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Suggestions and opportunities for contemplative practice, personal action, and community collaboration that will help in building spiritual, personal, and collective responsiveness to the climate crisis

Reflections on Ecology
and the Wounds of Christ Crucified

Fr. Vincent Pizzuto, PhD

Humans are the only species in the history of our planet to have chosen to live out of balance with our ecosystem.  This fact must be acknowledged, unobscured by religious doctrine, political ideology or anthropocentric bias. For if we listen carefully and honestly, human clamors to “save the world” are most often thinly veiled clamors to “save human civilization.” While a deep spiritual connection to, and harmony with Earth is endemic to many indigenous cultures and ancient spiritual traditions, modern secular society remains by and large insulated, and thus disconnected, from the created order and our interdependence on it. The painful truth is that human civilization remains at war with the very planet that sustains so much so, that the extinction of the human race would be advantageous for virtually every other species on the planet. As the human population nears 8 billion worldwide, no amount of human waste, pollution, or carbon emissions is really ‘acceptable,’ because Earth is limited in its resources and we have now far outpaced the outer limits of those resources to the detriment of every living entity on the planet.

As the climate grows hotter under the impact of carbon emissions that are currently exploited in order to grow and sustain human civilization, our polar ice caps are melting with alarming speed, more powerful hurricanes rage off our shores, forest fires burn longer and hotter and with more frequency, while entire plant and animal species on land and sea are racing toward the brink of extinction. Meanwhile deep spiritual sources of wisdom are ignored, even as the global community of environmental scientists have signaled dire warnings of things to come, with the help of modern instruments, calculations, and climate models that are able to read these new ‘signs of the times’ with alarming accuracy. Indeed for all who have eyes to see and ears to hear, every corner of the planet is showing signs of climate collapse. It is therefore imperative that Christians collaborate with all who are working to confront the climate crisis by uncovering within our own Scriptures and indigenous spiritual tradition, an active ecological discipleship born of deep contemplative practice.

At its core, the gospel of John's affirmation of Christ as the "Word-Made-Flesh" (Jn 1:1-18) points the vast material cosmos as pregnant with the presence of God because it opens the possibility to explore whether the humanity of Jesus is the most fundamental category of the incarnation. Humanity shares flesh, as it were, with all known forms of material life. And it is Christ’s enfleshment that remains the most fundamental category of the incarnation, more basic even than his particular incarnation in human flesh. So, Gregory of Nyssa can ask, "Who is so simple-minded as not to believe, when he considers the universe, that the Divine Being is in everything, clothing Himself with it, embracing it, and residing in it?" (Catechetical Orations 25). Indeed, the universe is more fundamentally a cosmic body defined by relationality than it is a meaningless abyss characterized by indifference. The contemplative gaze peering through the multiplicity of created forms perceives a sublime unity in Christ that underlies the manifestation of endless diversity; a primal unity or hitchedness of all things in Christ who “is all and is in all” (Col 3:11). To glimpse this unity-in-difference, even for a moment, is to see the face of Christ.

Moreover, texts like the Christ-hymn of Colossians 1:15-20 offer a poignant biblical foundation for just such an emphasis on a panentheistic universe ("God-in-all-things"). In a universe held in existence by Christ (Col 1:17), the reconciling power of the Cross is not limited to the human milieu but given a cosmic power and significance to reconcile “all things” (Col 1:20).  Redemption, the hymn assures us, is not about being saved from the world, but about the world itself being saved in and through Christ. Put otherwise, the Risen Christ is the Cosmic Christ who has woven for himself the body of Creation, in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). In a panentheistic universe, Earth and humans are understood to be extensions of one another, as both are members of Christ’s cosmic body.

