A local church found a way to share its values with the community and let people know about a global concern.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship brought its “Not Yet Silent Spring” film series to the Plattsburgh State campus to raise awareness about climate change March 31 and April 21.
“The emotional impact on these movies is great,” UU Fellowship Co-chair Nancy Lewin said. “I’ve seen ‘This Changes Everything’ and I still plan on seeing it two more times.”
Lewin said this series will inform students of the effects of fracking and littering and what students can do to help fight climate change by showing “Merchants of Doubt,” “This Changes Everything” and “Divest.”
“‘Divest’ looks into the way that people invest into oil and gas companies, which are partly responsible for the gas emissions put into the environment,” UU Fellowship Co-chair Mary Dufort said.
The film examines the possibility to discourage funding fossil fuels and invest in more environmentally friendly energy sources, such as solar power and wind, Dufort said.
PSUC Associate Professor of Sociology Lauren Eastwood and the college’s Environment Action Committee helped bring this film series to the campus so students could be a part of the environmental justice movement and become aware of these issues.
PSUC Assistant Professor of Journalism and Public Relations Michelle Ouellette is a member of the church, and she said the fellowship’s youth group is what encouraged churchgoers to think about further covering the topic of environmental controversy.
“The youth actually started looking at Naomi Klein’s book, ‘This Changes Everything,’ in the fall and got us all motivated to try to figure out how to do a better job with these efforts,” Ouellette said. “It’s one of our church’s core principles to take care of the environment.”
Ouellette said the church chooses the topics to address, and there was no debate about discussing climate change.
“Each generation has an issue that is rather embarrassing when future generations come along, and this is the current generation’s issue,” Ouellette said. “Future generations are going to be looking at what we’re doing right now today and judging us on it.”
PSUC Associate Professor of Music and UU Fellowship pianist Jo Ellen Miano said Rev. Fred Small will be giving a sermon titled “Radical Hope,” at the church March 13. She said he will explain how people can face the climate crisis as a community.
Small is a former UU minister who served with First Parish in Harvard Square, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He stepped down from his ministry to “devote his energy to climate change activism,” according to WBUR, a radio station and Boston NPR affiliate.
“We’re trying to get people involved in these topics in a multifaceted way so we can be well-informed and think critically about change,” Miano said.
Small will host a workshop titled “Spiritual Nurture in the Climate Crisis” the same day.
The sermon will “address the need for courage, creativity, kindness and love in the community as we face the climate crisis,” according to the UU Fellowship’s website.
Miano said she is surprised there are people who don’t think environmentalism is an important issue. She said she promotes environmental concerns, although she may not be as informed as others.
“Some impacts of climate change will ‘continue for centuries,’ even if all emissions from fossil-fuel burning were to stop,” the Washington Post reported, citing a report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “The new report cites soaring emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases in the past 60 years as the cause of nearly all the warming seen so far.”
Some of the visible signs of climate change in the Northeast include “heat waves, heavy downpours and sea level rise,” according to NASA’s website.
The UU Fellowship will show the film series April 3 and May 1 at 4 Palmer St. PSUC will have its own showing March 31 and April 21 show it in Yokum Hall, room 202.
“The main thing I hope students take from the movie series is that change needs to happen now,” Dufort said. “It’s not going to be easy, but it can happen if enough people put in the effort. Be a part of the change and you may be able to turn things around.”
Email Markiesha Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org