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Climate Change Team has successful action

Climate Change Action Team recently presented a report on their actions since the PNCUCC 2019 Fall Gathering, “Weaving Together to Win: Progressing from Value Statements to Concrete Action.”

Climate Change Action Team: Susan Champlain, Lora Rathbone, Meighan Pritchard, Lin Hagedorn, Lara Crutsinger-Perry and Kathy Dawson.

One goal of the conference is to grow the PNC’s commitment and intention to pursue justice. Another is to build intra-conference justice connections with like-minded justice advocates, said Courtney Stange-Tregear, minister of vitality, who helped organize the event.

“At the Fall Gathering we took big steps towards achieving those goals.  We practiced a process of moving from sharing personal struggles to taking specific action to change the world,” she said.

Lora Rathbone, who joined the Climate Change Team, said participants started by defining “a problem that we care about in a deeply personal way, then identified action steps for a specific positive outcome. To increase the likelihood of achieving success we used a process to focus narrowly, and make change in concrete, measurable ways.”

Several action teams were formed: Immigration/deportation, Health Care Access, Housing, Racial Justice and Climate Change. Team reports will be presented at the Annual Meeting; to learn from each other and encourage the start of more justice projects.

Lora worked with the Climate Change action team.

“We chose advocating for a Washington State bill as a concrete project with a measurable outcome.  We chose the Sustainable Farms and Fields Grant Program (SB5947/HB2095) because of its bipartisan support and likelihood of success—it had passed the Senate last year—as well a potential effectiveness in reducing the carbon that causes climate change,” she said.

Lora offered details about  Senate Bill 5947: 

• It targets reducing carbon emissions generated in the state’s agricultural sector.

• It creates a grant program for growers to voluntarily adopt carbon-reducing and sequestration practices.

The program would fund work in three areas:

• It would reduce carbon emissions generated throughout farming and ranch processes, including from fertilizers, pesticides and fuels.

• It calls for adopting regenerative agricultural practices like no-till, cover-cropping, manure, compost and biochar additions.

• It promotes Agroforestry, the addition of new trees and shrubs on agricultural and ranch settings that sequester carbon.

SB 5947 was sponsored by equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, said Lora.

In addition, many organizations support the sustainable farms and fields bill, including Carbon Washington, the Washington Association of Conservation Districts, the American Farmland Trust, the Tulalip Tribe, Tilth, Audubon Washington, The Nature Conservancy, the Faith Action Network, Earth Ministry, dozens of farms, and more.

Lora listed the Climate Change Team’s Action Steps:

• They met during the Justice Witness Ministries Committee of the Pacific NW Conference Environmental Justice Team monthly meetings.

• The first step was to write a letter to each member’s state senators for PNC congregation members to sign.

• Requests for action by UCC churches were sent using the UCC list serve.

• Team members had their church members write postcards, sign letters and call their legislators.

 • Lora encouraged attendees to support the bill at the Faith Action Network Advocacy Day.

• Steve Claggett, speaking for the PNCUCC, testified in favor of the bill during the public hearing in the House. 

• The team also used media, including a NWPB story written about the bill and the environmental advocacy at Shalom UCC. The report is at

An article on the Climate Change Team’s efforts is on the next page of this edition of United Church News.

“The bill passed, so the next step is to celebrate our success, and thank everyone, including our legislators, for their support,” said Lora.

The Climate Change Team is planning which project to do next.

“We met the goal of building Inter and Intra-conference Justice connections with like-minded justice advocates,” said Lora.  “It was rewarding and inspiring and clearly showed the power of working together.”

Copyright © March 2020 - Pacific NW United Church News



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