April 2, 2021
The button below thakes you to a recap of an excellent session (virtual of course) I attended earlier in the week. In it is a link to a recording of the session and links to some of the really valuable tools and information available on the NRCM website. The gist of the session was how to help us track important legislation working it’s way through the statehouse, how to advocate for your position on the legislation virtually or in person, and how to understand the issues of each piece of legislation. I attended a breakout group within the session about the CMP Corridor and I must say the argument against it (NRCM is opposed to the Corridor project) was the clearest, most succinct, and most compelling I have heard.
More later on this topic of advocacy, but for now please have a look at the video of the Zoom session which is accessible below:
February 23, 2021
Doretta and I want to remind you of our first virtual session March 23rd at 6:30 pm. We will all join in a discussion of Mary Robinson’s excellent book Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future.
In order to make this as interactive as possible we will be breaking up into smaller groups for part of the session and to do that efficiently we need to know who will be joining us for that evening. As a result, we are asking that you let us know by email if you will be attending. We will send you a reminder email with the Zoom link and we’ll be able to manage the breakout groups.
Please respond to my email (email@example.com).
Thanks in advance. We really look forward to all of you attending.
February 9, 2021
No! We have not forgotten. In fact, now more than ever, we need to be aware of our obligation to our climate and to the earth that sustains us, to our fellow citizens struggling with various and present impacts of the climate crisis, and to our children and grandchildren who will inherit the planet we leave them.
So, in the spirit of renewal of our personal commitment to confront our climate crisis, to act in ways that will sustain us all, and to live in a spirit of stewardship in and for the earth, we have decided to restart our climate conversations. We will begin with a virtual session on March 23rd at 6:30 pm.
Our first session will focus on Mary Robinson’s wonderful book, Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future. The book is available on most online book sites like Amazon either in electronic or paperback. Ms. Robinson is a former President of Ireland and has spent the last twenty years serving in a number of capacities as a champion for people who are already facing significant impacts from the climate crisis.
Peter Jennings, the former anchor of ABC News, often advised people “don’t worry so much about talking to the movers and shakers of the world, talk instead to the moved and the shaken. In that spirit, Ms. Robinson relates many poignant and powerful stories about how flood and drought, famine and fire, and numerous other calamities we face today are devastating lives of normal people and these calamities are, in fact, only a glimpse of what’s to come. Throughout these dire descriptions, however, she maintains a positive and hopeful outlook and points us to many ways that we can take action to protect ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
We’ll ask each participant in our Zoom meeting to come prepared to discuss the book with each other in small groups and then share their collective wisdom with the large group. As always, our focus will be on “what we can do” personally and collectively to meet this challenge.
Those of you on our mailing list will have already received in late January a couple of important articles discussing the changes the new administration is making in Washington and reactions to those changes from leaders in business, environmental groups, and others. Significant changes are on the way including from unusual organizations, like General Motors. GM announced at the end of January that they will make a total shift of their fleet to all-electric by 2035. Imagine that!
While this is a wonderful announcement it begs serious questions of social and economic justice, such as how to make those new cars affordable, or how to create an inexpensive electric infrastructure to support them? We will be addressing issues like these in our upcoming virtual climate conversations.
We’ll also be keeping you posted with additional articles and links on our church website (www.wccucc.com). Please join us March 23, 2021 @ 6:30 pm for the renewal of our Climate Conversations and encourage others to join you. All in our church community and beyond are welcome. Login details will follow. In the meantime, please read Mary Robinson’s book so you can come prepared to discuss it with each other.
Kerry and Doretta
February 8, 2021 - A New Day
We are preparing to launch our climate conversations again. Yahoo!!!! These will be virtual at first, as you might imagine, but we’re still planning on making them very interactive and focused on action. So, keep your eyes on your email.
In the meantime, this article will do two things for us: first, it will bring some good news (we all need a dose of that), and second, it focuses on action, especially personal and small group action. Enjoy.
Kerry and Doretta
January 27, 2021 - Today is Climate Day
President Biden has designated each of his first 10-days, or so, to a specific issue. Today is all about the climate crisis. Below you will find a link to an interesting analysis from the NYT on issues and policies, support and resistance, and, as the title suggests, “the battle lines” that are being drawn around how we will respond as a country.
We also want you to know that we are looking into ways that we might restart our conversations soon. Naturally, this will need to be in some virtual way, but we feel that the next year or two will be absolutely decisive in acknowledging the crisis of climate change and moving rapidly to addressing it.
Here’s the NY Times article:
We look forward to talking with you all soon.
Kerry and Doretta
January 26, 2021 - Green Cars Make Sense
This piece from Margaret Renkl in the NYT gives a lot of hope that we’re getting closer and closer to affordable and convenient electric cars. If you’ve never read her before you’ll enjoy other things she’s written. She’s a terrific observer of nature and human nature in her own backyard in Tennessee.
From The New York Times: Even for Bargain Hunters, Green Cars Make Sense
Electric cars are an even better value than I understood when I first bought one.
