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Representatives from our Green Sanctuary Committee and Social Action Council are working together on a climate Justice proposal. This involves both individual and congregational actions, working within our homes and church and in the larger community. Our local League of Women Voters Environment Committee is interested in our project and is considering working with us. We're just beginning!
Instigated by UU Justice Florida and organized by the Florida Council of Churches, 80 people of different ages, means, skills, perspectives and faiths met in an evangelical church for the conference Bridging Spirituality, Healing and Action to talk about what needs doing in this giant verdant state—the one that’s #1 on the list of those most threatened by climate change.
In just a few hours we took stock of what needs to be done and resisted the temptation to despair. We learned that there are vital changes within our grasp: It really is possible to win a ballot initiative that will make clean renewable energy available to hundreds of thousands. We can stop fracking and the construction of coal-fired power plants. We can lead the transition to a healthier and sustainable food system that will improve the health of our bodies, our water resources and our climate.
We searched in unlikely places and uncovered potential allies from across the religious spectrum and even from businesses—from Disney to farmers to waterfront realtors to tourism. Most importantly, we realized that we people of faith and conscience may be the ones to awaken the moral imagination of all those who love this state, its enormous natural bounty and its wonderfully diverse and resourceful people.
And we committed to respond. As we seed new partnerships, deepen our support for one another, and lend our hands to the work, it will bear fruit and we will build hope together. Thanks to Kindra Munta, Russel Meyer, and Gregory Wilson for making it possible.
Photos by Tim Heberlein
It was the survey we conduced of our church members a couple years ago that got me especially interested in this topic. 95% of our congregation agreed or strongly agreed with the following statement: “Climate change is real and is mostly human caused.” Yet, despite this, I know that most of the people in my congregation go about their daily lives more-or-less as if climate change does not exist. I’m sure we are not unique in this respect -- I have observed this routinely. Based on those survey results, I concluded that there was little point in hosting more presentations at our church regarding the science of climate change. Instead, what we needed was a way to get more of our congregation “unstuck”. By that, I mean that they translate their understanding and acceptance of climate science into positive actions that are integrated into their daily lives to whatever extent their personal time constraints allow.
With that in mind, my minister and I recently co-facilitated a two-session discussion course which we called “Who Asked for Climate Change, Anyway?” We limited attendance to 15 in order to allow everyone a good opportunity to contribute to the discussion. Here is the course description we came up with:
Our daily life is difficult enough as it is. We really don’t need climate change added on top of all that! Awareness of climate change triggers uncomfortable emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, guilt, sadness, and helplessness. In this course, we will discuss and share these feelings. Then we will envision a new cultural norm that, in many ways, is far more health-giving and fulfilling. The goal is to accept our feelings, adopt a hopeful outlook, and translate those feelings into constructive actions that help make life better for ourselves, our loved ones, and the world community. Wednesday, April 15 and 22, 7-9pm, Room 10. This class will be facilitated by Douglas Taylor and Wes Ernsberger.
The course was based on articles, book excerpts, and videos that I have collected over the last couple of years. Here are links to the course materials and additional references: http://www.etmsolar.com/gsuu/gs/pcc_apr2015.htm
We felt that the course went quite well. The majority of those attending were already environmentally-oriented but we also drew a number of people from our congregation who are not generally involved in environmental issues. As it turns out, this course was pertinent to everyone because our environmental activists haven’t focused much on the psychological aspects either. I don’t know if the course resulted in anyone getting “unstuck” but a number of participants said that they appreciated a chance to talk in a group setting about the uncomfortable emotions that the climate change problem elicits. So perhaps its main value was of a “support group” nature. We intend to offer something like this again.
A lay led service explored, with words and images, the impacts and injustices of Carbon Pollution inviting congregants to examine the array of emotions, possibly repressed surrounding the topic. It was followed by a forum to openly share congregants' reactions.
A tenth generation Appalachian Family, Four Generations of Coal Mining, One Goal: A Clean Future. A Just Transition begins now . . .
masterfully crafted by UUCWI's Dave Caufman and Larry Daloz of the Whidbey Institute; featuring the music of Chopin, Satie, Peter Mayer's "Blue Boat Home" and following Mary Oliver's "The Poet with His hands in His Face" la bella voce of a Hermit thrush. As we enter this age of consequences we confront our grief but must not let despair hold sway. Active Hope as Joanna Macy says is independent of the projected outcome. "There are no passengers on spaceship Earth. We are all crew." said Marshall McLuan We must all shoulder our respective responsibilities with love as our guide
Host a screening in your community of the eye opening documentary that's changing perspective! http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/ https://www.tugg.com/titles/cowspiracy
Very soon the Trump Administration will propose large budget cuts to the EPA, NASA and NOAA including cutting climate science and climate action. This threatens our grandchildren. Please call your representative/senator (links for phone #s on climate.uu-uno.org) to support these agency climate action and climate science programs. We only have a short time to stop Trump from shooting the climate science messenger and shutting down federal climate action. Please post widely.