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Climate Change and Me! by Sister Linda Neil, CSJ
On May 7 the Home/Land Committee hosted its annual Earth Night at the Provincial House. About 36 persons attended the event which presented two aspects of climate change: Climate RefugeesCThe Whole Earth Community and Creating a New Normal.
In the discussion of Climate Refugees, Sisters Clare Pelkey and Deb Timmis shared a You Tube clip about Kirabati, an island nation that is being inundated by rising sea levels. Especially poignant were the young school children who expressed their sadness in having to leave their homeland. The leaders of their country are petitioning other nations in the area to accept their people as climate refugees. But they are very aware that they will lose their culture. So far no nation has extended a welcome to the 100,000 people of Kirabati. We were challenged to think about the other species who cannot leaveCplants, trees, animals who have made this island home. Where can they go?! Indigenous plants and animals evolved here and may not be suited to other soil or environment. The participants broke into groups for discussion about the plight of the people, and we wanted to share some of their feelings and comments.
The second part of our evening, Creating a New Normal, was presented by CSJ Associate Dot Hathway. Dot gave us some good news about what young people and universities are doing. LEED certification for buildings, recycling programs, composting efforts, water-filtration systems, sustainability courses are ways that universities are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint. Dot's presentation also included some grass-roots efforts being done at Hunt Lake, her camp in the Adirondacks. She gave examples of how home owners are banning together to protect the lake and watershed. People are cutting down on fertilizers and pesticides that run off and poison the lake water. They are being careful not to introduce alien species into the ecosystem. Folks are being hospitable to dear neighbors at the Lake: fox, turtles, rabbits, deer and bullheads. These were uplifting examples of positive, simple steps people are taking to live more sustainably. She reinforced the power for change in the 400 environmental-justice advocacy groups that operate in New York State! Participants were encouraged to reflect on what they are doing to mitigate climate change and how they can share ideas and actions with others.
These presentations are available if you would like to view them or use them with a group.