“I used to think that the top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that with thirty years of good science we could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation.” — James Gustave Speth
Do you ever feel powerless, despondent, or afraid when you think about the climate crisis? Do you sometimes feel numb when you see pictures of historic floods and droughts, storms and wildfires, tornados and heat waves? You’re not alone. Psychologists are beginning to recognize climate grief as a growing phenomena.
As caring and compassionate people, this feeling of helplessness can lead to denial or depression or despair, especially when we understand that climate change hits poor and marginalized communities way harder than more privileged people groups. To say nothing of the one million species on the brink of extinction. These feelings may paralyze us and prevent us from taking action on behalf of the planet and vulnerable people. Or we may become propelled by anger or fear, both fully appropriate in the face of massive injustice and tragedy, but not sustainable.
Thankfully, our diverse intergenerational “Beloved Community” can create a better way forward, riding on the wings of the Wild Goose — the Celtic symbol for the Holy Spirit. At its root, the climate crisis is a spiritual problem, based in greed and selfishness and “othering” of nations, populations, and Creation itself. As people empowered by the spirit, we must look within ourselves for the resources to engage climate injustice in a healthy way.
You are invited to join one of the world’s foremost climate leaders, author and activist Bill McKibben and acclaimed author, activist, and public theologian Brian McLaren for a day of conversation, reflection, and prayer about climate justice. Leaders from marginalized frontline communities affected by climate disruption will help us learn, as we heal and discover hope in loving community. We’ll move through awareness and acceptance and into hopeful — even joyful — empowerment for action.
Together we will heal our bodies, minds and spirits through contemplative prayer practices, gentle yoga, and a silent walk in the surrounding forest. Long-time environmental activists will lead us in imagining creative ways we can accept God’s call to care for each other and our planet.
Bill McKibben is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, and a founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 to work on climate and racial justice. He founded the first global grassroots climate campaign, 350.org, and serves as the Schumann Distinguished Professor in Residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. In 2014 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel,’ in the Swedish Parliament. He’s also won the Gandhi Peace Award, and honorary degrees from 19 colleges and universities. Click here for more.
Melanie Lynn Griffin is a faith-based environmental writer, speaker, and activist. As a Sierra Club lobbyist on Capitol Hill, she directed public lands and wildlife campaigns and ran a national outreach program to engage faith communities in caring for God’s creation. After a thirty-year career at Sierra Club, she earned a Masters in Creative Nonfiction from Johns Hopkins University and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the National Cathedral. She served for three years as the Pastor of Prayer and Healing at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Maryland. Melanie considered aging quietly, but kept finding herself in the streets waving protest signs. So she joined Third Act, where she organizes older Americans to protect our climate and our democracy. Click here for more.
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is a core faculty member of The Living School and podcaster with Learning How to See, which are part of the Center for Action and Contemplation. He is also an Auburn Senior Fellow and is a co-host of Southern Lights. His newest books are Faith After Doubt (January 2021), and Do I Stay Christian? (May 2022). Click here for more.
Check In for pre-festival events will be available on Wednesday from 1 pm to 5 pm, and Thursday from 7am to 9 am.
If you’re tent camping, there’s no additional campsite charge for Wednesday night.
Some campsite locations are restricted due to large venue tent construction in several areas.
RV campers will need to purchase an additional night.