“The politics of the people out of doors”

January 2016
On behalf of the UUCM Trustees I offer you and your family the warmest of holiday “Seasons Greetings!”  Yes, but what season is it! Near spring-like weather to accompany you on the Christmas gift hunt and possibly brought to you by the periodic acting up of  “El Nino”— the child?  Or by the more permanent conditions of uncertainty as our global climate changes under the burden of a successful fossil-fueled human civilization?  Loss of habitat, famine, settlement  of refugees, war, and survival of planet itself are bound to become concerns when you take up this conversation.

     Good topics for the holiday family dinner table?  Remember,  “the weather” is no longer a “go to” safe subject for those seeking to keep conflict to the pumpkin or pecan pie variety!  And that is good thing.  The recently concluded Paris accord on climate change presents us a continuing challenge— a prophetic challenge— to extend and sharpen the critical conversations in families and communities.  

     One optimistic observer wrote that world leaders in Paris last month reframed the consensus view from  “the presumption that carbon emissions will continue to grow to the presumption that they must soon start coming down.”  No binding agreement with incentives and penalties that might alter, or even outlaw,  the behavior of Wall Street and Big Oil, to name just two of the powerfully interested obstacles to change, resulted from Paris.  Rather, the accord is described by a quick skeptic as “a common expression of good intentions.”  Prophetic..I said above?  Or did I mean pathetic?  No, there is not a livable alternative to taking the challenge implicit in the framework: “We, the political leaders, have to do more and you, the people,  have to make us do it.” 

This linking of the politics behind closed doors with the politics of the people out of doors brought about the summit in the first place. Who can doubt that the Obama administration’s recent rejection of the XL Keystone pipeline is related to the million strong Citizen’s Climate March in New York City last spring, to the pledges of mass civil disobedience, and to the growing movement to disinvest from fossil fuel heavy stock portfolios? Our Congregation and the Unitarian Universalist Association are among many faith groups building this global climate justice movement with solid participation in all of the above and eager to press on.

Season’s Greetings and pass the pecan pie please!

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