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United Church of Christ

533 Route 28, Harwich Port, MA 02646 | Phone: 508-432-1668

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Waves of Faith-December 15, 2017

Our worship theme in December is Hope.  Every week in December for the Waves of Faith column I promised to highlight a story about hope in our world. This week scientists reported that 2017 is the second hottest year on record; 2016 was the hottest. In records that go back almost 140 years we find that our average temperatures on earth have risen markedly. For a while scientists debated whether this trend was a normal part of temperature fluctuation but now scientists quite uniformly agree that greenhouse gas emissions are causing this change. 

At the national level there is ongoing debate about this science, but more and more American citizens are convinced that climate change is real.  In the face of raging fires on the West Coast, a ferocious hurricane season and unseasonably warm temperatures that are causing huge disruption in the ecological balance and animal habitats many state governments are banding together to create programs that encourage environmental reform.

Since our nation pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords states have found common cause in tackling carbon pollution. Just this week California’s Jerry Brown was in Paris for a climate summit to learn about the latest research on ways to cut emissions. There are a number of signs that many states are interested in exploring programs that hold states to the conditions and goals of the Paris Accord, which was signed 2 years ago.

IN the Northeast and mid-Atlantic nine states are committed to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which sets limits on power plant emissions. Money raised through these allowances are sold at auction and go back to the states. The track record is promising. Since the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative began in 2008 carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by 30% from Maryland to Maine. That is 16% more than states without these programs. Since it began the program has sent $2.8 billion back to the states to fund energy efficient upgrades in schools in Massachusetts, solar power in New York and green initiatives in small businesses in New Hampshire. 

California, Quebec and Ontario have similar programs.  

The news about the melting polar ice cap and the polar bears who are starving sound so dire that it is hard to know what any person or any small group can do. But this story gave me hope for New England and hope that people coming together to change this environmental pattern can actually have an effect. It also reminded me how much every voice is needed in the campaign to make a different on our planet. 

I found this article today in the Cape Cod Times. I might not have seen it except that I set for myself the discipline of finding one story of hope to share every week. This experience reminds me how important it is to seek things that are hopeful. It is easy to feel discouraged but hopeful signs are there. We just have to look for them and then get behind them. 

In hope,

Rev. Susan

Posted: Friday December 15, 2017

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