#237 | Janet Leavens | New Value: "Eco-humility"

Submission 237
Janet Leavens
University UU Fellowship, Inc. (Orlando, FL) 2920

What is your suggestion or idea?

I am proposing a new value-- ““Eco-humility”” - to replace ““Interdependence.””

Eco-humility: We acknowledge that we depend on the biosphere for our survival.

We covenant to recognize the irreparable harm we have already wreaked on the natural systems of our world, while working patiently, intelligently and creatively to start from where we are now and build human communities which interact with the natural world in a sustainable, balanced manner.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

““Eco-humility”” (or some more poetic, but synonymous value) would replace ““Interdependence.”” Why?

““Interdependence”” seems to have been closely modeled on our current 7th principle which brings a needed emphasis on interconnectedness, community, and mutual responsibility to the first six principles which may, in turn, be seen as overly focused on the individual. The current revisions, however, are already very focused on community, social groups, relatedness, mutual responsibility – from ““Love”” as a central value (““love”” is necessarily relational), to the repeated covenants and the many calls for social responsibility. Therefore, I see it as overkill to have Interdependence be a separate value – in this context.

On the other hand, Eco-humility would place a serious ecology-mindedness front and center and help us ““get real”” about the necessary trade-offs, conflicts and tensions surrounding this issue which the UUA’s current softer focus on ““climate justice”” does not. Working to lift millions in the third world out of poverty may be a very laudable goal, but it will not necessarily help stem climate change. In fact, it would most likely be counter-productive in that regard. Similarly, it may be valuable on many levels to listen to the voices of the marginalized. However, listening to these voices is mostly likely NOT the absolutely necessary step in fighting climate change that climate justice activists make it out to be. Promoting a religious/sanctimonious/sentimental attitude (““cherish Earth;”” ““repair harm””) may blind us to uncomfortable possibilities such as the necessity of increased reliance on that politically incorrect course of clean energy – nuclear.

Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?

The proposed article II revisions have been discussed extensively in my congregation. I read this amendment idea to a group of eight other members. No one objected and one person loved the second part (the positive part) of the covenant.

I appreciate your thoughts around the focus shift. How do you conceptualize nuclear energy as “clean” given the end and by-products?

Hello, Janet.
My name is Denise Frizzell and I am a long time UU. I am currently a member with the Eno River UU Fellowship in Durham, NC and am serving as a GA delegate this year. I agree wholeheartedly with your expressed concerns.

Thus, I wanted to let you know that I submitted the following amendment today (see below). If you or anyone reading this post are serving as a delegate, I invite you to support it. If you are not, I invite you to share with your congregation’s delegates and invite them to consider supporting it.

Thank you.

With active hope for a healthy, peace-filled, just, and sustainable planet for all life,
Denise Frizzell

C-2.6. Earth Solidarity.
Earth, our beautiful blue boat home, is in great peril. Humanity, all sentient beings, and nature itself face numerous unprecedented challenges to life as we now know it and take for granted. Climate change, mass extinction of species, desertification, deforestation, massive die-off of coral reefs, and pollution threaten to disrupt the delicate balance of ecosystems on which we all depend. At this historical and evolutionary crossroads, where every choice matters, we are called to bridge our differences and call upon our shared heritage, principles, and values to unite as Unitarian Universalists to transform ourselves and our consumer culture and invest in real solutions at every level of society for a thriving common future for all life

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