Interfaith Council and Citizens Climate Lobby readies climate change presentations
Temple Har Shalom will host free events
Charles Robinson, pastor of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and member of the Park City Interfaith Council, attended a climate change discussion by Dr. Robert Davies that hosted by the Citizens Climate Lobby last December.
The presentation got him thinking about the spiritual implications about climate change.
“I think this is one of the great moral issues of the day, because we may be taking about the survival of at least our species, if not the whole planet,” Robinson said. “It seems scandalous to me that the religious community would be silent about this issue. I’m very proud to play any role we can to at least help people to talk about climate change in an intelligent way or to think about what the implications are for the choices that we’re making on individual, societal, national or global level.”
So, after putting his name on a contact list, Robinson was happy to hear from Judd Werner, a volunteer who leads the Park City and Wasatch Back chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby.
Robinson made arrangements for Werner to meet with the Interfaith Council on behalf of the Citizens Climate Lobby, and the two organizations agreed to work together on these presentations.
The Park City and Wasatch Back Chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby’s Citizens Climate Education and the Park City Interfaith Council decided they wanted to build a bridge of understanding rather than dig trenches when it came to civilized discourse about climate change, so, the two organizations will host two free educational presentations at Temple Har Shalom this month.
The first presentation is entitled “Stewards: Physics and Perspectives of Climate Change,” featuring Davies and Dr. Christopher “Chip” Oscarson, and will be held Sunday, Oct. 8.
Davies is a physicist and public science communicator who has been educating Utah audiences about climate change for more than a decade. He teaches at Utah State University’s department of physics and is the former associate of the Utah Climate Center. Davies is also the co-creator of The Crossroads Project, a collaboration of artists who bring their vices to bear on climate change and human sustainability.
Oscarson is an associate professor of interdisciplinary humanities and Scandinavian studies at Brigham Young University who teaches classes about literature in film and environmental humanities. A significant portion of his research and publications focus on questions related to environmental ethics in modern society.
The second presentation will be a “Solutions Seminar,” featuring members of Utah Clean Energy, Summit County Sustainability Department, Summit Community Power Works and the Citizens Climate Lobby, on Sunday, Oct. 15.
Citizen’s Climate Education is the nonprofit branch of the Citizens Climate Lobby, a national non-partisan organization that works with elected officials, community leaders and the general public to raise awareness of climate change and climate change solutions, Werner said.
Robinson, along with Werner, spoke with The Park Record about the two presentations.
“The first should be a great combination of Dr. Davies and Dr. Oscarson,” Werner said. “Dr. Davies does an excellent job of distilling the science of climate change and presenting in terms that the ordinary person can understand, and when you hear Rob talk, you get it.”
Davies will present the climate science from the physics perspective and relay the data.
Oscarson, on the other hand, will give a presentation that will focus on the morals and ethics of supporting climate change.
“In fact, it was Dr. Davies who suggested that we pair him up with someone like Dr. Oscarson,” Werner said. “The reason is because not everyone makes decisions about topics such as climate change through technical data alone. A lot of people make decisions by taking recommendations from who they trust, or what they feel good about in regards to logical and principled arguments.”
Working with the Interfaith Council is one way to depoliticize the climate change issue, Werner said.
“The local faith community is comprised of many different political persuasions, and we want that kind of attendance to the presentations,” he said.
Robinson said having these two points of view is important when addressing an issue such as climate change.
“There is a difference between a moral argument and an emotional reaction,” he said.
Robinson said he isn’t sure there has been as much constructive exchange of ideas on the topic.
“If we are to acknowledge the climate science, we’re talking about substantial impact on our future,” he said. “Yet, we’re spending time talking about things that are much less important. So, if we can just get people to show up and start talking, it will be a start. And I think that’s one of the things the Interfaith Council can do from a moral and spiritual standpoint.”
The Interfaith Council includes representatives from various religious organizations in Park City.
“The council started out with the primary mission to break down the stereotypes and promote understanding between religious communities,” Robinson said. “More and more the council is becoming concerned to finding its voice with respect to community issues. And this is certainly a big one.”
Since December, Robinson has thought more deeply about the implications that climate change will have on his posterity.
“I am deeply concerned about the world that my grandchildren will live in,” he said. “Will they have enough clean air to breathe? Will they have enough clean water to drink, or enough food to eat?”
Robinson would like to see the public take interest and attend the presentations.
“We would like to see people, regardless of where they stand regarding climate change, to attend these presentations,” he said. “There have to be enough ordinary citizens out there that are worried about this. That voice has got to get a lot louder for things to change.”
Citizen’s Climate Lobby and Park City Interfaith Council will present a two-part education series about Climate Change at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, and Sunday, Oct. 15, at Temple Har Shalom, 3700 N. Brookside Court. Both events are free and open to thep ublic. For information, email email@example.com.
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