The Cliff of Climate Chaos

Cliff

Yes, both going full speed straight ahead off a cliff and not slowing down enough or turning enough to keep from going off a cliff eventually will end up with the same result of driving off a cliff, but if given a choice between speeding up or slowing down and turning, the latter is better as it gives you a little more time to realize or be convinced that more drastic measures are needed to avoid the precipitous fall to death.

In relation to the climate crisis, voting for Trump is speeding up and driving straight off the cliff. In contrast to Trump, some of the Democratic candidates have plans on climate change that if implemented would give us a decent chance of not driving over the cliff at all, but Joe Biden’s plan does not slow us down enough or turn us away from the climate crisis cliff quickly enough, which is one of the reasons why he is not my first choice to be the Democratic nominee for president.

If given a choice between Trump and Biden, however, I will always vote for slowing down over speeding up. A Biden presidency would at least give us a chance to avoid the very worst, whereas the re-election of Trump takes us quickly to the point of no return to a livable climate as all of his policies and the persons implementing them are driving us recklessly over the cliff to climate chaos.

In a Biden presidency, we would at least have an Environmental Protection Agency with some actual concern for the environment, and we would have senior climate science positions filled with actual climate scientists. We would have climate assessment reports that we could trust and an administration that would not be openly hostile to all environmental regulations. This would at least give us a window of opportunity to keep yelling to the collective driver of our societal car to slam on the brakes and take much more radically evasive action to avoid the cliff of climate chaos.

Voting for a third party in this next presidential election or sitting out the election because one thinks Biden is not progressive enough, in effect becomes a vote for speeding off the cliff. I will continue to work to elect a Democratic nominee with the strongest climate crisis action plan, but if Biden ends up as the nominee, I will do all I can to elect him while simultaneously doing all that it is possible to get us to slow down and turn more quickly to avoid the cliff. I believe in the very core of my being that another term with Trump would eliminate the possibility of avoiding a future of climate chaos and unspeakable suffering for both people and the planet.

If you find the writing at One World House by Mark Davies helpful or inspiring, you can show your support by making a monthly contribution using Patreon
You may also make a one time gift through PayPal
Advertisements
Posted in climate change, politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Dear Oklahoma and Midwest States Experiencing Extreme Flooding

Flood

Dear Oklahoma and Midwest states experiencing extreme flooding,

As we mourn the deaths of those lost in the floods, as we lament the loss of so many homes to the floodwaters, as we witness billions of dollars of crops rotting in the fields, as we assess the damage to stored grain now under water, as we count the numbers of livestock that have drowned, and as we as a nation witness the most rainfall ever experienced in a 12 month period since record keeping began in 1895; it is important to be aware of the following:

  • With each degree Celsius increase in global average temperature, the atmosphere holds 7% more water vapor.
  • This increase of water vapor in the atmosphere leads to more extreme precipitation and flooding events.
  • We are currently experiencing average global temperatures that are nearly one degree Celsius over the pre-industrial global temperature averages.
  • We are changing the water cycle of the planet, and that is not a good thing.
  • We don’t want to see what an increase of 1.5 degrees and beyond in global average temperature looks like.

Wake up to the reality of what we are doing to our planet. Wake up to the reality of what we are doing to ourselves.

The fossil fuel industry has been lying to us about the climate crisis for decades. It will not get better unless we commit our lives to saving our only home.

If you find the writing at One World House by Mark Davies helpful or inspiring, you can show your support by making a monthly contribution using Patreon
You may also make a one time gift through PayPal
Posted in climate change, Oklahoma | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Leaders of United Methodist Institutions of Higher Education

duke chapel

Photo: Duke Chapel, the ecumenical chapel at United Methodist related Duke University, allows same sex/same gender weddings.

