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On September 14th, the 2019 Green Team Summit gathered 600 people of faith at the Field Museum for a day of education, connection, and advocacy. The day was not only empowering, but celebratory as Faith in Place marked our 20th anniversary of Earth advocacy work.
The day began with a Welcome Session honoring just how far everyone traveled to attend (Kenya was the winner this year!). We also celebrated Spanish speaking guests and provided interpretation during each session. The highlight of the Welcome Session was remarks by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle discussing ways Cook County is decreasing dependence on fossil fuels. The opening session closed with Faith in Place’s Statewide Outreach Director, Veronica Kyle, energizing attendees with an overview of all the day would hold.
Workshops & Exhibitors
Attendees spent the majority of the day engaging with workshops covering a wide range of topics from the how climate change affects migration to ways Houses of Worship can cut back on waste. For a full description of each workshop and copies of the slides presented, please scroll to the bottom of this post. These sessions provided resources and inspired growth and discussion. Guests also enjoyed the opportunity to attend a private tour of the museum during the workshops.
Senator Tammy Duckworth inspired attendees as the surprise guest speaker at our noon Environmental Racism workshop. In April, Sen. Duckworth co-founded the Environmental Justice Caucus in the U.S. Senate to ensure that “every Illinoisan —regardless of zip code — breathes safe air and drinks clean water.” The mission of that caucus directly ties to the longstanding environmental justice work of Faith in Place. It was indeed an honor for Sen. Duckworth to join us for the Summit. A press release about Sen. Duckworth’s time is available here.
Twenty-two exhibitors also attended the day and shared about the way their organization or business advocates for the environment. From schools of theology to nature preserves and radio shows, the range of exhibitors demonstrated how environmental care can be incorporated into diverse areas of study and business.
Attendees came together over two lunch sessions where they engaged around different discussion topics or relaxed and enjoyed getting to know Earth advocates from other parts of the state.
When attendees finished their meal, Collective Resource Compost – a woman-owned commercial compost company that services more than 50 Chicagoland communities – guided guests through the process of figuring out how to compost, recycle or throw away their lunch leftovers.
The plenary session opened with show-stopping presentation from the Xochitl-Quetzal Danza Azteca Dancers. Their ancient dance reflected thousands of years of Aztec tradition honoring the Earth. Their rhythmic drumming inspired onlookers to feel a new sense of connection with the surrounding world.
The Dr. Rev. Clare Butterfield then took the stage as the Plenary Speaker. It was Clare that started Faith in Place 20 years ago and it is her ongoing spirit and legacy that guide and root Faith in Place’s ongoing work.