BookNotes: Learning to Walk in the Dark

It’s still February. The days are slowly getting longer. It doesn’t really feel that way yet. I still turn on all the fairy lights and turn off the lamps. I still wake in the dark, do yoga in the dark, and tidy my private space in the dark.

But February also means afternoon walks in the woods or on the road, games in the evening because we can see the floor, and dinner before the sun goes down.

February this year brought a new habit. One chapter an evening of a nonfiction book, not scholarly, no note taking, just read a chapter and contemplate for a few minutes. I chose Learning to Walk in the Dark as my first book.

The Kinship Project

On 2 February 2020, I presented the following forum at my church. It is part of an ongoing parish spiritual formation series.


The Kinship Project: Protecting, Enriching, and Serving our Immediate Environment

We are at a crossroads. The science is clear. We must reduce our carbon emissions (and carbon equivalent emissions). We have a decade, at best, to make significant changes or we will face a future that looks radically different than our past, our future, or the hope filled world of Star Trek. It is a world where untold millions will suffer from extreme temperatures (hot and cold), fires, blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, crop failure, drought, floods, famine, disease . . . but, it doesn’t have to be like that. We, as individuals, can do a lot. We can speak truth to our churches, our neighborhood communities, our cities, our mayor, our Governor, our Members of Congress, our President, etc. We can practice truth by reducing our own CO ee emissions.

These facts are causing stress and anxiety among our younger generations. They see and know that they are the ones who will live and die with these changes. As I watch the young climate activists, I notice they all have the same exasperation. We tell you the facts, and you do nothing. We tell you that we are less likely to die of old age than you are, and you do nothing. We tell you that the world is in crisis, and you recite “fairy tales of eternal economic growth” and do nothing.

We have failed our younger generation. We have failed them and we wonder why they don’t show up at our church doors.

<Note: As of January 2019, according to the IPCC, we had a carbon budget of 360 gigatons before we reached the tipping point. That is total gigatons, not per annum, left to emit.>

With all this swirling in my head, as I stopped to think about this forum, as I double-checked my research, one thing became crystal clear to me. No amount of knowledge, no amount of scientific fact, no list I give you can really make a difference.

The only thing I have to offer is a “why” :: a value statement. Values aren’t understood simply by our intellect. They are understandings derived from inner experience.

As our Presiding Bishop often reminds us, This is the Way of Love. Where does this idea of love being the center come from? . . . <Read Matt 22: 36-40>

  • Love God
  • Love neighbor

And so I’d like to share the Creation Story of our Kin the Hebrews . . . <Read Gen 2, creation of man>

  • man formed of soil :: stresses our kinship and dependence, we are made of earth not just upon earth
  • till :: ‘avad
    • to cultivate
    • a right to make a living from the soil, we must work the soil to eat from the soil
  • keep :: shamar
    • to preserve, to defend
    • a duty to care for the soil, we need the soil and it needs us.

I would like to suggest that these biblical ideals (Love God, Love Neighbor, Protect the Garden) serve as our reason for practicing Creation Care.

The IPCC suggests that each person living with a carbon budget of 2-3 tonnes per year is the target we should be aiming for. <Of course, businesses must also follow the guidelines, but as they say, “vote with your dollar” and the companies will listen.>

  • Worldwide average = 4 tonnes
  • American average = 21 tonnes
  • That is roughly an 85% decrease in individual emissions.

The factors that have the largest impact on your carbon footprint are:

  • the number of children you choose to have
  • food choices = agricultural methods, meat consumption, plastic wrap, shipping distance, biodiversity
  • Housing = electricity (coal, natural gas), heating and cooling, refrigerator, hot water, washing machine, lighting, landscape maintenance,
  • Personal transport = car, fuel, planes (vs buses and trains)
  • Consumer goods = use of plastic, fast fashion, banking, electronics, healthcare, entertainment, education, lawn

Let’s have a family meeting and see what we can think of . . . remembering that we are focusing on our immediate environment.

