Summer heat kills
You CAN make a difference with a tax-deductible dona-
tion to DEIPL, a 501(c)3 organization.
You CAN make a difference with a tax-deductible dona-
tion to DEIPL, a 501(c)3 organization.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Through accurate forecasting, thorough planning and good response, Delaware lives can and will be saved. A coalition of public and private groups have come together to 1) sponsor the implementation of a state-of-the-art excessive heat warning system, 2) planning and response agencies will be updating their procedures to leverage this new system, and 3) working with state agencies, Delaware Interfaith Power and Light is mobilizing congregations of all faiths to be prepared to open cooling centers to augment the existing publicly run facilities.
The Heat-Health Warning System (HHWS), developed by Applied Climatologists, Inc, led by Dr. Lawrence Kalkstein of the University of Miami. Along with a neighboring system in Philadelphia, their Synoptic Climatology Laboratory has developed at least 40 such systems worldwide that are used as primary guidance by weather forecasters. The system will be used by the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Philadelphia. While more than half of the funding for the HHWS has been acquired, DeIPL is still raising money and would appreciate your contribution here for this effort.
Follow this link to our Extreme Heat web page to find information that will be helpful in planning for the upcoming extreme heat events.
Stephen Henry Schneider (February 11, 1945 — July 19, 2010) was Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford University, a Co-Director at the Center for Environment Science and Policy of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.
This is one of the best videos on how climate change science has been distorted by opponents, through the media. I strongly suggest sharing this widely to continue getting the truth out. Watch it HERE.
I am a Unitarian. In my many years of living, I have learned to appreciate other faith traditions, as we all have much of the same spiritual DNA and can learn much from one another. Today, let us consider who WE are, and our role, in not only OUR survival, but that of the rest of the Web of Creation.
But first, I’m also a sort of a GEEK, and rely on my iPhone to do many things. I really do rely on it; maybe, just a bit too much. When I leave home in the morning, I take it from the bedside table, and put in my right pants pocket, where it belongs. It’s like an extension of my hand; no, more like an expansion of my brain. I mean, with it, I’m connected to the world, through the Internet. I have instant access to…”stuff”. Its part of WHO I am. Have you noticed when some people lose their smart phones, they go into an absolute panic? Fortunately, as a backup, there is that old fashioned relic called paper, but that’s no fun for a geek.
It is a fact that I am more than an extension of an Apple invention. I’m a Unitarian Universalist. I’m a Delawarean; you know, like their mascot the “Blue Hen”…sort of. I’m a son, brother, husband, father and grandfather. In college, I yelled, “WE ARE **** STATE…”, “We are…”, well, maybe…we sort of lived there for a while, but, we’re definitely not them. Our identity changes over time and circumstances, and is part of our language, so that we can know who THEY are, and they can know who WE are.
The title of this article came from a talk, entitled, “WE are the ones we’ve have been waiting for”. It was used in a recent speech made in Washington, but it actually was written by South African apartheid activist, June Jordon, in a work entitled Poem for South African Women. But, that is not what this is about. Here, in this time and place, we ask, “who are we?” When you think about it, there is me, which is my “self” and there is you, which is your “self”, but what is this “self”?
According to Joanna Macy in Greening the Self, “The self is the metaphoric construct of identity and agency, the hypothetical piece of turf on which we construct our strategies for survival.” Or as Alan Watts called it, “the skin-encapsulated ego.” Increasingly, our society places more and more emphases on “I”, as in individual. We learn from an early age that having more, bigger and costlier will make us happy. But there are costs to that way of thinking and that way of living.
First, our obsession with consumption is using up our Earth’s natural resources faster than She can renew them. Today, at the world’s current rate of consumption, we need 3 Earths to meet our collective needs. If the rest of the world kept us with the US rate of consumption, we would need not 3 Earths, but 5. This means that we are using up much of the resources that the Earth has accumulated to date, effectively and literally, using up our seed corn.
In an article entitled, “Famine threatens the very survival of human civilization”, Stanford’s Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich quotes the 2013 World Economic Forum Report. “Global food and nutrition security is a major global concern as the world prepares to feed a growing population on a dwindling resource base, in an era of increased volatility and uncertainty.” Indeed, the report notes that more than “870 million people are now hungry and risk actual survival.
Because of our mass consumption, there is mass waste, including mass pollution of the basic elements needed for survival. And, we all add to that problem which is putting the very survival of our Mother Earth as risk.
Every time we leave our high definition quadraphonic home entertainment center turned on, we add to the problem. Every time we fly and don’t buy carbon offsets, we add to the problem. Every time we turn on a light, we cause more coal from those once beautiful mountaintops, to be burned in the ovens of electric power plants. And, of course, that same action pollutes our air with more CO2, which adds to the atmospheric blanket that is warming our globe.
