The Climate Reality Leadership Corps

Right now, this very second, UUCA has three recent graduates of Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Training.  Wink Zachritz, Ed Prestemon, and I will be receiving our Green Ring pins in the mail soon to indicate our accomplishments.  We join Sally Beth Shore who completed her training in 2015!

In this time of “everything virtual” we have the bad news of being sick and tired of staring at computer screens (funny how I don’t mind watching TV after I get done with zooming—why is that?) countered by the good news of the many, many opportunities that are being offered for free as online experiences.

This particular training was global and free, with the cost paid in screen time.  It ran over 9 days and included 14 hours of zoom and video watching along with several written assignments.  About 10,000 people from all over the world participated, nearly doubling the number of active Climate Leaders.  We are all committed to taking action on climate change in a variety of ways.  We have access to the infamous Al Gore slide deck, so any trained Climate Reality Leader can give presentations. To anyone. That means that if you’re looking for a climate speaker, you can contact Wink, Ed, Sally Beth, or me! Other Acts of Leadership include contacting elected officials; leading climate events; writing blogs, social media posts, or op-ed pieces; or partnering with other local groups for climate actions.

One fun outcome is that I now have a Climate Accountability Partner in New Delhi, India named Gitanjali Sreedhar.  We’ll check in with each other periodically to make sure we’re on track to perform the 10 Acts of Climate Leadership we committed to do in the next year.  Turns out that my writing this blog gets me one act closer to my goal.  (As in any group, there are super-performers.  I don’t think I’ll end up in the big leagues where Climate Leaders are accomplishing many 100s of Acts of Leadership a year.)

But I digress in a major way.  I wanted you to know about the Climate Reality Leadership Training (another virtual training is being planned for August 28-September 3) but I HAVE to tell you about Climate Change!!!!

The whole point of the Climate Reality Project is to continue to get the word out that the need for DOING SOMETHING is urgent.  The tide seems to have turned in people “believing” that climate change is happening.  Mother Nature has a very convincing repertoire of actions.  However, it is not at all a commonly held belief that a 2-degree rise is a big deal and that changes have to happen now.

Here’s a graph that shows the urgent nature of the situation.



Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Annual Assessment Report, 2014

The thermometer on the left shows the rise in Celsius degrees using a slightly different baseline than the thermometer on the right.  Each bar shows how risks increase as the global mean temperature rises.  It’s probably important to point out that in 2019 the mean global average temperature was 1.15C degrees on the right-hand thermometer.  Note that the highest risks are to unique and threatened ecosystems.  One of these ecosystems is the southern Appalachian Mountains.  Just sayin’.

The basic questions, to which the Climate Reality Project answers yes, are:

Must we change? (the science is clear, although the weather effects are getting pretty clear, too)
Can we change? (there turns out to be a LOT of good news on this front—just not quite enough yet)
Will we change? (This part is our job. And when I say “our,” I mean all of us!)

Linda Topp
Director of Administration

Vespers Resumes August 5

Your Vespers Planning Team took a two week break at the end of July. Wednesday Thing Vespers resumes August 5 at 6:30 PM and will be hosted by Holly Demuth and Orion. They will be sharing a favorite story “Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A Story from Africa.”

Vespers Calendar:

Aug 12
Vespers leaders: Universal Rainbow Unity
Theme: Spirituality & Sexuality.
Program, 7PM: Exploring Sexual Identity

Aug 19
Vespers leader: Nancy Bragg
Theme: Deepening Spirituality & Spiritual Practices
Program, 7PM: TBA

Aug 26
Vespers leader: Rev. Claudia
Theme: Lessons From Water
Program, 7PM: TED Talk/Discussion- “Be Humble” and Other Lessons from the Philosophy of Water by Raymond Tang

Finding Hope: What Is Your Call?

Minister ClaudiaOur seemingly endless physical distancing, the dilemma of how to provide safe schooling, federal interference with peaceful protests, political intransigence on all fronts – there are moments when hope eludes me. But I’m reminded daily that we live in a world of ambiguity where hate, violence and inequity coexist with love, generosity and compassion. Many have suffered, many still suffer AND many are working to alleviate suffering. In recent months, we have witnessed nationwide protests speaking out against racism and police brutality even as we mourn the losses of so many lives to COVID19 and racism. There seems to be an awakening to the reality of the brokenness of our nation, a society that has ignored how white supremacy and racism leave so many black and brown people vulnerable and under-resourced during this pandemic. That awakening calls to mind the words of UU minister Victoria Safford who in the essay, “The Small Work in the Great Work” wrote:

          “Once you have glimpsed the world as it might be, as it ought to be, as it’s going to be, (however that vision appears to you),            it is impossible to live compliant and complacent anymore in the world as it is….and so you come out and march, the way a              flower comes out and blooms, because it has no other calling. It has no other work.”

It is impossible to live compliant and complacent!  What are each of us called to do in this moment when police brutality and injustice can no longer be ignored?

With elections almost three months away, what are we each able to do to make sure all votes are counted and that our UU values are represented in the public square?

Our denomination and congregations have a history of advocacy. Hope is grounded in memory and it is important to know what we have done, successful or not. Changing hearts and attitudes takes time. We are in this for the long haul. And that gives me hope. I return to Safford’s essay, which offers a thoughtful reflection on what our mission is during these anxious times, 

“Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope —
not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower;
nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense;
nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness,
which creak on shrill and angry hinges (people cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through);
nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of “Everything is gonna be all right.”
But a very different, sometimes lonely place, the place of truth-telling….
And we stand there, beckoning and calling,
telling people what we are seeing,
asking people what they see.”

      What do you see?

     Who are you asking?

     What is your call?

Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development