“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” – Plutarch

The Carbon Smart at Home educational series that concluded this week brought experts to UUCA to teach strategies for lowering a home’s carbon footprint and to explain the ins-and-outs of home solar systems. A panel of congregants also shared their experiences with solar installation, tax credits, and green energy providers. The presentations were instructive, and participants asked technical questions and received clear answers. It underscored how much we have to learn in these changing and increasingly challenging times.

Rather than allow eco-anxiety to paralyze our agency, the Climate Action Team recognizes the usefulness of educating ourselves and the larger community to remain current, well-informed, and present to what’s happening to the planet and to our inner selves. We offer a lending library with over 60 contemporary and classic environmental titles, and we publish posts weekly on this Save & Savor the Earth blog to inform, challenge, and support engagement.

Last week, I wrote: “No more asking, ‘What can I do?’ The answer is already within you, and the resources to help you are everywhere.” Today, I’m listing an assortment of online courses to encourage your exploration. The descriptions of the courses come from the providers, and I’ve noted if the program is offered at no cost. I’ve participated in several of the spiritual offerings listed here and have found them inspiring and well worth the time. What on this list might kindle your fire this fall?

Active Hope Training (free)

Are you concerned about world problems? Do you recognize a mismatch between the size of the problems and the size of the response? Would you like to nourish and strengthen your response so that you’re better able to make a difference in the world? Would you like to help others do this, too? We’re excited to offer this free video-based online course, which you’re welcome to join now. We’ve designed it as a seven-week course that takes you on a journey through seven areas that can nourish our ability to make a difference in the world. While we suggest a week for each module, you can do it at your own pace and take longer if you prefer. The course is produced and presented by Chris Johnstone, co-author of Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power, with contributions from a range of guests that include Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown.

Ecospirituality: Environmental Pathways to Healing (free)

The Earth is being devastated before our own eyes, primarily due to the unsustainable economic, ecological, societal, geopolitical, cultural, and ethical decisions of human civilization. As a result of the injury to our collective home, a complex web of trauma is affecting humanity, frequently in new and unforeseen ways. While there are many who ignore or even profit from our unsustainable consumption, there are little sustainability efforts that rely on technology and even the shared wonder about nature shared by the world’s multiple religious traditions. In this free Graduate Theological Union course, Dr. Rita Sherma is joined by several guest speakers to lead a discussion about how healing the innate connections between humans and their ecosystem requires new definitions of the relationships between ecology, therapy, spirituality, and sustainability.

Awakening the Dreamer (free)

In this free Pachamama Alliance 2-hour course, take an honest look at the challenging state of the world, reflect, and discover opportunities to create a new future where you have a key role to play. You’ll start with an examination of the ways in which the current “dream” of the modern world is impacting the environment, our relationship with one another, and our own sense of purpose. You will explore how this all came to be, and confront the powerful unexamined assumptions that are at the heart of the current crisis we are in—as a species and as a planet. You will come to see that a new future is possible and that a huge, unstoppable movement is already in action, committed to creating a new story for humanity. You’ll look at actions you can take, on your own and with others, and new ways of being that are consistent with your vision and stand.

Gandhian Methods to Sustainable Living and Happiness (free)

A life without stress and anxiety is everyone’s dream chased so dearly! Will we ever fulfill this dream for us and our family? Well, that depends on what approach we follow. Mahatma Gandhi lived an exemplary life wherein he demonstrated real causes of stress. He did not see life in pieces but as an organic entity. So, when we give equal importance to everything, our energy is wisely distributed without causing any imbalance between our inner and outer worlds. In this free Udemy course, we will explore various aspects of Gandhian life and find out doable things in the times we live in. The goal is to be aware of sustainable living and happiness through tiny changes in our life choices.

Game Changer Intensive

To change the game, what’s needed is for a critical mass of citizens to step up, individually and collectively. The Game Changer Intensive from the Pachamama Alliance is a powerful 8-week training program where people come together online to explore who we need to be and what we need to do in order to make a difference in the world. In addition to the coursework – videos, readings, forum discussions, and exercises – participants have the opportunity to meet weekly with fellow participants in guided discussions to explore their role and next steps as game changers in the world.

EcoSattva Training

Evidence of ecological breakdown unfolds all around us, even as the world’s response lags behind the reality of our situation. While we take steps to achieve racial justice, counter totalitarianism, or defend ecosystems, we can also invest in our inner resources. Each of us, with the support of community, can turn toward difficulty and transmute it into wise action. Supported by a diverse and rich set of teachers, we invite you to gather with others online and explore our respective edges, meeting all that arises in us and discovering an authentic way forward. One Earth Sangha’s EcoSattva Training has been specifically designed to support self-paced and self-scheduled participation, with core video teachings, Earth-centered practices, and inquiries. Participate as an individual or member of a small group and then, once a month, join all participants in our live gathering to connect with the global community of EcoSattvas-in-training.

