News

Feb 12: Climate Action Meeting

The Climate Action and Environmental Justice Group Task Force is planning on hosting a series of talks and events leading up to and through the 30 days of Commit2Respond March 22, World Water Day, and extend until April 22, Earth Day.

The group meets next on Thursday, Feb 12th at 5:30 pm. Please join us. Contact Scott Thacher for more information. Please join us!

Special activities at the planning stage include a ‘Eating for Personal & Planetary Health’ Lecture and Discussion and an Eco-bike Ride & Beach Clean-Up.

Here are ideas for the Sunday services–come and contribute thoughts at the next meeting on Thursday Feb. 12th at 5:30.

  • March 22nd: Set up the problem
  • March 29th: Voices of the Affected
  • April 5th: Easter Flower service
  • April 12th: Voices of Response, personal & political
  • April 19th: Assessment. Where do we go from here?

Feb 5: Volunteer at the Food Bank!

Food Bank Volunteer Night

Join us at the San Diego Food Bank in the Miramar area; just 20 minutes from UUFSD! It’s always from 6:00 – 8:00 PManyone over 7 years old can help! Mostly we just put food in boxes on an assembly line or bag fresh produce – really easy, no lifting, no bending, great camaraderie.

Last month we our team filled bags for 760 families who will need help to make it through the long weekend. Each bag contained a bag of beans, a box of pasta, a can of tomato sauce and a can of chicken….If you let this sink in it’s hard to believe this sort of small portions is so needed by so many who live in our neighborhoods here in San Diego….we can’t solve the world problems but we can make a difference right here, right now, one small effort at a time.

This is a wonderful way of helping locally those in need and strengthening our UUFSD community as well. The San Diego Food Bank distributes over 20 million pounds of food annually to individuals, families and a network of nonprofit organizations that work to alleviate hunger throughout San Diego county. They need our help! Check out the pictures.

Email Sara Ohara for more information: sara@saraohara.com

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April 10: de Benneville Pines Family Camp

de Benneville Pines Family Camp

Fri, April 10 – Sun, April 12

Explore the magic of the mountains with family and friends.
Enjoy hiking, crafts, singing, dancing, yoga, games, workshops and more.

•    Nourishment for the mind and body
•    Activities for all ages
•    Comfortable cabins
•    Homet Lodge a great place to gather around the fire

Online Registration Now Available!!!
Register HERE

For more information contact:
Phyllis Hauptfeld- phauptfeld@yahoo.com or call/text 760.525.8355
Chris Faller – cfaller5@gmail.com or call/text 858.344.0227
Susan Pernia – susan.b.pernia@gmail.com

Make Checks payable to ‘UUFSD deBenneville Weekend’. Drop in the DeBenneville Pines box in the office at UUFSD or mail payment to: 5174 Camino Playa Malaga, San Diego, CA 92124

Jan 15: Food Bank Update

We did some GOOD!

Our team filled bags for 760 families who will need help to make it through the long weekend.
Each bag contained a bag of beans, a box of pasta, a can of tomato sauce and a can of chicken….If you let this sink in it’s hard to believe this sort of small portions is so needed by so many who live in our neighborhoods here in San Diego….we can’t solve the world problems but we can make a difference right here, right now, one small effort at a time.

January 15 – Food Bank Volunteer Night

Join us at the San Diego Food Bank in the Miramar area; just 20 minutes from UUFSD! It’s always from 6:00 – 8:00 PManyone over 6 years old can help! Mostly we just put food in boxes on an assembly line or bag fresh produce – really easy, no lifting, no bending, great camaraderie.

Last month we bagged 2500 lbs of apples and prepared 202 Friday Take-Home bags for kids! – in just 2 hours!

This is a wonderful way of helping locally those in need and strengthening our UUFSD community as well. The San Diego Food Bank distributes over 20 million pounds of food annually to individuals, families and a network of nonprofit organizations that work to alleviate hunger throughout San Diego county. They need our help! Check out the pictures.

Email Sara Ohara for more information: sara@saraohara.com

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Pacific Garbage Patch Video

A photographic documentary about the effect of plastic on an isolated bird population in the Pacific.

The MIDWAY film project is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, our team is witnessing the cycles of life and death of these birds as a multi-layered metaphor for our times. With photographer Chris Jordan as our guide, we walk through the fire of horror and grief, facing the immensity of this tragedy—and our own complicity—head on. And in this process, we find an unexpected route to a transformational experience of beauty, acceptance, and understanding.

We frame our story in the vividly gorgeous language of state-of-the-art high-definition digital cinematography, surrounded by millions of live birds in one of the world’s most beautiful natural sanctuaries. The viewer will experience stunning juxtapositions of beauty and horror, destruction and renewal, grief and joy, birth and death, coming out the other side with their heart broken open and their worldview shifted. Stepping outside the stylistic templates of traditional environmental or documentary films, MIDWAY will take viewers on a guided tour into the depths of their own spirits, delivering a profound message of reverence and love that is already reaching an audience of tens of millions of people around the world.

Please go to midwayfilm.com for more information.

“Eaarth” Book Review by Bill Mckibben

Eaarth: Making a Life on a Hot New Planet
by Bill McKibben
Review by John Atcheson

You had to wonder when it would happen.  That moment when someone would take us from talk of how to prevent climate change to acknowledging that it was here already, here to stay, and that it had — and would continue — to irrevocably foreclose on many of the opportunities humanity has taken for granted for millennia.

