News – April 19, 2024

April Greetings,

You may know about the debate between caring, thoughtful people in response to greening the earth…whether we should focus on individuals to make green behavioral changes in their lives or not.  In an environmental short film called “Forget Shorter Showers”, the film-makers assert that making changes on an individual level not only doesn’t make enough difference, but allows the focus to shift away from the corporations who are creating the most carbon and pollution.  They say it is those corporations who have chosen to make citizens feel guilty for the problems  corporations have created.  We can of course believe these corporations are getting away with their polluting behavior through entrenched systems, carefully paid politicians and publicity campaigns.  The film says any time and effort we spend to try to solve the climate crisis should be on changing laws to protect the public good.   I believe this is true, absolutely.  AND also I believe in living life according to my values, too.  Each of us has only small choices we can make.  But living life with our values at the center is a well-lived existence.  I believe in living the life I want to see in the world.  Choosing to be kind and caring for other people and the planet just feels right.  I also believe that when we try to make green choices and take efforts to learn about how shifts in our behavior create change, we gain a better understanding of the issues and can make better informed demands of our leaders.  We also can inspire others to live differently and find creative solutions with our community.  So, like most things in life, I believe that both individual/small group AND government/corporation shifts are crucial for change and justice.   These changes are best gained not from feeling guilty or pushed but rather by being inspired.  We hope you will feel inspired.

We are in the middle of Earth Month, the time of year when we make sure we are focusing on caring for the earth.  It’s a great opportunity to show up for some of the efforts the Climate Action Team has worked to put together for our congregation.  I hope you are inspired by some of the offerings that help us learn about carbon capture, ecofeminism, bio-design, urban farming, eating plant-based and the Inflation Reduction Act with pieces about greening buildings and more.

This past Sunday I got to hear Paige Powell, a member of our church and our Climate Action Team give an informative and creative talk that connected each of our 8 Unitarian Universalist Principles to choices being made in carbon capture.  She will be taking this talk to other UU churches in our region and to other groups within our church.   I urge you to learn more about this and find a way to hear what’s happening in Houston with this topic.

Coming up this Sunday is our annual Earth Day Service co-lead by our Youth Group (and me). We’ll explore ways we can be more like trees and learn from plants and animals about sustainable processes, along with ideas from eco-feminism and our 7th principle, honoring the interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part.   They’ll be some interactive pieces and some funny moments as we explore these deep, vital themes.  (Multi-gen service -April 21 at 9:30 am and with Youth Group at 11:30 am)

Come meet Carmen Jules, an urban farmer, who will share her deep experience with plants and gardening/farming. 
Whether you are a novice or have experience, we hope you will join us in this learning community, as part of our Lives of the Spirit series.  (April 27, 1:00 pm)

And come to the Plant Based Potluck this month, when you can share a delicious, healthy meal AND hear about ways you can find support for the greening of your building/home/life within the Inflation Reduction Act.   Haven’t you wished you had someone read the act and provide the highlights and most important bits for you?  Member George John has done this and is ready to share!  (April 27, 6:30 pm)

Of course, we want to keep a focus on creating a sustainable world all year, but right now, there are special opportunities to learn and be part of the change we are creating in our community.  You can find out more information on events in this newsletter.

 We hope to see you there.

Carol Burrus
Director of Religious Community
First Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston