This piece is part of the Old South Church Climate Change Task Force's series, "Climate: The Small Things Matter"
Reverend Mariama White-Hammond recently spoke at a Climate lecture at Northeastern and challenged the audience: “Climate Change is not a scientific problem. It is a social and spiritual crisis of the human species.”
I am often invited to be a guest reader in the school where I was the librarian. Several months ago I was asked by a 1st grade teacher to come and read about kindness. I had a wonderful book about coral reefs by Jason Chin. I had learned a lot from it and kids had loved it in the past and I wanted to read it. I thought, why couldn’t the lesson be about kindness to the earth? I read the book. We talked about how amazing coral reefs are; how large they are; how many species live in them; and how they are dying because of pollution and the increasing acidification of the ocean which absorbs more carbon dioxide being released through the burning of fossil fuels. We talked about ways all of us could help protect the earth. Three weeks later I was invited back to see a project the class had chosen. The children had made reusable bags out of cloth. They were individually hand decorated for their families and they had made one for me. It said Save The Sea Turtles and had pictures of turtles and a No Plastic logo. Each child had signed it. Who knows what they will remember about coral reefs? It isn’t important. What’s important is that they believe what they do matters and that they are practicing stewardship of the planet.
We talk about the beloved community. We build it by talking to each other. We won’t convince everyone. But one person at a time, one child at a time, maybe we can change the world.