Multiple-congregation group discusses environmental issues, community gardens

By STEVEN SPARKMAN
neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Dr. Thomas Coudron advises members of Interfaith Care for Creation on insect control. STEVEN SPARKMAN/Missourian

A local group made up of members of several religious congregations met Sunday, July 18, to discuss environmental policy and the group’s interfaith garden projects.

Interfaith Care for Creation is a coalition of members from many different congregations representing the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu faiths.  The group lobbies for environmental legislation and maintains multiple community gardens. Issues they lobby for include renewable energy and climate change.

The meeting, held at Rock Bridge Christian Church, was headed by Monta Welch, founder and director of Columbia Climate Change Coalition. Nineteen people from seven different congregations attended the meeting.

The group heard from Thomas Coudron, a research chemist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Coudron is a member of the Newman Center, and is helping the interfaith garden projects control insects. His advice involved using particular plants, parasites, chemical scents and other techniques to draw in beneficial insects while repelling harmful ones.

Those attending were also updated on the group’s lobbying efforts, including a July 8 teleconference with Sen. Claire McCaskill’s agricultural policy adviser, Nichole Distefano. Several different groups attended, including the Interfaith group and others from Kansas City, St. Louis, and Jefferson City. Speakers took turns presenting their points to Distefano, outlining environmental policy preferences from the perspective of the faith community.

Welch said that the speakers in the teleconference were well-organized and got their point across. “It was, I feel, very inspirational,” she said.

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