2016 Annual Lenten Carbon Fast 2 2

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 “What does God require of you but to do justice     and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”                                                    Micah 6:8

      Please Join us in a Lenten Fast (From Carbon)

Please Join  is the sixth year that we will provide a day-by-day opportunity to fast from carbon as a Lenten discipline. Initiated by the UCC and endorsed by other denominations and faith groups, thousands of people of every Christian perspective – and people who are not Christians – have benefited from this opportunity to become more conscious and conscientious in their daily lives.

New in 2016 - Ash Wednesday invites us into the season of Lent, a time within the church year to acknowledge that we are mortal, limited, so that we might be transformed and become the new life God calls us to be.  This year's Lenten Carbon Fast will be structured differently than in the past.  While still including uplifting spiritual exercises and informational resources, we will provide a concrete action to take every day.

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Day 1.  Perhaps Pope Francis’ Encyclical inspired you.  Perhaps you've engaged one or another Lenten discipline for as long as you can remember.  Maybe you heard a sermon on creation's cry and Christ's lament.  Whatever prompted you to consider this opportunity, you can multiply the global impact many times by committing yourself - today - to share with others that you're doing this discipline.  Invite them to join you.  Share this link via Facebook, email and Twitter:  www.macucc.org/carbonfast.  Each day you will receive an invitation for contemplation and a suggested action - both exploring the theme of the week.

Day 2. Lent is traditionally a time for personal scrutiny.  Fasting is inherently a personal discipline. But climate change now connects each and every one of us in a mutual web of interdependence.   So "the fast that is required of us" (Isaiah 58:6-9) is no longer limited to personal fasting. Truly, we are all in this together. 

     We've all heard or read that this or that person "doesn't believe in climate change."  Because we all live on the same planet and share the same climate, the reality of this crisis is not a matter of belief.  Take a moment - or perhaps longer - and read NASA’s account of the evidence of climate change.

Day 3.What is the fast required of YOU?  Two years ago Abby Brockway, a leader in her Seattle Presbyterian Church, publically declared that she would support the local Native Americans who opposed building the largest coal terminal in the United States.  And then she said, "I want to know that the whole Presbyterian Church has my back."  In September 2014 she was arrested with several others for blocking the railroad tracks.  Listen to the sermon she delivered last month, days before their trial.  Read about their trial, the Jury's split decision and their expression of solidarity.  In Abby's words, if you recognize that the earth is in trouble, how can you move toward the trouble so that you can tell the truth?  How can you embrace Jesus' most frequent admonition: "Fear not!"  The suggested actions in this Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast will provide dozens of opportunities.  Today, commit to identify how God is calling YOU to act.

Day 4. In a culture addicted to consumerism, it's important to recognize that engaging in any kind of Lenten fast is an act of resistance.  Church-goers (especially Protestants) are very good at reform.  Church-goers are amazing at charity - from soup kitchens to disaster relief.  Church-goers are articulate and energetic advocates on issues that span all of our global concerns.  But as John Fife, founder of the sanctuary movement in the 1980s, has said, if we are to be relevant to those who are inheriting our damaged earth, as church-goers, we must make resistance a distinguishing mark of discipleship.

In preparation for tomorrow when you will purchase nothing as a kind of Sabbath keeping, every time today that you either purchase something or consider purchasing something, get in touch with how stepping back from that inclination is an act of resistance.  And pray for strength and courage. 

Day 5. As you keep the Sabbath today by purchasing nothing, continue to reflect on the extent to which we are surrounded by prods to consume, and give thanks for this opportunity to enter into a fast as a means of drawing close to God.

  Make an announcement in Church today to share your personal commitment to the Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast, and invite others to join you.  This is how we multiply impact.  And pray for the courage, wisdom and strategic sensibilities to engage many more from your congregation in this calling.  Climate change requires that we change everything, and to change everything, we need everyone. 

Day 6.  When God made covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and all souls through our Christ Jesus he has always looked toward the future, the generations yet to come. This pattern should remind us that we all have a responsibility to work towards a viable future. This week we honor God's covenants of sustainability through our energy choices.

