WASHINGTON (February 25, 1997) — Efforts against toxic waste in Phoenix, noise pollution in the Bronx and lead poisoning in Lynchburg, Virginia, are among 19 projects funded by the U.S. Bishops' Environmental Justice Program.
The grants range from $750-$1,500 and were announced February 25 at the 1997 Catholic Social Ministry Meeting in Washington. Winners were chosen for their uniquely religious response to the environmental crisis and its link to Catholic social justice teachings.
The grants program is one of several initiatives of the Environmental Justice Program of the U.S. Catholic Conference Department of Social Development and World Peace. The program aims to educate and motivate Catholics to a deeper respect for creation and to engage parishes in activities that deal with environmental problems, particularly as they affect the poor. The program supports projects which deepen the moral commitment of Catholics to needed lifestyle changes and which garner the support necessary to influence public policy.
This program is part of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment which, in addition to the USCC, includes the National Council of Catholic Churches, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Evangelical Environmental Network.
Those seeking more information about the USCC Environmental Justice Program may call 202-541-3160. Those seeking information about the National Religious Partnership for the Environment may call 212-316-7441.
Recipients of the 19 environmental grants follow.
The Promised Land Network, Amarillo, TX
Sustainable Farm Seminars
Contact: Lydia Villanueva (806) 364-4445
This project will train 150 Mexican-American small landowners in organic farming practices. It will be conducted in Spanish and accompanied by lectures and workshops to inform area farmers and interested urban dwellers about alternative methods of agricultural production.
Sisters of Divine Providence, St. Louis, MO
LPP Energy/Water Systems
Contact: Sr. Alice Lawler, CDP (314) 524-3803
The refugee shelter, La Posada Providencia, Brownsville, Texas, using the skills of the refugees themselves, will install a solar hot water heater, a solar oven and a cistern in order to project and conserve resources and reduce energy costs.
John Carroll University, University Heights, OH
The SHARE Team, (Student Helpers and Advocates for Renewing the Earth)
Contact: Dr. Mark C. Falbo (216) 397-1662
This is a pilot after-school program involving middle school students from one suburban Catholic and two inner-city schools in the use of satellite imagery to study the impacts of urban sprawl and pollution. At the end, students will convene a conference for their peers and submit their findings and recommendations to local governments (city and county).
Sisters IHM Eco-Justice Enactment Steering Committee, Monroe, MI
Urban Ecology and Earth Work
Contacts: Srs. Elizabeth Walters and Martha Rabaut (313) 961-4263
This project in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Detroit will create a work-jobs program for 100 residents, sign up at least 50 households of elderly residents for Earth Work, and involve 200 volunteers.
St. Jude School, Chattanooga, TN
Safe Cleaning for a Safe and Cleaner Environment
Contact: Elaine Hollenbeck (423) 870-6022
Fourth-graders will examine the marketing of household cleansers, learn the dangers of disposing wastes containing environmentally unsafe materials, make earth-friendly cleaning solutions, use and share them with the local Catholic Charities, and report on their findings through a newsletter and resources supplied to their local Recycling Center program.
St. Francis Prayer Center
Flint, MI 48505
Empowerment for Environmental Equity
Contact: Sr. Joanne Chiaverini, IHM (810) 787-5330
This project will train volunteers to become advocates for their neighbors and themselves in a low-income housing development to counter efforts to place toxic dumps in their neighborhood and to promote efforts to protect their soil, air and water.
Sisters of Holy Cross
Manchester, NH 03109-4811
Education Towards Sustainability in Franklin
Contact: Sister Denise Turcotte, SCS (603) 622-9504
This project will offer to 10-14 year olds in the poor, semirural community of Franklin, NH, a four-day summer program in the basics of education toward environmental sustainability.
New Ulm Diocesan Council of Catholic Women
Arlington, MN 55307
Minnesota River Restoration
Contact: Dee Czech (507) 247-5171
The Council of Catholic Women will promote Catholic participation in the Minnesota River Prayer Services held along the banks of the Minnesota River in May and will conduct six educational Minnesota River Seminars to prepare women to speak to grassroots organizations.
