The Effects Of Radicalization On A Hurting Earth

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Learning to Live Lightly: Confessions of Radicalization in Response to a Hurting Earth

Presented at the Unitarian Universalist Church, Bowling Green, KY August 12, 2007
By Nancy Givens, Chairperson, BGGreen Partnership for a Sustainable Community

God is said to work in mysterious ways, and I can’t help but wonder if the reason it’s been so hot these last days is so you will listen to my talk. Even people who don’t believe in global warming are wondering if we’re getting a stark lesson in why we need to mind Mother Nature.

I want to start out by explaining my title, Learning to Live Lightly: Confessions of Radicalization in Response to a Hurting Earth. ‘Radicalization’ and ‘radical’ are words heavily laden with negative meaning, and
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Scientists now say global climate change is occurring much more rapidly than originally predicted, because of feedback loops, and that the polar ice caps may be entirely gone by 2020, not by 2050 as was earlier predicted. The world’s leading scientists also say that delayed action will increase the risk of adverse environmental effects and will likely increase the cost.

The melting glaciers and ice caps will have, and in places are already having, major impacts on coastal and inland communities, cause social and economic upheavals, and greatly impact the diversity and distribution of species – not to mention changing the appearance of beloved landscapes. The Earth is hurting in the mountains of Eastern KY and WV, with mountaintop removal practices and the filling of hundreds of miles of headwaters with toxic sludge, and the disease and destruction brought to the lives of the people whose homes and heritage are found there. We see it hurting in the Amazon region, the world’s largest and most diverse forest, which is predicted to be 50% gone by 2050 – almost unimaginable.

I won’t spend too much time on figures, but it’s important to understand the scope of what we’re dealing with. It is estimated only 22% of the world’s frontier forest remains, that is forest relatively undisturbed by human activity and intact enough to retain its biodiversity,
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