Establish a habit of unplugging devices not in use (e.g. chargers, coffee makers, fans, and space heaters), or plug them into power strips so you can flip them on and off without worrying about accessing those pesky outlets. This could help reduce your household electricity consumption by around 10%.

Day 7.  There are 7.4 billion people on this planet requiring food.  While the amount you consume at every meal may seem inconsequential, it contributes to a hugely influential draw on Earth's resources. Let us follow in the footsteps of religions across the globe and use food to express our morality, devotions, and faith.

Avoid eating meat and cheese one day a week during the rest of lent (and beyond if you feel called).  If everyone in the U.S. did this it would be the equivalent of taking 7.6 million cars off the road for an equivalent time.  Read The Meat Eater's Guide for a concise, yet detailed explanation and other suggestions.

Already doing this or feeling ambitious?  Eating locally requires fewer fossil fuels to transport your food, seasonally requires less energy for refrigeration, organically helps restore soil ecosystems that pull carbon out of the atmosphere.

Day 8.  Our home HVAC ((heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems all too often allow us to forget any energy is being consumed, and yet do not provide total comfort.  As our home heating and air conditioning contribute a sizeable proportion of our carbon footprints (the hot water heater contributing 20-30% of home energy use all by itself), this apathy isn't acceptable.  Allow a minor inconvenience, the mundane, to remind you of your Lenten discipline and anchor your spirituality.

Put on a sweater and turn down your thermostat to 65° (or lower if you can). In warm climates, raise your air-conditioner thermostat 4° or up one setting.  Replace your bath with a shower, try to limit your shower to less than 5 minutes, or take a “shipboard shower" and turn the water on only to rinse.

Day 9. Americans throw away 31% of food available for consumption, $165 billion worth, each year.  Part of which contributes to the 220 million tons of waste that end up in landfills (the second largest source of human-related methane emissions) annually.  Unless you are living an incredibly intentional lifestyle, you contribute to these statistics.  Likewise, you can help improve them.

Consider composting to keep unnecessary food waste and paper goods out of landfills (plus get incredible free fertilizer for your garden!).  Don't have the space to compost on your own? Find a  commercial composter in your area.  Reduce, reuse, recycle has been a popular slogan since 1970 and it is still spot on.  With very minor lifestyle changes you can reduce the demand for new energy intensive products, keep unnecessary waste out of landfills, and save your municipality money.

Day 10. Tens of millions of people are traveling by plane, train, or automobile at any given moment which results in 14% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.  While there are many instances where travel is necessary, try to think of some times where it was not.  Perhaps you could have walked to the corner store, carpooled into work, or driven instead of taking an airplane.  These moments are opportunities for improvement, evidence that we can all make small changes to contribute to larger success.

Plan to travel one less time a year.  Take a staycation and discover how your own region is a "land flowing with milk and honey."  Without stressful planning, hours of cramped postures, and jetlag, this could provide a more genuinely restful vacation experience.  

Idle no more.  If you have to stop for more than 10 seconds, you will save gas and reduce emissions by turning off your engine. 

Day 11.  A great example of how our individual choices are interdependent and can create tangible results is our political system.  Ballot by ballot, each decision contributes to the selection of an elected official.  Our officials do not always hear from their constituents and when they are contacted by even a handful of people on a topic, they pay attention.  You have chosen to reduce your carbon emissions as a Lenten discipline; we know you care about the environment, but do your legislators?

Find out how your legislators are voting with regards to climate and environment.  Get their contact information and let them know how you feel (e.g. I support green energy and green jobs).  Make sure to leave your address so they know you are a constituent. 

Day 12.   We've reflected on how our personal choices lead to larger issues and responsible ways to contribute to greater successes, but we also need to remember that not everyone is as responsible as we are.  Those who are poor, disabled, very young, and elderly contribute least to climate change and yet are the most vulnerable.  The poor will lose the most during extreme weather events and be hit hardest by the increasing prices of food.  Small children, the elderly, and people with disabilities are at greatest risk from increasingly frequent heatwaves.  Matthew 25:31-46 instructs us to care for "the least of these," like we were caring for Jesus himself.  Are we doing this?

