Commit2Respond: Week 3 Reflection
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
From March 22 - April 22, the UUMA Staff is joining with UUs across the country for Climate Justice Month, sponsored by Commit2Respond. Each week, one of our staff members will post their reflections on one of the suggested practices from the week. Intersted in joining us for Climate Justice Month? Click here for more information.
Week Three comes from Director of Administration, Janette Lallier
Like so many Gen Xers I grew up with perhaps one of the most lasting television series of our generation - Sesame Street. Being someone who finds her greatest comfort in community, I was drawn to the concept of a place where people knew and looked out for each other. As a child I looked to my community of friends and family to know how to act and how to make sense of the world. As a young adult I began to wonder what the community would be looking to me for, and more importantly what they would see. I spent a lot of time wondering what my generation would stand for – what would be our cause. Before us young people had taken to the streets to protest against war, to seek racial justice, and around the world students were taking a stand for basic human rights. All of these things seemed a world away from my suburban Connecticut home.
My first job was in the children’s room of my local library. After some time I stepped into doing programming for the children. One of my favorite themes quickly became our planet – the new buzz words “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” became my banner. This, I decided and began to preach to those who found themselves at our programs, was our generation’s cause. This was what Generation X (A generation many said had nothing to be branded by – a throw away generation!) could give to our shared community. It seemed a bit of a hopeless cause. People were more concerned with what could be bought and enjoyed rather than reused and cherished. A few decades later consumerism still has a strong hold on our community but it seems less radical to separate your trash, to carry your own grocery bags, to car pool, or even to compost.
Although I sometimes wonder if anything we are doing in the name of caring for the planet will make a difference I have to once again look to generations who came before. Those at the beginning of other movements perhaps shared the same doubts and for sure their struggles did not put an end to the injustice the sought to correct. But they did make a difference. By taking a stand they made a shift in how we think and moved us one step closer to that which we all seek. I hope Generation X has had some impact in changing the way we think about our environment and I pray that as we move forward we will continue to carry the banner and inspire future generations to take up the cause.
Today I have planted my banner on Sesame Street! In my uptown New York neighborhood (there is some dispute whether Sesame Street is modeled on the Upper West Side or the Lower East Village) my neighbors know and care for one another. Walking down the street I can be greeted by the pharmacist, the owner of the Pizzeria, or the young girl who bags groceries. We share our cultures and languages and concerns for the future. Although we sometime clash in our ideas about how to take care of our shared space – the neighborhood is better off than it was 20 years ago. We have more trees and parks, we separate our trash, we talk about where our energy comes from and, on our best days, we share our resources with one another. On my stoop we solve the problems of the world – or at least our little corner of it.