"Unless" - Looking at an alternative to Fossil Fuel

by Lois Happe


11/12/2019

Unless. . .
 
I remember the day I discovered The Lorax at my neighborhood bookstore.  I was looking for a Christmas gift for my children; Dr. Seuss’ books were always a good choice.  His whimsical stories often carried a serious message and this one was no different.  It didn’t take long to decide this book was a winner, even a masterpiece.
 
It was the first of many such purchases.  The Lorax became my go-to choice for children’s gifts — nieces, nephews, friends’ children.  I even donated a copy to my town’s library.
 
It was only a few years beyond the first Earth Day and I, being a willing recruit to the movement that was beginning to understand we were plundering earth’s resources, was inspired by the prophetic word, ‘unless.’  It went to a deep place in me and it has been my touchstone for decades as I try to live more lightly on the earth.
 
‘Unless’ continues to be prophetic, as both warning and challenge. Its echoes have reverberated through the years and the question remains: how do I, we, respond?
 

Join the Conversation:

"Lighten Up!" A Workshop on Solar Conversion

November 17: 2pm-4pm

First Congregational Church of Southington
37 Main ST
Southington, CT 06489

Panel includes:
Lois Happe, UCC Green Activist
Jeff Howard, Finance Specialist
Brendan Owens, Installation Expert
Phil Ziel, Solar Energy Consultant
Scientists tell us we have little over a decade to tame the trajectory of global warming enough to prevent environmental disaster.  To do so will require conversion, a radical change from the way we are currently doing things.  It isn’t easy to contemplate or to do, but it is necessary.
 
Our dependence on fossil fuel, if left unchecked, will eventually render much of our world uninhabitable.  That is our future. . . .
Unless we reap warmth and light from the sun,  energy that is free and abundant;
Unless we abandon our addiction to oil and natural gas;
Unless we inspire a change of minds and hearts.
 
UCC churches occupy a prominent place in our communities, often situated at the head of the town green.  Throughout much of our history, we have been stewards of public opinion, leading the way to a better future.  Our conversion can be inspire conversion in others.
 
Stewardship is our thing, especially this time of year.  Every fall we preach the virtues of gratitude, generosity, sharing.  And, combining those virtues with good old-fashioned New England prudence and simplicity, we have all the inspiration we need to seriously consider and promote conversion to solar energy, for ourselves and others.
 
We can do it.  Conversion to solar energy is affordable.  Not only has the cost of solar panels declined significantly, there are several financial strategies available to churches to access the initial capital needed for installation.  To learn more about the details, plan to attend the solar energy workshop, “ Lighten Up,” the afternoon of November 17 at First Congregational Church in Southington. That church has already made the conversion; you can assess how it looks and learn how it functions.  The panel will include leaders who have experience in finances, installation and decision making processes — they will share information, but more importantly, they will answer any questions you might have concerning conversion to solar energy.

(For more information or free registration, contact Lois Happe at lkhappe@yahoo.com.)
 
Of all the resources UCC churches have, the most significant is community leadership.  In the past, we have responded to many critical issues — slavery, women’s suffrage, gender equality, for example —  inspiring others to adopt new ideas and practices, urging others to higher and better standards.  Today our challenge is no less urgent or radical.  It is the summons to alter our way of life on behalf of the global community.  ‘Unless’ we respond to this challenge, we will fail as stewards of all that we have been given.
 
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life that you and your descendants may live.   Duet. 30:19
 

Lois Happe



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