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Carol Anne Costa: Whitehouse—Country, Carbon, Climate + Mercy

Thursday, May 30, 2013

 

This Memorial Day weekend I had the privilege of taking my niece and nephew (my 2 favorite people in the world) on a visit to the Indian River Estuary in Fort Piece, Florida. As we ambled the waterways on a slow moving pontoon boat, the sights, sounds, and experience was nothing short of amazing. We got the rare chance to peer through the window of the most biologically diverse estuary in North America. My personal excitement about the visit included the opportunity to share it with young people, as I am certain the impact of its beauty, importance and preservation will, for them, be lifelong. For me, the preservation of our planet is bi-partisan, undeniable and vital in order that we pass down a legacy that will have generations of folks sharing my remarkable experience with their youngsters. But, this can never happen with the denial of science and the simple invocation of the name of God. Common sense and ownership of this planet must prevail or the outcome will be bleak.

What is that I hear?

I know, some of you just went into, “shut up you tree hugger” mode. I hear you! And, I say unabashedly, “I will not!” One of the biggest problems is our inability to have a reasonable, scientifically based discussion regarding climate change void of the “God will fix everything if we are good “argument. It really irks me when the invocation of God is used to rationalize and ignore the impact of our carbon footprint and the fact that we have a responsibility to address these issues.

Let’s talk about God and government for a moment; Our Junior Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave, in my view, a moving speech entitled “Time to Wake Up” on the Senate floor. He received a dose of praise, and a dose of grief which in my mind equates to, he got it right. Senator Whitehouse began his remarks by the challenging the theory put forth by a Senate colleague, the premise of which was, “God won’t allow us to ruin our planet.” Senator Whitehouse very efficiently challenged that premise with the words of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and those pesky natural laws and consequences to make his stand on this pressing problem. Oh, and did I mention Scripture, Revelations 11:18 “The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth." Now that’s a big one!

Where religion and science converge…

I am reminded of a joke that was told to me as a child; an old man sitting on his porch in the pouring rain was approached by the sheriff; the sheriff says, “Floods are coming. You should leave. I will drive you.” ”Man says, “All set, God will save me.” One day later Sherriff comes in a boat and says to man knee deep in water, “Floods are coming. Get in, we will float to land.” Man says, “All set, God will save me.” Third day, Sherriff says to old man up to his eyes in water, “This is it, floods are here, get in the chopper.” Man says, “All set God will save me.” The old man drowned. When the old man gets to the pearly gates, Saint Peter welcomes the man who says, “I did everything right, why am I here?’ Saint Peter says, “We sent a car, a boat and a helicopter, the rest was up to you.” If you do not think we have the warning signs and directive to change, I am thinking you are akin to the man on the porch. I ask you to heed Senator Whitehouse’s advice and wake up!

Awakening the Dreamers

The Sisters of Mercy have long recognized the relationship between God and our planet, as they have developed a program called Awakening the Dreamer  The plan is a method to inspire a transformational approach for our time. In part its mission is to help to transform an understanding of the crisis we all face in three ways: It awakens and reconnects participants with our place in the web of life, it addresses the urgency of the current environmental, spiritual and social crises of the world, and allows the space to grieve what the North American dream has cost fellow humans, the children of other species and the systems that support life on the planet. The United Conference of Catholic Bishops also promotes a progressive stance on climate change. Then there are the Green Muslims who seek to reemphasize the unique role and responsibility entrusted upon humanity by God: environmental stewardship . As a matter of fact you can peruse many religious views on climate change put together by Yale.

While I realize many people were taken aback by Senator Whitehouse’s comments I feel a review of the issue combined with the perspective of many religions is at hand. I say “You go Sheldon! You speak for the fisherman, the farmers, the ranchers, the bee keepers and all those who want to keep the earth viable and sustainable. “

As I watched a manatee feed, and a dolphin frolic in the Indian River Lagoon, which is the most biologically diverse estuary in North America with more than 4,000 species of plants and animals. I for one am not willing to leave its protection to only God, he needs willing partners, and I am one. 

A public relations and community outreach specialist, Carol has experience in both the public and private sectors. She is the Chairwoman of the Scituate Democratic Town Committee and has extensive community affairs and public relations experience. She previously served in the Rhode Island Judiciary for nearly 17 years. Carol also enjoyed a successful development stint at the Diocese of Providence as Associate Director for Catholic Education and is currently a public housing manager for the Johnston Housing Authority. Her work has been published in several local outlets including: GOLOCALPROV, Valley Breeze, The Rhode Island Catholic, and Currents Magazine.

 

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