Bridging the Gap Between Understanding and Action
Brookline climate change advocates planning weeklong "call to action" in January.
"Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."
- Howard Zinn in "Hope Beneath Our Feet: Restoring Our Place in the Natural World"
If you are like approximately 80 percent of the U.S. population, you believe the scientific evidence of global warning but have not yet made cutting your carbon footprint a priority.
Paul Stern, Director of the U.S. National Research Council's Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, is studying what psychological factors are crucial to motivate us to take action to make a more sustainable lifestyle a priority. He has found that the roots of our environmental behavior begin with two factors: altruism, the desire to help others, and an ecological world view that sees all life on Earth as interconnected and fragile requiring responsible action on the part of humanity. He concludes that these values lead to a sense of moral obligation to act. Yet people with both of these values and a commitment to act may face uncertainty and questions about what actions make sense or will make a difference.
Brookline's Climate Week is a weeklong call to action to help residents think about ways to take individual and concerted steps to cut their carbon footprint. As Howard Zinn suggests, small acts when multiplied can transform the world. Here are some of the highlights:
Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011 – 7-8 p.m.
- Boosting Your Home Efficiency without Hype or Snake Oil – Join Bruce Irving, Emmy-award-winning executive producer for This Old House, Ask This Old House, and Inside This Old House and vice-chairman of the Cambridge Historical Society and Jordan Goldman of Zero Energy Design for a session on making the most out of energy efficient home renovations. This is a good way to consider how to take advantage of free home energy audits and learn how to work with contractors.
Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011 – 2 p.m.
- Brookline Tomorrow: Addressing Climate Change Today – Brookline's first environmental "town meeting" will be moderated by Meghna Chakrabarti of WBUR 's Radio Boston. The program will involve audience exchanges with distinguished panelists, Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Rob Garrity, Executive Director of Mass. Climate Action Network, and Alan Khazei, co-founder of City Year and author of "Big Citizenship." There will be a tribute to climate leaders who live in Brookline and an opportunity to view a video by Bill McKibben recorded for the event. The event is free of charge and will take place at the Lincoln School, 19 Kennard Road. Reception to follow. For more information go to www.climatechangeactionbrookline.org.
Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011 – 6:30-8:30 p.m.
- Vermiculture: Composting with Worms – Taught by Pat Gabridge, this class will discuss how worms can help gardens flourish by creating a steady stream of black gold soil. Students will create their own worm bin.
Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011 – 7-9 p.m.
- Making Sustainable Choices for Green and Healthy Living – Jess Lerner of Green on the Inside will illustrate how to find the right green products to make your life and home safer and healthier and how every step can have a positive effect on our climate.
Sunday, Jan. 30 – 1 p.m.
- Hope Beneath Our Feet. Restoring Our Place in the Natural World – Local contributers and the book editor will read essays from a new release, "Hope Beneath Our Feet. Restoring Our Place in the Natural World." The book highlights the work of over 50 environmental writers including Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan and Bill McGibben. The program takes place at the Brookline Booksmith. Go to www.BrooklineBookSmith.com for event details.
Climate Week is sponsored by Climate Change Action Brookline, the Selectmen's Climate Action Committee, The Brookline School Committee, the Brookline Department of Public Health and Brookline Adult and Community Education.
More events are in the works. For more information, or to get involved, check www.climatechangeactionbrookline.org. Hope to see you during Climate Week.
– Written by By Patricia Maher