Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ROAR (Religious Organizations on and Around the River (Hudson)-Part Two

Today I continue presenting the 2nd of three parts of the ROAR here in the Hudson Valley. I hope that members of ROAR can come to my workshops, and most especially that I can learn from the ROAR groups here so that Mt. St. Alphonsus, with its wonderful 400 acres, can also contribute to making our earth more sustainable.

ROAR members are grateful for the call by ARC – UNEP to develop a 7 Year Plan. The past and present efforts and future plans of ROAR incorporate many of the elements that are identified in the Guidelines. We see the call to develop a 7 Year Plan as an opportunity for ROAR to respond with greater clarity of vision, renewed vigor, and in mutual support and encouragement with the larger community that is formed through the development of these 7 Year plans.
Since 1996 major initiatives have been:
• Formal and informal education among ROAR members on: history and use of land owned by ROAR member congregations and deepening our understanding of land use and ways to conserve and preserve land
• Networking and sharing information with ROAR member congregations on environmental assessments, preservation efforts and other steps being done to assure sustainability
• Development of ROAR Land Ethic Statement
• Advocating for / educating and assisting ROAR member congregations and other groups to develop their own land ethic statement and land use policy
• November 8 – 10, 2000 Conference, “Bridging Faith and Environment” convened religious leaders (clergy and lay) from different faith denominations to reflect together on the spiritual and ethical vision needed to address the ecological issues of our times, especially those of the Hudson River bioregion. Dr. Larry Rasmussen, author of Earth Community, Earth Ethics, was presenter.
• Advocating Con Edison for the removal of PCBs (by networking and in collaboration with many organizations)
• Education / advocacy on Indian Point issues (by networking and in collaboration with many organizations)
• November 16, 2005 Conference on “Land Preservation: How & Why” at Garrison Institute where religious leaders and staffs of several environmental groups met to address preservation of land, overcoming obstacles and developing strategies for going forward
• Worked closely with Garrison Institute’s Initiative on the Hudson River Project: participated in the Hudson River Conversations; helped develop for Earth Day 2007, Our Shared Nature: A Transformational Ecology Compact for the Hudson; and, several ROAR members were on Hudson River Project Steering Committee
• Published “Grounded in the Gift of Our Lands: A Resource Book for Making Land Use Decisions” (October 2007)
• November 7, 2007 Conference “Listening to Earth and Making Earth-friendly Decisions Regarding Land Use” facilitated by Sisters Margaret Galiardi, OP and Pat Siemen, OP. Invitations were sent to those in religious leadership, parish ministries, land stewardship and concerned about a sustainable future. Conference introduced Resource Book and offered theological reflections and practical applications around land use issues experienced by participants.
• Collaborated and partnered with local and national organizations to address environmental issues around water, waste management, land use, etc.
• Coordinated viewings of “Renewal” with local environmental groups and places of faith
• ROAR member congregations offer retreats, workshops, education and advocacy initiatives in areas of eco-spirituality and environmental justice

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