LOWCOUNTRY PRESBYTERIAN CONGREGATION CARES FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
In the book of Numbers, the Bible commands: “You shall not pollute the land … You shall not defile the land.”
A group of people at Lowcountry Presbyterian Church are taking those words to hard, making it their mission to do what they can to protect and clean up the land that humans have polluted and defiled for hundreds of years.
The Simmonsville Road church has been recognized by the national Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) organization as an “Earth Care Congregation” based on its activities in worship, education, facilities and outreach.
Led by Jon and Gretchen Nickel, the church’s Earth Care Team has participated in Adopt-A-Highway and the May River Cleanup and is involved in the Beaufort Walk for Water.
“It’s really just getting the church involved in the community and in these environmental issues,” Jon said.
In addition to working with the community, the church has made a number of changes to its own building. It has banned Styrofoam cups, encourages carpooling and is switching out all its lightbulbs to LEDs.
One of the Earth Care Team’s goals for 2019 was to come up with educational programs focused on climate change. The team decided to host a three-part speaker series on environmental issues. In May, former counsel to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Jim Cubie spoke about the environmental legislative process. Former U.S. Congressman Bob Inglis will speak on July 17, followed by a talk by U.S. Congressman Joe Cunningham in August.
Inglis, the executive director of the nonprofit group RepublicEN, will address free-enterprise solutions to climate change.
“What we have here is a problem in economics that has an environmental consequence,” he said. “If we fix the economics, the environment will take care of itself.”
Inglis — who was awarded the 2015 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for his work on climate change — said his solution is a carbon tax paired with a dollar-for-dollar reduction in other taxes so there’s no growth of government.
“You apply the tax to imports from countries that don’t have an equivalent carbon tax,” Inglis said. “It’s a way of America using access to the American market to make it in the world’s interest to follow our lead.”
He is looking forward to returning to his hometown to speak at Lowcountry Presbyterian, where his parents were members before they passed away. For their part, the church’s Earth Care Team hopes the community will turn out for the talk.
“This is a learning experience for the community, and that’s why we really want to extend it outside the walls of the congregation of the church,” Jon Nickel said. “I’m hoping the community will care about this issue and want to learn more.”
CLIMATE CHANGE CONVERSATIONS
Lowcountry Presbyterian Church will host two speakers as part of its series of discussions on the environment. Former U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis will speak at 5:30 p.m. July 17; he is the executive director of environmental nonprofit RepublicEN. U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham will speak at 5 p.m. Aug. 29.
The events will be held at the church, located at 10 Simmonsville Road in Bluffton, and are free and open to the public. Bring a friend, and a snack or appetizer to share. Drinks will be provided. For more information, call Gretchen or Jon Nickel at 843-295-7676.