My Turn: Doing what we can in face of climate change

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    All Souls Church in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 4/20/2023 8:53:54 PM

The scientists’ call goes out, via COP27. Our Earth, the entire Earth, is now, officially predicted, in major climate crisis. You already know the litany: fires, floods, storms, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes like we have never seen in our lifetimes (so far).

And then, suddenly the clouds break open, sunshine warms our souls; we look up from anxiety, of “getting and spending” surrounded by heartbreaking spring beauty!

We still have a few years, just a very few, to make a major effort to stem the tide of greenhouse gas that threatens all of us, Black, brown, red or white, rich and poor, we are all together now (look for the common “enemy” … and it is us!) We are the human “beings” burning the fossil fuel and traveling the long miles. But, we now need each other working side-by-side to stem the tide ... But, doing what?

Massachusetts is already putting up quick-charge stations to switch us to all-renewable electric energy, generated by offshore wind, or solar on rooftops and landfills, so we are going all-electric. We can get serious about saving energy/insulation (R-50 or 60 in the roof). We can think again, and travel way less, take public transport, buy an electric car, solarize home and business, carefully re-commission those huge leaky coolers.

The state of Massachusetts, benefiting from President Biden’s talent as a fundraiser, is practically giving away heat pumps for people of all income levels. (Can you believe? It can be cheaper? Check out Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.) The state is also getting profit-driven public utilities to switch us rapidly to renewable, wind- and sun-based electric. But how about food?

Our closest collaborators in this great historic moment are not some huge nonprofits, nor a heroic senator, or president, no ( … drum roll, please…) It is us, you and I, cleaning up our mess, and creating the world we want to live in surrounded by edible plants, gardens, farms, pollinators and trees!

Not just any trees, but the biggest forest trees (subterranean strata of fungi- and carbon-rich soil.) Especially big trees 25 or 50 years old and up, the ones hard to hug, because you cannot quite get your arms around them. It takes hundreds of baby trees (7 acres) to match the carbon-storage capacity of one very large tree.

We need to work wisely, with all deliberate speed. In this time of crisis, don’t complain — reframe! Flip it to a vision of opportunity. We turn to human being knowledge keepers,to understand how to use our very limited time and energy best, in good spirit.

Dave Jacke is one of those great knowledge keepers, the well-known author of two-volume resource books: “Edible Forest Gardens.” (We sometimes describe Dave as a “walking encyclopedia of plants.”) It took him eight years of concentrated work to develop and write his excellent resource books. At this historical moment, he will be sharing his thoughts developed over so many years of dedicated, visionary work by leading the services at Greenfield All Souls on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

While the service is also on Zoom, come in person, and it will be followed up with a question and answer session with Dave and the wider community, over lunch. (After all, this is the home of the Stone Soup Café.) Bring a shovel in case we get the chance to plant!

To find All Souls, it’s across the street from Greenfield’s Library and Post Office, at the corner of Hope and Main streets (well named!) Follow Route 2A (Main Street), from Route 2 West exit off at Route 2/ I-91 rotary. Stay on Main Street, crossing Routes 5 and 10. Look for the stone church, with a rainbow banner. See you on Sunday; lunch provided.

Pam Kelly, 25 years a Quaker, joined the Unitarian Universalists to become a trained congregational social justice facilitator, serving for 17 years, and for five years as executive director of the UU’s economic justice grassroots network. She retired in Greenfield 10 years ago.


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