ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/Lutherans speak out for Environmental Justice!Mary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/96http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/96<div class="ExternalClass3032DA3FDF5549B38EFA849BA18C363F"><p><em>This week, several ELCA Lutherans have testified before the Environmental Protection Agency about the proposed rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants. Together, they affirmed why they believe protecting the earth and fighting climate change is a spiritual and moral issue. From concerned pastors to professors and engaged congregants across the U.S., their testimonies demonstrate why we all should be concerned about climate change. </em></p><p><strong style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Rev. Robert Moss, ELCA Lutheran</strong><br></p><p><strong>7/29 Denver, CO Hearing</strong></p><p>&quot;For us as Lutheran Christians, addressing environmental concerns is part of what it means to live as responsible caretakers of the earth. We are pleased to join the conversation from an economic, scientific, political, and spiritual perspective, as these are all aspects of joining God in God's mission of caring for and renewing the earth. I believe that support for the Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule to regulate and reduce carbon emissions is part of our responsibility. </p><p>In addition to so many other reasons why this matters, I want to remind you that climate change is already affecting global agriculture, and therefore food supplies and prices. Through no fault of their own, impoverished people, who are the most vulnerable because they rely solely on growing and selling a small crop for daily life, are losing their ability to do so. Alleviating hunger and global poverty are major concerns for me as a person of faith. Carbon emissions directly and adversely affect the hungry and poor we are so deeply concerned about. Continued climate change makes hunger and poverty issues an even larger challenge to deal with.&quot;</p><p><strong>Dr. James W. C. White, University of Colorado-Boulder</strong></p><p><strong>7/29 Denver, CO Hearing</strong></p><p>&quot;…at its core, climate change is a moral issue, and it is to this that I wish to speak. The first moral issue is how we treat our children. We live on a water planet, and again simple physics tells us that it will take decades for the ocean to warm and fully express the climate that goes with our current, high levels of greenhouse gases. This creates an intergenerational inequity. What we do, our children will have to deal with, and what they do, their children will have to deal with, and so forth. We all say that we love our kids. But how do we truly show it? Until one generation can set aside the lure of short-term gains for the long-term profit of our children, the cycle will never be broken. We need to express our love for our children in the very tangible way that this regulation provides. A second moral issue to consider is the disproportional impact that climate change has on the poor, both internationally and here in the US. Poorer nations and poorer people have less capability to adapt to issues such as sea level rise, access to clean water, and access to secure food supplies, as well as dealing with obvious problems such as heat waves and droughts. How do we, the rich, square this with our ethical obligation to those in need? Christ was clear&#58; &quot;…whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.&quot; </p><p>The proposed regulations will not fully address the problems that create the moral struggles we now face. But they are a start, a start that is achievable and promises to break the current stranglehold that keeps us from facing our obligations, both to our fellow humans, and to our God. And let us briefly ponder the moral costs. By taking action we show our love for children and grandchildren, we care for those in need, and we care for God's creation that He has lovingly provided for us. Not bad outcomes for doing the right thing. So let's do it.&quot; </p><p><strong>​Rev. Edward Wolff, ELCA Lutheran (TN)</strong></p><p><strong>7/29 Atlanta, GA Hearing</strong></p><p>&quot;What is happening to the earth, and therefore to us, cannot be explained in a brief period of time.&#160; Suffice it to say, briefly&#58;</p><ul><li>Last April, the average CO2 concentrations in the earth's atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million on a sustained basis for the first time in 800,000 years.</li><li>Thirteen of the fourteen hottest years ever measured with instruments have occurred in this century.</li><li>A trigger of the civil war in Syria has been identified as the drought from 2006 to 2010, where sixty percent of the farms and eighty percent of the livestock were destroyed.</li><li>A Pentagon advisory committee has described the climate crisis as a &quot;catalyst for conflict&quot; that may cause governmental and societal collapse.</li></ul><p>Honestly and personally, I'm scared, but the fear is not about me.&#160; I will not be here to see the results of a scarred earth if we continue down the same path.&#160; I am concerned for my grandchildren, all seven, and the great grandchildren that will come after.&#160; I am also concerned for this great nation.&#160; Catastrophic events, caused by climate change, can weaken and/or destroy any democracy, for all democracies are fragile, at best.&quot;</p><p><strong>​You can add your voice to the conversation too! Send your comments to the EPA through our </strong><a href="http&#58;//t.co/W9PsNhUXpx"><strong>Action Center</strong></a><strong>, and tell them that you support the new Carbon Rule on Existing Power Plants to protect our children's future!