Best of 2016
2016, it’s been quite a year. Even in the darkness, we’re finding many sources of light, most of all: you, the many brilliant people who make up this beautiful climate movement of ours.
This year, we learned in a deeper way the true necessity of building community and scaling up our movement to meet the challenges ahead. While it often seems daunting, we know that we are the one’s we’ve been waiting for, we are the light that we need.
When we bring our lights together, something truly beautiful emerges. Read on as we celebrate some of the incredible moments of the year.
Then, help us grow our movement in 2017 by supporting MNIPL with your time and your treasure.
Here's what your support has made possible in 2016. Together we've:
Stood in sacred solidarity at Standing Rock to bear witness to the prayerful resistance of the Water Protectors, and organized the voices of 25,000 people of faith to call on President Obama to deny the Dakota Access Pipeline permit. Julia traveled to Washington DC with Rev. Deacon Brandon Mauai to deliver the petitions signatures and meet with North Dakota Senator Heitkamp and Minnesota Senator Al Franken to call on them to instruct the Department of Justice to investigate the violent repression of the Water Protectors. Though the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe has been denied, we know this fight is far from over, and commit ourselves ever more deeply to solidarity with Indigenous-led movements to protect all water and all life.
Cultivated 700 pounds of vegetables, demonstrating what a healthy, culturally-relevant, and equitable food system can look like by deepening our partnerships with First Nations Kitchen and Gandhi Mahal through the Gandhi Mahal Interfaith Garden. We hosted SundayOpen Garden Nights to grow not only food, but relationships and community, as well. Through the Garden, we are exploring the connections between food, faith, and climate change while doing our part to create a socially just food system that embodies our values. In the new year, we’ll be unveiling an exciting addition to the garden program! Stay tuned for more!
Convened an Interfaith Climate Conversation and Iftar (break fast meal), with 400 friends, reaching thousands more at the Northern Spark Festival. MNIPL Board Member Ruhel Islam broadcast the Adhan (Muslim Call to Prayer) over the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. We were joined by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Council member Alondra Cano. Our night of creativity, community, and love is a powerful reminder that our unity is a living example of the best our city, state, and country can be, and that it's our responsibility and privilege to live into that example each day.
Built a Culture of Kindness with 100 children, 25 youth counselors, and 80 adults between 2, two week long All in the Circle: Creative Arts & Nature camps! In this camp we give children the opportunity to fall in love with the earth and practice the tools of creating a culture of kindness that includes self, their group and the natural world. One of the camps called “Council of the Sky” explored the wonder of flight and bird communities. Through music, story, song, art, and sensory-based play children became hawks, ravens, songbirds, herons, and eagles, learning from birds about kindness, leadership, and belonging. On the second day of camp we made a group agreement about how to treat each other with kindness. One 2nd grade camper reflected that because Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said “It is acts of kindness that make someone a hero” by promising to treat each other with kindness we were “making heros of our hearts”. Another camper, noting racial injustice in our larger community and the work of Black Lives Matter said “I wish that our community, all of the adults, would sit in a circle like this one and learn how to be kind”.
Grew our Arrowhead (ARN) and River Prairie Regional Networks that are leading powerful action on climate. In the Northland, the ARN has been at the center co-leading a coalition of community partners to run an ongoing campaign to bring true community solar. This has included facilitating dozens of meetings, running letter to the editor efforts, hosting 2 major community education events, negotiating with the power company appearing before the PUC. In St Peter, the River Prairie Network facilitated two community meetings and met with every city council member encouraging them to bring Just Solar in St Peter, and incentivize, not punish, solar energy. We are making steady progress towards our goals, all the while spreading a message of climate justice among faith communities and the larger Arrowhead and River Prairie regions.
Brought together community teams to market and subscribe the Shiloh Temple and Edina Public Works Just Community Solar Arrays. We developed new partnerships in North Minneapolis, including Just B Solar with whom we partnered on the Just-B-Solar camp! We are leading the way helping faith communities across the state join Just Community Solar Gardens or install arrays on their own rooftops. All the while, we are building justice and equity in our communities, by ensuring our arrays are accessible to everyone, regardless of income or credit score, and build jobs in the local community (including job training to install the arrays). Together with our Just Community Solar Coalition partners we are paving the way for an energy equity economy in Minnesota that is telling a new story about how energy can benefit our communities. (photo credit: Elizabeth Dunbar, MPR)
This is what your support and partnership has made possible in 2016. Give today so we can rise to the challenges ahead with faith, courage, kindness, and moral clarity.
As 2017 fast approaches, MNIPL is launching something big: we are bringing 150 faith communities into our Movement Builder Program to connect the beautiful web of people stepping up at this time in history. Because that is what this moment calls for: to scale up our organizing to meet the challenges ahead. Interested in joining us? Click here for more information.
We can’t wait to write the next chapter of the climate movement with you!
With thanks for all the light you bring,
Julia Nerbonne and the MNIPL Team: Claire, Erin, Trevor, Muhammad, & Claire