When Martin Luther was asked what he would do if the world was ending tomorrow, he replied, “Plant a Tree.”


An Audit

Gasoline: The average American uses 500 gallons per person per year for personal transport

<1.3 gallons per day>

Garbage: The average American throws out 1643 pounds per year

<4.5 pounds per day>

Water: The average American uses 36,500 gallons per year

<100 gallons per person per day>

Consumer Goods: The average American spends $12,000 per year

<$33 per day>

Food: The average American household spends $7000 per year

<$19 per day>

<$4050 at home, $3150 away from home, $483 alcohol>

Electricity: The average American household uses 12,000 kwh per year

<30 kwh per day>

Natural Gas and Propane: The average American household uses 1100 therms per year

❤ therms per day>

Saint Day: Brigid

St Brigid

St Brigid with her crook, cross, and fire. — Feb 1

*Picture source: google images*

St. Brigid of Kildare (c 451-550):

According to tradition, Brigid was born in the year 451 AD in Ireland. Tradition says that her mother was Brocca, a Christian pict slave who had been baptized by Saint Patrick and her father as Dubhthach, a chieftain of Leinster.

As she grew older, Brigid performed miracles, including healing and feeding the poor. According to one story, as a child, she once gave away her mother’s entire store of butter. The butter was then replenished in answer to Brigid’s prayers. Her habit of charity led her to donate her father’s belongings to anyone who asked. Dubthach was so annoyed with her that he took her in a chariot to the king of Leinster to sell her. While Dubthach was talking to the king, Brigid gave away his jeweled sword to a beggar to barter it for food to feed his family. The king decided not to keep her. Brigid went on to establish and lead several abbeys, which is represented in the icon by her shepherd’s crook. Women kept the sacred flame at the Kildare abbey walls which is represented in the icon by the flames behind the St. Brigid cross. 

Brigid is the patron saint of cattle, fire,blacksmiths, poets, motherhood, abundance, and healers. 

Here is a link to a video showing you how to make a St. Brigid’s cross: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WErPG3DiT24

A fella and a dog

AKA Michael and Jasper

A6B8A278-DE85-4363-B489-DFFABE12FAD2

Jan 2020 in Review:

yoga: 28 days
meditation: 31 days
strength training: 14 days
walking: 14 days
rest days: 5 days
Tacluso + Ysgubo: 27 days
Outdoor work: 4 days
Daily office + Bible: 31 days
Welsh: 31 days
Study: 12 out of 12 days scheduled

Read: *Practicing Depth Year with re-reading old fiction books that I already own rather than buying new.*

An Other Kingdom (NF)
An Uninvited Quest
Living Beautifully (NF)
Spying in High Heels
Killer in High Heels
Started but didn’t finish
Introduction to the Old Testament (NF)
The Hebrew Bible: Feminist and Intersectional Perspectives (NF)
Learning to Walk in the Dark (NF)
Mayhem in High Heels

Weather:

Sunrise on Jan 1 — 8:00
Sunset on Jan 1 — 5:32
Sunrise on Jan 31 –7:49
Sunset on Jan 31 — 6:03
Temperature on 1 Jan — 33-48 degrees (and partly cloudy)
Trend for the month was unusually warm. (We only had a fire 6 days this month.)
Temperature on 31 Jan –36-42 degrees (and snowing)

Low Waste :: Low Impact

Gasoline for Kim: 2 gallons
Electricity for household: 12 kwh (above our solar/wind allowance)
Water for Kim: 20 gallons per day
Garbage for Kim: 1 pound for the month
Food for Kim: $120 for the month
Money spent for Kim: $40 for the month, not counting Rx.

53

I turned 53 a few days ago. My family and best friends gave me some really thoughtful gifts: books that they know deserve a place on my shelves, a new colorful reusable water/tea/coffee bottle, and consumable teas. It was just perfect.

I have no major changes or goals for the coming year. I’m in a good place and healthy this year.