Environmental Justice Committee

Our Mission & Goals

The Environmental Justice Committee works to advance, educate and participate with individuals and groups to improve the condition of the environment for all of the earth’s inhabitants through direct action, education and advocacy in harmony with the environment.  

  • To improve the environmental footprint of our parish, it’s members, and the community.
  • To conduct direct action by implementing such programs as, composting, tree plantings and maintenance, stormwater reduction, neighborhood clean ups, energy reduction strategies, and other environmental efforts to improve our footprint through collaboration within the parish and with partners.
  • To educate each other through information sharing and with speakers to explore and expose the adverse effects humans have on the environment and its inhabitants and to propose solutions to improve these effects.

Top Priorities for 2023

1.  Educate about the scarcity of potable water and it’s disparate impact on people in the state, country and international
2.  Sponsor speakers to discuss the need and ways to conserve water
3. Direct action by participating in stormwater management activities and legislative action regarding water related issues
4.  Increase participation of parishioners and school children in the work of Environmental Justice


Theresa Furnari
Environmental Justice Committee Chair

Welcome Letter

Hello All:  My name is Theresa Furnari and I want to welcome you to the Environmental Justice Committee of the Justice and Peace Ministry. 

I am honored to be taking over the reins for the committee and I thank Len Heckwolf for his years of service as the former chair. 

As a parishioner of St. Ignatius Church for the past years, I have tremendously enjoyed the work of the Justice and Peace Committee.

My desire to chair the Environmental Justice Committee is rooted in my lifelong passion for living in harmony with nature.   

The Environmental Justice (EJ) Committee is guided by the principles cited in Lauduto Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical letter. Specifically, that we as individuals need to act for the benefit of the natural world, which includes the animals, soil, plants and waters. 

In addition to direct action and advocacy, EJ seeks to educate individuals as to the changes we can incorporate in our own lives that will benefit the community. 

We welcome all who are interested in learning more and/or serving on the committee.  I can be contacted at TaFurnari10@gmail.com

– Theresa

Upcoming Events

How’s the Water, Hon? Speaker Event

How’s the Water, Hon? Speaker Event

The Environmental Justice Committee invites you to a presentation to learn about the water that arrives at your house and leaves your house, and what you can do to mitigate contamination of our...

How Does One Person Make Any Difference?

How Does One Person Make Any Difference?

A Conversation about the Importance of Reducing, Composting, and Recycling. by Valerie Doze https://vimeo.com/733707720 Reduce, reuse, recycle. How many times have we heard these three seemingly...

Suggested Reads

A Terrible Thing to Waste

By Harriet A. Washington

A “powerful and indispensable” look at the devastating consequences of environmental racism (Gerald Markowitz) — and what we can do to remedy its toxic effects on marginalized communities.

THe Overstory

By Richard Powers

The Overstory, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. 

Bicycling with butterflies

By Sara Dykman 

Sara Dykman made history when she became the first person to bicycle alongside monarch butterflies on their storied annual migration—a round-trip adventure that included three countries and more than 10,000 miles.

Tracking Climate Change in 193 Countries

A team of more than 40 Opinion writers, photographers and editors spent five months canvassing the globe to illustrate the deadly consequences of our warming world.

Read Article

Review of Climate Change 2021

Earlier this year, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. The full report, clocking in at a mere 3,949 pages, is an extensive assessment of the current evidence on the physical science of climate change. 

Read Article

See The True Cost of Your Cheap Chicken

This video from the New York Times Opinion Piece shows how modern poultry farming keeps the cost down, but takes away the dignity of the farmer and the animal. 

There are graphic images in this video.

Watch Now

Current legislation that needs your support!

There are currently six environmental justice bills before the General Assembly that provide environmental protection and promote social justice.

The bills are supported by Maryland Catholics for Our Common Home, parishioners across the state, and our parish. Additionally, nearly eighty parishioners signed a petition supporting the bills. There is more to do.

On behalf of the Environmental Justice Committee, we ask that each of you contact your legislative representative and ask them to support the bills.

If your representative sponsored the bill please thank them. If your representative is a committee member or a chair of the committee that the bill has been assigned to, please state your support and urge them to successfully vote it out of the committee.

Your legislative representatives want to hear from you and this is your time to voice your position! Time is of the essence so please act.

SB528 Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, HB/708 comprehensive climate solutions, HB696 and others
The most comprehensive package of bills that work to address the impacts of climate change. The package of bills set ambitious reduction goals, works to reduce emissions from transportation and buildings, positions the state government to lead by example, takes bold steps to correct environmental injustices associated with climate change, and considers the infrastructure needs associated with a decarbonized economy.  
The Senate is scheduled to vote on SB528 on Monday, 3/14.  Call your Senator now.
HB596 / SB783: Maryland Constitutional Amendment on Environmental Human Rights
Ensures that every person has the fundamental and inalienable right to a healthful and sustainable environment; and requiring the State to serve as the trustee of the State’s natural resources, including the air, land, water, wildlife, and ecosystems of the State, and to conserve, protect, and enhance the State’s natural resources for the benefit of every person, including present and future generations. 
The bills are in committees

Ultimately, this decision will be up to the voters. If this bill passes with the required votes, it will be on the ballot this fall and up to us to decide whether to enshrine these rights in the Maryland Constitution. But the legislators must give the voters a voice.

HB108 / SB524: Energy efficiency assistance to low-income Marylanders
Establishes a number of steps and increased funding to support energy-efficiency measures targeted to low and moderate income Marylanders.
The House bill has passed, now it needs to be taken up by the Senate.  The Senate bill is in committee.
HB141 / SB 23: Equity in Transportation Sector
With the objective of dismantling systemic racism the bill will effectively enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act in transportation planning in Maryland, by improving access to public transportation to lower-income Maryland residents and making equity a primary goal in the Maryland Transportation Plan.  Instead of inequitable decisions being made and then communities having to challenge them in court, this bill would consider equity from the very beginning.  
The bills are in committee.
HB11 and SB616: Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2022
Would remove trash incineration as a form of “renewable energy” under the State’s renewable energy requirements.  Passage of this bill eliminates funding for these dirty renewable energy sources that pollute our airs and waters and puts money into real renewable energy. 
There is a hearing before the Senate on 3/15.  Call your Senator now.  The House Bill is in committee
HB1031 / SB791: Maryland the Beautiful Act
Sets a statewide goard to protect nature and open space and provide grant funding in underserved communities and other funding sources with a goal to preserve 30% of Maryland’s lands by 2030 and 40% by 2040.   
The bills are in committee

Upcoming Events

A Message From Pope Francis

Take Action


The Environmental Justice Committee is working on eliminating all paper waste from the parish by implementing a program to introduce compostable paper cups, plates, and utensils to all parish functions.

The Green Library

Check out the new Green Library in Ignatian Hall . You will find over a hundred books and articles on the environment. Books are arranged by author. You are welcome to take a book home but please return to the shelves after you have enjoyed it.

Media Watch

How’s the Water, Hon? Speaker Event

How’s the Water, Hon? Speaker Event

The Environmental Justice Committee invites you to a presentation to learn about the water that arrives at your house and leaves your house, and what you can do to mitigate contamination of our waterways and damage to our pipes”. John Marra, Ecoliteracy &...

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Virtual Pilgrimage of Mother Mary Lange

Virtual Pilgrimage of Mother Mary Lange

February 26 @ 1:00 pm - 3pm “…Mother Lange’s love for all enabled her to see Christ in each person and the pain and prejudice of racial hatred never blurred that vision.”  Come join St. Ignatius, the Racial Justice Circle and the Pastorate of St. Ann, St. Francis...

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