&#160;​</strong></p></div>07/30/2014Veterans: Breaking the GridlockRev. Stacy Martin, Director of Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/95http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/95<div class="ExternalClass361AB1DFB0C742F89B4C68C7931F0ABF"><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;12px;"><strong></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Isaiah 41&#58;18</strong><br> <em>I will open rivers on the bare heights,</em><br><em> and fountains in the midst of the valleys;</em><br><em> I will make the wilderness a pool of water,</em><br><em> and the dry land springs of water.</em></span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">I believe it's safe to say that hope does not abound in Washington, DC. Partisan gridlock has produced a desert of sorts, for Members of Congress and advocates alike, in which no change can be accomplished and no hope resides. But, as the book of Isaiah reminds us, God's promises extend far beyond our inability to imagine springs of water bursting forth in the desert.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">At a time when many of us considered Congressional compromise a veritable relic, this week a spring of water burst forth from the desert of vitriol and gridlock that has, regrettably, come to define Congress.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">On Monday afternoon, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL), the chairpersons of their chambers' respective veterans' committees, announced a $17 billion compromise bill to address many of the problems that appear to affect the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).&#160;​</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"> </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">This bill, a compromise between opposing philosophies about the role of government as well as government spending, would allow veterans, who either live far away from VA facilities or who are unable to secure an appointment with the VA within a certain number of days, to access medical services beyond the VA system. The bill attempts to further address the VA's issues by&#58; </span></p><ul><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><li><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Including funding for additional doctors and facilities </span></li><li><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Extending a treatment program for veterans with traumatic brain injuries. </span></li><li><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Extending the GI Bill, which would help veterans more easily access and afford college tuition.</span></li></span></ul><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"></span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">The bill appears to be a good first step in ensuring that veterans receive the kind of care that individuals who sacrifice so much should receive. And for that, Sen. Sanders and Rep. Miller should be commended. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">However, that the bill was introduced – even after much wrangling – as a bi-partisan compromise is worth more than mere commendation; it is worth celebrating. Rep. Miller commented Tuesday that he expects the House to support it with &quot;a wide bipartisan vote,&quot; and the Senate is expected to quickly sign off on the House's vote if scheduled quickly enough. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">In the desert of impasse and contempt that for too long has defined this town, there is hope that this beacon of cooperation and compromise can extend beyond the VA. Senator Sanders and Representative Miller have given us a long-awaited sip of the waters of cooperation and compromise we have so long thirsted for. They have given us reason to hope. We may still be in the desert, but springs of water are beginning to burst forth.&#160;</span></p></span></div>07/30/2014Living Earth Reflections: Called to ActionMary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/94http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/94<div class="ExternalClassBB618612EDF44ECFA26327218A8FA6FC"><h4>July 2014</h4><p><em>​&quot;We are called to act with justice,</em></p><p><em>We are called to love tenderly,</em></p><p><em>We are called to serve one another,</em></p><p><em>To walk humbly with God.&quot;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;"><em>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </em><em>David Haas, &quot;We Are Called&quot;, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 720</em></p><p>​​​As Christians, we think and talk about what we may be &quot;called&quot; to do out of faith for our families, ourselves, our neighbors and our communities.&#160; You may be called to work against poverty and hunger, and out of that call you might work in a food pantry or send a letter to your member of Congress about cuts to federal nutrition programs. You likely signed up for these emails in part because you feel a call to care for God's creation.</p><p>If you are concerned about the future of God's creation, and in particular about the threat of climate change to our planet and to future generations, and if you feel called to act out of that concern, this summer offers a number of opportunities to act and to advocate.</p><p>Here are just a few&#58;</p><p><strong>Send your comments on the EPA's proposed carbon rule today!</strong>&#160; The EPA's proposed rule will limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from power plants, improving public health in our communities and protecting future generations and God's earth from the threat of climate change.