What is Sustainability Seekers all about?
I was not a member of PUCC when Sustainability Seekers was formed, but Polly Winkleman, who is our SS co chairman, helped set a Mission Statement which reads: “Recognizing the link between Christian faith and Environmental Stewardship, The Parkway Sustainability Seekers’ purpose is to explore and promote sustainability in our church facilities, our homes and the wider community.” At the time Sustainability Seekers was formed I was at St. John’s UCC and had founded a similar program, which we called “Environmental Stewardship”. Our Mission Statement was shorter but pretty much says the same thing: “EARTH DAY/EVERY DAY” –“YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE – FROM CHURCH – TO HOME – TO COMMUNITY”.
How did you first become interested in sustainability?
I have been a vegetarian (lacto-ovo) for 45 years. Along with that comes an awareness and appreciation on a larger scale of taking care of the animals, caring for the earth, including our water/air/land. I have found this to be true of almost all vegetarians that I know. I am on the Missouri Interfaith Power and Light Steering Committee and of the 8 members, 3 of us are vegetarian. I think when you have a love and respect for animals and the conditions (not speaking of pets) they are forced to live under, it gives you an appreciation and awareness also of the way we treat the land/earth we live on and take a deeper look at the pollution we’ve caused of that land, our water and the air we ALL breathe.
What, if any, childhood experiences opened your eyes to the need for activism?
I always had pets growing up and I remember in 6th grade starting a “Be Kind to Animals Club”. We called it the BKTA. I don’t know why it took me so long to become a vegetarian after that, but maybe that was the beginning of thinking in that direction. Not a child, but as a flight attendant living in Salt Lake City, on my days off I would head to the mountains and just walk in the forest and be in awe of that sacred place. I’m sure my appreciation for the enviornment grew on those nature walks.
What in particular are your concerns for the world?
Pollution, pollution, pollution. That includes the water we drink – which is not clean – the air we breathe, which, along with the water, have toxins and chemicals in it that we should not be drinking and breathing. It includes forests being chopped down and clear cut, mountain top removal, companies causing industrial pollution and waste and not caring about the destruction they are causing, just the dollar that they can make. Even just seeing all the litter being thrown out the car windows and laying in the streets and on the land and the highways REALLY BOTHER ME. It doesn’t have to be this way. The list as you can imagine, just goes on forever. Each and every person CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, so let’s start at home, at church, in the community, whenever and wherever we can.
What do you hope to accomplish?
Really, the joint mission statements say it all. The Mission Statement for MOIPL (MO Interfaith Power and Light) is: “Missouri Interfaith Power and Light” seeks to be faithful stewards of God’s Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. This ministry intends to protect the earth’s ecosystems, safeguard public health, and ensure sufficient, sustainable energy for all.