Doretta and Kerry
December 1, 2020
Today the Maine Climate Council conducted a Zoom call to release its final report, “Maine Won’t Wait.” It was a terrific event featuring various members of the Council, recognition from our Senators and Congress members, and participation by John Kerry and Governor Mills. The mood was upbeat, realistic, thorough and action-oriented. It was a real testament to the ability of the citizens of Maine and to our leadership.
We thought you might like to see the session and also have a link to the final report. There’s much here to give each of us something to think about.
Doretta and Kerry
November 24, 2020
We have certainly been missing our Climate Conversations these last many months. Having so much bad climate news hasn’t helped, for sure. Now there seems to be a glimmer of hope so we are thinking of trying to begin again, slowly, in respect for the pandemic and the various restrictions that imposes on all of us. We’re not exactly sure what form that might take yet, but we are exploring several options and we wanted you to be aware of that. We invite you to share any thoughts you might have about the format or the topics.
A couple of specific things make this an appropriate time to reconnect with you. First, after having dealt with a four-year assault on climate and environmental regulations, which has turned the clock back to the days before the formation of the EPA, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Today, President-elect Biden announced the creation of a new Cabinet level post called “Climate Envoy,” and he’s appointed John Kerry to that post. Kerry’s task will be to redevelop a global leadership role for the US in addressing the climate crisis. That is very exciting.
Our second incentive is to share this article:
As you may recall we had a session early on dealing with how to discuss climate issues with people who might not agree with us. Over the holidays many of us will be with friends and family (virtually or in person) with whom we’d like to discuss the climate crisis and how we might respond to it. The article is by David Brooks. He shares some great advice for having productive conversations about almost anything, and we thought offered some great ideas for conversing about climate. Let us know what you think about it.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving,
Doretta and Kerry
July 14, 20202
Dear Climate Conversation Friends,
We are so grateful for the months we shared of gatherings around climate issues and efforts we can take to do our part in mitigating climate change. We found it deeply heartwarming and exciting that we averaged more than 50 individuals at each of our monthly gatherings that began in October of 2019. Our hope was to complete one year this October 2020 having generated enthusiasm, determination and personal commitments to foster positive change. While Covid-19 ended our opportunity to host in-person meetings, our interest has not changed in continuing to encourage everyone’s involvement in raising awareness, being examples and speaking out and up where change needs to happen to insure a healthy planet for the next generation to come.
Groups have been offering Zoom gatherings around these important issues, many of whom we had present in our Climate Conversation: What Can We Do? gatherings. The National Resource Council of Maine (NRCM), the Center for an Ecology Based Economy (CEBE), Lakes Environmental Association (LEA), and Maine Audubon have been hosting wonderfully inspiring and enriching presentations. We encourage you to follow what they are doing and volunteer wherever you can.
Though we look forward to a future when we can get together in conversation once again, we hope that you will continue in the pursuit of helping to build a healthier planet. One of the most significant things we all can be doing in this time is exercising our right to vote. Vote for planet Earth and legislation that will protect our environment and our democracy.
Doretta and Kerry
July1/3/20 - To read special message about the July 7 AUDUBON MEETING
June 1, 2020
Dear Climate Friends,
This comes as a reminder that we will not be hosting our June Climate Conversations on Recycling that was to be led by Charlie and Antoinette Tarbell. We will let you know when we plan to reschedule them and appreciate the work they have done in preparation.
We look forward to the opportunity when we can come back together again to share our common concern for the environment. In the meantime, we are encouraged by the creative ways folks at NRCM, LEA, CEBE and Maine Audubon (to name only a few) have brought programs into our homes through Zoom and various formats that are keeping us informed and inspired.
In the midst of these challenging times we continue to hold on to hope that through our collective work we can make the changes necessary for the common good of all and the health of our planet. We miss you and our conversations, but trust that we each are putting into action the things we still can do to bring positive change.
There is much out there to read and learn from. Kerry Johnson passed along this article that he thought might be an interesting read for everyone.
I found it intriguing and it raised, for me, a host of questions. We loved to hear your thoughts.
We began our climate conversations last fall with a global view of the climate crisis led by Dr. Tom Hammett. It was powerful to hear his stories about people high in the Himalayas struggling to maintain an existence in the face of climate change, and even more powerful to then bring the conversation closer to our situation here in Waterford.
Since that session we have been fortunate to share conversations with more than half a dozen other people who are working to help our environment, to build healthier communities, and to address the challenges of climate change here in Maine. Each session led us to think about what we can do individually and collectively to combat the effects of these challenges. We are sorry we missed the last two sessions, of course, and we hope to begin again with the June session.
Unbelievably, another challenge, coronavirus, has turned out to benefit the environment and potentially to positively impact the effects of climate change while we have been sheltering in place. We have driven far less than normal. We have shopped less for food and everything else. We’ve generated a lot less waste. We’ve generally “lived lighter on the planet.” We have, in effect, participated in a giant science experiment involving the impact of our behavior on the planet. Who would have thought we’d be doing something like that and who would have foreseen we would have had such a huge short-term impact? Certainly, the air is cleaner, but it’s also likely that we’ve made at least a small dent in carbon emissions for the short term, and we have observed the proof for ourselves.