&#160; If you'd like to comment, our <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/favicon.ico">action center</a> has tools to help you. If you'd like more information about the rule, here's a link to <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/en/Resources/Advocacy">fact sheets</a> that may help.</p><p><strong>​Write a letter to the editor of your local paper in support of the EPA's proposed rule</strong> (or if you're feeling really ambitious, write an op ed for the opinion page).&#160; For help in writing a letter to the editor, click <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Writing_A_Letter_To_The_Editor.pdf">here</a> and for fact sheets on the proposed rule click <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/en/Resources/Advocacy">here</a>.&#160; If your letter gets published, let us know!&#160; Send a note to <a href="mailto&#58;washingtonoffice@elca.org">washingtonoffice@elca.org</a> and include a link to your letter if you can.&#160; </p><p><strong>Sign a global climate change petition</strong>.&#160; This September, world leaders will gather in New York City for a Climate Summit in preparation for a year of international negotiations on a new global climate change treaty.&#160; <a href="http&#58;//salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51086/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11280">Sign an interfaith petition</a> on climate change asking our leaders to take strong action to combat climate change before it's too late. Add your voice to a growing chorus of people of faith who are holding our leaders accountable on this critical issue.</p><p><strong>Join the</strong> <a href="http&#58;//peoplesclimate.org/march/">People's Climate March</a> Sept. 21, 2014 in New York City. Join thousands of other concerned citizens marching to ask world leaders to act on climate change.&#160; If you can't make it to New York, find (or plan) an event that weekend in your own community (<a href="http&#58;//www.faithclimatepetition.org/ny-un-climate-summit.html">here</a> are some tools to help you plan a prayer vigil or other event in solidarity).&#160;&#160;</p><p><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Want to learn more about ELCA's commitment to advocating for public policy that&#160;supports the care for creation? &#160;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Visit our&#160;</em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Advocacy"><em>website</em></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Like us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/elcaadvocacy"><em>Facebook</em></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Follow us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/elcaadvocacy"><em>Twitter</em></a><em>​</em></p></div>07/24/2014Living Earth Reflections: Do We Really Need to Choose? Mary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/93http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/93<div class="ExternalClassC5BCC5E761404E0DBEF447C4E66498DB"><h4>June 2014​</h4><p><em>&quot;Neither economic growth that ignores environmental cost nor conservation of nature that ignores human cost is sustainable.&#160; </em><em>Both will result in injustice and, eventually environmental degradation.</em><em>&#160; </em><em>We know that a healthy economy can exist only within a healthy environment, but that it is difficult to promote both in our decisions.&quot;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;"><em style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Caring for Creation&#58; Vision, Hope and Justice (1993)&#160;</em></p><p><em></em><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">In early June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency <a href="http&#58;//capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63258596">proposed a rule</a> that will require states to work with power companies to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; Power plants are a major source of carbon pollution, which scientists say is causing the earth's climate to change, posing a danger to the future of God's people and to all of God's creation.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton joined with Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schiori of the Episcopal Church in issuing a statement praising the new rule, noting that it will help to protect many of our neighbors and ensure a safe and healthy world for future generations.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">The ELCA Advocacy office is also working to engage our network over the course of this summer to speak out in support of these rules by </span><a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63258596" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">sending comments to the EPA</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">, speaking at a hearing, sending a letter to the editor of a local paper, or teaching others about the importance of this rule.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">But we're getting some questions about the potential impact of this rule on the economy and on jobs.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Some groups, including the </span><a href="http&#58;//www.energyxxi.org/epa-regs" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">U.S. Chamber of Commerce</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">, argue that this rule will eliminate jobs in the power sector and in fossil fuel industries, particularly coal mining.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">They say that electricity prices will increase dramatically, harming low income people and businesses.