 

Dear Leaders of United Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities:

The decision of the 2019 General Conference of the United Methodist Church to pass the Traditional Plan has been a difficult and unwelcome one for most of our United Methodist related schools, colleges, and universities. The vast majority of our institutions of higher education embrace inclusivity, equal opportunity, and equal treatment of all students, including students who are LGBTQIA+. Leading up to the 2019 General Conference and in the months following it, the vast majority of presidents from United Methodist related institutions of higher education have reiterated their commitment to making sure that all persons who are LGBTQIA+ will be both welcomed and affirmed on our campuses.

For some institutions this has meant disaffiliating with the United Methodist Church owing to the decision to continue discriminating against persons who are LGBTQIA+, for some this has meant distancing themselves from the United Methodist Church, for others this has meant recommitting to inclusivity in spite of the GC 2019 decision and in resistance to it, and for some institutions it has meant attempting to preserve the status quo by affirming that the GC 2019 decision will not have a direct effect on campus life and policies (in other words – nothing will change).

As a reconciling United Methodist who is also a faculty member at a United Methodist related university, it is has been heartening to see so many United Methodist higher education institutions reaffirm their commitment to inclusivity, equal opportunity, and equal treatment of students who are LGBTQIA+. The vast majority of the United Methodist institutions understand that they would be on the wrong side of history if they were not to welcome and affirm students, faculty, and staff who are LGBTQIA+ on their campuses. They also know that it is not in their self-interest to discriminate against students who are LGBTQIA+. In an extremely competitive market for students, associating closely with a brand that is seen as being discriminatory is not a prudent course of action to take.

Even though I am generally pleased with the response of United Methodist institutions of higher education to the decisions made at General Conference 2019, I respectfully ask all leaders of United Methodist schools, colleges, and universities to speak with extreme clarity about how persons who are LGBTQIA+ will be treated on their campuses. This is not the time for ambiguity. Our students and other members of our academic communities deserve to know precisely where they stand. If we say that we fully accept, welcome, and affirm all persons who are LGBTQIA+, we had better mean it, we had better make sure that this is codified in our by-laws and in student, faculty, and staff handbooks, and we had better make sure that all policies and procedures at our institutions treat all persons who are LGBTQIA+ equally as compared to persons who are cisgender and straight. If an institution does not plan to treat all students, faculty, and staff equally; then they deserve to know that.

For example, the chapels on many of our campuses are important to the spiritual and community life of our institutions. They should be a place in which all of our LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, staff, and alumni are welcomed and affirmed. If a United Methodist related institution were to decide that persons who are LGBTQIA+ will not be allowed to be married in the campus chapel, then that institution is not truly committed to treating all of its students, faculty, staff, and alumni equally. It is not giving them equal opportunities that the institutions’ cisgender straight students, faculty, staff, and alumni enjoy. By the laws of the United States, a religiously affiliated institution has the legal right to determine who can and who cannot get married on its campus, but if it chooses not to allow persons who are LGBTQIA+ to marry in its chapel like everyone else, then it cannot rightfully claim to be a fully inclusive, welcoming, and affirming campus.

I cannot imagine that students, alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators of a college or university who are LGBTQIA+ would feel like their university is treating them equally or providing them with equal opportunity if they are not allowed to be married in the university’s chapel like all other students, alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators, especially if the university tells them they will never be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Now that it is clear that the Traditional Plan will be implemented in the United Methodist Church, it is imperative that all United Methodist colleges and universities be extremely clear about how they will treat their students, faculty, and staff who are LGBTQIA+. Either they are going to be fully included and affirmed and treated as absolute equals to everyone else or they are not. If they are not going to be treated equally, college and universities need be clear about the ways and in what circumstances they will not be treated equally or be given equal opportunities. Persons who are LGBTQIA+ should not have to guess about the ways they will not be treated equally or wonder if this or that circumstance will be a time in which they will not be afforded the same rights or opportunities as their cisgender straight peers. A university should not be able to pretend to be fully inclusive and affirming and then have policies or practices that treat LGBTQIA+ persons any differently than any other person.

