Becoming Refugias: Climate Change and a Change of Heart

Main Article Content

Joan Brown


Climate change is the most significant moral, ethical and spiritual issue of our time. All other social and justice issues are increasingly linked back to climate change. Leaders of the major world religions have written documents and called for people of faith to become engaged. Yet, faith communities do not become engaged in this social and spiritual concern. Secular society is looking for moral guidance and faith communities have significant wisdom and practices to offer. Linking science with theological reflections, justice imperatives and praxis may assist ministers in grappling with the critical concern of climate change that looms ever larger as we move deeper into the twenty-first century. The shift in worldview and theology that is required could not only renew the earth and care for brothers and sisters but could be an opportunity for renewing religious traditions and deepening a sense of identity, collaboration and community worldwide.

Article Details

Climate, Creation, Common Good
Author Biography

Joan Brown

Sister Joan Brown is a Franciscan and the executive director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light. She has been engaged in social justice and peace issues for her entire life and with the concern of climate change for more than two decades. She is the co-founder of the non-profit s Partnership for Earth Spirituality and Tierra Madre, a sustainable self-help straw bale housing project on the New Mexico and Mexico border for new immigrants. Her ministry experience has also included co-ordinator for Pace e Bene, director of Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado and  assisting with a soup kitchen and running the Peace House, a shelter for women and children. Concerns of peace, nuclear disarmament, poverty issues and the environment have always been interwoven in her ministry.She holds a BA in literature and journalism from St. Mary College, Leavenworth, Kansas and a MA in Religion, Philosophy and Cosmology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California. She has served in leadership in her community, The Franciscan Sisters of Rochester, Minnesota, of which she has been a member for some 30 years. Honoring her Kansas farm roots continues to be important as she gardens, tends chickens, ducks and bees along the ancient acequias (water irrigation distribution canals) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.