Interfaith trust needed to protect environment: EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge

Challenging an interfaith stake in the world’s environmental future: Million pounds e-waste, Million pills goal of EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge

(Chicago, Illinois) – Faith leaders across eight Great Lakes states are urging their members to participate in an Earth Day 2008 challenge to collect one million pounds of electronics and more than one million pills because trust is needed between all people to stop an environmental crisis.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge has moved into high gear more than 100 projects involving hundreds of communities are collecting pharmaceuticals, electronics and household poisons.

An EPA grant to the non-profit interfaith Earth Healing Initiative (EHI) is mobilizing religious communities in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania.

EHI Logo

A Lutheran Bishop who has participated in interfaith Earth Day recycling projects for three years in a row encourages people of all faiths to get involved and help protect the environment.

We are in an environmental crisis in many ways, said Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes of the Northern Great Lakes Synod (NGLS) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The Great Lakes watershed is really kind of a mother to all of us here in the populated areas of the upper Midwest.

Interfaith environment projects like the EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge will help ensure a better future for all humans, Skrenes said, adding sometimes its relationships and trusting each other that really count in environmental work.

The culture, the society and the environment are now connecting in some fantastic new ways to build relationships between people, Skrenes said. We are building trust along and across denominational lines, in the Christian communities and into the wider faith communities of the whole country.

The EHI is a coalition and partnership of churches, synagogues and other faith traditions joining together and sharing their projects and resources to heal, protect and defend the environment, said founder Rev. Jon Magnuson of Marquette, Michigan.

Bishop Skrenes hopes everyone across the Great Lakes Basin will participate in their local project.

Saying its not your grandfathers environment movement anymore, Skrenes said that environmental work is now more mainstream and no longer an obscure thing for a certain group of people unlike 40 years ago when he was in high school and I dare say some of my relatives said it was kind of a hippie movement.

The church is called to bring people together to be part of the healing, Skrenes said.

This interfaith earth healing effort is really a great gift that has been given to all of us, Skrenes said. It is our calling and our responsibility to assist in renewal and rebuilding – its Gods work and its the work of Gods people.

Examples of established interfaith organizations that are assisting the EHI include the University of Minnesota Lutheran Campus Ministry, the Arrowhead Interfaith Council in Duluth, the Marquette University Ministry outlets in Milwaukee, several Catholic interfaith groups and the office of Ecumenical Formation and Inter-Religious Relations at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

EPA grants to some of the organizers help fund projects aimed at recycling computers, cell phones and other electronics commonly known as “e-waste plus collecting out-of-date and unwanted pharmaceuticals for proper disposal in high tech incinerators.

To comply with federal drug laws, police officers and pharmacists are accepting the medications. While some of the projects have been running all month or during Earth Week, the bulk of the events will be held either this Saturday, April 19 or next Saturday, April 26. Collections, rules, times and dates vary from city to city.

EHI Collage

The interfaith EHI is one of numerous environment and Native American projects founded by the non-profit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, Michigan including the Earth Keepers, known for removing more than 370 tons of e-Waste, pharmaceuticals and household hazardous waste (HHW) during three Earth Day clean sweeps across the Upper Peninsula.

The northern Michigan Earth Keepers have alliances with ten faith traditions across the Upper Peninsula, and the EHI is coordinating the same relationships with religious communities across the Great Lakes and beyond.

Bishop Skrenes is among the faith leaders who have signed the northern Michigan Earth Keeper Covenant pledging to actively participate in environment projects, build bridges with others faiths, and reach out to Native American communities.

Bishop Skrenes said the interfaith clean sweep is an example for other communities in the world because it shows like-minded people with good hearts can make a real impact in their communities when tackling environmental problem that seem daunting or too big for the average person to really make a difference.

The ongoing Earth Keeper project involves the congregations of over 150 churches and temples representing ten faith communities: Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Bahá’í, Jewish, Zen Buddhist and the Religious Society of Friends commonly known as the Quakers.

The Upper Peninsula Earth Keepers set up collection sites across a 400-mile area of northern Michigan on Earth Day 2005-2007. About 15,000 residents turned in over 320 tons of e-Waste, 45 tons of HHW including car batteries, oil-based paint, pesticides, liquid mercury, and other common poisons and over one ton of pharmaceuticals including $500,000 in narcotics.

People of many spiritual dimensions resonate to this work, Skrenes said. This is a good effort for all of us to be involved with.

This is about the environment, this is about cleaning up and making things new again and restoring things to the ways they once were and can be, Skrenes said.

People who are spiritual reflect upon and think about creation, Skrenes said. We think about the lakes and the streams and the forest and all of the rest that God has produced.

The 2008 EPA challenge collection sites in large cities and surrounding areas like Chicago, Milwaukee and Cleveland.