 While you are in worship today ask your congregation to pray for "the least of these," - the poor, disabled, young, and elderly - who are disproportionately impacted by climate change and yet least able to adapt and cope. 

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Day 13.  In a world that obsesses over data, statistics, and objectivity, it is easy to regard science and technology as relevant and the Church as anachronistic.  Resist the urge to regard religion as obsolete and recognize that with its moral focus the Church complements and balances the advances of modernity.  While we don't always live up to it, the Church aspires to live out the highest moral values - coincident with Jesus' teachings.  The Church cannot continue to claim that it offers a moral compass for the modern world unless it engages the greatest moral challenge of our time - climate change.

 Get your church learning and talking about climate change.  Ask your pastor or faith leader to preach on the subject or you could even offer to give the sermon yourself.  Unlikely to see leadership from the pulpit?  Hold a screening of Bidder 70 and explore how one man’s extraordinary faith in the power of moral consciousness shapes his response to climate change.

Day 14.  For centuries churches were the center of community leadership.  With at least one church in every town, the modern impact of this could be tremendous.  The Transition Towns movement hopes to see every community in the United States engage its collective creativity to realize a future beyond fossil fuels that's more vibrant, abundant, resilient, and ultimately preferable to the present.  Consider how your church might be part of this. 

Be a model for your community.  Lead the push to reduce consumption by using mugs instead of disposable cups during your church's fellowship hour.  (Volunteer to wash them until others get on board.)  Find out how you could help transition printed newsletters to newsletters sent electronically or if needed, printed double sided on 100% recycled pape

Day 15. Before the advent of Christianity, Jesus was a teacher.  Sunday School was first implemented as a way to teach under-resourced children who wouldn't otherwise have access to education.  Many of us go to church to learn, develop, and grow so churches aim to teach.  In this context, it seems obvious that churches can and must offer tools and lessons to help us respond to climate change.

Utilize a tool of monastic spirituality and develop a Rule of Life to "design a concrete plan of living into a deeper relationship with God, others, self and creation."  While developing yourself, don't forget the bigger picture.  Plan to participate in Earth Hour and shutoff your lights along with millions of people across the globe beginning at 8:30pm on March 19th.

Day 16. In the late 1950s and early 1960s churches played an integral role in the Civil Rights movement.  More than conduits for the efficient dissemination of information, scripture and testimony afforded inspiration and reassurance, and the physical structures provided spaces for marginalized people of color to gather with reduced risk.  Churches continue to hold enormous potential as community organizing structures, and recognizing that most church buildings are incredibly energy intensive, we need to ensure they are being put to good use.

Read about one church putting the "protest" back in "protestant" and consider how your church could contribute.  Could you offer overnight accommodation to pilgrims and marchers moving through your area?  Perhaps you could offer your building to local groups for events, fundraisers, or film screenings.  Jesus said, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also," (Luke 12:34); make sure the “ reasure" of your church building reflects this.

Day 17. Whether we like it or not, money frequently translates to power in our modern society.  What we do with it, specifically divesting, may be the best moral and political tool we have to break the yoke of fossil fuels.  Besides being the ethical course of action as Christians, it is  financially prudent.  With $2.6 trillion (from over 400 organizations spanning 43 countries) intentionally divested from fossil fuels, we need to start paying attention.  Let us cast the corrupt money-changers out of our temples and work to "keep it in the ground."

Educate yourself on divestment from fossil fuels using last year's Global Divestment Day video (as well as this guide and mutual fund chart if you want something more technical).  Discern your place in this global fight and connect your church and friends with the resources at Go Fossil Free, Green Faith, and Beyond Fossil Fuels (an institutional investment fund available to all churches, regardless of denomination).