The serious contemplative cannot help but see in the destruction of our planet, the very Body of Christ persecuted yet again in a new way. The self-reflective and moral agency with which we have been endowed as Imago Dei, ("Image of God") demands we act with justice and compassion on behalf of Earth not as an object, much less a separate subject, but as the very extension of our own bodies. In Christ, God has radically identified with all of creation—which has both its first origins and final redemption in him. As this same Creation travails under the impact of environmental destruction, we see before us the new wounds of Christ crucified to which we are urgently called to attend.

The vocation of the Christian contemplative is to hold out a love unflinching, a perpetually broken heart that moves us from complacency to compassionate action. To that end, I invite you to reflect on the brief video meditation below, "The Wounds of Christ Crucified." How does your heart respond? How might your life and actions respond?

Ecological Way of the Cross

The following reflection beautifully weaves together the ancient Christian meditation on the Cross with modern ecological concerns. Composed in 2015 by Dr. John Dalla Costa, this is a relevant, timely, and beautiful meditation that urgently calls us to see in the ecological crisis the wounds of Christ crucified, to which we are urgently called to attend.

An Ecological Way of The Cross

Dr. John Dalla Costa is an author, consultant and speaker, and the founding director of the Centre for Ethical Orientation (CEO) in Toronto. He is the author of four books, including most recently Magnificence at Work: Living Faith in Business. He is also the author of The Ethical Imperative, which was published internationally, and the best-selling Working Wisdom.

Marin County & Bay Area

Agricultural Institute of Marin -; 415-472-6100. AIM operates 9 farmers markets, The Rollin' Root Mobile Market and Bounty Box and Diggin’ Education Program. curbside farm box; serves over 350 farmers, purveyors, and artisans to showcase benefits of buying food locally grown, raised, and sourced directly from producer.


Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR); 415-868-1699. Bouverie, Martin Griffin, Cypress Grove and Modini Preserves; explore the preserves, nature education and science seminars; bird surveys; avian conservation biology, applied studies of human use: mariculture, fisheries, recreation, agriculture


BayWAVE (County of Marin) – Marin Bay Waterfront Adaptation Vulnerability Evaluation: Planning for sea level rise; adaptation projects on county lands led by multiple agencies; preparing for next update to Marin Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan and Countywide General Plan.


California Coastal Commission (North Central Coast District); 415-904-5400.  Meetings, Workshops, Future Agenda, Services and Programs for Property Owners, Public Education on Climate Change – Sea Level Rise – Environmental Justice, etc.; Working to Develop and Utilize Best Available Science, Build Coastal Resilience Partnerships, Improve Coastal Resilience Communications, Support Local Leadership and Address Local Conditions, Strengthen Alignment around Coastal Resilience, Implement and Learn from Coastal Resilience Projects.

California Environmental Justice Alliance The California Environmental Justice Alliance is a statewide, community-led alliance that works to achieve environmental justice by advancing policy solutions.

Citizens' Climate Lobby Coronado, CA; 619-437-7142. Democracy at work empowering everyday people to work together on climate policy. Supporters in 500+ local chapters across the US working on climate change. Great newsletter with actions. Marin chapter in San Anselmo; works with members of Congress to find climate change solutions; supports Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act: a market-based Carbon Fee and Dividend policy to reduce emissions, create jobs, and support small businesses and families.


Climate Action Now ; 415-503-7639. Cultivating environmental leadership, reclaiming public spaces, urban forestry, consulting and volunteer services. Cultivates educational and ecological resilience by cultivating change that lead to sustainability re clean water, safe open spaces, nutritious food and meaningful work. 


C-Smart C-SMART is an effort to understand potential impacts of sea level rise on Marin’s ocean coast and work with communities to prepare for a more resilient future. Sea-level Marin Adaptation Response Team; experts say sea level may rise 70 inches by 2100; Marin Ocean Coast Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Report identifies areas that may flood in future and actions to address; Marin County Local Coastal Program contains policies governing development; also public workshops, online surveys, community meetings. 


