Speaker: Sandy Souder, April 17,2016

Good Morning Beloved!

A woman goes into a coffee shop and notices there’s a ‘peel and win’

sticker on her coffee cup.

So she peels it off and starts screaming, “I’ve won a motor home! I’ve won

a motor home!”

The waitress says, “That’s impossible. The biggest prize is a free Lunch?”

But the woman keeps on screaming, “I’ve won a motor home! I’ve won a motor

home!”

Finally, the manager comes over and says, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but you’re

mistaken. You couldn’t have possibly won a motor home because we didn’t

have that as a prize.”

The woman says, “No, it’s not a mistake. I’ve won a motor home!”

She hands the ticket to the manager and HE reads… W I N A B A G E L.”

Honoring the Earth for Earth Day

Our Way-shower gathered His disciples around him, not by promising an easy life. On the contrary, he told them they had to leave their families and their livelihood to join him.

Even the rich young man, when asked how he too, could gain Heaven on earth, was told how hard it would be, he had to give everything he had away to the poor to follow Jesus.

When we came to Unity, we didn’t have to give away all our possessions, but in many instances we had to give away the life we were living to gain a much fuller, more fulfilling life.

Honoring the Earth and Her ecology is like that. We can continue living our lives without understanding that we are all in this together or we can make the changes needed and necessary to help stop and possibly reverse the damage done to the Earth.

Jesus spoke of true union at all levels: with oneself, with the neighbor, with the outsider, with nature, and–through all of these–with the Divine.

The Fillmore’s were very ecologically minded. They promoted organic farming on what is now Unity Village. They were vegetarians. They believed as Frijoy Capra states, “Ecology and spirituality are fundamentally connected because deep ecological awareness, ultimately, is spiritual awareness.”

Gaylord Nelson said, “The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity… that’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from. These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world.”

I would add its people too.

And yet we are killing those very resources.

Earth Day is April 22nd, this Friday. And in many places, the entire week is celebrated as Earth Week. Have you asked yourself what is yours to do regarding our environment? That can be and IS a very important question. And how you answer, is important, and possibly life changing for you.

Why do I say that? Because as we get more and more aware of the Earth and what billions of people on her are doing to her, we most often get a little more motivated with regard to what is our part to do to help lessen the damage.

So, what is our part? It is so easy to help with the Earth’s care. And that is the name Unity Worldwide Ministries has for its ecology and environmental program…Earth Care.

Earth Care is something I envision that we can strive for when we arrive at our own building.

For now, there are things we can do to do our part. You know what they are…but we forget. Or we talk the easy way. Or maybe we get lazy.

I think we are not CONSCIOUS of what we are doing a good bit of the time. We miss opportunities to be of service to each other and to the earth because we are caught up in doing instead of BEING.

I don’t know what is yours to do for each of you. But I do know that we all need reminded now and then. So –

Here are some reminders while we are in this building:

Conserve electricity by only have the lights on when we are here, making sure to turn them off when we leave a room and to turn the heat/cooling back to where it was when we got here.

Take care that when you are snacking, that you don’t drop any food or drink on the floor.

Reduce the use of paper products by bringing our own cups for coffee and tea.

Reduce the use of plastic water bottles by again, bringing our own cups or water bottles. There are very nice glass water bottles now to eliminate further, the use of plastic.

Make sure we recycle as much as possible.

And we can take this further as we apply these ideas at home and expand them there and at work and play. How you ask?

Reduce the amount of water you use at home. Just because we have plenty coming through the water lines does not mean we should take it for granted. Don’t let it run as we brush our teeth or do the dishes. Full loads when we do laundry and the dish washer. Sun dry your clothes.

Recycle. Recycle. Recycle. Almost everything is recyclable. Not just paper and plastic and glass, but CFL bulbs, batteries and even computers. Find out where in your area and recycle as much as possible.

Compost! It’s good for the landfills and good for the gardens.

Switch out your old light bulbs for CFL’s and LED’s and go solar where you can out of doors. Unplug appliances when you are not using them, like chargers and kitchen appliances.

And while you are outside, check what you are planting and where. Plant placement can aid in the need to heat and cool your home. And the plants you plant make a difference too. Plant native to your area to reduce the amount of water they need.

And plant for nature…that means plants that will encourage nature not kill it. Using pesticides and insecticides only does further damage to our ecosystem. And killing via insecticides does not encourage the predators you want to encourage to your gardens. A praying mantis or lady bug will not come to your garden if there are no aphids, mosquitoes, caterpillars, scale insects, mealybugs, spider mites and other soft-bodied insects there to munch on. And you really DO want the good guys in so the bad guys get out.

And if you don’t like spiders in your house, just gently place them outside, don’t kill them. They are predators too.

And do not forget that as you kill insects you consider bothersome, you are also killing ones that are needed, like bees, wasps, butterflies and even ants, that pollinate our plants. Without them, our food chain will falter.

Speaking of our food chain; plant a garden! And use organic soil and plants grown organically. Or start your own from organic seeds. Not only is this helping your environment it helps your grocery bill too! And teaching our children about gardening will benefit us all in the long run.

And while you are at it, plant a tree too, if you are able. We need plants to return oxygen to the air. Remember oxygen, that element we need to breathe… trees, plants, they are our friends.

Shop Farmers markets and look for organic as much as you are able. Ask the grocers to wrap your items in as little wrapping as possible. Do we REALLY need those Styrofoam platters that food is placed on just to be wrapped up in? You guessed it, plastic?

Eliminate to need for the plastic bags at any store by always having your own reusable bags.

And eat less meat. It takes a lot to put a steak on your plate. Growing and feeding beef cattle is expensive for the farmers and ranchers and for the earth. Go vegetarian once or twice a week, or more often if you are able.

Eliminate junk mail and reuse and recycle what you do receive.

I know this may be difficult for some of us, but drive the speed limit. Keep your car in good working order and have the tires checked for the correct air pressure. And drive smart, organize your errand trips so you don’t drive more than needed to get where you want to go.

I know there are many, many more actions we can take. But we must be vigilant, as Professor Moody from Harry Potter would say. We need to keep ourselves aware of our actions. They make a difference and are part of our integrity. And others watch what we do, especially younger folks, and they see what we do and copy it.

So, we are always examples to the rest of the world. What are we teaching as we walk and talk and drive and buy?

Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

And it doesn’t have to be a group, though that helps.

In the face of such huge global problems, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless, and to find ourselves asking, “What difference can one person make?” Just like voting, one person can make all the difference in the world:

Rachel Carson was just one person who wrote Silent Spring, a book credited with launching the environmental movement in the United States.
John Muir was one person who saved the Yosemite Valley, founded the Sierra Club, and inspired generations of conservationists who continue to do life-giving work.
Wangari Maathai is one person who started planting trees and empowering women in her native Kenya, and eventually was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. There’s actually a song about her, called “Women Planting Trees.”
Al Gore is just one person who traveled for years to any conference room or auditorium where people would gather to hear his call to action and see his slide show, which became the Academy Award-winning film and best-selling book, An Inconvenient Truth

You may not be able to reduce global warming, end pollution and save endangered species single-handed, but by choosing to live an earth-friendly lifestyle you can do a lot every day to help achieve those goals.

Here at the beach there are unique ways to help sea life, the beaches and the seas.

By making wise choices about how you live, and the amount of energy and natural resources you consume, you send a clear message to businesses, politicians and government agencies that value you as a customer, constituent and citizen.

The spiritual question is this: Does one’s life give any evidence of an encounter with God? Does this encounter bring about in you any of the things that Paul describes as the “fruits” of the spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22)? Are you different from your surroundings, or do you reflect the predictable cultural values and biases of your group?

We often forget that WE ARE NATURE. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve really lost our connection to ourselves.

And to the God of our understanding, whether we name that energy Spirit, Goddess, Krishna, or Buddha; we need Nature to helps us with that most important connection.

The Native American Proverb reminds us, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

So please do what you are able to do for us all by making Earth Day every day.