Online Thrive Gardening Academy (free)

Take this free organic gardening course and discover how to nourish your body with the most nutrient-packed veggies and herbs; spend less at the grocery store for better quality food; enjoy the incredible flavor of freshly grown and harvested foods; experience the peace of mind and physical well-being of spending time in the garden; and do your part to green our world by using easy, affordable, organic growing techniques.

Composting – Sustainable Kitchen and Garden Waste Management

In this self-paced online course from Permaculture Haven, you can learn everything you need to know about different composting systems and how to set them up, why composting is so important for the environment and why compost is one of the most important materials in a sustainable Permaculture garden. At the end of this course, you will know all the benefits of homemade compost, how to set up and maintain a healthy composting system, how to choose the right composting method and how to use it in your garden.

Introduction to Environmental Sustainability (free)

This free online Environmental Sustainability course from Alison will teach you about the basics of environmental sustainability. Everything we do affects our environment and the people that live in it. This online course teaches about the varieties of energy and resources found around the world, environmental impacts, transport, sustainable communities, globalization, and fair trade.

The Health Effects of Climate Change (free)

Our world’s climate is changing. Of the top twenty hottest years ever recorded, sixteen have occurred in the last two decades. This warming has already had a profound effect. Many feel powerless in the face of this challenge, but you can make a difference. By looking at air quality, nutrition, infectious diseases, and human migration, this free EdX course will show you how increases in greenhouse gases impact public health. Experts working in a variety of settings will present their recommendations for responding to these challenges, and interested students will have the opportunity to learn about the research methods that measure the health effects of climate change. Created with support from the Harvard Global Health Institute, this course will explain how climate change impacts people around the globe, but also how it directly affects you and your life. Though your risk rises with the rising global temperatures, climate change is a solvable problem, and there are things you can do to mitigate that risk. This course is not an elegy for the planet, but a call to action.

Exploring Sustainable Living and Loving with Mogli (free)

This free FutureLearn course will help you begin or enhance your existing movement towards a more mindful and sustainable lifestyle. Under the guidance of singer, songwriter, and sustainability activist, Mogli, you’ll learn how to embrace a kinder way of living, for both people and planet. You’ll be introduced to tips, ideas, and practices for living a more sustainable lifestyle, reflect on the part you play in consumerism, and consider the impact of your behaviors on the people around you and the planet itself. As you explore key sustainability topics like overconsumption, Earth Overshoot Day, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), you’ll ask what you can do to better care for yourself and your planet. You’ll be introduced to a definition of sustainability that includes self-care and love.

Future Food: Sustainable Food Systems for the 21st Century

What are sustainable food systems? And why are they so important for the future? With this FutureLearn course, you can explore these questions and more. You’ll learn about how our understanding of diet, health, and food production is changing, why food security and sustainable agriculture is essential, and how we can make positive future steps. Food production has transformed our planet. Currently, 40% of the land’s surface is used for agriculture, meaning soils and freshwater are under threat, and fisheries are overexploited. With this sustainable food systems course, you’ll discover why this means that millions of smallholders are facing economic uncertainty, and how just four transnational companies control the global grain supply. You’ll also learn about the global food system as a whole, as you explore everything from individual food choice to the impact of agriculture on climate change.

Can Renewable Energy Sources Power the World? (free)

We ask the question as a response to the growing awareness that increased use of renewable energy technologies is making a major contribution to global efforts to limit anthropogenic climate change. The course begins by examining the environmental concerns that have caused a rise in interest in renewable energy, introducing the main sources and technologies, and describing global efforts to increase the share of renewables. This free Open University course then looks at each of the principal renewable energy technologies and the contributions they might make to global energy demand. Finally, several future energy scenarios are analyzed to show how combinations of renewable energy sources and technologies could provide a major share of global energy needs.

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JOURNEY WITH US: The Climate Action Team invites you to join us for our monthly Zoom gatherings and quarterly in-person programs. We work to educate, advise, advocate, and collaborate and are proud to be a Green Team with Georgia Interfaith Power & Light. We meet next on Monday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 PM. Contact Nicole Haines at hip2bveg@gmail.com to receive the Zoom link and to see agendas and minutes from our recent meetings. 

FUNDS AVAILABLE: Our Carbon Offset Fund accepts donations at any time, and we encourage you to consider a gift after you’ve taken a flight or an extended road trip. The fund is now ready to offer grants. Read more here and consider working with another member or church group to prepare a grant request. We can’t wait to fund innovative projects!