Sunday, January 11, 2009

Green Sprouts

Introducing a fellow Fellow's new blog
My fellow Fellow, Deacon Betsy Blake Bennett, launched her new blog Green Spouts on the Feast of Ephiphany, January 6th, 2009. Her blog is: "...the name for creation care ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska. The name suggests the newness of the ministry, as well as the ability of plants to sprout up wherever there are cracks or openings, no matter how tiny. Like the spring violets that sprout up in sidewalks in my town, or like the trees that grow out of cracks in the rocks in the Wildcat Hills in the western part of Nebraska, this work is meant to take root wherever there is an opening to it, no matter how small...."

Creation Care isn't bound by borders
Although Deacon Betsy's blog is focused on her corner of Nebraska, she also states that "...environmental issues aren't bound by state or diocesan borders..." and her posts are meant to start conversation about creation care. I have no doubt her blog will cross boundaries, as well as oceans. Please check her blog out when you have a chance -and, check back often!

Tutu's take on building green

If you didn't attend the United States Green Build Council's annual GreenBuild in Boston this past November 2008, you missed an amazing keynote address by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I also missed GreenBuild, but thankfully, the USGBC now has GreenBuild365, where you can watch webcasts of master speakers. Tutu's keynote was eloquent, witty, nutty, inspiring and necessary. Tutu never minces words -he tells it like it is, being the extremely important common sense, moral voice that he is. And in this talk, he speaks about God's most magnificent creation, Earth, and the responsibility we in the design and construction industry have towards caring for it.

This important keynote may not be accessible permanently

Even more importantly though, his keynote address I recently found out, may not remain a permanent part of GreenBuild365, as Tutu owns the rights to the webcast. So please take 30-40 minutes and listen now, while you can.

Note: you need to create an account to login to the USGBC site to listen, but it is an easy registration process. USGBC does not sell or give your name/email away either.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Around the United States in 40 Days

Why a mandatory field trip for Obama to assess the effects of climate change is in order

Note: this post has nothing to do with green buildings directly…

We are 17 days away from inauguration day. Personally, I can’t wait. And I think polar bears –not to mention a host of other species, feel the same. Barack Obama has many challenges to tackle after he takes office of course, ranging from the Israel-Palestinian conflict, to Afghanistan, to our economic “crisis” (in quotes because I think we are all learning a great deal about ourselves and money because of this, so maybe not so much a crisis as a much needed whack upside the head from a much wiser elder), to our changing climate. On the latter, Barack Obama has spoken often of a “planet in peril,” and seems ready, willing and able to face the challenges ahead of him on this front; he gets it.

Dear Barack and Michelle…

Dr. James Hansen, the NASA scientist who woke us up to our changing climate, wrote an open letter about just that to the Obama’s just before the new year, a cover letter to a document he authored titled “Tell Barack the Truth – The Whole Truth.” As I read Hansen’s letter and the document, I thought about all the good intentions, and also, all the politicking that is bound to go on. Believe me, I am extremely hopeful and am watching in excitement as I see the tide shifting. But I also recognize that we are more often than not, a reactive society. We tend to talk and talk and talk… and talk some more, and then when something happens, we react. When it comes to Earth, we don’t have time to talk anymore. We’ve talked enough.

The Field Trip

This is when I got my idea for a mandatory field trip for the Obama’s, his entire cabinet, all of Congress, executives from the coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear sectors, climate scientists (from both the climate change proponent and non-proponent camps), and some key environmentalists (like NRDC as an example). I’ll stop there –you get the idea. It would be a 40 day field trip –the government can be run remotely and at most, Obama is 12 hours by plane from DC. They would all travel the United States together, and see first-hand, the impacts of our actions and how we are affecting our climate, our land, our water, our wildlife, and more, in a myriad of ways. They would talk to people of all ages and backgrounds. They would also be required to come to table, together, each evening (in smaller groups of course, with mediators perhaps), to discuss what they saw, how they feel, what can be done, and how we start.

Christ went into the desert for 40 days after being baptized. He returned, further transformed by what he saw and experienced, ready to undertake the enormous task which lay before Him. I can only see the same happening for all participants during the course of this 40 day field trip across the US.