Raising their voices

Brooksby’s faith community shines a light on climate change

Created date

November 19th, 2019
Pastoral ministries at Brooksby Village invited nine youth from the North Shore to speak at the community’s Kids & Climate: A Call to Action forum.

Pastoral ministries at Brooksby Village invited nine youth from the North Shore to speak at the community’s Kids & Climate: A Call to Action forum. 

Pastoral ministries at Brooksby Village has a reach that extends beyond the local Peabody, Mass., community.

“We’re always trying to keep our finger on the pulse of needs in the world,” says Rev. Chad Kidd, pastoral ministries manager. “Then our response becomes, ‘How can people of faith speak to this issue?’”

Sparked by the increasing global reaction to climate change, Brooksby Village recently hosted a series of events to heighten awareness and initiate discussion around the topic.

“Members of our Interfaith Council read a book over the summer by Jim Antal called Climate Church, Climate World: How People of Faith Must Work for Change,” says Kidd. “In the book, Antal makes the point that we used to think we could solve environmental problems if we threw enough science at them. Now we’re realizing that the main threats to the environment are selfishness, pride, and greed.”

Kidd says Brooksby’s Interfaith Council, composed of eight residents from various faith traditions and four members of the pastoral ministries staff, took the book’s message to heart.

“We know about selfishness, pride, and greed,” says Kidd. “The mainstream religions teach us about those things. We’re also seeing most of the large mainline religious traditions taking note of the climate issue and speaking about it at their highest levels.”

North Shore youth weigh in

Rev. Judith Medeiros, Protestant pastor at Brooksby, gave a series of five messages honoring the earth during Sunday services in the Brooksby Chapel throughout the month of September.

Additionally, Brooksby hosted a forum called Kids & Climate: A Call to Action, which coincided with the global youth climate strike ahead of the U.N. climate summit of world leaders in late September.

“Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist, has been leading the way on the global youth climate movement,” says Kidd. “The Kids & Climate forum at Brooksby gave us the opportunity to hear from local North Shore youth about their thoughts on the climate crisis.”

Nine youth, ages 10 to 22, spoke to more than 100 residents in the Brooksby Chapel, sharing their feelings about climate change, the measures they’re taking to combat the issue, and the hopes they have for the future.

The youth are connected to the community through Brooksby Chaplain Anna Smulowitz Schutz, who works with the young people in a theater group.

Some youth mentioned schoolwide eco-friendly initiatives, like reusable dishes and silverware in their cafeterias, while others discussed individual efforts, like using a shampoo bar in lieu of plastic shampoo bottles.

Nancy Moore, who has lived at Brooksby since 2008, addressed the youth at the end of the forum, thanking them for speaking from one generation to another.

“The younger generation has been quicker to accept climate science,” says Nancy. “They are channeling their fear into activism and taking care of the business at hand.”

A call to action

To close out the forum, Brooksby’s pastoral ministries team passed out a handout of small, significant changes community members can make to lessen their environmental impact. The youth speakers gathered in the hallway outside the Brooksby Chapel with clipboards for residents to sign, indicating a measure they are willing to take.

“One thing I’m reminded of every day is to turn off the faucet while I’m brushing my teeth,” says Nancy. “There are steps we can all take to make a difference.

Five tips for eco-friendly living

1. Replace all incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs; turn out lights when not in use.  

2. Run full loads in dishwasher, washer, and dryer. Use short cycles.

3. Don’t let water run while brushing teeth or washing dishes.

4. Invest in reusable shopping bags.

5. Use glassware and silverware, not plastic and paper, whenever possible.

— Sara Martin