Meet the Coalition
We are clergy and laypeople from diverse faith backgrounds, working together to empower faith communities to advocate and educate around climate justice. We provide presentations, outreach, and educational materials.
We are building our coalition, and new members are always welcome to join us!
Phil Petrie is an artist and long-time environmental activist. Phil has always had a deep love for nature and an unease with our technocratic civilization both of which led to his work in the anti-nuclear power movement in the late 70s. Since moving to San Diego in 2007, he has been especially active in fighting climate change as a founding member of SanDiego350 and of ICEJ. He sees this crisis as a key opportunity to put our civilization on a truly sustainable footing–to place it not on top of but within nature.
His environmental beliefs are also deeply grounded in his Christianity. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral where he worships, he co-founded Simpler Living, a creation care ministry dedicated to “seeking a Christian response to the environmental crisis and our excessive consumerism by living more simply and sustainably in home, church, community, and the world.” At the root of our hyperconsumerism is the attempt to fill a God-sized hole with status and goods, and to create these goods we in the developed world are radically degrading the biosphere. This crisis is both environmental and spiritual. Phil is excited about what ICEJ has done and will do to empower people of faith to move us to a more spiritual and sustainable world!
Phil lives in Normal Heights with his wife Mary and daughter Sarah. He enjoys hiking in Mission Trails, obscure (or not-so-obscure) indie bands, and reading novels and history.
Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson
Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson has served as minister of Palomar UU Fellowship in Vista, CA since 2004. Dr. Johnson is a minster, activist and public theologian. She works on intersectional issues, including immigration, worker and racial justice, as well as environmental justice in San Diego and nationally.
Dr. Johnson has worked with the Interfaith Coalition for Earth Justice since its inception. She currently serves on the board of UURISE – the Unitarian Universalist Refugee and Immigration Services and Education, Alliance San Diego, and the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium. She is a co-chair of the CA Coordinating Committee of the Poor People’s Campaign.
Dr. Johnson is committed to bringing a moral voice to justice work through sacred activism – linking spirituality and radical social change.
She received her Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Claremont School of Theology. She is from Chicago where her beloved family still resides.
Ioana Tcholakova is originally from Sofia, Bulgaria, but she grew up in Indiana before moving to Southern California for college. She has recently completed her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of San Diego. There, she did independent research on the factors influencing the distribution of fecal indicator bacteria in stormwater in the City of San Diego, looking both at the physical and socioeconomic relationships with bacteria. Ioana also worked as a Management Intern at the Storm Water Division in the City of San Diego to work towards initiatives to improve water quality in the watersheds throughout San Diego. Ioana also worked at I Love a Clean San Diego as an Outreach Assistant, where she promotes community outreach and participation in community park and beach cleanups around the region.
Through both her education and professional experiences, Ioana has developed a passion for sustainable and equitable urban development, water and air quality improvement, and waste management. Ioana’s passion for combating environmental injustice is channeled into her role at ICEJ. As an individual who depends on public transportation, she is inspired by ICEJ’s transportation initiative and works to increase outreach on this topic around San Diego.
Diane Lopez Hughes
Diane Lopez Hughes is a member of St Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego and the convener of its Simpler Living ministry and a member of the Sacred Ground in Action (anti-racism) task force. She is co-leader of the Episcopal Diocese in San Diego Creation Care Task Force and a member of SanDiego350.
Diane has cared for Creation since forays during graduate school into the Grand Tetons and continues in her love of Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave Preserve, our beautiful Pacific Ocean, and anywhere we can walk and be present with nature. Born and raised in Chicago, her husband Pat and she moved to Springfield, IL and raised their two sons, Devin (a symphony conductor living with his wife Molly in Boulder, CO) and Brendan (an attorney, living in Point Loma with his wife Lesley and children Kieran and Nolina). She moved to Joshua Tree to help with her newborn grandson, then to San Diego with her son’s family as Brendan attended California Western School of Law. Diane lives happily near her grandchildren in Point Loma.
In intersectional work is our hope for the future, paraphrasing the words of John Muir that “everything is hitched to everything else.” As we listen increasingly to the wisdom of our Indigenous neighbors, we can learn and promote a healthier way to be with Earth. We do this work for all creation, and somewhat selfishly, for our grandchildren and those who will come after them.
Dan Tomsky’s participation in the ICEJ is consistent with his personal life values and commitment to a world of greater peace, justice, equity, wellbeing, and spiritual balance. He deems the critical need to address climate change a collective “call to action” that fits within these values.
Having recently retired after 25 years with the non-profit San Diego-based Institute for Public Strategies (IPS), Dan has chosen to add grassroots climate action efforts to his mix of volunteer activities. At IPS, Dan managed transformative community-driven projects advancing health, safety, and neighborhood revitalization within San Diego County. Experience in numerous collaborative initiatives increasing equity and “quality of life” within diverse urban communities is leading Dan to becoming part of strategic climate action work — especially given its intersect with social justice issues.
Following Dan’s 2019 entry into SanDiego350 participation, he was drawn to ICEJ given the quest to address climate and larger environmental concerns through faith-based lenses. Dan’s grounding in Judaism stems from his father being a rabbi. Seeing the moral and spiritual imperative to care for our planet’s health and protect life, Dan is in the early stages of contributing to climate action becoming a greater priority at Tifereth Israel, a San Diego synagogue where he’s a member. He envisions ICEJ and Tifereth mutually benefiting in time.
Dan holds a Master’s degree from San Diego State University in Social Work with a community practice emphasis. He and his wife, Anne, have two adult children.
Fr. Emmet Farrell
Father Emmet has been ordained for over 50 years for a diocese in Iowa. He served 16 years as a missionary in Peru. Upon returning, He served mostly Hispanic communities in Houston, Texas, Maryknoll, New York, Chicago, Illinois, and for the past 20 years in the Diocese of San Diego in 3 bilingual parishes.
Fr. Emmet has always had a strong interest in Social Justice and serving the poor. In his writings Pope Francis emphasizes the poor and global inequality, perhaps even more than global warming in his encyclical “Laudato Si”. He sees both issues as interconnected, at crisis level and eminently moral and spiritual issues.
So, when the USCCB and the Catholic Climate Covenant sent a team to San Diego to train them on how to establish Creation Care Teams in parishes, Fr. Emmet picked up that challenge. He has developed a library of materials had have undertaken the task of giving free workshops in English and Spanish in all of our parishes.
To have you or your organization join ICEJ, please email us.