April 22, 2022 marks the 52nd Earth Day. Since 1970 billions of people around the world have celebrated and taken action to care for our planet. Today we know that the Earth is in crisis. We have already witnessed the life-threatening impact of climate change on health- due to air pollution, heat waves, and food and water shortages. The World Bank estimates that tens of millions of people could be climate refugees by 2050.
The question rises: what can our little community do to respond? Probably not a lot on our own. But if we think about all the individuals and small communities asking this question, our power increases exponentially. Individual actions add up when we connect the dots. Gardens become community gardens become regional local food systems when we draw the lines between us through relationships. Individuals seeking to drive less join together to advocate for more livable greener cities with accessible bike pathways and public transportation for everyone. This is ecological work that can gain momentum through relational power.
In 2019-20 I interned with the international multi-faith organization, GreenFaith. As the Mid-Hudson Valley GreenFaith Circle organizer, my work focused on gathering people from different faith communities together (over a delicious potluck plant-based meal!) to make individual commitments to address climate change and to support one another in these decisions. From there, the relationships could move to impact change at the larger level. In one community I worked with, the GreenFaith Circle members showed up at City Council meetings to advocate for sustainability initiatives, including a Municipal Composting System. It is encouraging to see that initiative is now being implemented in Beacon, NY.
I encourage UUC members to consider individual actions you might take for the planet this Earth Day. I encourage you to find others who are also taking action (you can start with our Earth Day service this Sunday, led by UUC members reflecting on their connection to the interdependent web of life). And I encourage you to build relationships beyond our doors. You can even do it over a shared meal once again.