Condensed Report to Presbytery about Earth Care Conference in Montreal, NC

As Earl Johnson has said, “If we don’t do something about global warming, all our other issues are moot.”  Of course they are, because we won’t be here anymore.  Nor will many other species of God’s good creation.


I attended a Pre-conference tour of Biltmore’s self-sustaining farm, with a solar farm supporting their power needs and fuel to run their machinery produced from a crop grown on some of their 80,000 acres.

Trisha Tull gave a talk about things one can do at home and at church to conserve energy, and included a good handout.

There was a movie and talk on the importance of soil conservation, and another movie and talk on mining in Peru, and how it’s destroying not only the land, but the lives of the people.  Most mining and fuel extraction processes are done either in 3rd world countries or in poverty stricken areas in our own country, not in places where the wealthy live. But are not the lives of the poor as important to God as the lives of the wealthy??

Some Effects of Global Warming

Scientists say that we need to keep the temperature rise under 2 degrees Celcius, which is about 3.6 degrees Fahrenhite, by the end of the century.  Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, the temperature has risen 1 degree Celcius already, and is rising faster all the time, as we pour more carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.  The projection is, that if we don’t stop this process, temperatures could rise by 8-12 degrees Fahrenhite by the end of the century.  Can we survive this?  I think not!  Nothing would grow in this sort of heat.  As the ice caps melt, the sea level will rise, and it’s expected that it could rise 20 ft. or more, inundating coastlines and swallowing up nations that are located on Pacific atolls.  Fresh cold water will flood the oceans, changing the saline content, and affecting the currents.  A change in saline content will affect the coral reefs, which will certainly affect the sea life that depends upon these reefs, and, as the currents drive our weather pattern, a change in these currents will have a great effect on our weather.  How, and to what extent this will happen, I think no one knows.  This is serious stuff!  This is a crisis!  God gave us free will, and we are really lousing things up with it.

Some Things One Can Do at Home and in Church to Conserve Energy

Trisha Tull suggested we allot a given amount of time weekly, or monthly, to earth care activities.  I started by making my home more energy efficient affordably.  I installed reflective material behind my radiators, and insulated the doors to the attic, and to a cold closet.  I also installed more weather stripping and insulation around the rope holes in my old windows.  I got more insulation blown in, as I am sure it has settled over time.  I heat with gas, which is supposed to be very efficient and clean, but with fracking, gas is as dirty as coal, because of the methane released into the atmosphere during the fracking process, so I keep my house at 62 degrees, 60 at night.

Monthly, I write letters to the editor of 8 different newspapers concerning global warming.  And, after handwriting all my congressmen, both State and Federal, plus the President and Governor, I e mail them monthly, as well.  This is certainly something that we can all do.

As individuals, and as independent churches within the presbytery, and within the presbytery itself, we can think about removing any investments we may have in the fossil fuel industries.  As separate churches, we can sign up to become Earth Care Congregations.  One can find this program on the computer by going to, and clicking on Earth Care Congregations, where there is an application.

We can also convert our electrical service in both church and home to either solar or wind power, by calling Solar City, or Ethical Electric, which is wind power.
– Solar City  1-866-243-3495
– Ethical Electric  1-800-684-0197

We can try to shop and buy locally, and consolidate our errands to cut down on the use of our vehicles.  We can walk or bike when possible.

And perhaps you didn’t know, but small engines, such as leaf blowers, lawn mowers, snowblowers, weed whackers, outboard motors, jet skis and snowmobiles are bigger polluters than large engines.  I rake, shovel, use a scythe, and have an electric lawnmower.

According to some studies, 51%  of greenhouse gas is methane, mostly from the cattle industry.  Methane is at least 20 times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.  I have even seen reports that say it is 25, 35, and even 80 times more toxic to the atmosphere.  However, methane clears in about 10 years, so, if we all stopped eating meat, this would give us some “wiggle room” while we figured out what to do about fossil fuels.  At home, I don’t eat meat, and I do encourage you to cut down on it.  Get in the habit by giving it up for Lent!

Raise People’s Consciousness

I think that one of the most important things we can do is to try to raise other people’s consciousness about  global warming.  If enough people become concerned, and begin to make their voices heard, my hope is that we will reach the “tipping point” where the rest of the people slide over.  I came of age in the 60s and I think we need to take this to the streets, get the media involved.  If our congressmen saw that the people were truly concerned about the environment and were out there demonstrating against global warming, they might realize that it doesn’t matter how much money they receive as bribes from big business in the name of “campaign contributions”, we won’t elect them anyway, unless they pass legislation that is good for the environment, instead of good for the pockets of big business.  One must realize that our country is no longer a democracy, it’s an oligarchy, run by a handful of powerful corporations!  To this end, I spend an hour each week standing on a busy street corner downtown, from noon until 1pm, holding a sign that says “MOTHERS AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING or is it  GLOBAL WARMING AGAINST MOTHERS”.  Or sometimes “EXXON LIED  GLOBAL WARMING IS HERE”.    Sometimes, I’m joined by up to 4 friends from the American Association of University Women, all with their own signs.  We get a pretty good response, beeps, waves, thumbs-up, peace signs, from passers-by.  We hope to get them thinking, and acting to conserve.  I encouraged most everyone I talked to at Montreat to do this, and I encourage you all, as well.  I would truly love to see people in communities all across the country doing this, because it certainly is something that can’t wait.  98% of our scientists are adamant about this.  The other 2%, who are paid by Exxon, think we need to study it more.  We’ve studied it to death.  Perhaps to our deaths!  Really, we need to get out there and demonstrate!  Does this sound radical?  Perhaps we might remember, that in His day, Jesus was considered a radical.

About Jahnn Swanker-Gibson

Jahnn is a graduate of Plattsburgh State with a BA in Psychology. Later in life, she went back to Adirondack Community College to earn her AAS in Nursing and worked as a Psychiatric Nurse in an in-patient facility. Jahnn currently lives in Johnstown, NY attends the First Presbyterian Church in Johnstown, and enjoys sailing in the summertime. She serves on the Albany Presbytery Peacemaking Task Force. You can reach Jahnn at

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