Gail Eastwood (Humboldt Meeting, PacYM)
As far as I can see, beyond this current market-driven energy shortage is a real and pressing need for conservation and reshaping of lifestyles, and that is the requirements of reducing the release of carbon into the atmosphere. It looks to me like an absolute spiritual duty to commit ourselves to reducing our own personal carbon production (mostly fossil fuel), and to try to influence others around us, and our organized forms (cities, schools, states, countries, businesses, etc.) to do likewise. "Thou shalt not kill" -- extended not just to humans but also to all other life forms, to this whole beautiful and frail planetary web of life.
I thought a lot about how to reduce my own lifestyle 7% below 1990 levels as agreed in the Kyoto accords (or, alternately, add the 11% that the US has increased in the last decade and go for 19% below present levels, or maybe even shoot for the 50% below that would get us closer to what the planet really needs the US to do.) I came up with my first year 3% plan, which includes reductions in firewood use (no overnight smoldering fires), driving 50-55mph on the highway instead of 65-70, and limits on household generator use (turn out those lights!)
To be serious about these reductions on every level, beginning with the personal level, comes to us from a profound sense of connection with all Being. Whether or not we can be successful does not carry any weight; to do our part is required.
I recently reread Marshall Massey's 1985 speech to PYM. He says that environmental issues are spiritual issues and ethical issues, not political issues; and that we won't succeed with our environmental aims in a political realm until we are clear about framing them spiritually. He points out that the political issues people are most committed to are ones that religious groups have been focusing on, like abortion. Conservation is not flashy, but it does have some spiritual substance.
I'm reminded of the commitment of my parents' generation to the war effort: gas rationing, food rationing, victory gardens, and the like. My parents drove across the country at 35 miles per hour, in order to conserve gasoline. This nationwide commitment--for a war! What could we pull off for the survival of the planet?
Can PYM endorse the Kyoto Accord's call for a reduction of emissions, and recommend that its meetings and members find ways to come into compliance, and to urge all our governmental and private organizations to do likewise?
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