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Musings from Your Minister: Making Sense out of Nonsense

June 2, 2017

Throughout history, humans find themselves entrenched in disagreement, with multiple parties claiming to hold the “truth.”

The earth is flat. Or not.

Spirits cause illness. Or maybe bacteria do.

There are many gods. Or only one. Or none.

Race (or gender or . . . ) is proof of inferiority. (It’s not)

The most obvious truths have, in fact, often proven false.

In retrospect, all is clear. “Oh, of course, I should have known/seen/recognized/acknowledged _______ .”

But sometimes, we stubborn humans opt to ignore inconvenient truths (thank you, Al Gore) in favor of money or power. Such is the case with climate change.

It isn’t just the Republicans that are the problem, however.

Americans— and I include myself, my friends, and my family in this equation— by and large don’t experience (yet) climate change personally. It’s still comparatively few that eschew meat on moral grounds, monitor their personal water and energy consumption, and act in the many ways we know to protect the environment.

Conspicuous consumption has lost little of its glamour. Still . . .

Is it a proof of the demise of the democracy that the U. S. aspires to, now that we and only two other countries have chosen to pull out of the Paris Accord? Perhaps.

It is devastating proof of the human ability to pursue self-destructive options.

And admittedly, it is inspiring that more than 80 mayors and many more municipalities have already declared their intention to meet Paris Accord benchmarks. That’s a healthy and good signal, that somehow the unintended consequence of an evil administration’s terrible policies is that we have remembered our own roles in democracy.

Remember that 1970s turn of phrase, “Be the change you want to see”? It’s time. Really, long past time, but there are a few more hours left to move our earth back to a place of sustainability.

My worry is no longer about our democracy, but instead about our planet.

And I’m not waiting for an omnipotent g-d— or government— to protect me from my own actions.

It is in our hands. Will we make the changes to save our world and ourselves?

 — Rev. David L. Helfer