It also seems that our absence from our streets has invited wildlife to share our spaces. Margaret Renkl reports in the New York Times (see the link below) about mountain goats roaming the streets of a small town in Wales, of coyotes meandering through San Francisco and Chicago, and of wild boars in the medians of Barcelona. It seems we really do share the earth with other species when they have a chance to appear.
Alan Weisman, in his thought experiment of a book called The World Without Us, imagines exactly that—what would the world be like if we humans were not here. What would happen if we suddenly departed earth? In the preface he shares some lyrics from a song by Gustav Mahler based on a poem by Li-Tai Po:
The firmament is blue forever, and the Earth
Will long stand firm and bloom in spring.
But, man, how long will you live?
That is some question! It seems to me, though, that our little science experiment proves that we humans can live quite a long time. So, in answer to the question of whether we can survive or not, I say “Yes, we can!” if we put our minds to it. Yes, we can, if we learn from the past several months about the impact our collective behavior has had on the planet. Yes, we can if we find ways to preserve and expand upon those lessons. Yes, we can, if we generate the collective will to act, and we demand that our leaders support those actions. Yes, we can if we begin now, act now, join together now.
Please join us when we continue our climate conversations. We need your thoughts. We need you to act.
Yes, We Can!
10 April, 2020
People in the northern Indian state of Punjab shared impressive images of the snow-capped Himalayan mountain range, which is now visible from more than 125 miles away, for the first time in 30 years due to the reduction in air pollution caused by the country's coronavirus lockdown.
NY Times article: Now We Know How Quickly Our Trashed Planet Can Heal
The second, is a list of books recommended by the Times staff on climate change. It’s a very interesting list in that it has some older books and some newer books, some non-fiction and some fiction, authors you’ve probably heard of and maybe even read, and others we’ve never heard of. There’s enough here to help us celebrate this Earth Day and probably a few more to come. Happy reading.
We hope you’re taking good care of yourselves and of each other. We are busy planting in our respective gardens, one of us with a much more challenging task (guess who?). We’re learning new ways to stay connected with friends and family (virtual cocktail party anyone?). And, we are missing our monthly climate conversations.
See you all soon, we hope.
Doretta and Kerry
Here are a couple of links from the Times that are really excellent for our Earth Day week. We thought you might like to see them.
The first is a comprehensive, multi-part article that addresses many of the major issues and questions we all have about the climate crisis, what we can do, and how we need to encourage others to follow our lead.
April 17, 2020
Dear Climate Friends,
Although every day is Earth Day in my book, this year is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22nd and there is much happening around Maine to celebrate throughout the week. We thought you may enjoy what the NRCM is offering to tune into as we continue our awareness of the beauty and wonder of this precious planet we call home.
April 15, 2020
Dear Climate Friends,
Kerry and I miss our coming together in our Climate Conversations: What Can WE Do? to discuss and learn ways that we can make a positive difference. Though we have had to postpone our gatherings, we trust that we will be able to come back together again in the future. For now, we hope that you will find ways to stay connected in the growing work being done to inform and act towards climate change. I have attached the following information that you might find interesting.
In these heartbreaking and disturbing times of the coronavirus, we continue to wish you and your families well. Together yet apart, may we find ways to support one another, particularly those who are suffering the most from job loss, health concerns, financial insecurity – to name a few of the impacts this crisis has created.
In the midst of all this, I stood watching the full moon rise over Rice Hill last Tuesday, noticed the resilience of my daffodils that shook off the snow to reach for the sun, saw the mating of a pair of kestrels on the fence post in the back field and in these found consolation in the magnificent beauty of the created order that unfolds in each moment moving forward through the seasons. May this time that causes us to slow down, invite us to take greater notice and appreciation for our environment and who we are within it. In our forced stillness Earth is breathing easier. May we take valuable lessons from this time that we learn in the days ahead to walk more gently on the Earth.
Last Friday, we launched a virtual Lunch & Learn series. Nick Lund, Maine Audubon’s Outreach & Network Manager taught us about Maine spring birds — their migration patterns, how to identify them and how they’re being impacted by climate change. You can watch the recording here.
More than 250 people joined us last week and asked for more! So, starting next week, we’ll be hosting free Lunch & Learns every Friday from 12:00-1:00 PM. We hope you can join us to connect and learn from the comfort of your home.
Friday, April 17: Climate-Friendly Farming
Rick Kersbergen, UMaine Cooperative Extension Professor and sustainable dairy and forage systems expert will teach us about no-till farming and other techniques to sequester carbon and reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Register here!
Friday, April 24: Coastal Carbon Sequestration
Beverly Johnson, Professor of Geology at Bates College will talk about how we can manage coastal ecosystems, such as salt marshes and seagrass beds, to store carbon and help mitigate the drivers of climate change. And Kristen Puryear of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Natural Areas Program will discuss how the Coastal and Marine Working Group of the Maine Climate Council is incorporating this knowledge in their work. Register here!
Friday, May 1: Sustainable Gardening
Rowen Gorman, Community Agriculture Program Coordinator at Cultivating Community will be teaching us how to create successful gardens this spring in our yards or on our decks using sustainable practices. Register here!
Best wishes to you and your loved ones during this time,