Urban Oil Drilling and the Intersection Between Faith and Environmentalism

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On Episode 45 of EcoJustice Radio our guest Reverend Oliver Buie, Minister of Community Engagement at the Holman United Methodist Church in South Los Angeles, speaks with Jessica Aldridge on the important relationship between faith and environmentalism. As a member of the Steering Committee of Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling (STAND-LA), he speaks to the environmental justice movement to institute a 2,500-foot health and safety buffer between oil drilling and where people live, in particular motivated by the Murphy Oil Drilling site near his South Los Angeles church.

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Reverend Oliver Buie - faith and environmentalism

The Reverend Oliver Buie from Holman united Methodist Church in South LA, with host Jessica Aldridge.

Faith and Environmental Justice Coming Together in Los Angeles

Repost from Jessica Aldridge at Adventures in Waste

Estimates say that there exists 4,200 religions or faith based followings in the world. The greatest majority falling under 12 prominent spiritual traditions. That being said, one person’s faith can look and feel different than another.

The relationship between faith and activism is not new. We can easily look to civil rights movement and the fight against discrimination of race, gender, religion, or national origin. The elevation of human rights is at the core of faith-based values.

This same notion can also be applied to the protection of Earth and the creatures upon it, and not just those of the human kind. That there exists a responsibility as part of one’s faith to participate in environmentalism.

However, there are those that express concern over a divide between faith and environmentalism. Going as far to say that Christianity is anti-environment or suspicious of mainstream science. Or applying the notion that faith is anthropocentric, placing the importance of humankind above all else. But is this really the case? Or a misinterpretation of beliefs and scripture? Better yet, is it an opportunity to build stronger community bonds in the movement.

It is also important to note that the issues we face in regards to environmental degradation and the climate crisis are inherently tied to the previously mentioned social justice issues.

Low-income communities of color are consistently burdened with dirty air and dirty water while their rights to a safe and healthy are eroded.

For example, Up to 8,000 barrels of oil are produced each day from wells in the City of Los Angeles. Over half a million people live within 2,500ft of an active oil or gas well. Oil extraction exposes residents to toxic chemicals, smog-forming gases, and water pollution causing our sisters and brothers living closest to drilling sites to suffer from increased rates of asthma, the risk of cancer, nosebleeds, headaches, and reproductive harm, just to name a few. And the majority of these community members don’t have the financial means to move and live elsewhere.

On episode 45 of EcoJustice Radio our guest Reverend Oliver Buie, Minister of Community Engagement at the Holman United Methodist Church, will speak the important relationship between faith and environmentalism and what his parish has been doing to promote environmental and social justice in their community.

Murphy Oil Drilling Site

Freeport McMoRan operates 30 oil and gas wells — of which 22 are active — in the Murphy drilling site in West Adams, L.A. Photo Credit: Sarah Craig in Grist

Guest Biography

Reverend Oliver Buie is Minister of Community Engagement at the Holman United Methodist Church

He earned a Master of Divinity Degree in 2011 from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He has 25 years of valuable experience in carrying out ministry responsibilities both as a licensed and ordained minister of the Gospel, including strong Biblical preaching and teaching, and worship leadership. His strong points have been organizational Leadership, administration and strategic planning, evangelism and church growth strategies, community outreach & relations, program development and team building, stewardship and fund development, ecumenical and collaborative relations and event planning & management. He is actively involved in environmental and social justice issues and is a Steering Committee for STAND LA.

LINKS:

Web: www.holmanumc.com
IG and Twitter: @holmanUMC
FB: www.facebook.com/HolmanChurch/

Other Resources:

STAND-LA: https://www.stand.la/
Murphy Oil Site: www.stand.la/murphy.html

Hosted by Jessica Aldridge from SoCal 350 and Adventures in Waste.
Engineer: Blake Lampkin
Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 45

Updated 22 November 2019

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt