April 22, Week 3
Caring for the Earth
Reflections from Kathleen Hepler
Before I arrived, a former member, Judy Perry, led the creation of the labyrinth on the grounds here. Have you walked the labyrinth? It is a beautiful and ancient symbol; a design of curving paths that lead into the center and out again. There is only one entrance. You can’t get lost, but sometimes you are unsure where you are going! I like that its presence aligns us with ancient earth religions whose worship was embedded in the ways of nature.
Since that time, our current members of the Climate Action Team have tenaciously and joyfully made it their business to inspire others to care about the fate of the earth and its creatures. As happens to me so often around here, I am in awe of this mall band of people led by Larry Decker who keep abreast of current relevant legislation, educate about it, and encourage others to make their voice known. They led us through a process of “greening” the physical plant here and we were certified ” Green Sanctuary” status by the UUA. They have hosted groups like 350.org, Transition Framingham, and Mass Interfaith Power and Light. First Parish has solar panels because of their persistence.
I have heard that to stay on the path towards reversing climate change, it is important to savor what we are trying to save. How wonderful it is to see the color and bounty of the garden plots here in the growing season. I like to sit down there and drink the beauty in. How meaningful it has been to gather at the labyrinth on the solstice and equinox to celebrate our relationship with the earth. Have you take the path into the woods on the property? To see the children learning about living more sustainably and caring about nature brings a poignant awareness to me. It is for them and the seventh generation beyond them that we do this work. Thank you all for the high consciousness you have about these issues. It gives me hope.
Reflections from Larry Decker
When Kathleen arrived 11 years ago. Our environmentalist group was know as Framingham Recycling Action Team (FRAC). It was instrumental in establishing a comprehensive recycling program in the town of Framingham. We were exited to have a new minister who care deeply about the environment. With Kathleen’s support we applied to the UU Ministry for the Earth Program to be recognized as a Green Sanctuary church. over three years wo worked to reach our twelve sustainability goals and then received our certification. Kathleen’s previous church had installed solar panels and that renewed our interest in pursuing solar panels for our Parish House. We further reduced our carbon footprint by installing high efficiency furnaces in the Parish House and adopting an aggressive First Parish recycling program.
Our group is now referred to as the Climate Action team. Each year since Kathleen has been here, she has highlighted the need for climate action with a variety of Earth Dat Sunday services. We now network with local environmental groups–350.org MA, Sustainable Framingham, UU Mass Action — to advocate for local, state and national progress in addressing climate change. We have held many engagements in Scott Hall over the last 11 years with Kathleen participating in several key events.
We have a strong nucleus of members who continuously make the effort enjoyable for me. We all have our different reasons for keeping up the fight. I personally hate to see a planet with an unstable climate and rising sea levels passed on to our children and grandchildren. Everyone needs to keep speaking, writing and advocating for change to make it eventually happen. Each person’s personal commitment to reducing their carbon footprint can make a big difference.