Ready!¬† Pledge!¬† Go!
This Sunday is Earth Day.¬† At our service, all of us are going to be invited to join a short (40 days long) Food Justice campaign to ‚Äútest drive‚ÄĚ small actions we can take in our daily lives for the sake of the workers who bring us the food we eat, the animals who live with us in a cycle of mutual interdependency, the Earth as a beautiful, life-sustaining organism in its own right, and all who live here in our world. ¬†(For more information about the 40/40/42 Campaign, go to http://ethicaleating.uua.org/40-40-campaign)
¬†It‚Äôs called the 40/40/42 Campaign, and it‚Äôs the brainchild of the guest minister who will be leading our worship service.¬† All over our country, as a matter of fact, UU congregations will ask their members to take the challenge and take the pledge this Earth day, just as we will do.
The basic idea is that we will each come up with a small action, a small change in our daily life that we do for forty days, and see what that is like.¬† Something realistic and manageable, doable¬† There are wonderful, small ideas for action in the Sample Actions document included in this special Campaign Alert newsletter issue.¬† Take a look!¬† I am personally going to make the pledge to take action #20 ‚Äď use only reusable bags at the grocery and pharmacy.¬† I have about 8 of those bags, but I rarely remember to use them.¬† Time for me to really try to make that change.¬† Pick something out, or come up with your own action, and join me!¬†¬†
The spiritual practice of giving up something or doing something differently for forty days is one that many traditions share, and basing the time for change on Earth day and Food justice is an adaptation that fits well with our Unitarian Universalist values and culture.¬† In the Christian tradition, people do something similar for the 40-day season called Lent.¬† But our season will be a season of celebrating our earth and trying to live in more harmoniously, more tenderly with the rest of creation, including the folks that grow, harvest, transport, and process the food we eat.
We know that as individuals we are small in this big world, and we also know that when many of us act together we can make a difference in the world in which we live.¬† By working to have a more positive impact on our world we also create lives of meaning, lives that have¬† deeper grounding in moral principles.¬† Reinhold Niebuhr, a famous twentieth century theologian, wrote widely on the paradox that human beings can be very moral in their individual relationships and yet in large groups often act in amoral, if not immoral ways.¬† When we take what look like small actions on an individual scale in groups, we can swim against the tide that Niebuhr describes, and we can make a difference.
Since everyone who participates will choose their own action, what we each do will fit our individual life and interests.¬† But the great thing about this campaign is that there‚Äôll be a good number of us doing this together, so we can talk with each other about how it‚Äôs going, and reflect upon our shared experience.¬† We will learn from our own effort and from conversation with others who are also trying out a small daily change.
I love this 40/40 campaign, and I know the group of teams and committees that are directly involved in coming up with Food-related efforts are excited about it, too.¬† It‚Äôs a chance for us to all share in a common effort around our two year Social Justice theme of Food, and it‚Äôs flexible.¬† Take a look at the Sample Actions, think about your life and where you might want to try out a change for the good, and come to church ready to celebrate, pledge and get going!
Please check out the PDF file with actions you can take by clicking HERE.
Also, look at this beautiful art work created by UUCR children during the multi-age Helping Hands exploration on Sunday April 15, 2012: