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(Marquette, Michigan) - The Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge is in its biggest week with help from interfaith groups and American Indians in reaching the goal of one million pounds of electronics and one million pills.
The EPA issued the challenge to Great Lakes basin residents participating in over 100 projects that are collecting pharmaceuticals, electronics and household poisons. The EPA awarded grants to some of the projects.
Interfaith groups are involved in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania. An EPA grant helped start the non-profit Earth Healing Initiative (EHI).
Trust between religions and interfaith environment projects are vital to protect the future of the earth, said a Lutheran bishop, who has participated in numerous Earth Day recycling projects.
"We are in an environmental crisis in many ways," said Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes of the Northern Great Lakes Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. "The Great Lakes watershed is really a kind of a mother to all of us here in the upper Midwest."
The EHI involves American Indian tribes and "a coalition and partnership of churches, synagogues and other faith traditions joining together and sharing their projects and resources to heal, protect and defend the environment," said founder Rev. Jon Magnuson of Marquette, Michigan.
The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (MITW) is holding a curbside pickup of electronics for members during Earth Week, April 21-24. Over 1,000 pounds of electronics have been turned in at the MITW transfer station since April 1. The College of Menominee Nation hosts pharmaceutical/electronics collections on April 22.
On Friday, April 25, students at the tribal K-8 school are picking up litter and cleaning up the a reservation community. Students recently created "Garbage Monsters" out of bottles other items found in their trash, said Diana Wolf, MITW Solid Waste/Recycling Coordinator. Students gave presentations on other uses for the garbage.
"This interfaith earth healing effort is really a great gift that has been given to all of us," Skrenes said. “The church is called to bring people together to be part of the healing."
Examples of established interfaith organizations that are assisting the EHI include the University of Minnesota Lutheran Campus Ministry, the Duluth Arrowhead Interfaith Council, Marquette University Ministry in Milwaukee, several Catholic interfaith groups and the ELCA office of Ecumenical Formation.
The interfaith EHI is one of numerous environment and Native American projects founded by the non-profit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, Michigan including the Earth Keepers who removed more than 370 tons of e-waste, pharmaceuticals and household hazardous waste during three Earth Day clean sweeps.
The northern Michigan Earth Keepers belong to ten faith traditions with 150 churches and temples including Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Bahá'í, Jewish, Zen Buddhist and the Quakers. The EHI is working with the same faith traditions.
EPA Press Release:
Earth Healing Initiative:
Interfaith graphics by Justice St. Rain (Bah'i Community)
Interfaith Resources - Special Ideas website:
University of Minnesota LCM:
Arrowhead Interfaith Council:
Marquette University LCM:
Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin:
College of Menominee Nation
http://www.menominee.edu(Marquette, Michigan) - The Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge is in its biggest... more
(Chicago, Illinois) - Faith leaders across eight Great Lakes states are urging their members to participate in an Earth Day 2008 challenge to collect one million pounds of electronics and more than one million pills because trust is needed between all people to stop “an environmental crisis.”
The U.S. EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge is in high gear with more than 100 projects involving hundreds of communities collecting pharmaceuticals, electronics and household poisons.
An EPA grant to the non-profit interfaith Earth Healing Initiative (EHI) is mobilizing religious communities in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania.
A Lutheran Bishop who has participated in numerous interfaith Earth Day recycling projects hopes people of all faiths will help protect the environment.
“We are in an environmental crisis in many ways,” said Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes of the Northern Great Lakes Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). “The Great Lakes watershed is really kind of a mother to all of us" in the Midwest.
Interfaith environment projects like the challenge will help ensure a better future for all humans, Skrenes said, adding “sometimes it's trusting each other that really counts in environmental work.”
“The culture, the society and the environment are now connecting in some fantastic new ways to build relationships between people,” Skrenes said. “We are building trust along and across denominational lines.”
The EHI is a coalition of American Indian tribes and a "partnership of churches, synagogues and other faith traditions joining together and sharing their projects and resources to heal, protect and defend the environment,” said founder Rev. Jon Magnuson of Marquette, Michigan.
Saying “it’s not your grandfather’s environment movement anymore,” Skrenes said that environmental work is now more mainstream and no longer “an obscure thing for a certain group of people” unlike 40 years ago when he was in high school “and I dare say some of my relatives said it was kind of a hippie movement.”
“The church is called to bring people together to be part of the healing,” Skrenes said. “This interfaith earth healing effort is really a great gift that has been given to all of us."
Interfaith organizations assisting the EHI include the University of Minnesota Lutheran Campus Ministry, the Arrowhead Interfaith Council in Duluth, the Marquette University Ministry outlets in Milwaukee, several Catholic interfaith groups and the ELCA office of Ecumenical Formation and Inter-Religious Relations.
The interfaith EHI is one of numerous environment and Native American projects founded by the non-profit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, Michigan including the Earth Keepers, who removed more than 370 tons of e-Waste, pharmaceuticals and household poisons during three Earth Day clean sweeps.
The northern Michigan Earth Keeper project involves the congregations of over 150 churches and temples representing ten faith communities: Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Bahá'í, Jewish, Zen Buddhist and the Religious Society of Friends commonly known as the Quakers.
The EHI is coordinating the same interfaith relationships. For more info call 906-401-0109(Chicago, Illinois) - Faith leaders across eight Great Lakes states are urging their... more
(Marquette, Michigan) - The new non-profit Earth Healing Initiative, based in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is honoring faith-based and Native American environmental projects across the Great Lakes.
The interfaith Earth Healing Initiative (EHI) is currently collaborating with the USEPA to promote the Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge iacross eight states including providing faith community volunteers and spreading the word in churches and temples.
The EHI is one of several faith-based environment projects created by the non-profit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, Michigan.
Rev. Jon Magnuson said it's important for people of faith to protect the environment because the Christian church is at a “tipping point” in its relationship with itself and the Earth.
Quoting nineteenth century theologian Walter Rauschenbusch, Magnuson said “if a man or woman wants to be a Christian - she or he - must stand over and against things as they are and condemn them in the name of a higher conception of life revealed by Jesus.”
“I believe the environmental crisis that we are now involved in is a great tipping point in the church’s own evolution of its self-understanding,” Magnuson.
Roman Catholic theologian Thomas Berry “talks about three rivers converging at this time in human history,” said Magnuson, Cedar Tree Institute/Earth Healing Initiative founder.
“The first river is an avalanche and explosion of scientific knowledge that is pointing to the interconnectedness of everything,” Magnuson said. “The greatest polluter of Lake Superior (is) a major factory in China."
“We have atmospheric loading here where contaminants are carried over by wind currents and then deposited in rainfall,” said Magnuson. “The second stream is the health crisis that is facing us - the CDC (reports) 80 percent of all cancers are environmentally triggered."
“The third river Thomas Berry calls ‘Indigenous wisdom” - wisdom from the native communities around the world that is resurging,” Magnuson said. “For instance, their protection and use of plants both in Latin and South America as well in parts of north America - the protection of sacred sites."
“We realize now these are connected to protection of plants, animals and an ecosystem that holds great medicinal qualities for communities and individuals,” Magnuson explained.
“So these rivers are coming together,” said Magnuson. “It is an historic time - it is a tipping moment, a tipping point - the church needs to be here."
Magnuson recognized the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin that has three projects connected to the Earth Day Challenge and thanked the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and other tribes that participated in Cedar Tree Institute events like the four-year restoration of Upper Peninsula wild rice beds by at-risk teens and tribal elders called the Manoomin Project.
The KBIC participated in the three Earth Keeper Clean Sweeps that saw the public turn in over 370 tons of hazardous waste, pharmaceuticals and electronics across northern Michigan. The annual Earth Day (2005-2007) collections were part of the interfaith Earth Keeper Initiative.
“The Native American community has been a partner with us from the very beginning on everyone of our projects,” Magnuson said. “They sent volunteers (and) provided several trucks to be able to haul polluted materials and hazardous waste.
“So we are thankful to many of the tribes here in northern Michigan for being partners and we look forward to working with tribes in the Earth healing Initiative,” Magnuson said.
The Cedar Tree Institute co-founded the Earth Keepers who work closely with ten faith traditions on environment projects that include college students, at-risk teens, American Indian tribes and others.
The CTI Earth healing Initiative is developing the same relationship with these faith communities in northern Michigan and others across the Great lakes.
The faith communities: Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist
(Marquette, Michigan) - The new non-profit Earth Healing Initiative, based in... more