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An Eight-Week Class on Care of the Environment

In the summer of 2016, our Area held an eight-week class on care of the environment. I led it, assisted by Julie Saxe-Taller and Bikku Kuruvila. About nine people attended regularly, despite changing summer schedules.

It helped so much to focus on our human connections, early pleasant memories of the environment, and early defeats, before diving into our distresses about climate change. It was important to notice sources of hope and power and to know that we are not alone.

I appreciated the flexible class outlines and vital perspective about oppression offered by Sustaining All Life. One of the best resources I found outside of Sustaining All Life was Al Gore’s sixteen-minute updated TED talk explaining the environmental crisis and offering hope. We all discharged so hard, given some hope!

We also listened to online environmental and climate change information, did mini-sessions, and then did a “jigsaw” activity in which each person re-told to the group a pre-assigned portion of the scientific information we had all just listened to. It helped us gain an understanding of the specifics of the problem to be able to describe it in our own words.

In our Region and Area we had discharged in many workshops, classes, and gather-ins about care of the environment, but sustaining a class over eight weeks provided more in-depth discharge and a group moving together.

As a direct result of the class, I started riding a bike again after thirty years. Very hopeful! Others moved forward in their commitment to ensuring the care of the environment in their choice of work and in social action.

Below is an overview of the class.

Care of the Environment Class, Summer 2016

July 5

INTRODUCTIONS

Welcome, love for the environment, connection
Mini-session
Overview of class, agreements
Constituency groups: People of the Global Majority, Jews, white Gentiles
Group introductions: Who are my people? Where are we from? What is our early relationship to the environment? What have we learned from family or ancestors?
Mini-session: Being on Native land
Distribute RC care-of-the-environment posters

July 12

EARLY MEMORIES

Welcome, love for the environment, connection

Mini-session

Whole group turns: Discharging on early pleasant memories about the environment

Homework: Being active, even in a small way, on environmental issues

July 19

THE PROBLEM

Welcome, love for the environment, connection

Mini-session: Being on Native land

Sustaining All Life:

1. Overcoming the destructive policies of the past

2. Ending oppression to end the environmental crisis

3. The source of the environmental crisis

  • Human struggle for survival
  • Restoring human connection
  • The role of racism, genocide, classism, sexism

4. What people can do to end oppression and its impacts

5. Healing personal damage

The RC goal on care of the environment, paragraph 1

Awareness of urgency and the scope of the current problem

Mini-session: Personal, community, and planetary effects

Video: Climate Science: What You Need to Know (on YouTube), 6 minutes

Mini-session

“Jigsaw” activity

Break/song: “Evil Waste” (Santana)

Group turns: Early memories, the importance of healing personal damage

Homework distributed by e-mail:

1. Ten Things We All Should Know

2. Resources on Care of the Environment

3. “Short Answers to Hard Questions about Climate Change,” The New York Times, November 28, 2015, by Justin Gillis

July 26

ENDING ALL OPPRESSIONS—THE MIDDLE EAST AND FOSSIL FUELS

Welcome, love for the environment, connection

Mini-session: Being on Native land

The RC goal on care of the environment, paragraph 2

Ending all oppressions: Oil from the Middle East, use of fossil fuels and fracking in the United States

Video: An Inconvenient Truth update (TED Talk by Al Gore), 16 minutes

Mini-session/group turns

August 2

CAPITALISM AND CONSUMPTION

Welcome, love for the environment, hope

Mini-session: Being on Native land

The RC goal on care of the environment, paragraph 3

Capitalism and consumption

Little and big solutions: Sustainable and renewable sources of energy, green technology, and so on

Skits: Human intelligence in the face of environmental crises

August 9

ENDING CLASSISM

Welcome, love for the environment, hope

Mini-session: Being on Native land

The RC goal on care of the environment, paragraph 3

Ending classism: Greed, money

The Class Initiative in RC: Wage workers

“Climate Change Game,” in teams

August 16

ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM

Welcome, love for the environment, hope

Mini-session: Being on Native land

The RC goal on care of the environment, paragraph 2

Ending all oppressions: Environmental racism

Video: Environmental Racism Explained (on YouTube), 3 minutes

August 23

GOALS AND ACTION

Welcome, love for the environment, power

Mini-session: Being on Native land

Goals and action, activism: Personal, community, international

Adapted RC goal chart

Closing: What gained from class; appreciations; action or goal

 

Gail Mandella

Berkeley, California, USA

(Present Time 187, April 2017)


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00