Sightings From the Treehouse

Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s former Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue.

Lessons from the Anthropocene

(12/27/18) After researching and writing 20+ blogs over two years on climate change and the faith community, several themes and actions have organically emerged. They will be summarized below to pull together the threads identified through the Sightings blog series.  These suggestions hopefully will help the faith community understand the current state of creation and steps they can take to prepare and adapt to changing ecological conditions occurring across the planet now and in the coming decades.  This period is commonly referred to as the Anthropocene epoch, the age of the humans.

I Mourn for the Children

(11/20/18) Things are changing so much that scientists are preparing to call an end to the Holocene Epoch, which began 11,700 years ago after the last ice age.   It is characterized by the ascent of man and civilization due to ideal climate conditions.  The new epoch will be known as the Anthropocene characterized by the destruction of ecosystems and their natural diversity at the hands of man.  Habitat destruction and now climate change are leading to the sixth mass extinction on the planet.

Wish Upon a Star

(10/25/18) Recent discoveries and research suggest life is not an earth-only experiment.  The building blocks of life could be widespread throughout the universe.  Carbon and water are two vital ingredients for life along with a temperate climate.  During Thomas Berry’s life (1914-2009), he saw many discoveries in astrophysics which fed into his thinking for the new story about the creation of the universe, earth, life and consciousness.  New discoveries suggest there are 100-200 billion galaxies in the cosmos and billions of earth-like planets in our Milky Way.

Transforming to an Earth-Centered Economy

(9/26/18) Several previous Sightings blogs have focused on the ecological underpinnings of our society and planet.  A sustainable earth must be one that mimics natural processes that maintain healthy ecosystems.  Ecosystems are the life support system for the planet and polluting them, hastening extinctions or changing their chemical makeup is contrary to their long-term sustainability.    Ecosystems have resilience and can recover from some abuse, but once an ecological threshold (tipping point) is crossed they change their character and makeup forever; generally, not conducive to existing populations.

Ecology of Creation

(8/27/18) 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.

Ecotheology Rising

(7/31/18) What is ecotheology?  It is a form of theology that focuses on the relationship between religion and nature with a particular emphasis on the ecological destruction underway.  It started as a religious response to the degradation of nature but is also concerned with potential solutions including ecosystem management and environmental justice.

Thomas Berry's Universe

(6/14/18) 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.

Mugged by Reality

(5/18/18) Are houses of worship prepared for the current and coming natural disasters caused by climate change? If not, they need to be.

The Push for a Clean Energy Future

(4/17/18) Over the last several years, universities, foundations and the faith community have led the way in eliminating investments in the fossil fuel industry.

Youth Heed the Call, Again

(3/29/18) Generational change is a given in business, politics and life. In the early 1960s, President John Kennedy’s ascendency to the peak of government was a sign a new generation was in charge with new ideas and direction.

Drill Baby, Drill

(2/19/18) On April 20, 2010 one of the most catastrophic environmental disasters unfolded in the Gulf of Mexico when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew up and unleashed a geyser of oil buried a mile below the surface.

The 11th Commandment: Thou Shall Not Destroy Creation

(10/17/17) The destruction of Creation is the moral issue of all time, and exists because of the power and greed of a few who continue to foster dependence on fossil fuels.

Soft Landing or Runaway Train?

(10/13/2017) Climate change will turn into a runaway train if we do not get mobilized and become truly committed — politically, economically, and theologically — now.

Preparing and Adapting to Climate Change in Georgia

(10/5/2017) In the face of rising tides, soaring temperatures, and threatened wildlife, these faith-based communities are taking steps to protect and care for Creation in Georgia.

Work with Creation, Not Against It – Part 2

(9/26/2017) The author of Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest has recently edited a compilation of over 100 strategies to reverse global warming.

Work with Creation, Not Against It, Part 1

(9/14/2017) Everything is connected by the flow of matter and energy through the ecosystem both locally and globally, and it is cyclical.

Elements of Climate Change – Ecosystems on the Move

(8/29/2017) Changes in our planet present opportunities for species that are able to adapt, but extinction for those that can’t.

Elements of Climate Change - Oceans in Motion

(8/18/2017) Bob explores some of those ways increased temperatures and melting polar ice and permafrost put our oceans — and us — under attack.

Elements of Climate Change – Ice and Permafrost Loss

(8/1/2017) The evidence is clear: global temperatures are rising; new records are set each year. What is that doing in our polar areas, the earth’s natural air conditioner?

Elements of Climate Change – Rising Temperatures

(7/6/2017) The bubble that surrounds the planet has been a free dumping ground for our wastes and our past sins are catching up with us.

Modern Day Book Burning

(6/5/2017) President Trump and his cabinet are eliminating references to climate change in government policy and programs, defunding research, and withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord.

Fossil Fuel Industry Coup

(4/18/2017) There is a deep and pervasive force in our government that has as one of its primary agenda items the elimination of environmental protections.