Drawdown Marin

Marin is a comprehensive, science-based, community-wide campaign to do our part to slow the impacts of climate change. We can reduce our “carbon footprint” by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are the major cause of rapidly warming global temperatures. To the extent possible, Marin County’s goal is to eliminate fossil fuels – electrifying everything, powering everything using renewable energy, and sequestering carbon in our landscape, truly “drawing down” the amount of carbon in our communities.


MarinCAN – MarinCAN accelerate countywide climate action by increasing coordination. With support from the County of Marin, a new nonprofit has launched to address climate change through collective action. MarinCAN is about taking action now to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increase community resilience, and address racial and social equity. Focus on 100% renewable energy, low carbon transportation, efficient building, local food and food waste, carbon sequestration and climate resilient communities; identified twenty-nine local solutions, seven endorsed for immediate implementation: Marin Carbon Farming Initiative (engage 180 Marin farms by 2045), Zero Emissions Vehicles (in collaboration with Drive Clean Bay Area), Agricultural Institute of Marin's Center for Food and Agriculture (connecting people who need food with producers), Biomass Study/Recovery Pathways (identify type and quantity of biomass generated countywide); Micro-grids – Fairfax Pavilion Pilot Project (Town of Fairfax will build Community Resilience Center at the Fairfax Pavilion); Community Resilience Hubs (two proposed with community gardens, health clinics, communications center, green power, and recreational and educational opportunities); Resilient Neighborhoods – Climate Preparedness and Reduction for the Planet (will adapt Resilient Neighborhoods' proven program to engage residents in Marin to reduce emissions and be resilient to emergencies, with 5 pilot training programs). 

What you can do:

  • Sign up for Deep Green – 100% of power you buy comes from renewables; 60% with Light Green 

  • Switch from natural gas to electric appliances 

  • Consider heat pumps for HVAC and induction cooking to replace gas stoves and ovens

  • Install solar panels

  • Install battery back-up

  • Drive less

  • Purchase or lease an EV

  • Ask employer to offer commute incentives

  • Install EV charging stations

  • Use Marin transit connect app

  • Upgrade lighting to LED

  • Request Green House calls from Rising Sun Center for Opportunity

  • Get an energy assessment for home or business; Home Energy Score scores home efficiency; 866-878-6008; or Marin Energy Watch Program for businesses 415-473-2698

  • Upgrade with insulation, air sealing, fixing or replacing ducts, upgrading HVAC units, installing double panes


Drive Clean Marin Drive Clean Bay Area is a trusted source of unbiased information about all things EV. As part of a nonprofit collaboration dedicated to raising awareness and promoting switching to EV's.


Environmental Action Committee (EAC); 415-663-9312. The Environmental Action Committee of WestMarin (EAC) is a 501(3)(c) non-profit located in Point Reyes: the gateway town to the only National Seashore Park on the West Coast. It was started by a group of local citizens who wanted both to protect the West Marin from immediate threats and to foster a wider understanding of its unique qualities. EAC protects and sustains the unique lands, waters, and biodiversity of West Marin through outreach, education, and engagement. Focus on large-scale environmental threats to West Marin; protect and sustain land, water, biodiversity through community engagement and policy, habitat protection, community planning; partners with West Marin Climate Action.

Environmental Forum of Marin (EFM); 415-484-8336. For 50 years EFM educates for Action to protect Marin’s natural beauty and wild shorelines. Education for action 4 part advocacy training: Healthy Soil: Growing Climate Resilience: classes on effective environmental advocacy and building healthy soils.


Extra Food; 415-997-9830. By rescuing excess fresh food from businesses, securing freshly-made meals, and immediately delivering the food to nonprofits serving Marin’s most vulnerable children, seniors, and families they address the critical issues of hunger, wasted food & climate change. Has delivered 4,127,154 pounds of food to 129 sites in Marin; keeps 333,951 pounds of methane out of atmosphere and reaches 8,000 people per month.


FIREsafe MARIN; 415-570-4376. Adapting to Wildfire: Prepare Yourself, Harden Your Home, Ready Your Community, Newsletters, YouTube Channel, Events, Community education; seminars, guides, checklists for living with and mitigating effects of wildfires.

Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association GGEVA members have been driving electric cars & trucks for two decades. Contact  to talk with drivers who have experience with the models you are considering. GGEVA holds monthly meetings, presents electric vehicle test drive events, and collaborates with other non-profits and government agencies to share information about the benefits of electric vehicles.


Grid Alternatives; 707-456-4852 / (510) 731-1310 Headquartered in Oakland Grid’s Mission is to build community-powered solutions to advance economic and environmental justice through renewable energy. Helps bring solar to communities. They have installed solar for 22,792 households and engaged 46,135 people in solar education and training.


Lead On Climate Call to action: to members of Congress (including Jared Huffman) to solve the cascading crisis of climate, health, equity and the economy. Calls for investment in resilient infrastructure, transition to net-zero emissions economy and long-term solutions, including price on carbon. Works with OFA Marin.


OFA MARIN (Organizing for Action) mobilizes for action around progressive issues to bring about long-term change. OFA’s Climate Action Team of leaders and advocates responds through community organizing and new initiatives. Public Awareness Campaigns and Events, Monthly Climate Newsletters, work with Public and Non-Profit Entities, Collaborating with Local Climate and Environmental Groups.


Marin Biomass Recovery Project (FIREsafe MARIN) – Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority/Ecologically Sound Practices Partnership to identify ways of managing organic material generated by fire prevention activities and curbside collection; based on proposal endorsed by Drawdown; SB 1383 calls for 75% of organic materials to be diverted from landfill by 2025, municipalities and the county must develop or expand collection systems and markets. 


Marin Carbon Project Contact: The Marin Carbon Project (MCP) seeks to enhance carbon sequestration in rangeland, agricultural, and forest soils through applied research, demonstration and implementation. It is an at-will consortium of agricultural agencies, nonprofits and producers, including MALT and the County of Marin.


Marin Climate & Energy Partnership Working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our government operations and in Marin communities, they have developed greenhouse gas inventories and climate action plans for their 11 Marin towns and city partners, the County of Marin, and three public agencies to work collaboratively, share resources and secure funds to discuss, study and implement each agency's Climate Action Plan. They collaborate on a wide range of greenhouse gas reduction programs, such as green building regulations, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and zero waste initiatives.


Marin Conservation League; 415-485-6257. For more than 85 years, MCL has preserved many of Marin’s most treasured natural lands, and guarded the environmental qualities that make Marin such a special place. They have helped acquire and preserve more than 11,000 acres of public lands. Wildfire and climate change committees; Climate Action Working Group develops recommendations and presents MCL's position at public hearings for all community groups concerned with climate change.


Marin Interfaith Climate Action (MICA) – 415-456-6957. The Marin Interfaith Council has an initiative dealing directly with climate change, the Marin Interfaith Climate Action (MICA). Currently with a membership from 13 faith communities in Marin, and affiliated with local, state, and national environmental and climate groups, MICA is looking to extend its base of membership and increase its connections to our Marin faith communities.  Driven by a moral imperative to take action now, MICA is confronting the growing climate crisis in three ways:

  • Developing environmental education and adopting mitigating measures within our own religious communities

  • Being advocates for climate legislation

  • Collaborating in meaningful actions with other environmental organizations


Marin Resource Conservation District (Marin RCD); 415-663-1170. The Marin Resource Conservation District offers a variety of programs to facilitate implementation of conservation projects in Marin County, exploring alternative land stewardship practices relying on local history to guide decisions about the future. Established in 1959 with approximately 250,000 acres included in the district, which in general covers the watersheds of Stemple, Walker and Lagunitas creeks. Since 1983, the Marin RCD has administered over $25 million dollars in government and private foundation grants for watershed-wide erosion control, creek restoration and road repair projects.  In 2014, Marin RCD’s services expanded into east Marin to assist stream-side residents with watershed stewardship, restoration and regulatory compliance. The Marin RCD continues to bring together state, federal and local agencies with private landowners to conserve soil and water resources. Marin RCD gives grants for watershed erosion control, creek restoration, road repair, water shed stewardship; brings together state, federal and local agencies with private landowners to conserve soil and water resources.


Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA); 415-539-6972. MWPA is helping to create a fire-resilient future for Marin County by providing funding and coordination to help vegetation management, improvements to fire detection and evacuation programs, grants to reduce fire risk, public education, defensible space evaluations, funding for specific mitigation needs; Measure C will fund proactive wildfire prevention and preparedness. 


Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA); 415-663-1200. PRNSA partners with the National Park Service to create opportunities for all people to experience, enhance, and preserve Point Reyes National Seashore for present and future generations. PRNSA builds community, provides education (PRNSA Field Institute: nature awareness education) and works year round with the National Park Service (NPS) to monitor and protect the natural and cultural resources within the park.


Sanzuma; 510-599-9621. Sanzuma is dedicated to increasing the availability of freshly grown foods through gardening and urban farming, policy, improving health, and reconnecting people with their environment: a person’s health should not be a reflection of their economic status. They work to implement an equitable food system at all Marin County Schools, increase awareness of nutrition education and healthy eating in schools Pre K-12. This is achieved through the development of community-based partnerships, which empower people, businesses, and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being.


Shore Up Marin – 415-526-2487 ( Shore Up Marin is a multi-racial environmental coalition that advocates for the equitable inclusion of low-income communities in areas of planning and community preparedness for environmental disasters. Their main focus is on emergency preparedness, flooding and hazard mitigation, sea level rise and climate adaptation, social equity, and quality of natural resources such as air, soil, and water. The organization works to identify community concerns around sea level rise, educate community members about resources and solutions, and foster dialogue, inclusion, and understanding between diverse stakeholders. Currently, Shore Up Marin focuses mainly on mobilizing residents and stakeholders from low-lying, under-served areas such as Marin City and the Canal Neighborhood of San Rafael.


Sierra Club Marin The Sierra Club Marin Group consists of approximately 6600 members who live in Marin County, governed by an Executive Committee of 11 elected volunteer leaders. The Marin Group is one of the oldest and largest environmental organizations in Marin County and continues to be a strong and active advocate for environmental issues. All Sierra Club members who live in Marin County are automatically members of the Marin Group as well as the San Francisco Bay Chapter. For more information on the larger Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club, please visit:


Sonoma Clean Power GridSavvy Community,water%20heaters%20in%20your%20home. – 855-202-2139, Santa Rosa. Delivering affordable solutions to help customers use clean electricity. Formed to provide choice between for-profit and customer- owned utility companies. Earn rewards for installing smart devices like smart thermostats, EV charging stations, heat pump water heaters. Great educational and action resource.


Sunrise Movement The Bay Area hub of Sunrise Movement. Sunrise is a youth-led movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.​They are building a movement of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people. They work to pass Green New Deal legislation at the local, state, and federal level that addresses climate change while ensuring that communities on the front lines of this crisis, including fossil fuel workers, are not left behind.


Surfrider Foundation The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network. Founded by a group of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, in 1984, the foundation now has more than 50,000 members and 80 divisions globally. Their focus is on ocean protection, beach access, coastal preservation, clean water and an end to plastic pollution; Marin County Chapter meets 2nd Wednesday of every month: ocean friendly restaurants, beach cleanups, high school clubs. 


Sustainable Fairfax; 415-408-6008. Sustainable Fairfax teaches, promotes and enacts environmentally sustainable principles and practices.

  • We educate people on sustainable household and business practices through outreach, workshops and events.

  • We advocate for policies that protect the environment, the local economy and a resilient community.

  • We partner with local government, businesses, nonprofits and other community groups to expand our sphere of influence.

