Spring, as usual, is tempting me. On my first visit to the city tailgate market recently I couldn’t stop myself from picking up trays of Russian kale and rainbow chard seedlings for my raised bed at home. Yes, I know we’re still in for a few cool nights before growing season starts in earnest, but I’m hoping that with care these hardy plants will survive.
Warm weather triggers my gardening genes, and I long to get my hands in the soil. But it also serves to remind me of the struggles we humans seem to have confronting the consequences of climate change. Only recently there were reports that massive ice sheets in Antarctica appear to be more fragile than had been thought, and that they are in danger of collapsing before the end of the century, resulting in coastal flooding around the world.
In this election year it’s frustrating to see this critical issue being reduced to a political ping-pong ball. And unfortunately religion has often proven to be one of the more divisive players in this debate. So, I was encouraged earlier this week by how this topic was addressed in a meeting of clergy and laypeople from about a dozen faith traditions.
The speaker was Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist who is also an evangelical Christian. She made the point that people who are unfamiliar with the science around climate change may be inclined to reject it if they feel it threatens their beliefs. But she said she has found that they are more likely to listen if it is framed in the context of their tradition by someone who shares their beliefs. For example, Hayhoe said when talking with evangelicals she makes a point of reminding them of their shared belief that the Earth is a gift from God that people are charged to care for. It’s a good reminder that there many ways of helping people with diverse religious understandings unite on issues important to them all.
We UUs not only affirm that climate change is a significant threat to health and even the sustainability of many forms of life on Earth. We also identify it as an important justice concern that disproportionately afflicts poor and marginalized people. The UUA’s national Commit to Respond initiative has named the month of April Climate Justice Month.
Also, please plan to come to our multigenerational Earth Day service on April 24, and then return at 2pm, later that day, to help us welcome our neighbors as the Board of Trustees hosts a community Open House to celebrate our Welcome Project improvements of our building and grounds.