Let’s start out with a basic fact. Global temperatures are 1-degree C over pre-industrial levels. With that increase we are seeing:
- Melting of the Arctic and Antarctic,
- Accelerating sea level rise,
- Ocean acidification,
- Global ecosystem disruption,
- Spread of vectors and diseases,
- Extreme storm intensification,
- Increased drought and flooding
- Expansion of wildfires
Last week was a real doozy. I was just beginning to digest the intense news that came from the United Nations’ IPPC latest report on rising global temperatures and the fact that we have far less time to turn this ship around. Then came Hurricane Michael, delivering a catastrophic blow to people and places I love along the Gulf Coast & South Georgia. I join countless others now feverishly praying for those enduring the intensity of this massive storm. I am shaken by the profound vulnerability of the world in this moment.
Pema Chodron, Buddhist teacher & author, writes of the power of such vulnerability, “This tenderness for life [called bodhichitta] awakens when we no longer shield ourselves from the vulnerability of our condition, from the basic fragility of existence. It awakens through kinship with the suffering of others. We train so as to become open and take in the pain of the world, let it touch our hearts and turn it into compassion.”
Using the lens of this spiritual teacher, I now think it is quite possible to see the dire news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as an opportunity for the human family rather than a death knell. Our exposed vulnerability can move us towards hopeful action on behalf of G-d’s fragile planet.
I can attest through the hundreds of people and houses of worship with whom I connect through GIPL on a weekly basis that much of what is needed for course-correction by 2030 is already underway. And yet, we need to move faster. That’s the most important aspect of the report. We can no longer deny that the climate is changing rapidly and having negative impacts on vulnerable communities across the globe.
The collective actions required to keep us from warming the planet by another 2+degrees (Celsius) fall on industry and individuals, governments and NGOs. It’s not a matter of when, but HOW.
Fortunately, IPCC scientists didn’t just hit the panic button. They provided concrete steps forward for us. It’s as if Mother Earth called to say, “Install solar. Plant trees. Eat your veggies!”
Now I do not intend to make light of the IPCC report’s serious warning to us about our fate on this suffering planet. I do wish to highlight an encouraging word embedded in that historic document — our consumer choices matter. As people of faith, we must see ourselves as more than consumers. We are citizens of this world.
We are neighbors sharing a common home. All of the world’s major religions teach the value of showing care for our neighbors. Adopting the IPCC’s recommendations and embracing climate action shows love of neighbor.
Today, love of neighbor looks like:
– a new energy plan that provides affordable, renewable energy;
– a more sustainable, plant-focused diet that wastes less;
– planting trees one grove at a time; and
– engaging our elected officials to adopt climate action plans for all communities.
All of these climate actions can be practiced as individuals, as congregations, and as entire communities. GIPL has the resources to support you in making these changes – whether you join one of our Solarize campaigns, get serious about reducing food waste or support reforestation projects in Georgia or beyond.
Remember, “Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.” (with thanks to David Orr) In the wake of this game-changing climate report, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to hope!
(Connect with GIPL Team today and share with us ways that your faith community is responding to the United Nation IPCC’s call to action. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley is GIPL’s Executive Director and Chief Officer for Hope.
On August 1, 2018, Nathaniel Rich had an article titled “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change” in The New York Times Magazine. Editor Jake Silverstein writes: “This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. Complementing the text is a series of aerial photographs and videos, all shot over the past year by George Steinmetz. With support from the Pulitzer Center, this two-part article is based on 18 months of reporting and well over a hundred interviews. It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe. It will come as a revelation to many readers — an agonizing revelation — to understand how thoroughly they grasped the problem and how close they came to solving it.”
A common theme among many of the previous Sightings blogs is that natural laws (physics, chemistry and biology) govern the planet and universe and that life has evolved from the basic elements released during the Big Bang. Each organism is part of a population of similar organisms and an ecosystem made up of other plants, animals and inorganic features. They also evolved from a common ancestor living about 3.5 billion years ago. Continue reading
This article was originally published in the July 31, 2018 Global Growers e-newsletter.
Representatives from Creative Solar set up solar panels on the farm late June.
With the installation of 28 solar panels at our Bamboo Creek Farm site, Global Growers expects to be the first farm in the metro-Atlanta area to have walk-in coolers partially powered by solar energy. Many thanks goes to the Solarize Decatur-DeKalb Coalition for their support and partnership in this project!