Figures it would be Bill McKibben. His first book, The End of Nature was one of the earliest to introduce global warming into popular culture. His latest book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Hot New Planet, lays out our grim new reality relentlessly (excerpt here). Yet it is not, fundamentally, a pessimistic book.

McKibben’s premise, that we’re already on a new and different planet just as surely as if we’d boarded a spaceship en masse and arrived at a new world, is presented convincingly.

This new world is less friendly, less accommodating, less commodious, just when we needed the old Earth to be more benign.

If you are a regular reader of Climateprogress, you already know we’re now inhabiting an alien place but McKibben’s book is still a must read.

For one thing, he has a knack for expressing complex scientific issues in ways that are accessible to the general public, often in sound bites, and in the age of Twitter this is increasingly the lingua franca of social discourse and cultural exchange – for good or ill.

Here are a few gems:

We’re running Genesis backward, decreating.

Decreating.  My spell check wants to reject that word, yet it is too apt to discard.  It is precisely what we’re engaged in.

Or take this example of ultimate irony McKibben uses with great skill to drive home how lemming-like our behavior has been on our trip to Planet Eaarth.  It appeared in Australian papers back in June of 2009:

New construction plans for the World’s largest coal export facility had been quietly altered to raise the structure two or three meters for fear of rising sea levels.

And yes, it’s true that lemmings don’t actually commit mass suicide, but some myths are too valuable to discard – besides, it appears that people do.

In describing how we’ve completely overshot any hope of preserving the old Earth, McKibben almost makes this stuff funny:

We have, in short, goosed our economy with one jolt of Viagra after another, anything to avoid facing the fact that our reproductive days were passed, and hence constant and unrelenting thrust was no longer so necessary.  (I suspect global warming is the planetary equivalent of the dread “erection lasting more than four hours” that we’re warned about “¦)

Or take this passage, where he skillfully lampoons the whole consumer excess that brought us to Eaarth when he notes the effect of $4.00 a gallon gas:

Suddenly, in fact, you felt a little less confident that you were an Explorer, a Navigator, a Forrester, a Mountaineer, a Scout,  a Tracker, a Trooper, a Wrangler, a Pathfinder, a Trailblazer. You all of a sudden were in Kansas or maybe in New Rochelle – not Durango, or Tahoe, or Denali, or the Yukon. Discovery and Escape and Excursion suddenly seemed less important than the buzz-killing fact that it took a hundred bucks to fill the tank.

Yes, he actually entertains us while mapping out our collective trip to perdition. No mean feat.

He holds out hope for a world that is richer in some ways than the one we left behind.  A world where community matters, where the scale is manageable, and where connections between people and the land are stronger, if less global.  A world, McKibben points out, that is not like Freidman’s Hot, Flat and Crowded. The time when we could grow green and maintain and expand our current globalized consumer economy came and went, according to McKibben.  On the less commodious Eaarth, the investments to do so are simply too staggering; the paucity of natural capital upon which to do it, too scant; and the share of capital spent just coping with what we’ve wrought, too high.

To a lot of global warming luminaries his message will feel like a cold mackerel slapped across their collective cheek.  Growth is civilization’s drug of choice, and like any addict, we will fight with tooth and claw to keep partaking of it.

But McKibben makes his case convincingly.  He invokes the much maligned  Limits to Growth and the Club of Rome (which, it turns out wasn’t wrong in its prognostications, merely off by a couple of decades), Jared Diamond’s Collapse and the relentless litany of facts that describe the detritus of the old Earth that is even now washing up on our shores.
But McKibben doesn’t advocate obsessing on our collapse – which he says gives us only two choices: “Either you’ve got your fingers stuck firmly in your ears or you’re down in the basement oiling your guns” – rather he calls on us “”¦ to choose, instead, to manage our descent.”  To “”¦ aim for a relatively graceful decline” (emphasis is McKibben’s).

While McKibben is standing on firm ground for most of Eaarth, he does make one misstep.  In recommending a world that is more local — in which provision of food, energy, raw materials and goods are distributed, not centralized — McKibben maintains that political power must be similarly dispersed.  He suggests that our institutions should be scaled to our technologies.  Yet managing a “graceful decline” or even a steady state economy will be the greatest collective challenge humanity has ever taken, and it is one we must take together. To presume that the actions of thousands of small entities can effect such a change — or that we can count on every one of them to do it — is to ignore most of human history.  Any strategy that invests most of the responsibility for change to a bunch of individual and essentially autonomous entities runs smack into Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons.

If humanity is to make a transition as profound as McKibben says we must, then we need even stronger institutions at both the national and international level.

The world, including many who have been tireless advocates of climate action, will likely reject McKibben’s diagnosis and his prescription — hoping against hope that we can return to Earth and have what we’ve always had by slapping a green veneer over the massive consumption machine that is our contemporary economy. But they fool only themselves. We are now on planet Eaarth, and much of out talent, capital and time will be spent coping with this harsher, less forgiving new world.

Regular CP book reviewer John Atcheson, has more than 30 years in energy and the environment with government, private industry, and the nation’s leading think tanks.  He is working on his own novel about climate change.

Purchase this book HERE