Day 18.  Just as the Church (and individuals) can make a statement by vesting our capital, we can make a statement by investing our capital.  By investing in energy efficiency, renewable power generation, storage, and distribution, sustainable agriculture, and other worthy causes you can help bring to fruition the technological solutions our world desperately needs.  Build your financial house on a firm moral foundation (cf. Luke 6:48).

After yesterday and today you'll hopefully think prayerfully about divestment and reinvestment. When you are done contemplating, take action. Move to make sure your finances and those of your church represent your values.

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Day 19. Climate change is a global crisis with duration, consequences, and risks of epic proportions.  It is overwhelming and can lead even the most dedicated of us to despair.  This is where the Church plays its most important role - in giving us hope.  Remember Jesus' most frequent admonition:  "Fear not!" - and Jesus' encouragement to the disciples that they would do even greater works than he. (John 14:12)

Fear and guilt deflate our spirits and strip us of our agency.  We need God's love, hope, and faith.  Today, take time to worship and rest.  Recharge your passion and energy for the struggle.  Brush away the difficulties of the past and begin to hope for the unfolding of the future.  Our God affirms that tomorrow is another day filled with promise.

Day 20Let's begin this week on climate communication and prophetic preaching with an astonishing fact: a new Yale poll indicates 67% of Americans think global warming is happening, yet 65% of Americans rarely or never discuss it with family or friends - it's just too risky.  Shouldn't church be a safe enough place to engage the most crucial, determinative issue of our lives?  Lent is a time of fasting.  In this case, what if we were to "fast" from keeping silent?

If you are a clergy person, review your sermons with this in mind and make a commitment to encourage your congregation to engage in conversation and learning.  Otherwise, talk to your pastor, or forward this email to your pastor.  The urgency is only increasing.

Day 21. New England is the least religious region of America, and we're also the most reticent to discuss our faith.  Wherever you live, I'm sure you can benefit from the new 37 page guide to communicating effectively on climate: Let's Talk Climate.  Pages 26-27 focus on communicating in a faith context, but every page is full of helpful guidance.

Read at least a portion of Let’s Talk Climate and create an opportunity to talk about climate in a way that is informed by what you learned from what you read.

Day 22. Learn about Interfaith Power and Light's Faith Climate Action Week (formerly known as the Preach-In on Global Warming) taking place during Earth Week, April 15- 24, 2016.  Greenfaith also provides helpful worship resources.  And for a possible "jump start" have a look at this incredible 3 minute video by climate scientist and evangelical Christian, Katharine Hayhoe:  Katharine Hayhoe: Climate Change Evangelist.

Sign up for Faith Climate Action Week.  Have a look at dozens of sample sermons and prayers.  And make sure that your congregation will be focusing on climate for at least one Sunday in April.

Day 23.  For those who may be hesitant to ask their pastor to preach on climate (and for clergy who may be reluctant), here's some motivation from the recent  PRRI/AAR Religion, Values, and Climate Change Survey of people worshiping in white mainline Protestant churches.  Only 10% of them report that their pastor speaks of climate change "often", and only 20% report that their pastor discusses climate change "sometimes."  In black Protestant and in Hispanic Catholic congregations, people report that their pastor speaks about climate change much more frequently.

Make a commitment to share with your pastor the resources named in this week of the Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast.

Day 24. The story that will be told about our generation has already been "written" in the combustion of fossil fuels - or, what we have called "progress" unless... unless we face this fact and decide to write a new narrative. Civil rights activists did just that 60 years ago, and GLBTQ activists did just that over the past several decades.  Many churches were crucial in advancing both movements.  And shifting the narrative begins with effective communication.  Look at this brief article Identifying 7 smarter ways to talk about climate change.

Talk about climate change with someone today, and consciously follow some of the advice from this excellent article.

Day 25.  The best climate communication - whether in conversation or preaching - begins by emphasizing that we're all in this together.  And we live-out that reality by upholding the most foundational moral teaching in the world - a teaching that is at the core of every world religion: love your neighbor as yourself.  In a climate change world, the Golden Rule teaches us that future generations are no less our neighbors than are the people who live next door.

