Love and Justice: Red Solo Cups and Environmental Justice

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During the 2016 Annual Conference, under the leadership of Rev. Paul Slenz, the CCM practiced what they preached by keeping 100s of plastic bottles, paper lunch boxes and discarded paper out of a TN landfill. They responded to an immediate need – get those red solo cups off the lawn. They performed acts of mercy –  acts of Love for God’s Creation.

The CCM team knew that they had to do more than wait for the next soda can thrown out a car window. They developed and gathered resource materials for congregations, communities and individuals, including energy audits, worship and devotional guides and talking points for legislators.

In July 2019, the team worked without ceasing to organize and host The United Methodist Creation Cares Summit that brought in over 200 Creation Justice Disciples from throughout the connection. CCM Coordinator Dr. Dan Joranko and volunteers accomplished the Summit’s goal to “strategize how to build a strong movement for creation care and environmental justice within The United Methodist Church.” 

Even before the Summit, the CCM volunteers brought people together from across the greater Nashville Area and TN to join the March for Science and to attend a candlelight vigil for the U.S. to join the Paris Climate Agreement. The CCM gathered signatures to urge the Tennessee Valley Association “to significantly step up its programs to help low-income households become more energy efficient.” 

Photo courtesy of Sierra Club

In October 2019, the team reached out to Representative Jim Cooper and John Rose as well as their constituents to support the bipartisan “Reclaim Act (HR – 2156) that would support new jobs for coal workers and their communities as our country transitions to a clean energy economy.” 

The CCM advocates and mobilizes for climate protection and policies – They perform acts of Justice for God’s Creation. 

CCM responds to individual and groups’ immediate needs and works to break down the systems that created that need.  For these reasons and more, the TNUMC Board of Church and Society awarded their ministry with a Love and Justice Grant.