Navigating Climate Activism in Seattle

by Vickie Machado (Eco-Steward alum and Program Leader)

“The tide is rising and so are we…”

Last month young adult leaders from around the country gathered in Seattle to reflect on how to navigate the environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest with regards to climate change and fossil fuel transport within the context of Christian faith. Collectively our group of seven EcoStewards and four leaders examined Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home. We reflected upon these words on the shores of Lake Washington and Bellingham Bay, while connecting them to the actions of many of the people and organizations we visited.

The 2016 Seattle Eco-Stewards meet with Lummi Nation activists on the shores of the Salish Sea.



Folks at the Sightline Institute introduced us to the danger coal trains pose to many small towns as cargo loads bring the possibility of explosions, coal dust, and traffic issues rather than the promise of local jobs. Earth Ministry discussed their push to engage churches in these issues primarily teaching churches to act as allies to local Native American tribes. Wednesday we met with the Backbone Campaign as they offered insight into artful activism and their success in the mass organization of kayaktivists to stop oil rigs and protest fossil fuel extraction and transport. And finally, the Lummi Nation graced us with their stories and wisdom as they shared the generations’ long fight for equality and their more recent move (and victory) to prevent construction of a coal terminal at Cherry Point.


The Eco-Stewards discuss Pope Francis’ call to earth stewardship in his encyclical, Laudato Si’.

In all of these instances, words from the encyclical and deeper understandings from our faith tradition appeared as we navigated how to serve God while caring for creation and our fellow brothers and sisters. We contemplated this call while meeting with others, communally preparing and sharing meals, singing songs, worshiping together, sharing our personal eco-faith journeys, exploring the city by public transit, and kayaking Puget Sound. Within this week we learned and grew from those around us, recognizing the impact we all have in our world and that it takes every bit of effort to make a difference. The tide may be rising, but as Rabbi Shochana Meira Friedman’s song says, “the world is ready and so are we.”

The Eco-Stewards take to the waters of Elliott Bay.


Gathering in Seattle

Dear Eco-Stewards Community,

Tonight, a wonderful group of seven young adult Eco-Stewards and four Program Leaders will gather at Mount Baker Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington. We’ll spend the week together reflecting on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical and talking to faith-based, environmental, and tribal groups about the creative and inspiring ways they are peacefully protesting energy transport projects in the Pacific Northwest. Please keep our community in your prayers this week.

And if you have a moment, check out our new video from our Gainesville program in 2014 when we explored a Southern foodshed and swam with manatees! You can view the video here.


The Eco-Stewards Leadership Team


Seattle Deadline Extended-April 13

Dear Eco-Stewards Community,

We’re happy to share that we’ve received some wonderful applicants for our upcoming Seattle Eco-Stewards Program in June!

We can admit a few more candidates, so please keep spreading the word to young adult leaders in your midst! We’ve extended our application deadline to April 13.

Our focus this year will be on Creativity and Power: Theological Reflection and Action on Climate Change. Please be in touch with Rev. Rob Mark ( with any questions.Here is a link to the 2016 application.


The Eco-Stewards Leadership Team


Eco-Stewards Seattle: Apply Now!

The April 1st deadline for Eco-Stewards Seattle is quickly approaching and we need your help recruiting some young adult leaders (ages 20-30) to participate in this amazing program that will focus on creativity, climate change and theological reflection on Pope Francis’ encyclical on caring for the environment. Applications are due April 1 and some financial aid is available to help with travel expenses. Better yet, help us by sponsoring a young adult to attend the program! Download the the 2016 application. Email with any questions.


Help us promote Eco-Stewards Seattle!

seatle cityscape.2013.IMG_0113Dear Eco-Stewards Community,

We need your help in recruiting young adults (ages 20-30) to apply for our June 2016 program in Seattle, where we’ll focus on “Creativity and Power: Theological Reflection and Action on Climate Change.”

We have an awesome poster and a hot-off-the-press 2016 application available for  promotional purposes. The application deadline is April 1 with rolling admissions. Please download the poster and tack it up on an old-school bulletin board at your local church, college and coffee shop! Or promote us on social media with this link to our program website:

Our warmest wishes for the holidays. May there be Peace on Earth and in our hearts. Stay tuned for our electronic Fundraising Appeal Letter that will be arriving soon in your Inbox from MailChimp.


The Eco-Stewards Leadership Team

Eco-Stewards Program Heads to Seattle in 2016

Dear Eco-Stewards Community,

Help us spread the word about our upcoming 2016 program in Seattle.  We have an awesome new poster that you can download here. Read on to learn more about our exciting program that connects Pope Francis,  climate change and the power of organizing.

In peace,

The Eco-Stewards Leadership Team

Eco-Stewards 2016: Seattle, Washington: June 13-18, 2016 “Creativity and Power: Theological Reflection and Action on Climate Change”

Join us in the beautiful Pacific Northwest as we gather and delve into the climate justice movement through the lens of faith. This unique part of our country stands at the current nexus of energy debates and hopes for a more sustainable tomorrow—battling powers of coal, oil and gas with the new alternative powers of wind, sun and water. We will dive into these issues to contemplate our call to address climate change as people of faith newly inspired by Pope Francis’ clarion invitation to care for Our Common Home. We will spend this placed-based learning week listening to local faith-based communities who are responding to the challenges of energy in creative, inspiring and powerful ways. A good portion of our time together will also focus on daily theologically reflection of the Pope’s encyclical and sharing our own Eco-Faith Journeys with one another. Applications are forthcoming. For more info, email