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Their argument is not a new one&#58; </span><a href="http&#58;//www.epi.org/publication/bp69/" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">frequently</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> when new environmental rules are announced business and industry representatives claim that the harm to the economy will be enormous and that the cost is not worth the impact.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">The power industry made that claim in the 1990s, when the EPA moved to regulate power plant emissions to reduce acid rain.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">They made that claim two years ago when the EPA finalized a </span><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Living_Earth_Mercury_And_The_Water_Of_Life_012012.pdf" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">rule to reduce mercury emissions</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">These arguments are based in a belief that we need to choose between a healthy future for our children and economic growth.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">But this is not only a tired argument, it also poses a false choice.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><a href="http&#58;//www.epa.gov/cleanairactbenefits/economy.html" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">For example</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">, between 1970 and 2011, emissions of common air pollutants dropped 68 percent, primarily due to the federal Clean Air Act.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">At the same time, U.S. gross domestic product grew 212 percent and total private sector jobs increased by 88 percent. Because of the Clean Air Act, our air is cleaner, our economy has grown, jobs have been created in new and innovative industries, and dire predictions about the high cost and economic impact of environmental regulation have proven to be false time and time again.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">In fact, according to a </span><a href="http&#58;//www.epi.org/publication/bp69/" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">report</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> from the Economic Policy Institute, historically the cost of complying with environmental regulations is nearly always less than estimated at the time the regulation is proposed.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Under this proposed rule, states will have </span><a href="http&#58;//www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/fact-sheet-clean-power-plan-benefits" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">flexibility</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> in meeting the emissions standards for carbon dioxide—they will have the option of investing in renewable energy sources, promoting energy efficiency measures, and switching from coal to less polluting fossil fuels (such as natural gas) to generate electricity.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">They will be able to work regionally to reduce emissions, which will help states with a heavy reliance on coal to reduce their emissions over time.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">And many states are already taking these steps to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, such as California and many of the northeastern states.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Many of the states that are already reducing their emissions have actually seen their economies </span><em style="line-height&#58;1.6;">grow</em><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> since taking those steps, even in the midst of a global recession.&#160;</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Arguments that energy costs for low income Americans will increase dramatically are equally questionable—one way that power companies will be able to comply with the carbon rules is by </span><a href="http&#58;//www.nrdc.org/media/2014/140529.asp" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">increasing the energy efficiency</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> of homes and businesses.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">This means that they will need to provide incentives for landlords to make rental properties, including those in low income neighborhoods, use less electricity.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Businesses, including manufacturers, will also have incentive to reduce energy use, which will keep costs to consumers from rising significantly as well.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; Under the rules it's certainly possible that electricity could cost somewhat more, but we will be using less, and our air will be cleaner.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Assertions that these regulations will be too costly today also ignore the future economic costs of climate change.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><a href="http&#58;//riskybusiness.org/uploads/files/RiskyBusiness_PrintedReport_FINAL_WEB_OPTIMIZED.pdf" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">A recent, bipartisan report</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> outlines the significant future economic risks associated with climate change and extreme weather.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Sea level rise, changes in temperature and rainfall, and increases in hurricanes and other extreme events will wreak havoc on the economies of coastal states and farm states alike; increased heat across the U.S. will reduce worker productivity and require significant investments in increased energy production.