If we keep polluting at that rate, it is likely that we will add another 5° to Earth’s average temperature by 2100, a scant 87 years from now. If our own body’s temperature was 5° warmer, we would start to experience hallucinations, dehydration and even convulsions. Indeed, that same CO2 is poisoning our oceans, and endangering our food supply. Given all of that, how can we not wonder about survival?
Fortunately, recent studies suggest that 82% of Americans say global warming IS happening NOW. But, we wonder, “How much more agreement is needed to justify significant action?”
Many of us send emails to our senators and members of Congress. And, many of us marched on a cold Winter’s Sunday to protest Keystone XL. My own Unitarian Universalist congregation achieved its status of becoming a Green Sanctuary, an achievement for which they are rightly proud. But, if civilization’s very survival is at risk, is that enough?
Back to today’s basic question of “Who are WE”. Joanna Macy writes that the “I” based self is being replaced by wider constructs of identity and self-interest— by what philosopher Arne Naess termed the ecological self, co-extensive with other beings and the life of our planet.” This is along the same lines of the Unitarian Universalist 7th principle, “Respect for the Interdependent Web of All Existence of Which We Are a Part.” Let’s take that a step farther.
Michael, a student of Macy’s wrote about a letter that reads, “I think of the tree-huggers hugging my trunk, blocking the chain saws with their bodies. I feel their fingers digging into my bark to stop the steel and let me breathe. I hear the bodhisattvas in their rubber boats as they put themselves between the harpoons and me, so I can escape to the depths of the sea. I give thanks for your life and mine, and for life itself.”
Michael’s words really expressed a shift in identification, and to further quote Macy, “Michael was able to extend his sense of self to encompass the self of the tree and of the whale. Tree and whale are no longer removed, separate, disposable objects pertaining to a world “out there”; they are intrinsic to his own vitality. Through the power of his caring, his experience of self is expanded far beyond that skin-encapsulated ego.”
It is that extension of self that enables us to see ourselves as part of the whole of the Earth, as suggested by our Unitarian 7th principle. We have a new sense of an encompassing self, a deep identity with the wider reaches of life. As Macy writes, “This expanded sense of self leads to sustained and resilient action on behalf of life.“
When we read of the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, we grieve the same as we would grieve the loss of one of our own lungs, as that rain forest is, in fact, part of our external lungs. When we read that our own pollution of the air with excess CO2 is poisoning the oceans, we grieve that loss of ocean life, because the ocean is part of our life’s blood. When we see that millions of people are starving, due to draught causes in part by climate change, we grieve their deaths because we are all a part of Creation, and when they die, so do we all.
Arne Naess taught about two levels of living in our habitat; shallow ecology and deep ecology. He wrote that the shallow ecological movement is “humans first”, “…relies on quick, technical fixes and pursues business as usual without any deep value questioning or long-range changes in practices.”
Long-range deep ecology takes a broader view, looking for long-term solutions, engage in deep questioning, and striving to build sustainability. Business as usual is suicidal for civilization. We must change our lifestyles with lower levels of production and consumption of natural resources, and pursue a higher quality of life.
We truly must develop a consciousness that all life on Earth is sacred and that the sacredness of all life is the key to human freedom and survival. So, what do we do beyond writing emails and marching?
Every action that we take leaves a footprint on Earth. Some are small, like the footprints we leave in the sand on a beach. And others are large and lasting, like the pollution from our cars. So, let us each be mindful in all of our decisions as to how they will impact the rest of Creation.
In bookstores and on the Internet, there are many books and articles with ways to lesson our carbon footprint on Mother Earth. Many faith based organizations and others, such as Interfaith Power and Light, would be happy to help you in your journey to reduce your personal and organizational footprint and help Mother Earth begin to heal. Just reach out, and ask.
Here’s one more idea. Let’s take the rest of the day off. You know; no work, no cooking, no shopping, no electronics; just unplug and re-create yourselves.
How many of you haven’t heard the term 24/7? Former Emergency Room physician Dr. Matthew Sleeth, penned a recent book called 24/6. He wrote, “In the last 20 years, work is up by 14% and leisure is down by 30% and things are only going to get worse.” So, let’s take this day off.
There is some precedence for it. I mean, today is Sunday, or as some traditions call it, “the Sabbath”. Maybe, since it is the 7th day, we might rest a bit. What if we lost, I mean purposely lost, our iPhone, lost our iPod or iPad, just for today? Maybe, we could lose this “I” self and find our “We”. Let’s simply unplug for a while. Think of the energy and money we’ll save, and the carbon that won’t be burned. It will be great for us all, and help Mother Earth recover just a bit. Perhaps, WE might be able to actually reconnect, with each other, with nature, with our true selves.
Liberal Congregationalist clergyman Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and a homestead without a garden. It is the joyous day of the whole week.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, who began his career as a Unitarian minister wrote” The Sunday is the core of our civilization. It invites the noblest solitude and the noblest society.”
Abraham Lincoln said “As we keep or break the Sabbath Day, we nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope by which man rises.”
So, take the day off and live; live like our lives depended upon it.