Illinois: Alton, Beecher, Bellwood, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Channahon, Chicago, Elk Grove Village, Elmhurst, Glenview, Joliet, Lockport, Lombard, Mount Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Romeoville, Shorewood, Villa Park, West Chicago, Wheaton, Woodstock

Indiana: Columbia City, Hammond, Knox, LaPorte, Fort Wayne, Rushville, Valparaiso

Michigan: Bay City (two events), Benton Harbor, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn Heights, East Lansing, Farmington Hills, Goodells, Grand Rapids (two events) Harbor Springs, Lansing, Midland, Monroe, Royal Oaks, Sault Ste. Marie, Southfield, Traverse City

Minnesota: Blaine, Brooklyn Park, Duluth, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Madison, Maple Grove, New Ulm, Saint Cloud, Shakopee, St. Louis Park, St. Paul
New York: Brockport, Buffalo, Fredonia, Rochester (two events), Syracuse (two events).

Ohio: Cleveland, Grove City, Kent, Perrysburg, Sandusky, Springfield, Toledo, Warren

Pennsylvania: Erie, Lancaster

Wisconsin: Appleton, Brillion, Chilton, Crandon, Green Bay, Keshena (Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and College of Menominee Nation), Manitowoc, Milwaukee (two events), New Holstein, Oshkosh, Plover (two events), Racine, Superior, Waupaca.

paint graphic

The EHI works in collaboration with the EPA and other government and non-government organizations, said Magnuson, executive director of the Cedar Tree Institute

The EHI is organizing faith community volunteers and participants plus providing free media assistance to the Earth Day projects including press releases, press contacts, internet videos, podcasts and postings.

For more information on the EHI project call 906-401-0109.

Related websites:

Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge:
Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge event list:
EPA Press Release on challenge:

Earth Healing Initiative:

Duluth, Minnesota:

University of Minnesota Lutheran Campus Ministry
P.O. Box 3649
Duluth, MN

UM LCM Website:

Pastor Doug Paulson page: Anchored in Christ’s love, Lutheran Campus Ministry is an open, welcoming and caring Community:
Arrowhead Interfaith Council (AIC)
102 W. 2nd Street
Duluth, MN

Arrowhead Interfaith Council (AIC) website

AIC members page:

AIC President
Erik Nordgren, AIC President

AIC Interfaith Committee
“The Interfaith Committee plans events which foster interfaith dialogue and learning”

AIC Interfaith Committee Chair
JoAnn Chesser

Milwaukee, WI:

Rev. Brad Brown
Lutheran Campus Pastor Marquette University


414-288-3691 (Pastor Brown vm)
414-305-2349 (cell)

Pastor Brad Brown’s blog:

Marquette University Lutheran Campus Ministry website:

Marquette University Ministry
AMU 236
1442 W. Wisconsin Ave.
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee., WI

Phone: 414-288-6873
Fax: 414-288-3696

Campus faith list:

Click to access 1018107web.pdf

Select challenge cities:

Chicago, Illinois:

IEPA Spring HHW collections:

AGL website:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District:

Milwaukee Journal articles:

Keshena, Wisconsin:

Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin:

College of Menominee Nation
Greater Cleveland, Ohio area:

Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District:


Western Lake Superior Sanitary District:

Fort Wayne, Indiana:

Allen County TRIAD:

Volunteer Center @ RSVP:


Add to Technorati Favorites

Find me on MySpace and be my friend!

