and Canada will hold 37 such events, the most of any region of the world. Read about World Water Day in Streamlines (http://www.awwa.org/publications/breakingnewsdetail.cfm?itemnumber=47057). More information on World Water Day 2009 can be found at www.worldwaterday.org.

AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. AWWA is the largest organization of water professionals in the world. AWWA advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the entire water community. Through our collective strength we become better stewards of water for the greatest good of the people and the environment.

Friday, March 20, 2009

UMW Green Team's Initiative on Climate change

Carol Rieke and Jane Todd visiting at the Washington, D.C. office with Senator Amy Klobuchar's aide Charley (Photo by Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff)

Visiting with Rep. Jim Oberstar's aid in the Rayborn Building in Washington, DC. Naomi Yaeger, Franciscan sister and Jane Todd.

UMW Green Team’s Initiative on Climate Change: Countdown to Copenhagen Campaign 2009

From the GBGM-UMW website

The Women’s Division and United Methodist Women are active partners with Church World Service, the National Council of Churches USA, their member denominations, and ecumenical partners in developed and developing nations on the Countdown to Copenhagen Campaign (C2C).

This effort strives to build awareness among people of faith of the critical need for compassionate, bold action on climate change which is damaging God’s creation and imposing unjust burdens on the poor around the world.

The campaign calls upon the world’s leaders to commit to strong limits on carbon emissions. It also calls for wealthy nations to contribute funds to assist developing countries to adapt to the climactic changes that have already begun.

Clear here to learn things you can do




· Adult Sunday School class

· Vacation Bible School class

· Teens – participatory learning

· Beat the Heat Fair





Click here to learn more

For more information

Contact Esmeralda Brown at Women’s Division: EBrown AT gbgm-umc.org


For Policy and Legislative Updates contact Susie Johnson at Washington Office: umwanet AT gbgm-umc.org / 202-488-5660

UMW Green Team members gather for envirnomental justice-learning event

United Methodist Women Social Action Coordinators, Green Team members and Women's Divison directors meet in Washington, D.C. for Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff)

Climate Change Tops Ecumenical Advocacy Days


Forty-seven United Methodist Women social action and environmental justice leaders shared organizing tips and boned up on legislation affecting women, children, youth and the environment at the 7th Annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days in the Washington, D.C., area, Mar. 12-16. The “Enough for All Creation” ecumenical advocacy event convened more than 600 people from various denominations and faith groups to focus on the urgent need for legislative action around climate change.

Even event workshops on Africa, peace, hunger and economic justice examined the impact of global warming on those issues.

“As Christians, we must be truth-tellers,” said the Rev. Sean McDonagh in the opening plenary worship of the ecumenical event. “If we continue in the way we are going, by 2100, a third of the earth will be desert. So children I baptize this year -- whom I would hope would live to be 100 -- they will be here when this happens. … This is a Kairos moment. Pray courage for individuals and courage for our leaders. We have the technology. The world has the wealth. But the world still doesn’t have the political will to act -- and we have a window of about 10-20 years to effect change.”

Read the whole story on the GBGM UMW website here

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Biokleen laundry liquid has no phosphate or chlorine and works well

It works very well. Here is what the Biokleen's website says about the laundry liquid:

Citrus Laundry Liquid

Phosphate & Chlorine Free:
Our Laundry liquid removes the toughest dirt, grease, stains and odors, yet is gentle enough for cloth diapers, delicate fabrics and hand washables. Rinses clean without leaving residue on clothes that can irritate skin or ruin fabrics.

• 3x More Concentrated
• Grapefruit Seed & Orange Peel Extracts
• Naturally controls stains and odors
• Makes a great pre-treat for stains

I don't like fragrances in my laundry soap. I smelled my laundry and it smell clean and there was no flowery or other smell.

Here are the ingredients: Surfactants and conditioners form coconut and/or corn, orange peel extract, grapefruit seed and pulp extract, linear suffonate, filter water.

I went to a green conference the other day and Shannon from the Whole Foods Co-op gave me a sample of Biokeen. It is an all temperature Laundry Liquid and it is phosphate and chlorine free.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Giving up Carbon for Lent

Will you give up something for Lent?

Here is a post on Twilight Earth:

The 10 Best Ways to Give Up Carbon for Lent.

10. Get a cloth sack

9. Give the dishwasher a break -

8. Fill your plates - What plates are those? Light switches and plug plates!

7. Don’t let it shine - “Oh Honey! You turned down the lights! How romantic!”

6. The Secret Sister of the Recycle, Reuse and Reduce triplets -Let me introduce you to Precycling! Simply put, Precycling is the act of “not purchasing” something that would otherwise be Recycled or thrown into a landfill.

5. Eat Slow, Joe - Fast foods are Carbon intensive.

4. Got a Bounty of Brawny Scott’s in your kitchen? Give’em the boot! -

3. Wean yourself off the bottle - No, not that bottle, this bottle.

2. Don’t be Latte for work - How much water goes into that single Latte you buy on the way to work? 50 Gallons! Check out this video.

And the number 1 thing you can do to give up carbon for Lent? Give up Beef! For every 1 pound of beef that you eat, you are also consuming 7lbs of grain, and 2,500 gallons of water. Not to mention about 270 antibiotic injections. 1lb of beef also produces the carbon equivalent of driving a car at 60 miles an hour for 200 miles or burning a 100 watt bulb continuously for 20 years.

Our pastor is giving up red meat for Lent because he wants to lessen his carbon footprint.

You may read more about the effects of meat production on the environment here at:

Beef Effects on People, the Environment and Society.