Lift in your private prayers those millions of people whose lives have already been overturned by climate change - we're all in this together... and if your church invites prayers, prepare to offer such a prayer tomorrow.

Day 26. Download Faith and Climate Change -- a brand new 32 page guide to talking about climate change with other people of faith.  It is a joint effort of Climate Outreach and GreenFaith.  Worldwide, more than 8 in 10 people identify with a faith.  Inspiring people to link their faith with God's call to protect creation is the principle moral challenge of our generation.

After downloading and reviewing Faith and Climate Change, make an announcement in church today about this resource, and invite people to join you on March 10 at 11am EST to watch a webinar/on line discussion on the key findings of this guide.

Day 27.  Last year, Pope Francis changed the game when he reminded the world that climate change is, at its root, a moral issue.  He called on us as people of faith to repent, to turn around, from our habits of consumption and exploitation and return our focus to our God the Creator and Sustainer, the One who walked with the least of these.

When he became Pope,  Pope Francis chose his name in honor of the saint who particularly cared for the poor.  This decision serves as a daily reminder of his commitment to serve the poor and protect the earth.  Though we may not all have the opportunity to change the name people use to refer to us, titles and names are important.  Which of your names or titles -- whether in your family, your church, your workplace -- could serve as your daily reminder of the holy work God is calling us to do as stewards of creation?

Day 28. In his Encyclical, Pope Francis writes, "In the story of Cain and Abel, we see how envy led Cain to commit the ultimate injustice against his brother, which in turn ruptured the relationship between Cain and God, and between Cain and the earth from which he was banished" (paragraph 70). He reminds us that our relationships with ourselves, with our neighbors, with creation, and with God are all interconnected -- in doing harm to one, we do harm to them all.

How can you restore your relationship with your neighbors today?  Can you forgive them for the hour at which they choose to mow their lawn?  Or perhaps you can offer to do them and the earth a favor by helping take out the grass and build raised beds for a vegetable garden.  Or maybe you and your neighbors can start a carpool to the grocery store, even buying in bulk (and then sharing!) to reduce packaging.

Day 29.  We talk about God the Creator who started it all with the heavens and the earth some four billion years ago. But our Creator didn't walk away at that point -- God is in a continuous state of creation. Pope Francis reminds us that "the universe did not emerge as the result of arbitrary omnipotence, a show of force or a desire for self-assertion. Creation is of the order of love" (paragraph 77).

Take some time today to reflect on your Lenten journey.  Think back to the beginning of new practices -- whether you began on Ash Wednesday or many years ago.  How can you be in a continuous state of creation of a lifestyle that is of the order of love?

Day 30.  Jesus reminds us to be in full contact with creation.  As Pope Francis writes, "His appearance was not that of an ascetic set apart from the world, nor of an enemy to the pleasant things of life"  (paragraph 98).  Instead Jesus shows us how to be gentle with all of the created world -- ourselves, our homes, our thin spaces, the beloved, the stranger -- loving them all deeply and therefore ensuring their health and vitality.

Talk to someone you care about, about a place you care about.  Invite them to share their place with you.  When did you first go there?  What memories do you have of that place?  How can you love your sacred spaces deeply?  Consider asking people in your congregation to submit digital photos of their favorite place in the world.  Create a worship bulletin cover with these photos for Earth Day and preach a sermon to go with it.

Day 31.  In an effort to shift our thinking away from an understanding that resources are disposable, we often turn toward technology: reading online rather than printing, conference calls rather than driving, etc.  While these efforts can be important for reducing our carbon footprint, Pope Francis cautions against the ways our overuse of technology threatens our ability to maintain authentic human relationships.

Rather than a curmudgeonly response to the realities of the 21st century world, Francis offers hope for an "authentic rising up in stubborn resistance" (paragraph 112).  Find time to partake in this stubborn resistance from technology, and consider it an act of sabbath.  Take sabbath from your phone and computer, instead focusing on in-person relationships.  Take sabbath from your car, instead focusing on the places you can get on your own two feet (or perhaps two wheels as well).  Take sabbath from our seasonless diet, focusing instead on the food which is grown near you and does not require extensive transportation, refrigeration, and genetic modification to get to you.

