The Tri-Cities Climate Strike is scheduled to take place in Grand Haven’s Central Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20. Held as one of hundreds of demonstrations globally, the local event is being organized by St. John’s Episcopal Church of Grand Haven.
“In the very first stories of our sacred texts of Scripture, we are commanded by God to be stewards of creation,” said the Rev. Dr. Jared Cramer, rector of St. John’s. “Instead, we have abused creation, plundered national resources, and lived our lives in such a way that climate change is now an undeniable reality, one that will have profound negative impact upon our children and that is already having significant impact around the world, particularly upon the poor and struggling.”
The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most. Rev. Michael Bruce Curry – best known for his sermon on love at the royal wedding – has been an outspoken advocate for climate action. Last year, an eight-member team representing Curry attended the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference, the fourth Episcopal delegation to attend. The previous presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Shori, insisted that climate denial was blind and was an immoral position which rejected God’s gift of knowledge. At the 2018 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, bishops and deputies reinforced creation care as one of the three pillars of their current mission focus and passed 19 resolutions on a variety of topics related to climate change.
At the Climate Strike in Grand Haven, Cramer will welcome participants and share his own perspectives on the existential crisis that is faced by people in the Tri-Cities area and around the world. The hope is for other community leaders to speak, as well, Cramer said.
St. John’s parishioner and local climate activist Janet Tyson also will speak, sharing her learning about initiatives and attitudes she has acquired during three years of living in England.
The Tri-Cities Climate Strike coincides with actions to support youth, who want to have a viable future on this planet, Cramer said.
After words of welcome and orientation, participants will be encouraged to take part in organized group discussions about collectively acting on specific issues, including petitioning local news media to prominently and regularly publish climate news, instructing local school districts to integrate climate-emergency information across their curricula, and local governments to initiate ordinances to mitigate CO2 emissions. Given the importance of tourism to the area economy, a group also will be dedicated to discussing ways to temper the impact of catering to thousands of visitors and temporary residents.
Afterwards, people are urged to use the rest of the day to initiate or take part in actions of their choosing – from letter-writing to picketing to planting trees.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own seating and hydration. In the event of bad weather, activities will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, which is adjacent to Central Park.