We owe it to our current and prospective students, faculty, and staff at our United Methodist institutions of higher education to be honest with them about how they will be treated in our communities. If all persons truly are persons of sacred worth, then it is not morally acceptable for us to offer the bait of inclusivity, acceptance, and affirmation only to switch it with discrimination and unequal treatment.

If you find the writing at One World House by Mark Davies helpful or inspiring, you can show your support by making a monthly contribution using Patreon
You may also make a one time gift through PayPal

 

Posted in higher education, LGBTQIA, religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Writing the Turning Point in Our Climate Crisis Story

The peripeteia, or turning point, of a story is sometimes difficult to ascertain the first time one is reading it. It is often only in looking back on the story in its entirety that we see the turning point that changes everything or that leads the story in a decidedly new direction. The turning point of a story can take the narrative in a wide variety of possible directions on a spectrum from the positive and transformative to the tragic and destructive.

In our current story of humanity creating a climate crisis, are we currently experiencing the peripeteia that will lead us away from climate chaos? Will the Green New Deal be the turning point? Will it be the youth climate movement gaining momentum around the world? Will it be indigenous peoples calling us, leading us, and showing us the way to more responsible care of the earth? Will it be cities urgently and creatively working together for ways towards a zero carbon footprint? Will it be communities and neighborhoods growing their own food and focusing on enhancing local and sustainable economies? Will it be a combination of these movements and ones yet to break into greater public awareness?

Or is the turning point yet to come in the near or distant future? If so, how much time is left to make the turning? Our best climate scientists are telling us that the turning must happen now, before 2030, if we hope to have anything remotely close to a positive ending of our climate story. There is genuine concern among that the time for a peripeteia towards a livable climate may have already passed us by.

We may not know whether the turning has begun or not, but it is fiercely urgent that we continue our work together of writing the turning in this story of the climate crisis of our own making. May we write together with our lives one of the greatest and most transformative stories ever told. If we don’t, we will look back and realize that the peripeteia was a turning towards the tragedy of climate chaos rather than a turning towards a livable climate for our human and ecological communities.

If you find the writing at One World House by Mark Davies helpful or inspiring, you can show your support by making a monthly contribution using Patreon
You may also make a one time gift through PayPal
Posted in climate change | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Climate Eucatastrophe

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s works, the eucatastrophic moment only comes when good and compassionate persons realize that they must be willing to bring their full and whole lives (even to the point of being willing to sacrifice their lives) to bear on the revolutionary task at hand of turning the world away from fear, hate, darkness, and death towards hope, love, light, and life. If one has not yet recognized that one’s full life is being called upon, then one has not yet realized what we are facing, and half measures will be met with utter defeat and destruction rather than new life in a new world.

Eucatastrophe is only possible after fully realizing the breadth and depth of the catastrophe of this moment. The only way we can save anything is for us to realize that on our current trajectory we will lose everything.

Most people would rather not hear that our chances are very small for being able to address the climate crisis before it is too late to avoid climate chaos. This is not news anyone wants to hear. We would rather be told that we have this under control, that everything is going to somehow be alright, that even though things look bad right now we can turn this around, or that there will be some kind of eucatastrophic breakthrough or turn of events that will lead us through our global crisis towards global renewal.

The dangers of hopelessness are real, but we have been telling ourselves that somehow we will figure climate change out for over 30 years and the indicators that we are doing anything but figure this out are staring us relentlessly in our collective face. If we have any hope of participating in the climate eucatastrophe that we so desperately need, we must first recognize in full relief the reality of our climate crisis and embrace each other in the fierce urgency of now to work for the life giving turn around to create a new world in Beloved Community.

Sometimes we have to sit outside and mourn around the tomb of death that we are experiencing before new life and renewed life can break into the world. There is hope, but not unless our eyes are wide open to the reality of the deadly threat we are all facing and why and how we have allowed ourselves to get to a point where the survival of humanity and many species of life hang in the balance.