The Church of Christ the King
Bronx, NY 10452
The Bronx Campaign for Peace and Quiet
Contact: John E. Dallas (212) 802-4964
This project seeks to raise awareness throughout the Bronx of the dangers of noise pollution and the benefits of peace-and-quiet. Newsletters in Spanish and English will be circulated to parishes and schools in the South Bronx.
Southwest Environmental Equity Project
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Latino Parish Empowerment Project
Contact: Connie R. Meza (602) 253-1875, ext. 15
The Latino Parish Empowerment Project will focus on the training and organizing of key Latino parishes in south Phoenix impacted by toxic contamination.
Lynchburg College Catholic Community
Lynchburg, VA 24501
Catholic Community of Lynchburg College Lead Partnership
Contact: Anne Gibbons (804) 544-8472
The Catholic Community of Lynchburg College will coordinate an inter-faith volunteer/donation program to increase awareness of lead-poisoning of children in the Lynchburg area and to raise funds to support efforts to educate families whose children are at greatest risk of lead-poisoning.
Environment Committee, Justice and Peace Commission, Amityville, NY
SOW (Save Our Water)
Contact: Joan Kern (516) 789-5236
Project SOW aims to change behavior related to the lawn care of private property. Through education, special projects and events, it seeks to enhance awareness of the problems of the water quality of Long Island's underground aquifers, the sole source of potable water.
Sacred Heart Parish Environmental Justice Committee
San Francisco, CA 94117
The Fillmore Gospel Garden
Contact: Sr. Catherine Murphy, OP (415) 861-5460
Sacred Heart Parish will educate suburban and rural Catholics about the environmental problems of inner city neighborhoods through the use of the story of their garden project, which serves as an urban-suburban exchange site. The project will produce a video to facilitate dialogue, initiate a bimonthly newsletter and host garden days.
Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center
Seattle, WA 98122
Northwest Environmental K-12 Curriculum, Household and Parish Packets
Contact: Sister Linda Haydock, SNJM (206) 223-1138
This project will develop, distribute and monitor a three-part education and action project that includes a K-12 curriculum, a household and parish community packet for reflection and action and dissemination of information to 1,000 Catholic leaders in the peace and justice network.
Charles Spencer, SFO
National Ecology Commission, SFO USA
West Springfield, MA
Contact: Charles Spencer, SFO (413) 737-7600
The 2nd National Ecology Apostolate Leadership Training Conference will seek to increase recognition and response to environmental and public health issues from within the Franciscan family.
Holyoke, MA 01040
SP/SSJ Environmental Collaborative
Contact: Sister Elizabeth Oleksak, SP (413) 536-0853
The Sisters of Providence and the Sisters of St. Joseph will co-sponsor a land and energy audit, examining their individual and institutional lifestyles, to see how they contribute to the destruction of the environment and how they can work to restore their environment.
The Kitchen, Inc.
Springfield, MO 65803
Homeless Youth Ecology Awareness
Contact: Rosemary Velcheck (417) 837-1500
Teens from a homeless shelter in cooperation with a local parish will design and display a mural at the city's a hazardous waste collection center. Children from local Catholic schools who are studying environmental issues will also display their art work.
Franciscan Earth Literacy Office
Fostoria, OH 44830
Educating for a Lifetime - Environmental Justice
Contact: Sr. Christine Pratt, OSU (419) 435-1543
This project will provide two in-service days for 100 teachers from 10-20 elementary schools. It will include Catholic social teaching, ways to infuse environmental justice into the curriculum, worship and service activities and development of a strategic plan for each school.
Diocesan Office of Justice and Peace
Venice, FL 34292
Leaven IV Conference: "Renewing the Earth"
Contact: Robert T. Hennemeyer, Director (941) 484-9543
Leaven IV will be a one-day conference for parish leaders on key environmental problems of south-west Florida. it will introduce them to relevant Catholic social teachings and offer specific action suggestions for addressing local environmental justice issues.