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Failure to act now is a recipe for billions in economic impacts in the future.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Finally, the E.P</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">.A. </span><a href="http&#58;//www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/fact-sheet-clean-power-plan-benefits" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">estimates</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> that the carbon rule will have significant public health benefits, worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion per year in 2030. This includes avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children. These climate and health benefits far outweigh the estimated annual costs of the plan, which are $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion in 2030.&#160;</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Climate change poses a threat to our most vulnerable neighbors, as well as to the future of God's children and all of Creation.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Unless emissions of carbon dioxide are reduced dramatically and soon, the threat of climate change will only grow worse; power plants account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and the U.S. is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Unless our country acts, along with other major emitters, the rest of the world will suffer the consequences, and so will our children.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">This rule is a key way to show leadership on a critical problem and deserves our strong support.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Tell the EPA what you think! Register your comments in our <a href="http&#58;//capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63258596">Action Center​</a>!​</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>-----</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Want to learn more about ELCA's commitment to advocating for public policy that&#160;supports the care for creation? &#160;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Visit our&#160;</em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Advocacy"><em>website</em></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Like us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/elcaadvocacy"><em>Facebook</em></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Follow us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/elcaadvocacy"><em>Twitter</em></a><em>​</em></p></div>06/25/2014My 7- and 9-Year-Old GurusRev. Stacy Martin, Director of Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/90http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/90<div class="ExternalClass99764D7420F54BEBB475C8A4A567F667"><h4>June 23, 2014</h4><p>&quot;Mom, are you mad at me?” my 7-year old asked, a little cautiously. The way I’d been communicating – terse sentences in a not-so-warm tone – her question was a legitimate one. And she was a brave little soul to even ask the question.</p><p>Except I wasn’t angry. And certainly not with her.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Stacy.JPG" alt="Stacy.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;218px;height&#58;233px;" /><br></p><p>In answering, I apologized for making her feel that way and told her that I wasn’t angry, just annoyed. “At me?” she asked with worry. “No, no, love bug.” “At what, then?” she asked in an exasperated tone that reminded me a bit too much of myself.</p><p>This second question gave me more pause than the first. For the life of me, I couldn’t put my finger on the source of my general state of annoyance. And, well, that just annoyed me all the more.</p><p>Why was I so annoyed? After all, it was the weekend.&#160; The weather was perfect and the forecast promised pleasant weather for the remainder of the weekend. I’d gotten most of the tasks I’d set out to do accomplished.</p><p>And then it occurred to me. I’d gotten my list accomplished at an expense. Both of my girls had asked me at some point over the weekend to play with them. There had been a time when I took playing with them for granted, but as they have gotten older, I’d thought I knew better than to squander those precious opportunities, as they get fewer and fewer.</p><p>I was annoyed that I had chosen to use my time in the opposite manner I had hoped I would.</p><p>When my daughter pressed me, I realized I had yet to heed the advice of the wise grandparents in our lives — who constantly remind us to slow down – to take those opportunities as they come. Even if it means a few more dust bunnies in the corners of the living room and a few more chores left undone on Sunday evening.</p><p>It occurred to me that I let the momentum of the too-busy work week get the best of the days set aside to rest, rejuvenate, reconnect. I try to make up for lost time, just not with the most important people in my life. It’s cliché, I know. But I suppose it’s cliché for a reason.</p><p>So, I went from feeling annoyed to feeling guilty. And guilt does very little in the way of making one more amicable.</p><p>I happen to be a member of a Lutheran church and it was at this point in our weekend that I reminded myself how grateful I am for my faith heritage and life. Lutherans have a thing or two to say about guilt. Mainly that guilt makes for bad company, so get over yourself and move on so that you can love and serve. Lutherans also have something to say about the fullness of the human experience. In short, Lutherans say you’re more than your profession and certainly more than a perfectly-kept house, so, again, get over yourself so that you can love and serve.