It’s our annual week to explore gratitude and to casually enjoy the company of others before the full waves of holiday hype crash upon us. Good health, family, friends, and material comfort are low-hanging sources of gratitude. As you prepare for or recover from over-feasting or intense family-ing, here’s an assortment of things you might add to your gratitude list before Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales dominate your mental airwaves.

Take a moment to breathe deeply and feel grateful for…

  • our lungs, which contain 300 million balloon-like structures known as alveoli. Go ahead, take another deep breath.
  • the moths that feed the Yellowstone bear, which can consume an average of 40,000 moths a day. At this rate, the bear can consume around one-third of its yearly energy requirements in just a month. 
  • the human femur, which has four times the strength of the same size unit of concrete.
  • the more than 12,000 different ant species that make up a total of 1 million billion ants living on Earth. Why? According to Iowa State University: “Ants are among the leading predators of other insects, helping to keep pest populations low. Ants move approximately the same amount of soil as earthworms, loosening the soil in the process and increasing air and water movement into the ground. They keep the ecosystem clean of dead insect carcasses and aid in the destruction and decomposition of plant and animal matter. By carrying bits of plants and animal remains into their nests, the soil is fertilized and nutrients recycled through the world’s ecosystems. They carry seeds and help plants disperse into new areas.”
  • cougars, who – by eating herbivores with seeds in their stomachs and then leaving scat across a large range – are able to plant about 94,000 plants every year.
  • our hair (regardless of how much remains on your head). In the average lifetime, each of us will grow around 600 miles worth of hair. This is about twice the length of Lake Superior and equivalent to about 428.4 inches per strand of hair.
  • the 30 plants that generate 90% of the foods humans eat – even though there are over 80,000 edible plants in the world.
  • the brain’s storage capacity of 86 billion neurons and 1,000 trillion connections those neurons form with others. Think about that!
  • the orchid Vanilla planifolia, which is the source of one of my favorite flavorings.
  • all of the trees that surround us and redistribute up to 95% of the water they absorb into their roots and leaves. They reduce erosion and flooding and impact microclimates with the powerful cooling effect of their transpiration.

The Climate Action Team is grateful for its members, for all of you who have stopped by and talked with us after a worship service, for those who have checked out a book from our lending library, for those who have donated to the Carbon Offset Fund, for the support of the church’s staff and lay leadership, and for the ongoing efforts of all in the UUCA congregation and larger community to save and savor the Earth.

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JOURNEY WITH US: The Climate Action Team is for you. Yes, you. Because you want to act on your love for the planet and because you need caring companions as you navigate these changing times. Learn all about the group here, and check out our lending library and Carbon Offset Fund. Contact Nicole Haines to connect to the CAT and join us for our next Zoom meeting on Dec. 18 at 7:30 PM using this meeting link.