Saturday, March 6, 2021

Book and Podcast Recommendations: All We Can Save


Podcasts keep my mind learning while my hands work in the greenhouse and gardens. Thre have meant a lot to me lately, as well as a book that is beautifully assembled and blazingly hopeful.

First the podcasts. Living on Earth has been around for awhile. It’s a weekly go-to source for coverage of climate change, ecology, and human health, hosted by Steve Curwood. It has a lot of different segments in each episode with news and interviews.

Second, How to Save a Planet, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a marine biologist, is a newer show for those hungry for climate news focused on fascinating weekly topics, with in-depth interviews with a variety of people engaged in planet-saving enterprises: kelp farmers, native tribal leaders, electricity experts, Black Lives Matter leaders, Republican legislators, Gina McCarthy…. You never know who will turn up there and where the thought-provoking, fast-moving conversation will go. Notes for each show include doable calls to action.

And a third podcast for the climate curious, A Matter of Degrees, is hosted by Dr. Leah Stokes, a political scientist and author of Short Circuiting Policy, and Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, vice president at Project Drawdown, a climate solutions resource.

And the beautiful book: All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis is edited by two of the podcasters–Ayana Johnson (of How to Save a Planet) and Katharine Wilkinson (of A Matter of Degrees). All the essays and poems are by women from multiple ethnic backgrounds and professional specialties who stand together at the forefront of the climate movement, “harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.” They include such prominent climate women as Katharine Hayhoe, Gina McCarthy, and Naomi Klein, as well as poets like Mary Oliver and Alice Walker, and introduce you to many more besides. If you choose to download it as an audio book, there is a further joy: some of the essays are read by Jane Fonda and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The essays are sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, always deep, always thoughtful. And having co-edited an all-female book myself (After Exegesis: Feminist Biblical Theology), I am deeply appreciative of this kind of effort to raise feminist voices.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Inhabiting Eden has moved!

 As of March, 2021, this website has moved. You can find it here at https://www.inhabitingeden.org/.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

2020 in Solar Power

Given everything else that 2020 brought, Don and I are grateful to have moved into our zero-energy home before Covid grounded everyone. When everything shut down last March, my son and daughter-in-law, school principals in Miami, packed their four-year-old daughter Soraya in the car and drove to Indiana to stay with us and work remotely while Soraya and I played for five straight months. She had a blast, and so did her cousin who lives here, June. 

 

During those months Don and I developed our infrastructure. We built a dock, put up more cedar fences and fruit trellises, started composting horse manure from a neighbor, planted our first full year’s garden, built a treehouse, and planned the greenhouse that we finished as winter began.

 

I was eager to find out whether our house would truly turn out to be net-zero energy as we hoped. And here was the 2020 result:

Most months, from April through November, our 7.9 kw solar panel system generated more than we used. In the course of a year, it made 10,530 kilowatt hours of power, 15% more than expected. Our all-electric house, powering three extra people Zooming through spring and summer, AND my Chevy Bolt, AND Don’s electric assist bike, used 11,049 kWhs of energy, less than 1½ more per day than we generated. We were living comfortably, hosting family, driving to town and biking to work for a year on less power than we had used in a single week in our old house, after all the energy conservation measures that had cut our power use in half. Not only are the panels working, but the house itself, which is made to conserve energy fiercely, is doing what it was built to do. This is where the U.S., and the world, hopes and needs to go by 2050: renewably produced energy powering buildings and transportation. Given the will to invest in the future, it can indeed be done.

Here is a link to the beautiful showcase of our home and panels on the website of Solar Energy Solutions, our installer, whom we highly recommend (tell them we sent you!).

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Recreating Eden: A Podcast, and Other Opportunities

OK, apologies again for not keeping this blog up to date, and again, I'll try to do better. You'd think that Covid life would help, but I've actually been pretty busy.

By way of remorse, I'll mention three events I'm involved in:

First, tomorrow evening, January 25, at 7:30 Eastern/6:30 Central, I'm giving a Zoom presentation hosted by Tri-State Interfaith Creation Care in Evansville, starring our wonderful net-zero home. It's called Building and Living Green: Climate-Healthy Homes in Southern Indiana. Register and get the Zoom link by emailing: tristate.creation.care@gmail.com. Here's the flyer. 

Second, ongoing in January, a four-week Zoom class, currently called Presbyterians and the Climate Crisis. We're planning to offer it again, expanding beyond Presbyterians to other denominations and faiths, in April for Earth Month. Its goal is to engage hearts, minds and spirits to recognize the urgency of the climate crisis and inspire individuals and churches to take action to address this crisis, action that has been called for by the Presbyterian Church (USA) and other denominations and religious groups. Major focus is on environmental justice and on carbon fee and dividend legislation. If you are interested in getting more information for April, contact me at trishatull@gmail.com.

And third, a podcast! Kyle Kramer, executive director at the Earth and Spirit Center in Louisville, interviewed me recently about the Bible's support for creation care and about our zero-energy home, and you can find it here. Please enjoy, and send comments if you wish. 

Finally, pics of our new greenhouse, where we are growing our winter salad.