We cannot forget, however, Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning that there is such a thing as being too late, and we have to realize that no one else is going to save us. It is up to us, all of us, to give our lives to bring about the climate eucatastrophe to save our human community and the ecological community of which we are all a part. It’s worth the sacrifice. It’s worth our lives.

If you find the writing at One World House by Mark Davies helpful or inspiring, you can show your support by making a monthly contribution using Patreon
You may also make a one time gift through PayPal
Posted in climate change | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Doing Harm in the United Methodist Church

Anytime I hear traditionalists say that everyone in the United Methodist Church is being harmed by our divisions over the acceptance and affirmation of persons who are LGBTQIA+, I have to ask:

How many United Methodists have been bullied for their heterosexuality or for being cisgender?

How many cisgender heterosexual United Methodists are homeless because their parents have rejected them because of their sexual or gender orientation?

How many cisgender heterosexual United Methodists have been denied marriage and ordination in their church because of their sexual or gender orientation?

How many cisgender heterosexual United Methodists have harmed themselves or taken their own lives because they have been rejected by their families, peers, and a church they thought loved them because of their sexual and gender orientation?

How many cisgender heterosexual United Methodist ministers have been put on trial by their church because of their sexual and gender orientation?

If we United Methodists really take seriously that we are to do no harm, at the very least we must stop equating the harm that cisgender heterosexual traditionalist United Methodists think that they are experiencing with the immense harm and death experienced by our LGBTQIA+ siblings because of the United Methodist Church’s refusal to fully include and affirm all persons.

Let’s be clear, persons who are LGBTQIA+ do not commit suicide at a higher rate because they are LGBTQIA+. They commit suicide at a higher rate because they are bullied, mistreated, and rejected by persons who they hoped would love them but whose words and actions are anything but loving. Persons who are LGBTQIA+ are not homeless at a higher rate because they are LGBTQIA+. They are homeless at a higher rate because they have been kicked out of their families’ homes and not welcomed and affirmed in their church homes. LGBTQ+ suicide rates and homelessness rates are not owing to any sin by persons who are LGBTQIA+, they are caused by the sins of those who are treating them like shit rather than welcoming them as family and as full members of the Beloved Community.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who Will Save Us?

Corporations are not going to save us. Politicians are not going to save us. Judges are not going to save us. Philanthropists are not going to save us. Preachers are not going to save us. Scientists are not going to save us. Celebrities are not going to save us. Universities are not going to save us. Technology alone is not going to save us. The hand of God is not going to save us.

We are the only people who are going to save us from the climate chaos we are creating, and by we, I mean a mass movement of revolutionary proportions for systemic transformation that will radically alter our relations to each other and the planet and lead us to forever see nature as our community rather than simply a commodity to exploit.

Our climate scientists are warning us that the next ten years are our last opportunity to avoid the worst of the worst case scenarios in relation to climate change. Let’s not be the worst generation that lets a livable climate slip through our fingers. May the powerful forces of love, empathy, and justice create in us a new heart that will not allow us to sit idly by while we hurl ourselves towards a future of horrific suffering in an unlivable climate.

We have it in us to do this, but will we find the courage and the spirit to give our lives for the very life of human civilization itself and the well-being of all life? What will motivate us to finally respond to the greatest existential threat to ever face humanity and our ecological community?

It is going to take more than changing out light bulbs, carpooling, and programming the thermostat. It will require a revolution of agriculture, transportation, energy, and industry. It will require a transformation of our economic and political systems to make right all that we have done wrong to our one world house over the past three centuries, and we must be willing to give our whole lives to this effort so that our earth might flourish and humanity might not perish. Only we can save us.

If you find the writing at One World House by Mark Davies helpful or inspiring, you can show your support by making a monthly contribution using Patreon
You may also make a one time gift through PayPal
Posted in climate change | Tagged , , | 1 Comment