Newsworthy Articles

News and Media Update June 24, 2024

Climate Change 

Faith communities can play a significant role in addressing climate change through their moral authority and stewardship principles. By educating and mobilizing their members, collaborating across faiths, and engaging with scientists, religious groups can drive impactful environmental activism and policy change. 

Neddy Astudillo, a Presbyterian pastor in Florida, emphasizes the biblical call to care for the Earth and addresses climate change as a Christian duty. She coordinates the Climate Justice and Faith certificate program which educates pastors and lay leaders on the links between climate change and social injustices, offering spiritual and moral reasons for climate action and practical ways to incorporate it into their ministries.

Tree of Life Lutheran Church, on Linglestown Road in Harrisburg, says its solar panels are projected to save the church $10,000 a year in electricity costs. Photo credit: Karen Hendricks / For Climate Solutions

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Tree of Life Lutheran Church showcases a strong commitment to environmental stewardship by installing solar panels that provide nearly all the power for their three buildings. This initiative reflects a broader trend among Pennsylvania churches, like Akron Mennonite Church and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, which have also adopted solar energy to reduce their carbon footprints and inspire their communities to switch to renewable energy. 

Meanwhile, to help annual Hajj pilgrims cope with extreme heat, Saudi officials are implementing measures like air-conditioned spaces, cooling road coverings, and misting systems. This year, more than 300 people have died and thousands have been treated for heat stroke during Hajj. A recent study shows that while mitigation measures have significantly reduced heat stress incidents, rising regional temperatures may outpace these strategies. Experts emphasize the need for Saudi Arabia to transition to greener energy options as part of its Vision 2030 agenda to better protect the Hajj and the environment.

Muslim worshippers pray around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage - AFPpix

Hate Crimes In NYC

New York City has faced a rise in suspected hate crimes in 2024. 

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the vandalism of a mosque in Brooklyn, New York. On May 29 at the Nation of Islam's Muhammad Mosque No. 7C in East New York, a man threw an object, breaking a sign. The Council on American-Islamic Relations reports that hate crimes targeting Muslim communities are on the rise. 

Authorities are investigating a series of antisemitic vandalism incidents targeting the homes of the Brooklyn Museum's Jewish director and some board members. NYC Comptroller Brad Lander posted photos showing red paint-smeared doors and hateful messages. Surveillance footage captured five masked individuals defacing the home of Museum Director Anne Pasternak, leaving a banner with her name and an antisemitic messages. Mayor Eric Adams condemned the acts as overt antisemitism and confirmed that the NYPD is investigating to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Rabbi Chezky Wolff was attacked outside the Chelsea Shul in Manhattan after asking a man to leash his dog. The attacker used antisemitic language and struck Rabbi Wolff in the head with his tote bag, knocking off his glasses and yarmulke.

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