Bamboo Creek Farm is a 15-acre property that is shared by international farmers who came to this country as refugees from the Chin state of Burma (Myanmar). It operates as an incubator farm program where Global Growers provides access land, resources, and markets to support the development of new farm businesses. “The solar installation is another example of our partner farmers taking the lead on innovative and efficient farming practices,” says Robin Chanin, Executive Director, “Too often, the focus is on helping marginalized farmers get caught up, rather than advancing in key areas like alternative energy systems on the farm.”
Cold storage is one of the most intensive energy users on Global Growers’ farm, but it is an essential component of a fresh market, diversified fruit and vegetable operation making deliveries 4-5 days/week around metro-Atlanta. Bamboo Creek Farm uses a converted shipping container as the primary cold storage facility, along with two smaller units, that together offer three different temperature ranges suited for different products. “This repurposed cold storage unit is mobile and offers us versatility. Whether we unplug it and transport it to another location, or repurpose it into an office or dry storage unit, the cold storage unit works, offers endless possibilities and informs the community on renewable, sustainable farming practices,” says Todd Eittreim, our Farm Operations Manager.
Global Growers continues to push the boundaries of sustainable farm design with low-cost, effective, and replicable infrastructure that will help small farms be more competitive in the local marketplace, while being compliant with food safety standards. In partnership with the USDA and City of Atlanta’s Office of Resiliency, Global Growers will soon publish 3D models in an infrastructure toolkit so that other small farms can more easily build out their own systems.
Learn more about the solar project at: http://www.gipl.org/donated-
Learn about opportunities to get involved with Global Growers.
For Immediate Release – June 22, 2018
A proposal to fully divest the denomination’s foundation and pension accounts from all fossil fuel companies failed in the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly Friday. Fossil Free PCUSA, a project of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF), led the advocacy effort on behalf of divestment, and their work included a two-week, 212 mile walk from Louisville, KY to St. Louis, Missouri. Forty presbyteries signed onto the overture in advance of the assembly, the greatest number of presbyteries to ever concur on an overture. After four hours of discussion, the assembly voted 332 to 178 against divestment. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of Chris Donaghue
When I first discovered Thomas Berry, world religion scholar and renowned author, my eyes opened wide as I felt a void being filled. Over the past 50 years, scientific findings about the creation of the universe, earth, life and consciousness have provided answers about our origins. Thomas Berry’s work culminated in the call for a new creation story, one based on scientific fact and not just faith. He urges us to move from a scientific-technological focus to one based on ecological principles; one founded on recognizing the intrinsic value of nature. The whole planet is one complex ecosystem all working in harmony and self-supporting, thus enabling the earth to maintain conditions suitable for life and its evolution. James Lovelock calls this the Gaia Theory. Everything is interconnected. Berry felt the old creation story for Christians, Genesis, served its purpose through history, but new scientific discoveries beg for a new creation story. Continue reading
Holy Comforter Episcopal Church has been a GIPL partner for over a decade, and received a pre-Power Wise energy audit in November 2007. The audit was conducted by Shane Totten of Southface and Woody Bartlett, GIPL co-founder. They were a former recipient of the GIPPY Trailblazer award. Holy Comforter applied for their first GIPL matching grant in 2009 and received $1,134 to upgrade T-12 fluorescent lights in the Parish Hall to T-5 fluorescents. This year, they applied for funding to upgrade their sanctuary lighting from 200 watt incandescent lights to 7 watt LED. The incandescent lights cost $770 annually to operate while the LED cost $32 annually. In addition, they will upgrade all their exit signs to LED. The grants committee recognized the merits of their grant application. The committee awarded Holy Comforter Episcopal Church $4,432 to help fund these energy conservation measures from their energy audit. Continue reading
A reflection by Valerie Rawls
African-Americans developed what in modern terms might be regarded an environmental ethos long before the environmental justice movement, before the civil rights movement, and before they were emancipated and had citizenship rights conferred upon them.
– Mart A. Stewart, To Love the Wind and the Rain
Since 1987, the environmental justice movement has been trying to address inequalities that are the result of human settlement, industrial contamination, and unsustainable development. The United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice (CRJ) published a decisive report exposing the gross disregard for people of color as toxic waste landfills were sited in their communities throughout the nation. Toxic Waste and Race in the United States proved to be a critical foundation for the environmental justice movement that continues today. Continue reading