The path that led me to become the 2015 UUSJ Environmental Award recipient began many decades ago. While in high school, I read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. It had a profound effect on me. I was awakened to the negative impact man can have on nature. I felt it was so wrong and I wanted to do something, but did not know what. Instead, I did the typical things people do in life. I went to college, travelled, earned 2 master’s degrees, raised a family, and worked, all the while keeping Rachel Carson’s awareness carefully tucked away inside me. It was not until nearly 40 years after reading Silent Spring did I address the environmental activist inside me.
After attending a couple different churches in Leesburg, VA, I went to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun. Reading through the Order of Service, I was amazed to read the 7th Principle boldly stated in plain view. It was so exhilarating to see a scientific truth embodied in statements of belief! Having earned degrees in biology and environmental sciences, the 7th Principle reverberated through and through me. Here was something to which I could relate through my head and my heart. I felt validated. I found a place where I could feel understood.
Attending UUCL, I learned that members of the congregation were activists for various social issues. So, taking a stand and advocating for it was not unusual. That made it easier for me to act on my convictions. My first foray into activism was over a local water quality issue. I was well supported by other UU’s at a Board of Supervisor’s public input session.
Currently, I am a Climate Change activist and it all began with hosting a film by Bill McKibben at UUCL. McKibben’s message in the film “Do the Math” was so powerful that a local chapter of his international 350.org was formed that evening at UUCL, 350 Loudoun. Attending UUCL gave me the spiritual support and community to become the person I am today, an environmental activist. I now have a broader sense of purpose in my life. I feel more connected to our Earth by advocating for it and sharing my advocacy. Unitarian Universalism has allowed the environmental activist that was buried deep within me emerge and flourish! I am deeply grateful.