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Living In A Warmer World, Week 2: Small Changes, Big Impacts

Part 1: Climate Change As A Chronic Condition || Part 3: Working Together, Locally and Globally >

Part 2: Small Changes, Big Impacts

Spiritual Practices as a Guide for Climate Wellness

Practice #2: Paying Attention

Whatever we're looking for in the world is what we tend to see. It's all a matter of focus. Here's a chance to explore how your intention can affect your view of the world:

Go outside and pay attention to your surroundings. Look up at the sky. Do you feel a breeze on your skin? How many different sounds can you hear? Is the light casting shadows in some places, and highlighting others? If you can, take a walk, being mindful about your focus and attention. Consider making this a daily practice, and keeping a journal about your experiences and insights.

For more practices, visit our Spiritual Practices as a Guide for Climate Wellness page.

Your Health, Our Climate

Tip #2: Food Choices

One of the most powerful tools we have to reduce the size of our ecological “footprint” and achieve climate wellness is by addressing the way we eat.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, "Food production has a pervasive impact on the environment. About 60 percent of our country's land area is devoted either to crops or to livestock grazing... Then there are the effects of fertilizers, pesticides, animal wastes, and erosion on water quality, not to mention... air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from energy use."

So what can you do? (source: Small Planet Institute)

Choose Real Food. Walk into any supermarket and you'll see shelves lined with products bursting with trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and additives whose multi-syllabic names can make you go cross-eyed. Each of these ingredients takes tremendous amounts of energy to create. Choosing real food-fresh, whole food-is a way to choose nourishment that's not only good for your body but good for the planet, too.

Don't Panic, Go Organic. Research has shown that kids fed a diet of non-chemical foods have-big surprise-fewer traces of chemical residues in their bodies. Also, new research is documenting that organic farms can emit as much as half the carbon dioxide as chemical farms. Organic farms also use much less fossil fuel energy than their conventional counterparts, in many cases as much as one-third less. And organic agriculture can provide a critical carbon sink, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. In fact, 10,000 medium-sized organic farms can store as much carbon in the soil as we would save if we took one million cars off the road.

Action Point: Support your local organic farmers, and consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program--or starting one in your congregation!

For more tips, visit our Your Health, Our Climate page.

Engaging Your Community

Step #2: Gather Allies

Find out who else in your congregation might be interested in caring for the environment, and invite them into conversation with you. Is there an active green team at your house of worship? If so, attend a meeting. If not, begin exploring how you and a few others might get one started. 

Check out our resource on “How to Start a Green Team in Your Congregation,” or send us an e-mail.

For more steps, visit our Engaging Your Community page.

For links to more videos, practices, tips, and resources, visit our Living In A Warmer World page.