</p><p>At my most frail and selfish moments, I find that my children lead me with the kind of perceptive and valuable questions I’d expect from a guru. I just hope I don’t let the frenzy of the work week and all those bothersome dust bunnies keep me from hearing and learning from them over and over again.</p><p><em style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">This blog was originally posted by the&#160;</em><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;"></span><em style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism​.&#160;</em>​<br></p></div>06/23/20142014 UN Convention on Climate Change in GermanyMary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/89http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/89<div class="ExternalClass732D5E40F04F4638914D151C31CE46CC"><h4>Backsliding</h4><h4>​​Fri.&#160;June 6, 2014</h4><p>My hotel in Bonn has a &quot;green roof&quot;--this is the view out my window of the tiny plants that are keeping stormwater from running off the roof and polluting the&#160;nearby Rhine River.&#160; Germany has a&#160;<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">lot of environmental initiatives underway--I've seen tons of solar panels on rooftops, for example--but a German colleague tells me that the laws and policies that have encouraged investment in solar and other renewable energy technologies are under fire from politicians who consider them a waste of taxpayer dollars. Sounds familiar!&#160;</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Green%20Roof.jpg" alt="Green Roof.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;240px;" /> &#160;​<img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Earth.jpg" alt="Earth.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;120px;" /><br></p><p>Although a number of U.S. states have led the way in pushing for wider adoption of renewable energy technologies like solar and wind, efforts are underway to undermine state renewable standards. Just last week in Columbus, the <a href="http&#58;//www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2014/05/ohio_legislature_approves_two-.html">Ohio legislature passed </a>legislation that&#160;proposes to freeze all the state's renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. &#160;A similar effort to roll back a state renewable standard is underway in Minnesota, which has been a regional leader in fighting climate change.&#160;​</p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Renewable energy standards like Ohio's are one way that states could implement the carbon standards for power generation that were proposed this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency--expanding sources of clean, renewable energy is one way to reduce the use of coal and other fossil fuels to generate power. &#160;The proposed carbon rule is getting a lot of positive attention in Bonn this week--it's seen as the U.S. showing real leadership in the fight against climate change and a positive step as parties begin to negotiate a new climate treaty. &#160;However, if states (and countries like Germany) scale back their commitment to renewable power it sends an unfortunate message--that we don't consider renewable energy an important investment in our future--and jeopardizes our leadership on climate change.&#160;</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/bonn.JPG" alt="bonn.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;300px;height&#58;200px;" />​<br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="color&#58;#bfbfbf;text-decoration&#58;none;"><em>​​​Skyline of Bonn, Germany</em></span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">​---<br></p><h4><strong></strong>The &quot;High Level&quot; Meeting&#160;That Wasn't</h4><h4>Wed.&#160;June 4, 2014​</h4><p>​Today marks the beginning of what's known as an intersessional meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.&#160; Generally the annual Conference of the Parties to the convention is held in December and the location varies; these intersessional meetings happen in Bonn, where the UNFCCC secretariat has its offices.&#160; This meeting is considered critical because the parties need to begin to agree on targets and measures for a new climate change agreement by the end of 2015, so these interim meetings are taking on a greater role.</p><p>​<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Or are they?&#160;</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;font-family&#58;'segoe ui', segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Conference%20Room.jpg" alt="Conference Room.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;300px;height&#58;179px;vertical-align&#58;middle;" />&#160;</span></p><p>This meeting was supposed to begin with a two day &quot;high level&quot; meeting of ministers--senior government officials who are able to make pledges on behalf of their countries.&#160; However, it turns out that very few ministers will be in attendance and many of the people gathered here in Bonn for the next two weeks are concerned that this signals a lack of commitment to the ongoing negotiations.&#160; Oh, and the U.S. is one of the list of countries that hasn't sent a minister (or minister equivalent) to Bonn--Special Envoy Todd Stern will not be here.</p><p>Does this signal a lack of commitment to global action on climate change by the U.S. government?&#160; In a week where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its strongest proposal to date to cut US carbon dioxide emissions, maybe not.&#160; But it certainly means that people who are concerned about climate change need to continue to push our leaders to make the issue a priority.</p></div>06/06/2014