As summer opens, those at the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions are hard at work using results of a March 2017 consultation to develop a framework for the center’s future programming.
Over 25 individuals took part in the consultation, which consisted of two-day meetings facilitated by Sharon Kniss, Director of Education and Training at the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution. Those in attendance reflected the diversity of involvement for CSCS: they hailed from a variety of MCUSA institutions, including representatives from CSCS partners Goshen College and MCC.
This collaboration is one of the first steps in creating a framework that will inform the direction of the center. Assisted by MCC’s Meara Dietrick Kwee, the CSCS leadership team will compile data from sessions to create a comprehensive strategy that both honors and furthers the center’s mission.
Over the course of the consultation, attendees articulated a shared vision. Commonly emphasized was the hope that Mennonites will view climate change as a moral equivalent to violence and be motivated to take collective action. Participants wished for the restoration of relationships, and that care for the earth would become a key component in Anabaptist decision-making. Finally, attendees hoped for faith to inform and inspire action, creating a world where the poor do not bear the brunt of reckless consumption.
In the final sessions of the consultation, attendees shifted their focus to concrete actions that the center may choose to initiate or support. The brainstorming session was organized around the four major areas of the center’s work: research, innovation, education and connecting.
Finally, participants shared what drove them to be involved in the work of the center. Their answers collectively represent deep commitments to sustainability, creation care and climate change mitigation. In their diversity, these motivations identify strengths each organization can bring in support of the center’s work.
Through all its stages, the consultation reaffirmed commitments among participants to the importance of issues surrounding climate change. Attendees repeatedly referenced a sense that Mennonites have an important voice to contribute to broader conversations about climate issues. Powerfully, there was strong consensus that coordinated, collaborative work can be a source of energy and inspiration that sustains us when addressing these types of challenges.