Day 32.  As Christians, we tend to take wisdom from our own tradition: our stories of creation, our belief in a Jesus who stood in solidarity with the poor, our saints who called on Brother Sun and Sister Moon.  But we are not alone in this world, and we must not be the only ones at the table.  Our fellow sojourners have much to teach us, and it's time we listen.  Pope Francis reminds us of the importance of collaboration with indigenous communities, for whom "land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values"  (paragraph 146).

Does your interfaith work or community building include local indigenous communities?  Consider the power of all of us coming together in our beautiful plurality, such as in the collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous communities to block the Keystone pipeline.  Not sure how to get started?   Join the Indigenous Environment Network newsletter or  learn more about their work.  

Day 33.  The church is all about the future.  We pledge to give to the work of the church in the coming year.  We make three-year commitments to serve on committees.  We baptize babies so that they may know God's grace as they grow.  Our communities of faith give us the spaces to ask the hard questions that nag at us as we move from one day to the next.

Pope Francis calls on us to consider our values and our role as shapers of the future.  Today in church, find a group with whom you can ask these hard questions with: What is the purpose of our life in this world?  Why are we here?  What is the goal of our work and all our efforts?  What need does the earth have of us?

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Day 34. Since the early 1970s when the Club of Rome released Limits to Growth, scientists have reported to both world leaders as well as ordinary citizens their growing consensus that our burning of fossil fuel is the primary cause of global warming.  In 1990, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its first report and called for a global treaty.  This group met for the 21st time December 2015 in Paris.  Some say the fact that 191 countries signed the agreement is a "spiritual miracle."  Others, like Bill McKibben, point out that an agreement like this might have worked had it been adopted in the early 1990s.

Learn about  Our Children's Trust and consider  signing the petition in support of their Lawsuit to get the U.S. Government to take climate change seriously.

Day 35. Last month the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights organized a panel on  "Ethical and Faith Perspectives of a Post COP21 Agenda." They report that "the Paris agreement was far from responding to the real challenge of Climate Change.  However, it should not be considered as a failure."  One of the great gifts people of faith can bring to this context is our capacity to deal with nuance - our ability to bring hope to the most ambiguous situation. 

At least for a day, hold in your heart the full recognition of the catastrophe brought about by 7 generations of what humans currently call "progress" AND the full embrace of hope - hope that leads to thanksgiving that you have been given the opportunity to bear witness in a time such as this. What will that witness be?

Day 36. One of the more remarkable outcomes of COP21 was the embrace of the more ambitious goal of staying below a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius.  Prior to this agreement, the only agreed upon limit had been an increase of 2 degrees Celsius.  But here's the rub: if all the countries that submitted plans for CO2 reduction were to fully carry out their plans, the temperature would rise between 2.7 -3.5 degrees Celsius.  Furthermore, the agreement encourages countries to resubmit their voluntary reductions in three years and start reducing by 2020. 

 Procrastination.  We all do it.  Identify something that truly matters that you have set aside, or delayed, or ignored...  And today, take action.  Get it done.  Overcome procrastination.

Day 37.  The COP21 agreement was accomplished thanks to courageous scientists like Naomi Oreskes and activist leaders like Bill McKibben along with the millions of people who have persistently stood up for creation.  And to give some perspective on what is possible, when the UCC Synod voted to divest 32 months ago, no one imagined that the world community would divest $3.4 trillion as a prelude to the Paris climate talks.  The Paris negotiators heard "keep it in the ground" from investors and activists alike. And in response, negotiators from almost 200 countries delivered an agreement with enough aspiration to give hope a chance.

Search yourself and come up with a deep understanding of hope - one that has nothing to do with optimism and holds firm regardless of the current feedback or outcome.  If you are clergy, find a way to preach about deep hope.  Otherwise, talk to at least one other person about deep hope.  

