Religious Organization’s Role in Addressing Climate Change – with Rev. Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone

Episode 62

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Hosted by
Ron Kamen

Ron Kamen has decades of expertise & leadership in catalyzing exponential change in sustainable energy adoption with communities, governments, non-profits, and businesses.

Quantum Quote: “Science provides us with the evidence, our faith compels us to act.” – Rev. Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone

Climate change is a part of our lives that must be resolved – or the extreme weather events will result in the ultimate collapse of all civilization.

Are you concerned about the future and want to protect your children? How does your faith compel you to take action?

Rev. Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone is an educator, minister, and musician based in Ulster County, New York. She has been a science and peace educator for 27 years, and has spent most of her life working in education in various capacities.. She has been a middle and high school teacher, a museum and environmental educator, a university professor, a non-profit executive, an entrepreneur/small business owner, and an education consultant. But she is always driven by the same vision: to create a more just and equitable world

Leonisa is focused on climate change because for her, thinking about climate change is thinking about the future of all people. She has created curricula for the City of New York, written books about doing science with children, and is currently organizing religious congregations to mobilize and take action.

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SuperNova #1. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy. To deal with those, we need a spiritual and cultural transformation. Unfortunately, scientists don’t know how to do that.

SuperNova #2. These are the most pressing issues because they encompass everything: environmental justice, issues of structural violence, systemic racism, poverty, it’s all tied in. Climate change is the central issue we need to be thinking about because it’s futures oriented. If we’re not thinking about climate change, then we are not thinking about a future that is just for all people.

SuperNova #3. Graphs showing human impact is what we’re talking about.  If we’re looking at greenhouse gas emissions, and you control for all the other things – solar flares, volcanoes, and all of that – and you actually plot it along the lines of greenhouse gas emissions, you see that this is, in fact, a human created tragedy.

Worst Career Moment: “When my kid and I hit on really hard times. We were put on public assistance and got SNAP benefits for a few years. Then they bumped us off an energy saving contract because of our income issues. I learned right then and there how unjust and stacked against people with lower incomes who want to have an environmental mindset with their heating bills” – Rev. Leonisa Ardizzone

Aha! Moment: “Being in dialogue with tribal elders, who helped me understand that I was already a person who considered myself an environmentalist. And they just took me to a whole new level, they just helped me see it. Like it through every cell in my body instead of just as a biologist.” – Rev. Leonisa Ardizzone

Best Advice She’s Ever Received: “Don’t take it personally, even if it has your name on it.” – Rev. Leonisa Ardizzone

Personal Habits that Contribute to Success: “Beginner’s mind, as I enter the world and chat, look at the world, try to look at it with the mind of a child.” – Rev. Leonisa Ardizzone

Internet Resource: Poor People’s Campaign and greenfaith.org

Book Recommendation: This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Magic Wand: “The inability to feel greed. We would be satisfied with who we are and what we have.”  – Rev. Leonisa Ardizzone

WTF or F: Hurricane in Rhode Island – Rev. Leonisa Ardizzone

Most Energized About Today: “I’m energized to get out there and start having more conversations with my interfaith colleagues about how we can work together to address climate change.” – Rev. Leonisa Ardizzone

Parting Advice: “Do what you can, see what you’re feeling. Those are things you can do immediately. And at the same time. look around and see who you can meet or collaborate with or what petition you can sign or what action you can take to work toward systemic solutions.” – Rev. Leonisa Ardizzone

Important Upcoming Events of the Guest: 

  • Teaching at Dharmakaya in August
  • Launching workshop series for clergy and religious educators in the fall

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Episode 62