Thank you to the 31 STAY COOL members who joined us for our bi-monthly meeting on Wednesday, September 24 at the Engel home in Del Mar. We welcomed guests Dr. Charles F. Kennel, Director Emeritus, Vice-Chancellor, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), and Pastor Tom Theriault from Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Kennel shared insights about “the most significant conference” he has ever attended, the joint workshop of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences titled “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility.” The workshop was held at the Vatican May 2-6, 2014 and Dr. Kennel was one of 43 attendees, 10 attendees coming from SIO.
This was the first time the Vatican brought together many of the world’s most prominent scientists and social scientists, including several Nobel Laureates, to examine the relationship between humanity and nature. The attendees explored the theory that we are in the Anthropocene era – a new geological era where humankind has affected every geological system on the planet, has caused changes in our global climate, world-wide biodiversity collapse, habitat fragmentation, long droughts, ozone depletion, global air pollution, deforestation, desertification, retreating glaciers, disappearing polar ice, sea level rise, and other lasting impacts.
Because of the intertwined crises of poverty, exclusion, and the environment, the countries least responsible for human-caused climate change and those least able to adapt will suffer the most. As U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon acknowledges, climate change is “the greatest threat facing humanity.” The attendees of the workshop agreed this is a defining issue of our lifetime.
So, can we sustain a stable, prosperous, and equitable society and a stable, supportive environment at the same time? At the end of the day, a society that treats the environment well will survive. No one country is able to do it alone. Both developed and developing countries must come together to work towards a harmonized global solution. “We have no right to be pessimistic.”
Dr. Kennel left the workshop with the optimism that “a healthier, safer, more just, more prosperous, and sustainable world is within reach, but the greatest challenge lies in the sphere of human values.” Attendees of the meeting articulated that “progress on climate, energy, equity, education and conservation of living resources will be driven by values and faith more than data and predictive models.” As Walter Munk, at 96 one of great oceanographers of modern times, said, “This requires a miracle of love and unselfishness.” (As quoted by Andrew Revkin, New York Times Dot Earth blog.)
Click here (Science Magazine Article PDF) for a relevant article titled “Pursuit of the common good; Religious institutions may mobilize public opinion and action” by Partha Dasgupta and Veerabhadran Ramanathan that appeared recently in Science Magazine. Dr. Ramanathan is a STAY COOL community supporter and these two authors were the co-chairs of the May workshop at the Vatican.
Following Dr. Kennel’s presentation, we heard from Pastor Tom Theriault from Solana Beach Presbyterian Church. Dr. Tom English (a STAY COOL member) approached Pastor Tom many years ago and opened his eyes to the messages of faith and their connection to protecting the earth. He realized, “God put me on the earth to preserve it. He gave me the brain power and heart to protect it.”
Tom then formed the Creation Care program, consisting of about 6-12 dedicated people within the church. Believing that “a small rudder can change the course of a big ship,” they organize preaching and teaching programs related to sustainability and environmental issues.
In addition to developing “Creation Care” Sundays around Earth Day, the team has focused on banning plastic bags, offered a summer youth program, partners with nature organizations, have held forums involving the community and hosted a low-emission transportation showcase. The Creation Care program has helped to reduce the carbon footprint of the church by replacing light bulbs, using efficient appliances, eliminating plastic water bottles and using only compostable cups. What a wonderful example of how a small group of dedicated individuals can change minds, and change lives!
Contact Tom at tom @ solanapres.org for more information about the Creation Care program at the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church. For further reading, Tom recommends: The Green Bible.
Now Showing: STAY COOL Videos
We’re going viral! View our new member videos online. Thank you to those of you who made these videos possible, especially our summer intern, Ana Reyes and several of our featured members including Marty Eberhardt, Sue Randerson, Bob Leiter, Caroyln and Cliff Colwell and David and Peg Engel. Please share these videos with your networks. We’re rolling out a plan to release these videos in the coming month.
Upcoming Events – Announcements from Our Members
Citizens Climate Lobby Monthly Meeting – Oct. 4
The next meeting of Citizens Climate Lobby will be on Saturday, October 4th, at the home of Peg Mitchell in San Elijo Hills, San Marcos. Come by for a morning brunch at 9:30 am and then stay to hear our national speaker, Adam Browning, co-founder and executive director of Vote Solar, at 10 am. Please RSVP to Peg at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive directions and further details.
Help with the Scott Peters Campaign – Oct. 2 and 5
Rep. Scott Peters has been good for the environmental movement in the House of Representatives. During his first term, Scott introduced and cosponsored numerous bills that work to combat and mitigate wildfires, natural disasters and other damaging effects of climate change. Peg Mitchell, on behalf of SanDiego350, is seeking volunteers who will be willing to phone bank for a few hours for Scott Peters, on Thursday evening, Oct. 2 from 6 to 8 pm at Peters Campaign office in Kearny Mesa. We will also be walking precincts for him on Sunday morning, 10 to noon on Oct. 5. Can you volunteer a few hours to help make this a reality? Please email Peg at peg@SanDiego350.org if you can volunteer.
San Diego 350 Introductory Meeting – Oct. 9
Feeling the need to get involved with another climate action group in San Diego? San Diego 350 is hosting an introductory chat for new members on October 9 at 6:30 pm in San Diego. Learn more.
Chula Vista Climate Action Public Forum – Oct. 14
Chula Vista City’s Climate Change Working Group will be hosting a public forum on October 14th at the Civic Center Library Auditorium (365 F Street) from 5 – 6:30 pm. The forum will feature a presentation by Dr. Emily Young on reviewing the impacts from the region’s changing climate and opportunities to manage it. The forum will also provide the community with an opportunity to provide feedback on the Climate Change Working Group’s draft recommendations to help reduce Chula Vista’s carbon footprint. The first 20 attendees will receive a free indoor water/energy savings kit! For more information, please contact the City’s Conservation Section at 619-409-3893 or email@example.com.
San Diego Housing Federation Conference – Oct. 15
TransForm Executive Director Stuart Cohen will speak on a panel titled “Cap-and-Trade 2014 – What’s Next?” to discuss the creation of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program, and how we can continue to make the case for affordable homes as a greenhouse gas reduction strategy. Register online for the October 15, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. conference.