Environmental conference at St. John’s Cathedral brings diverse speakers to talk climate, religion, plans for Expo’s 50th anniversary

click to enlarge St. John's Cathedral hosts a climate conference April 22-23.

St. John’s Cathedral hosts a climate conference April 22-23.

It may sound a little early to start thinking about the 50th anniversary of Expo ’74, but the forward-thinking folks at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral were actually so far ahead of the curve that they planned an entire environmental conference with that in mind for 2020.

Then a global pandemic derailed their Earth Day plans.

Now, two years later, the Hope for Creation Conference is moving ahead, with speakers from different faiths, political backgrounds and expertise gathering April 22 and 23 for the two-day conference.

“What we’re trying to get included in this discussion is a broad spectrum of people, including a broad spectrum of religious views,” says conference organizer John Wallingford, a parishioner at St. John’s. “We’re trying to get people that have been kind of on the sideline by choice around climate care and climate change and give them a place where they can feel comfortable to share their thoughts.”

In addition to asking how the community should commemorate the 50th anniversary of Spokane’s Expo ’74 — the first world’s fair focused on the environment — the conference will explore what it means to be caretakers of the Earth and ask how the Inland Northwest can help tackle climate impacts.

“[Our goal] is for Spokane as a community to think about what environmental leadership looks like,” Wallingford says, “and what kind of things we are in a position to put forward locally that could be used regionally and globally.”

The conference will feature a huge variety of speakers including: Whitworth University theology Professor Jonathan Moo, who will speak about how religions call on humans to care for creation; Gloria Flora, a sustainability speaker and researcher who will talk about biochar in fuel-rich forests; Washington State University’s Aaron Esser, who will talk about adaptations for dryland wheat farming; University of Idaho Professor Tara Hudiburg, who will talk about how forests can store carbon, and Twa-Le Abrahamson from the Spokane Tribe, who will talk about respect for the land and Midnite Mine cleanup; and many other community members. J. William T. Youngs, author of The Fair and the Falls, will give the keynote at 4:15 on Saturday, entitled “Expo ’74: The Environment Then and Now.”

The conference costs $20 to attend. While none of the breakout discussions will be available online, some of the main speakers and discussions can be streamed online at a discounted rate of $10. Students and exhibitors can also attend at the reduced rate. Registration details can be found at Whitworth.edu/HopeForCreation.

The event will also host a public street fair from noon to 3:30 pm on April 23, featuring exhibits on the environment, food trucks, live music, artwork and tours of the South Hill landmark.

Article Source: Inlander