I hope everyone reading this is doing okay this week. I continue to hear from many of you and I know that all of us are experiencing frequent “ups and downs” amidst this unusual and hopefully temporary reality in which we find ourselves.
Last Sunday I noted that the coronavirus is having a variety of unintended consequences. In many places around the world, the air is suddenly cleaner. Especially in large megacities, the reduction in cars on the road and factories running at full tilt has resulted in healthy changes documented by startling before and after photos.
Here in the U.S., it is estimated that carbon emissions may have dropped by 3-4% over the last eight weeks, which is actually the direction we need to head as a society. Just yesterday, after all Governor Baker’s Administration here in Massachusetts committed to a “Climate Roadmap” with goals of our state achieving “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050. We have less than 30 years to transform our dependence on fossil fuels for – well – almost everything.
This is among the reasons that I was proud that the Standing Committee (our board) voted to move ahead with the installation of a solar power system here at First Parish Church. This was one of the first (and largest) recommendations of our recently formed Parish “Green Team.”
Hopefully by mid summer we will have 81 solar panels arrayed on the southwest facing roof of the Church School wing. While we did have to take down several trees to move ahead with the project, the Board opted to keep two of the oak trees slated for removal based on feedback from last Sunday’s Congregational forum. Removing these trees is a sad but worthwhile decision, since it will result in the church being able to generate over 70% of its annual electricity onsite. This also demonstrates how we are striving to lead by example even as we encourage others to lower their carbon footprints as well. (And by the way, you don’t have to install solar panels on your home or office to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels. You can also purchase “green” or renewable electricity from offsite sources through groups like Green Energy Consumers Alliance, a Boston-based non-profit I have used for many years). One of the great questions is being posed this coming decade is can the American economy continue to grow and expand while also reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. I believe the answer is yes. Our future wellbeing depends on it.
This Sunday, we will be switching up roles. The Rev. John Nichols will be our guest preacher and I will be playing host and offering up a time for all ages. See you in church,