Refugia Newsletter by Debra Rienstra - Issue #1



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Debra Rienstra
Debra Rienstra
Welcome to the Refugia Newsletter! If you’re looking for a way to go deeper into climate knowledge and climate action, here’s a good place to begin. I keep these biweekly newsletters quickly scannable with opportunities for deeper reading as you are able. I also tend to emphasize the connections between faith communities and climate action.

Refugia News
Cover reveal! I’m pumped to share with you the beautiful cover that Fortress Press has designed for the Refugia Faith book, to be released on Feb. 8, 2022. You can preorder now by going to my website at and clicking through to your favorite retailer.
This Week in Climate News
You’ve heard about COP 26 (if not, or if you’re fuzzy on what it is, more help below), but maybe you’ve wondered if faith communities are involved. The answer is yes! And this article is a nice summary.
Faith community arrives in Glasgow to pray, press world leaders for strong action at COP26 | Earthbeat | National Catholic Reporter
Deeper Dive
COP 26 basics: COP 26 is a huge conference gathering 30,000 people in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12. Those gathered include heads of state, UN agencies, intergovernmental agencies, business leaders, NGOs, faith groups, all kinds of civil groups, observers, and the press.
It’s a big conference with a big goal: promise each other we will all do our part to mitigate the effects of climate change. This is a heavy lift.
COP26 – what we know so far, and why it matters: Your UN News guide | | UN News
Refugia Sighting
One of the best examples of refugia anywhere are the “church forests” of Ethiopian. While much of Ethiopia has been deforested for farming and cattle raising, small remnants of Ethiopia’s forests remain–under the care of Ethiopian Orthodox churches. The churches are caring for these literal refugia, and some are working with ecologists to expand the boundaries of these forest remnants to preserve and strengthen biodiversity.
Enjoy this gorgeous essay by my friend Fred Bahnson.
The Church Forests of Ethiopia – Emergence Magazine
The Way-Back Machine
Here’s the post from May 2019 that started me down the refugia path. Thanks to a compelling lecture at Calvin University by writer and philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore, I’ve been working to understand and reflect on refugia ever since.
Refugia - Debra Rienstra
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Debra Rienstra
Debra Rienstra @debrakrienstra

A fortnightly newsletter for people of faith who care about climate and want to know more and do more.

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Prof. Debra Rienstra, Calvin University, 1795 Knollcrest Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546