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by Rev. Molly Cameron

Using the Power of Thought to Change Our World

All winter long there has been a plastic bag caught in the tree behind my house. I’ve watched it being tattered by the wind, rattling fiercely to get free.  Every week on garbage day I walk outside my house to see what’s flown out of the bins as the trucks dump them; plastic bottles, bags, Styrofoam, paper, caught in the bushes everywhere. Yesterday I looked out the back, and there was a new yellow bag caught in the tree. I looked out the front window and there was a bag caught in the bushes.  it’s a pretty familiar sight, isn’t it? These flimsy little bags that we get every day from the grocery.

What happens to them when they fly in the breeze?  They choke the drains and the waterways. And all waterways lead to the ocean. The final resting place for a lot of it is lining some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. And moving out to sea to float in one of the five circulating currents, called gyres, of the oceans.

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It’s a powerful picture, isn’t it? A young boy picking through an ocean of garbage. In the gyre west of us, called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it’s believed that this garbage, mostly plastics, covers an area of water the size of the United states. And every time I use a plastic bag or a plastic drink bottle, I run the risk of adding to that garbage patch.

And so I have to ask myself this: if I am a spiritual person striving to live in alignment with my creator, can I continue to contribute to this desecration of God’s creation?

I can’t ignore it anymore. As a community of Spirit, spiritual people who know the power of awareness and who have the ability to change our minds about what we do, who know that by changing our minds we change circumstances, we must become conscious of how our behavior affects the world around us. We can’t proclaim every Sunday to “support a world that works for everyone” when our behavior shouts the opposite.

Now I don’t think any of us carelessly throw garbage into the streets, or gleefully set plastics bags flying high over Columbus. But I do think that many of you, like me, have not been fully aware of the effect of our use of plastics. Coastal communities all over the world have begun curbing their use of plastics because they are sick and tired of having their beaches littered with trash that will stay for hundreds of years. Yes, it’s true that plastic garbage bags will break down after 10-20 years, but we are using them in this country at a rate of 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags, According to The Wall Street Journal. Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide. About 2 million plastic bags are used every minute around the world (Earth Policy Institute). Are they being recycled? Yes, at a rate of about 30% a year. The other 70% is going into landfills, waterways and oceans.

Plastic bottles take 450 years to degrade. And we use approximately 2 million plastic bottles every minute. Some call it a plastic pandemic. And I have to ask, what are we leaving our children? As painful as it is, don’t you think it’s time we became more conscious of these facts and begin to do something about them?

Let’s go back to the Science of Mind philosophy and find a place to ground ourselves first. We believe that what mind has done, mind can undo. That means that whatever we as a human race have put in place, we the people can re-place. So becoming aware, increasing our consciousness of what’s happening and how we are contributing, is the first step toward change. The second step, as we all know, is “one person at a time, starting with me.” It always come back to the individual to adjust our thinking and behavior in order to make a positive impact on the world.

For years what’s been taking place in the world was all too painful for us to even look at because it provokes feelings of shame, dismay, frustration, and hopelessness. But here is what Ernest Holmes writes: In mental work, we must realize that there is One Infinite Mind, which is consciously directing our destiny. Declare every day: “No mistakes have been made, none are being made, and none can be made.” Declare: “There is One Supreme Intelligence which governs, guides and guards, tells me what to do, when to act and how to act.” Having done this in perfect faith, act with perfect assurance.

When a ship gets off course, the captain doesn’t hang his head in shame at having gotten off course. He doesn’t become hopeless and helpless – he recalibrates and sets a new course in the direction he wants to go.

Have we gotten off course with Mother Earth?  Yes. We have. Some say we are beyond hope. So let’s look for a moment at what’s beyond hope. Holmes tells us that “Hope is good; it is better than despair, but it is a subtle illusion and is an unconscious compromise.” Hope lets us continue to do what we do and hope for the best. It’s an illusion. What’s beyond hope is the absolute knowing that the actions we take today toward a world that works for everyone and everything has a profound effect for good in the world.

Scientists and explorers agree that limiting or eliminating our use of disposable plastics and increasing our use of biodegradable resources will be the best way to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.– National Geographic site

What’s beyond hope? The doing of things that move us in the direction we want to go, doing them with commitment, knowing that we are acting in alignment with the Divine Presence within as our guiding, guarding force.

Boyan Slat was 19 years old and loved to scuba dive. He was dismayed by what he saw in some of the most beautiful, remote parts of the ocean. He went directly beyond hope to action: this was unacceptable to him that our oceans are dying from garbage overdose. So he devised a way to actually clean up the garbage patches, using the circular power of the oceans themselves to collect and retrieve the plastics from the ocean and recycle them for a profit. He has a great youtube video on this – search for the Great Pacific Garbage patch and you’ll find some amazing videos on what’s actually being done for good in the world.

During the recent Move the Needle Seminars on Climate Action, a group of us got together to explore how we as a Community can make a difference. We came up with an ambitious project that will truly move the needle on climate action –  getting a ballot initiative to ban the use of plastic bags in Columbus grocery stores. We would be the first non-coastal city in the US to do this, and if we can make this happen, it would set an example to all cities everywhere to follow suit.

We’re working on getting reusable grocery bags made from recycled materials, made in the USA, with our logo on them to carry to the grocery and make the statement that we are a community that cares about the planet. In the meantime, we’ve come up with 10 Simple Commitments that we’ll make over the remaining months of 2016 to increase our consciousness about ways we can make a difference:

March: Give Up Plastic Bags

April: Give Up Plastic Bottles

May: Grow Something (non-GMO!)

June: Bring Your Own Utensils & Doggie Bags

July: Walk vs. Drive

August: Meatless Mondays

September: Buy Local: Shop Local

October: Research Your Candidate’s Position on the Environment

November: Prepare a Meal from Scratch

December: Give a Gift to the Earth
See you around Planet Earth, my friends

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