Sustainable Marin Sustainable Marin is a non-profit organization of volunteers who advocate and educate about sustainability at the County level in Marin. The mission Marin is to advance sustainable principles in the County of Marin in the State of California with the goal to transform the region in the areas of environment, economics, and society into a sustainable community by the year 2040 and beyond.

350 Marin – 350Marin is made up of deeply concerned grassroots activists working to avert the intensifying global climate crisis. As passionate advocates for climate justice, they invite you to join for their next “Community Conversation” (look under Upcoming Actions You Can Join) and at their local actions. They bring the voice of the people forward to influence regional policies as one of the local groups of and nationally, inspired by the global movement.


Town of Fairfax Climate Action Committee –; 415-453-1584. The Climate Action Committee (“CAC”) was established to implement the Climate Action Plan, adopted by the Town Council on  February 5, 2014. Its mission is to mitigate the production of greenhouse gas and  compile existing and potential strategies to address climate change. CAC develops an annual action plan as well as any recommended amendments to the Climate Action Plan. In addition, the committee keeps a scorecard to track greenhouse gas reduction actions taken. For more details, visit their website. Member of Marin Climate and Energy Partnership, develops annual plan and tracks greenhouse gas reduction action; calendar on of Green Change Network events. 


Turtle Island Restoration Network; 415-663-8590 or 800-859-7283. advocates for salmon,  sea turtles, whales, steelhead trout, hammerhead sharks and other marine wildlife and inland watersheds. Restores habitats, creates refuges, conducts migration studies; got CA stores to post mercury signs; fight climate change, end plastic addiction; campaigns to acquire land in Lagunitas Creek Watershed to preserve Coho spawning and rearing habitat; grow 10,000 redwoods; ban drift nets; re-create lost floodplains and native riparian forest for Coho, steelhead, shrimp, and red-legged frog.   


West Marin Commons Dedicated to the practice of community in West Marin, West Marin Commons creates social structure for resource sharing, conservation, and areas for learning about common spaces, cultivating native plants, and establishing social structure for sharing rides, tools, and much more.


West Marin Community Services 415-663-9227. For more than 40 years, West Marin Community Services (WMCS) supports programs and services that ensure the well-being of individuals and families in West Marin. Self-sufficiency, human dignity, and social justice are the values that guide their efforts. They are the central hub for a diverse range of services that provides critical support in West Marin in many forms – supplying food, clothing, household items, and much more to community members in need such as the food pantry, Latino engagement, emergency assistance and case management, and childcare and college scholarships.


West Marin Climate Action West Marin Climate Action: A Community Resilience Network. WMCA is a collaborative network of community members who have in common a deep caring for West Marin and concern about the impacts of climate change. They are a hub that shares information, brings together people and creative ideas, and facilitates engagement in climate actions that help sustain us, and the Earth for future generations. They host informative community-building events to generate discussion, formulate ideas, and advance actions. They initiate and share information about climate resilience and mitigation projects undertaken by community members and local organizations, and build a network of community stakeholders to identify problems and advocate for solutions to ensure climate-resilient communities in West Marin.


Zero Waste Marin – Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Zero Waste is a big idea with one goal: to eliminate waste. In 2006, a group of Marin’s community members began to wonder: is it possible to completely eliminate waste in Marin and live a waste free life? They recycle, compost, donate, drive hybrids, walk, bike, and participate in conservation on a daily basis. The goal is to eliminate waste in Marin County but not without the participation of all residents and businesses. Together it is possible to set an example that encourages the rest of the nation to live sustainable lives. Zero Waste: recycling guide; tips to reduce waste; how to dispose of different substances: bulb and battery take back, paint care, Christmas tree recycling, construction and demolition waste, electronics, fats, oils & grease, food waste prevention, less toxic alternatives, motor oil & filter recycling, marine motor oil absorbent exchange, polystyrene ban, sharps & medical waste, single use bag ordinance, textiles, tire disposal, etc.   

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