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September 22, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – Many people today speak of being an ally to people in marginalized or minority groups. But Brad Frank, Director of the Office of Sustainability for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, broadens the perspective of being an ally, encouraging all to demonstrate their support and care for Earth in the face of threatening global climate change. 

Brad Frank,
Directory of the Office of Sustainability

Brad’s recent presentation, “Be a Better Earth Ally,” was part of a series of talks sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion. The presentations – by people of different faith traditions, ethnic groups, or cultures – aim to expose Sisters, Associates, and Co-workers to diverse perspectives and experiences.

Brad focused much of his talk on the science behind climate change and the rapid warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution began in the 1800s. 

“We understand that there’s a direct correlation between atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide and temperature,” Brad said. He explained that Greenhouse gases –including methane, oxides of nitrogen, and fluorinated hydrocarbons – trap long-wave radiation in the atmosphere, increasing the planet’s temperature. 

“Currently, we’re at 412 parts [of carbon dioxide] per million,” contrasted to 280 parts per million at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, Brad said. At the same time, the planet has heated up. The 10 warmest years on record have occurred in the past 16 years. “It has been espoused that this rate of change in temperature and the emission of carbon dioxide is 10 times faster than anything that has occurred in the last 65 million years, directly attributed to our existence on this planet,” he said.

Brad also described the effects of climate change: an increase in the intensity and size of storms; desert expansion, evidenced by the expansion of the Sahara Desert by 10% every 10 years; thawing permafrost, which generally stores carbon dioxide; and rising sea levels, predicted to rise 10 to 12 inches over the next 30 years. These effects disproportionately affect minorities, people with low incomes, adults who have no high school diploma or equivalent, and individuals 65 and older, he said.

On a more hopeful note, Brad concluded by explaining ways in which individuals, organizations, and nations can improve the health of our planet:

  • Prioritize the Global South. This strategy was adopted by the United Nations. The Global South encompasses many of the developing nations. “Much of their infrastructure is in its infancy,” Brad explained. Thus, these nations can begin with green technology, helping to reduce greenhouse gases and climate change. For their part, he said, governments and corporations in the developed world can pay for practices that lead to a higher carbon footprint by offsetting it, giving donations to countries in the Global South to build their infrastructure.

  • Transition to renewable forms of energy and energy efficiency. “This is one of the hallmarks of what climatologists are pushing: removing natural gas and coal as a means of generating energy and generating your own energy” through solar or wind power.

  • Reduce our overall consumption of everything. “Everything that we buy, everything that we use, has its own embedded carbon footprint,” Brad said. He gave the example of cars, which are transported to various places throughout the manufacturing and purchasing processes that cause carbon dioxide to be generated. “So, be conscious of what you buy,” he advised. “Just by being aware of it, hopefully, you have that appreciation that this is affecting other people.”

Watch the video to learn more about global climate change and how to be a better ally to Earth and the Earth community or on our public video library.

Kevin Hofmann, Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion, chats with Rose Johnson during her presentation, Growing Up Me: A Native American’s Experience

July 26, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – Rose Johnson, a Native American woman who spent most of her life in Adrian, Michigan, shared with Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, Co-workers, and the general public about her early life of being rejected by her mother, adopted by an older white couple, and finally reconnecting with her roots in the Native community.

Rose’s presentation, Growing Up Me: A Native American’s Experience, was part of a series of presentations by people of diverse races and cultures offered by the Adrian Dominican Sisters Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion. Kevin Hofmann, director of the office, interviewed Rose throughout the presentation, held July 13, 2023, at the Weber Retreat and Conference Center Auditorium.

After speaking about her early life and childhood with her foster family in Adrian, Rose recounted her eventual reconnection with the local Native community. “They brought me in and they told me I needed to be in the circle,” she said. “They taught me that I belonged somewhere, and that was an awesome feeling.” Rose said she and her husband became part of the Odawa people in Adrian, although her original heritage is Comanche and Aztec.

During the presentation, Rose gave her perspective as a Native American woman on four of the five Enactments approved by delegates at the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ 2022 General Chapter.

  • Diversity: “We have the medicine wheel, and the medicine wheel has all colors: the red, the yellow, the black, and the white,” Rose explained. She said the medicine wheel stands for all of the children God created. “We need each other to survive,” she said. 
  • Sustainability: Rose described Earth as the mother, and acting sustainably is “just like protecting our own mothers.” Earth is “part of us,” giving us life. “Her blood is in the rivers and the waters. Without that, we have no life.”
  • Women: Rose described most Native American communities as matriarchal. “Nothing is done without the woman’s permission,” she said. Men are the protectors of women. “Women are supposed to be the ones to raise the children,” she said, adding that women will fight to save the children.
  • Spirituality: “I can’t spend a day or take a breath without having God’s breath on me or saying anything that God hasn’t inspired in my thoughts,” Rose explained. She cited the Scriptural teaching that humans are made in God’s image. “So if we love ourselves, we’re going to love all of creation and everybody else,” she said. 

Watch the entire video to learn more about Native American traditions, including the Ghost Supper, pow-wows, and dance. 



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