· Scouting, Leadership Development

The General Commission on UM Men joins effort to reduce greenhouse gasses 

The General Commission on United Methodist Men joined 10 other UM general agencies in a joint commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

During a May 6 Zoom meeting 30 commission member and staff unanimously supported Our Climate Commitment to Net-Zero Emissions, a pledge to reduce  greenhouse gas emissions across the organizations’ ministries, facilities, operations and investments by 2050. Net zero means we will not add new emissions to the atmosphere. Emissions will continue, but they will be balanced by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere.

Steven Scheid, director of the Center for Scouting Ministries, told the commission that Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA are already engaged in planting of trees, recycling, and environment clean-up actions.

Amberly Petty, a Girl Scout leader in Meeker, Colorado, said Girl Scouts in the state are engaged in an effort to plant 100,000 trees each year for the next five years. This is part of a national effort to plant 5 million trees by 2026.

Participants in the Zoom meeting asked if the Nashville-based commission office has considered solar-power.

Martha Davis, chief operating officer, said the agency already uses solar energy to power outside gates and cameras, but the construction of a seven-story building across the street from the Music Row office may make solar power difficult.

In an earlier statement, Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the commission, said it was a “natural choice” to join the effort to save God’s creation. “We take recycling seriously,” he said. “Several of our affiliate organizations provide instruction to youth on climate change

The commission devoted one of its quarterly magazines to creation care. That issue described scores of ways in which UM Men are reducing energy usage by switching to solar power and LED bulbs, establishing gardens, planting trees, cleaning highways and rivers, and serving Free Trade Coffee.

The 1996 UM Book of Discipline acknowledges “the global impact of humanity’s disregard for God’s creation.” It calls “on individuals, congregations, businesses, industries and communities to reduce their emissions.”

The 2021 statement by 11 general agencies acknowledges that the UMC “has long affirmed our individual and collective responsibility to address the unfolding climate crisis.” In light of these values, the group said it was “called by our faith, informed by science, and led by our relationships with impacted communities” to respond.

The Net-Zero statement is endorsed by 11 general secretaries and agencies: 

A video describing the NetZero resolution may be found here.

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