Monday, April 21, 2014

Wrapping An Extra Blanket Around An Already Warm Planet

artist's conception of Kepler 186f
 NASA announced last week the discovery of Kepler 186f, an earth-size planet at about the right distance from its sun to sustain life similar to that found on planet earth.

With all of the pollution, deforestation, overpopulation and other forms of devastation taking place on our own jewel of a planet, we may soon need a new one to emigrate to. The only problem is that this one is about 500 light years away, so there will be no flights available in the near future.

Since good planets are so hard to find, maybe we'd better begin to begin to take better care of the one have. In the past century, for example, we've released an extraordinary amount of carbon into the atmosphere through deforestation of thousands of acres of carbon-rich rain forests each year and the use of an accelerated amount of carbon-laden fossil fuels to meet our acquired "need" for ever more energy and to fuel a growing number of vehicles (in the U. S. we now have more licensed vehicles than we do licensed drivers).

This worldwide increase of carbon output, led by China and the U.S., is having the effect of wrapping an extra blanket of heat trapping insulation around a planet that's calibrated to maintain just the right amount of warmth to sustain life as we know it. This makes it imperative that we question the modern assumption that we have a right to unlimited uses of energy-guzzling cars, homes and lifestyles that are simply not sustainable, according to the most recent U.N. report on this potential crisis.

Please consider joining the following community conversation on this issue:

The Harrisonburg Rockingham Interfaith Association is partnering with The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV) to sponsor a conversation on climate change Wednesday, May 7, at First Presbyterian Church on Court Square in Harrisonburg.  The program, which includes a light lunch, is from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. There is no charge for this event.

 Les Grady of CAAV will open the program with a brief statement on why Climate Change matters as an issue for faith communities and for our society.  His remarks will be followed by conversation involving all who are present.  
Please RSVP by May 2 to or call David Miller, 540.578.0241.  We are eager to share in a meal and conversation with you.  And please share this invitation with other colleagues and churches. 

David R. Miller
Montezuma Church of the Brethren
President, Harrisonburg Rockingham Interfaith Association
Noter:  Dr. Les Grady is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm.  Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming.
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