The Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) in Camden, New Jersey engages, educates, and inspires people to practice a more environmentally responsible way of living on the planet.
In partnership with our neighbors, CFET strives to sponsor local solutions to environmental challenges. In their own right these local solutions attempt to meet the need for a sustainable and healthy source of fresh produce for the children and adults of Waterfront South. By welcoming others into this neighborhood, we hope to make Waterfront South a “seed bed” for the work of transformation that the current situation of the environment, all over the globe, demands. We are creating space in which people of all traditions and cultures can gather to reflect on their environmental responsibility and learn through hands-on activity.
We intend to become for the people of Camden, as well as for those from throughout the region, an educational resource directed toward the transformation of our ways of walking on the earth – a transformation not only focused on changing behaviors, but more importantly, on changing our hearts and our attitudes, which will make more likely the permanence of our behavior changes. We invite all who are willing and able, to join us in this work of treading more lightly on the earth and its resources.
- To partner with the people of Waterfront South, as well as organizations throughout the city, to produce organic, heirloom vegetables and native plant, and to discover ways to reuse material in the waste stream
- To work with the residents of Waterfront South to advocate for healthy air, safe and clean streets, and sustainable employment opportunities
- To host experiential learning retreats that are geared toward gaining a greater understanding of the principles of environmental justice and sustainability, thereby preparing adults and young adults to be educators in their neighborhoods, places of work or education, and home faith communities.
- To host events throughout the year related to environmental issues such as an annual Earth Day celebration and an annual lecture in honor of Thomas Berry, a main source of inspiration for the work of CFET.
The idea for the Center for Environmental Transformation was born in the dialogue of a parish synod held in October 2005, when 360 parishioners of Sacred Heart Church gathered to talk about the future and our responsibility for it. A conversation began around the idea that Waterfront South in Camden, NJ is a perfect site for reflections on our responsibility to the earth: the water, the air, the animals, the plants, the trees and the people. We thought that we ought to address this responsibility, in activities ranging from land remediation to growing organic vegetables to planting trees to changing our own personal habits of energy consumption.
Since that time, CFET has become an agent for environmental justice in the Waterfront South neighborhood of Camden through collaboration with our neighbors, primarily by sponsoring projects like Eve’s Gardens. We work alongside our neighbors to engage in actions that address the environmental challenges they live with. We are also an agent of education and training for people in other neighborhoods, both near and far. Our education focuses on helping others come to know and proclaim, in word and in action, each human being’s responsibility to care for the earth.
Much of CFET’s inspiration comes from the work of Thomas Berry, a cultural historian and self-described eco-theologian. His life’s work was aimed at helping humanity to re-imagine its relationship to the natural world. For so long, and in many cases still today, humans view nature merely as a resource for the satisfaction of human needs and wants. Berry challenged us to come to a deeper appreciation of the fact that we are members of the community of living and non-living things that make up this universe. Our attitude toward nature ought to be one of reverence and awe, rather than exploitation and greed. This does not mean that nature is not a resource of the satisfaction of human need, but our pursuit of satisfaction ought to be tempered by respect for the value of nature independent of such need. It is through this re-imagined relationship of human beings in the natural world that we create our programming and outreach.
Board of Trustees & Staff
Board of Trustees
John Levy – Chair
Rosemary Hally – Vice-Chair
Will Stehl – Vice-Chair
Bill Harden – Treasurer
Mark Doorley – President Emeritus
Teresa Niedda (firstname.lastname@example.org) – Executive Director