My Zimbio
Top Stories

About yoopernewsman

I am a news reporter, writer and investigative journalist and began my career about 40 years ago as a young teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during the middle of high school. I'm a news reporter, writer & investigative journalist specializing in street news, plus Indigenous, civil rights & environment reporting. Currently volunteer media advisor for numerous American Indian & environment related nonprofits that include the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ & its executive director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) in Marquette, MI & its many projects founded by Rev. Jon Magnuson, Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI, Celtic Christianity Today (CCT) founded by Rev. Dr. George Cairns, the Turtle Island Project founded by pastors Hubbard & Cairns. In its third summer, the CTI Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project & its volunteers built a16-foot geodesic dome solar-powered greenhouse that was built in this summer at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in an effort to restore native species plants to northern Michigan. It's located at the tribe's Natural Resources Department north of L'Anse along Lake Superior. During the summer of 2010, Zaagkii Project teens built & painted 25 beautiful reliquaries that are boxes made from pine & cedar that are used to store seeds for planting & included samples of Native American medicine including sweetgrass, cedar, sage & tobacco. From April-June 2009, I promoted the EarthKeeper Tree Project that planted 12,000 trees across northern Michigan. Co-edited "Unafraid," the second book by Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI that was printed in May 2009 based on her father's handwritten sermons she found in shoebox. I edited numerous videos for nonprofit CCT. Began career 35 years ago as teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during middle of high school. I was co-coordinator of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by local media who didn't report anything positive about the music icon. Mr. Terence Dicks was the other co-coordinator & most recently served as chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission and serves on the Georgia Clients Council. Mr. Brown taught us to "fight the good fight" by battling all forms of racism & evil while not uttering a bad word about those who try to block justice, respect, fairness & kindness to all. As a child, I lived in the Harbert, Michigan home built by late poet Carl Sandburg, where the legendary author penned some of his greatest works including his Chicago works & Lincoln papers. The four-story home had a sundeck on the top & a cool walk-in safe in the basement. The neighborhood (Birchwood) has numerous cottages used for other purposes by Sandburg like the milk house where they milked goats. My parents remodeled fourth floor of the home that stands atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes/bluffs. They found items that belonged to Mr. Sandburg concealed in the walls including prescription bottles with his name, reading glasses, & a small, thin metal stamp with his name. I've worked for dozens of newspapers & radio & TV stations in GA & MI. I'm volunteer media advisor for several interfaith environmental projects involving Native Americans across Upper Peninsula of MI including the Turtle Island Project, The Zaagkii Project, the Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, EarthKeeper Initiative & the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project. The Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project restores bee & butterfly habitat to help pollination of plants following death of billions of bees. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth & Marquette teens built butterfly houses, planted/distributed 26,000 native plants to help pollinators. The Earth Healing Initiative assisted EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge. EHI helped organize interfaith participation across eight states for the 100 plus recycling projects (April 2008) involving recycling millions of pounds of electronic waste & proper disposal of millions of pills/pharmaceuticals. EPA goals were exceeded by 500%. Under an EPA grant, EHI provided free media services for the cities/groups/tribes including videos & press releases. The EarthKeeper environment projects include an annual Earth Day Clean Sweep (2005-2007) at 24 free drop-off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan that collected over 370 tons of household hazardous waste. The 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep collected over one ton of drugs plus $500,000 in narcotics in only three hours. Some 2,000 residents participated & many brought in pharmaceuticals for their family, friends & neighbors. In 2006, 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones & other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons & vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project teaches teens to respect nature & themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to remote lakes & streams in northern Michigan to plant/care for wild rice. The teens test water quality to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. The Turtle Island Project was co-founded in July 2007 by Rev. Lynn Hubbard of Rock Point, AR (Ex. Dir. of the Navajo Lutheran Mission) & Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, IN, United Church of Christ minister & research professor for the Chicago Theological Seminary. TIP promotes respect for culture & heritage of indigenous peoples like American Indians. TIP is a platform for American Indians to be heard unedited by whites. Rev. Hubbard says whites don't have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of Native Americans. I specialize in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops & courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the books "Illusions" & "Jonathon Livingston Seagull." Love to fish, hunt, camp & skydive. Belong to Delta Chi national fraternity. I was active in Junior Achievement, band played cornet. With my dear friend, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, we were the co-coordinators of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by the local media who found no reasons to print or report anything positive about the music icon. I am honored to help the human rights activist Terence Dicks - with some of his projects including the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education - and the economic initiative