Why I Believe in Our Green Sanctuary

October 11, 2018
  • Christiane Graham, Member of the Environmental Justice Ministry

I am a steward of our Earth. We make choices to support our UU 7th principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

To me the Monarch butterfly story is a symbol of our 7th principle and the values I embrace. It is an extraordinary evolutionary narrative: A monarch butterfly weighs 2 grams and it takes 4 generations traveling from their winter quarters in Northern Mexico up the East Coast as far as Canada and back. Three generations are fairly short lived. They breed and lay eggs that hatch in 4 days. The caterpillars eat for 14 days, then cocoon themselves for 10 days to hatch into a glorious and perilous life. After mating and laying eggs they eat and travel North or South respectively depending in which generation they were born. Only the 4th generation butterflies live for up to 8 months travelling from their birth location to the winter quarters in Mexico. This miracle of 4 generations playing each a role in the survival of their species leaves me speechless and in awe.

For further reading: Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World by Michael Dowd has written one of my favorite books on the subject.

My current favorite poem:

                           The owner of the cherry blossoms

                                                              turns to compost

                                                                                   for the trees.

This old Japanese tradition has inspired me to not take myself so seriously. Haiku poets and Zen monks write a last poem before they die. Japanese poet, Utsu, who died 1863 at age 50, wrote that Haiku.

I can see no better role for my carbon rich bones than to feed a tree that in turn blooms and feeds pollinators. I came to this late in live, as I studied the decline of the solitary and hive bees, butterflies and other pollinators. I have faith in the next generation, who will undoubtedly find better answers to stay alive on mother Earth.

Reality: Many of us in EJM have made significant improvements in reducing our carbon footprint. We want to inspire you to take the extra step. Among other strategies I have moved my 401(K) into green assets. I drive a Prius C that gets 54 miles/gallon. I rarely use my electric dryer and have a sun dryer (clothesline) outside and drying rack inside. I use 100% wind power plus generate some electricity with solar on my roof. I had an energy audit, did some fixing here and there, better caulking and better insulation, better windows. We now often get “great” rating from Pepco in energy efficiency. Please consider taking one or more actions to reduce your carbon foot print.