Day 39. In response to the signing of COP21, Jim Antal tweeted: “ he world's climate negotiators have finally realized what Bill McKibben has said for years: nature doesn't negotiate.  Now it's up to the people to make the fossil fuel industry comply with both science and hope."  

Learn about - and then talk with others about - the fact that #ExxonKnew about the catastrophic consequences of burning fossil fuel as early as 1977.  The Attorneys General of both  New York and California are investigating whether Exxon misled the public about the risks of human-caused climate change and covered up its findings.

Day 40.Imagine if we humans were as concerned about the climate trends as we are about today's or tomorrow's weather!  Imagine TV meteorologists acknowledging that they have a moral duty to expand their reporting to educate the public on the facts.  If it's appropriate for a meteorologist to tell us that yesterday's temperature broke a record, why would they not tell us that, worldwide,  January 2016 was the hottest month of any month ever recorded, and it followed 2015, which was the hottest year ever recorded.

Leaders from 191 nations agree that our generation must make profound changes in countless areas of our lives.  Not only does this change the moral duty of meteorologists, it likely changes what is morally expected of you, and me, and almost all of us. Once we know that the heat accumulating in the Earth because of human emissions is roughly equal to the heat that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs exploding across the planet every day, what adjustments are we called to make? What should you and I be doing differently in our work and witness that would resemble a meteorologist reporting on climate trends? 

Day 42.  What if - in advance of Hurricane Sandy - the churches along the east coast of the United States had embraced their calling as harbingers of hope in a climate crisis world?  What if they had recognized the critical role Churches are called to play as  promoters of resilience? Peter Sawtell's reflection from November 2012 - which draws from The Atlantic Magazine, David Roberts from Grist and the World Bank - offers guidance for the church.

What role might your church play in helping make your town more resilient?  Surely building resilience is one manifestation of hope. Read Grist’s interview of Harriet Tregoning and see if your church can apply some of what she says as you provide your town with leadership

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Day 43. Throughout history, when difficult societal changes were needed, individuals like  Jesus, Gandhi, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry David Thoreau and the Apostles Peter and Paul have sought to awaken the lawmakers by engaging in civil disobedience.  Between Christ's Resurrection and their deaths, Peter and Paul actually spent more time in jail than out.  Given the disordered world we live in, is it time to make civil disobedience a normative expression of Christian discipleship?  Might this be the fast that is required of those who would be faithful in our generation?

Back to the question that we pondered the first week of Lent: what is the fast that is required of me?  Carry this question through tomorrow.

Day 44. On Maundy Thursday Jesus gives the disciples a new commandment.  As we near the conclusion of this year's Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast, what new commandment do you believe humanity needs?  On this night of the Last Supper, contemplate Jesus' sacrifice for us and prayerfully consider what sacrifices you're willing to make to in order to ensure that people have a voice in determining the future of God's creation.

Let today's contemplation lead to a commitment to one concrete sacrifice - and tell at least one other person why this expression of discipleship is important for you to undertake.

Day 45.  Jesus' ministry and passion were a monumental demonstration of God's love for God's people, and God's desire that we love one another and seek justice for all of God's children.  Justice for the poor and care for the earth are inseparable.  No religious leader has been more clear on this point than Pope Francis in his recent Encyclical. Learn more about how poverty is caused by environmental exploitation and degradation from the interfaith resouces of The National Religious Partnership for the Environment.

It's Good Friday.  Is there some simple action you can take today to show your commitment to care for the poor AND care for the earth?

Day 46. Reflect on all you have read and thought about in this spiritual Lenten exercise, and all the actions you have taken.  Give thanks to God for your carbon fasting experience and pray that God may sustain you in your continuing effort to be a steward of God's creation and future generations.

Make a list - write it down - of what you will continue to do on an ongoing basis.

Day 47.  Jesus' triumph over death reminds us that although we are at a critical point in our journey, one that carries the very real risk of the extinction of life on earth, hope for resurrection and new life abounds.

Let our contemplation and our action merge as we celebrate the living Jesus and care for God's creation! 

  

© Donald Rambadt 2014