he founded titled "Claiming A Street Named King." I am the volunteer media advisor for several environmental projects across Michigan's Upper Peninsula including EarthKeeper II - an Initiative of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI. EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Goals: Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Previously known as the Earth Keeper Initiative - that project included many environmental projects including an annual Earth Day Clean sweep at two dozen free drop off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan. The target of the 2007 Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep are all kinds of medicines. In 2006, some 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones and other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project taught at-risk teens (just sentenced in juvenile court) to respect nature and themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to very remote lakes and streams in northern Michigan to plant and care for wild rice. The teens conducted water quality and other tests to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. I have always specialized in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops and courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the book "Illusions."
This entry was posted in ABC, ABC News, Abenaki, acid, acid mine, acid mine drainage, AIM, air, Akime, Akimel, Alabama-Coushatta, Aleut, Alton, American Indian, Ann Arbor, Apache, Apalachee, Appleton, Arapaho, Arikara, Arkansas, Art Neskahi, Assiniboin, Aurora Borealis, Bahai, Bannock, Bay City, Beecher, Bellwood, Benton Harbor, Bishop, Blackfoot, Blaine, Bless, blessing, Bloomfield Hills, Bolingbrook, Brillion, Brockport, broken, Brooklyn Park, Buffalo, Cable News Network, Caddo, Canarsee, Carol Stream, Catawba, Cayuga, Cayuse, CBS, CBS News, cell phones, ceremony, Channahon, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chicago, Chickasaw, Chilton, Chinook, Chippewa, Choctaw, Christian, church, Cleveland, climate, climate change, CNN, Coeur d'Alene, College of Menominee Nation, Columbia City, Colville, Comanche, communities, Community, computers, conference, Cortez, Cortez Journal, Crandon, Cree, cross, Crow, crow creek, culture, Cuyahoga County, Dakota, Dearborn Heights, Delaware, Detroit, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Diné, diocese, disposal, drinking water, Duluth, e-waste, Eagan, eagle, Earth, earth day, Earth Day 2008, Earth Healing Initiative, Earth Keeper Initiative, Earth Keepers, East Lansing, ecology, ecumenical, Eden Prairie, EHI, ELCA, electronics, Elk Grove Village, Elmhurst, English, environment, environmental, EPA, Episcopal, Erie, Eskimo, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, faith, faith traditions, faith-based, Farmington Hills, fight, First Nations Peoples, fish, Flathead, food, Fort Wayne, Fox News, Fredonia, Gary, glacier, Glenview, global warming, God, Goodells, grain, Great Lakes, Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge, Great Sioux Nation, Green Bay, Gros, Grove City, Haida, Hammond, Harbor Springs, Harlan McKosato, heritage, HHW, Hidatsa, Hoopa, Hopi, household hazardous waste, Huron, ice caps, Illinois, incinerator, Indian, Indiana, indigenous, Indigenous Issues, Indigenous peoples, interfaith, intolerance, Iroquois, Islam, Islamic, Jesus, Jewish, Joliet, justice, Kalispel, Kansa, Kaw, KBIC, Kent, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Klallam, Klamath, Knox, Kootenai, Kwakiutl, l O'Odham, lake, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lakota, Lakota Sioux, Lancaster, landfill, landfills, Lansing, LaPorte, Lockport, Lombard, Lord, love, Lumbee, Lutheran, Lutheran Campus Ministry, Lutheran School of Theology Chicago, Madison, Mahican, Maidu, Makah, Malecite, Mandan, Manhattan, Manitowoc, Maple Grove, Maricopa, Marquette, Mdewakanton, media, medical care, Medicine Cabinet Clean Out Day, medicines, melting, Mendota, Menominee, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Michigan, Micmac, Midland, Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, Minnesota, Mission Indians, Modoc, Mohave, Mohawk, Mohegan, Monroe, Montagnais, Mount Prospect, multicultural, Muskogee Creek, mutation, Narragansett, Naskapi, Natchez, national public radio, national talk show, Native America Calling, Native American, Native American Theology, nature, Navajo, Navajo Times, NBC, NBC News, New Holstein, New Mexico, New Ulm, New York, New York City, news, newspaper, Nez Percé, NMU 2008 Indigenous Earth Day Summit, non-profit, Nootka, north, North American, North American Theology, Northbrook, northern, northern lights, Northern Michigan University, Northern Michigan University Native American Studies, NPR, O'Odham, Ohio, Ojibwa, Ojibwe, Okanogan, Oklahoma, Omaha, Oneida, Onondaga, Osage, Oshkosh, Oto, Ottawa, Paiute, Papago, Park Ridge, Patriotic, Pawnee, Pennacook, Pennsylvania, Penobscot, Pequot, Perrysburg, pharmaceutical waste, pharmaceuticals, pills, Pima, planet, Plover, pluralism, poisons, pollution, Pomo, Ponca, Pope, Potawatomi, Powhatan, prejudice, Presbyterian, proper disposal, Pueblo, Puyallup, Quapaw, Quechan, Racine, racism, radio, recycle, religion, religions, respect, Rev Jon Magnuson, river, rivers, Rochester, Roman Catholic, Rome, Romeoville, Rosebud, Royal Oaks, Rushville, Sabaoth, Sacagawea, Saint Cloud, Salish, Sandusky, Santee, Sarsi, Sauk, Sault Ste Marie, See Sac, Seminole, Seneca, Shakopee, Shawnee, Shorewood, Shoshone, Shuswap Sioux, Sioux, Sioux Nation, South Dakota, Southfield, Southwest Intertribal Voice, species, species extinction, Spokan, Springfield, St Louis Park, St Paul, state of Michigan, stream, streams, sulfide, sulfide mine, Sulfide mining, sulfuric acid, Superior, Syracuse, television, Tillamook, Tillie Black Bear, Tlingit, Tobacco Nation, Tohono, Toledo, tradition, Traverse City, tree, trees, tribal, tribe, Tribune, truth, Tsimshian, Turtle Island, Turtle Island Project, Tuscarora, TV, Uncategorized, United Methodist Church, United Nations, United States, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Universalist Unitarian, University of Minnesota, unwanted, Upper Peninsula, USEAP, Ute, UU, Valparaiso, Ventre, Villa Park, volunteer, Wahkon, Wampanoag, Wappinger, Warren, Washo, water, Watersmeet, Waupaca, West Chicago, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District, Wheaton, Wichita, wild rice, wildlife, Winnebago, Wisconsin, WITW, Woodstock, world, world news, Wyandot, Yakima, Yamasee, Yankton Sioux, Yellow Dog Plains, Yokuts, Yuma, Yurok and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s