Church panel tackles green issues

PORTSMOUTH -- After a successful showing of the movie on climate change, "An Inconvenient Truth," St. John Church's new Stewardship of the Earth Committee is taking the next step.

On Friday, author Chad Kister will offer a slide presentation on the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

"We want to continue to educate and challenge our parishioners and Seacoast residents on issues affecting the environment and our responsibility to treat it with respect," said Sarah Brown, a committee founder.

"Arctic Quest" is the committee's next free and open showing, which hopes to educate Seacoast residents on a political and environmental issue that the United States has been weighing since the Bush administration's push to open the Arctic refuge to oil drilling.

"Despite popular misconception, drilling has not passed Congress, and we can still stop it through the budget reconciliation process, which is projected to last through the summer," Kister said.

"Arctic Quest" is an adventure story of a 700-mile journey by foot and raft through the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The presentation explains how oil development would impact the wildlife of the refuge, and what people can do about it.

"With oil drilling in the Arctic now being proposed in both the budget and the energy bill before Congress, this is an imperative time to take action to save this large wilderness area, before it is too late," said Jon Demos of the Alaska Coalition and a South Berwick resident.

The Alaska Coalition is sponsoring Kister's cross-country tour of "Arctic Quest."

For more information on Kister, visit

As part of its stewardship efforts, the committee also held a meeting on Monday to start setting up a Green Sanctuary program at St. John's.

"Green Sanctuary is a multi-faceted approach, which will help the church reduce its energy use and its carbon footprint," said Carole Renselaer, a committee member. "It will include practical changes to the way St. John's uses energy and an ongoing educational effort to get parishioners to think about their individual impact on the environment."