A year ago,
hundreds of thousands of people
marched in the People’s Climate March
to let world leaders know
we want them to commit
to reducing carbon emissions
and reduce global warming,
lessening climate change.
More than 300 of us marched
in downtown Oklahoma City
that beautiful September  day.



This coming weekend,
on the eve of the UN Climate Summit in Paris,
we are marching again.
As climate change increases,
as the temperatures reach ever-higher records,
as CO2 in the atmosphere reaches 400
(the Earth can only withstand 350 parts per million,)
as we discover that all the “climate denial”
was manufactured and funded by fossil fuel companies,
as air pollution in China is at its worse,
this is the greatest chance ever
for world leaders to agree to commit
to reducing carbon emissions.
The Global Climate March supports
that effort.
In Oklahoma City we will march on Sunday,
November 30. Gathering at 2 p.m.,
at Bicentennial Park,
on the east side of the Civic Center.
Music and speaking and tables of information
begin at 2 p.m. We will march in downtown Oklahoma City
at 3 p.m. Those who want to stay in the park
during the march
are invited to bring lawn chairs.


We will carry the Turtle Rock Farm banner
and we will have a table where you can pick up
a green ribbon.

Green ribbon poster 1

Green ribbons are to be worn each day
during the Paris Summit, Nov. 30-Dec. 11.
Also each day during the summit,
we will participate in another
of the Earth Holder activities.
Every morning at 7:35,
we will gather on the south side
of Angie Smith Chapel,
on the Oklahoma City University campus,
and participate in the Global Climate Prayer—
a walking meditation
for and with Earth. We will end by 8 a.m.
All are welcome to join us,
any day,
or every day.

Thich Nhat Hanh:

We think that the earth is the earth and we are something outside of the earth. But in fact we are inside of the earth. Imagine that the earth is the tree and we are a leaf. The earth is not the environment, something outside of us that we need to care for. The earth is us. Taking care of the earth, we take care of ourselves.

When we see that the earth is not just the environment, that the earth is in us, at that moment you can have real communion with the earth. But if we see the earth as only the environment, with ourselves in the center, then we only want to do something for the earth in order for us to survive. But it is not enough to take care of the earth. That is a dualistic way of seeing.

We have to practice looking at our planet not just as matter, but as a living and sentient being. The universe, the sun, and the stars have contributed many elements to the earth, and when we look into the earth we see that it’s a very beautiful flower containing the presence of the whole universe. When we look into our own bodily formation, we are made of the same elements as the planet. It has made us. The earth and the universe are inside of us.

One of Thich Nhat Hanh’s
walking meditations,
to be said in silence
walking slowly,
(perhaps one step for an in-breath,
one step for an out-breath)
feeling the solidity
of Earth under our feet:
Breathing in, Mother Earth is breathing in with me.
Breathing out, Mother Earth is breathing out with me.

Meditating with Earth
is a huge contribution
to the health of life on the planet.
Again, Thich Nhat Hanh:

…to meditate is the most basic, crucial thing we can do. To meditate is to give ourselves a chance to free ourselves from despair, to touch non-fear, and to nurture our compassion. With the insight and fearlessness born from meditation, we will be able to help not only ourselves, but also other species, and our planet.

We can breathe with the Earth and we can breathe for the Earth. Many of us are so caught up in our plans, fears, agitations, and dreams that… we’re not in touch with..Earth. We can’t see all the miraculous beauty and magnificence that Mother Earth ceaselessly offers to us. We live in a world of imagination and we become increasingly alienated. Returning to our breathing brings body and mind back together and reminds us of the miracle of the present moment. Mother Earth is right here at every moment, all around us – so powerful, generous, and supportive; so patient, accepting and compassionate, and with an immense capacity to transform. Once we recognize these qualities in Mother Earth, we can take refuge in her in difficult moments, making it easier for us to embrace our fear and suffering and to transform it.

With the practice of breathing, we can regain our freedom. We are no longer helpless. We regain our sense of gratitude and reverence for the Earth.


We hope you will march
with us Sunday
(Dress warmly—we hear
a change in the climate
is on its way!)
And join us
for the Climate Prayer,
at OCU.

A city cat
chose a sunny spot
in the food forest
the afternoon
of this first-freeze,
late-Novemer Sunday.


By then
sun had warmed the chill
and the cat wasn’t the only one
out among the sunlight and the trees.
We humans too
were out—
some in Oklahoma City’s Edgemere Park—
taking in the flabbergasting beauty,
the mystery,
the wonder;
gratefully bearing briefly
the unkeepable impact—
that soaring vigor raging in the chest—
when standing amid light and leaf.


I changed my city sit spot.
I thought it was in the food forest,
under the umbrella of trees
and amid the undergrowth.
But then, a few mornings ago,
I was in the urban farm before anyone else
and I sat down on a half-log
that serves as a bench
and before long
and it was like coming home,
like sitting on my front porch
at the other farm,
Turtle Rock Farm, up north.
It felt so good
to feel in the city
what I feel at the farm.


Female Red-Winged Blackbird




I watched and listened to Mockingbird
and Robin, chirp and eat Juniper berries.
I watched three gulls
flying high in lazy circles
in the gorgeous, cloudless blue sky.
When they caught the sun
at a certain angle
their white feathers
shined silver.
I watched a female Red-Winged Blackbird
(I think) and Sparrows play
on the high line pole.
I watched a squirrel scamper across
a high line wire,
with trips into the trees.
The afternoon sun was warm,
the breeze soft
the light golden,
shadows long.

View of CommonWealth Urban Farm from new sit spot

Evidently it’s true what they say:
Your sit spot
finds you.

They came,
concerned and discouraged
about future life on the planet.
After a day together
deeply engaged
in the work
of the Deep Ecology Deep Hope retreat,
they left,
committed and encouraged.

DSCN8696The Cosmic Walk

DSCN8699The Truth Mandala

One of the exercises
we participate in
during the Deep Ecology
Deep Hope retreat
is the Mirror Walk.
One person closes her eyes
and the other person guides
her to something in nature,
invites the closed-eyes-one
to touch it,
then to get up close to it
and open her eyes
as the guide says,
“Open your eyes
and look in the mirror.”
We did this exercise Saturday
and then talked about our experiences.
When I asked,
what did you feel when your guide
asked you to look in the mirror,
everyone laughed: “Oh,
we forgot that part!”
This happens with every group
every time we do this exercise,
even though, by now, I’ve learned
to stress this part. During the instructions
I say, repeatedly, “When you ask them
to open their eyes, say, ‘Open your eyes
and look in the mirror.”
Rarely does this happen, which helps me realize
how deeply it is embedded in us—
Western, non-indigenous people—
that we are separate from the natural world.
How much hope I have,
that in the evolution of humanity
when we come to understand deeply—
like our indigenous sisters and brothers—
that we are part of the natural world,
we will make changes in our lives
so that all life
can flourish.

The day after the change
to Daylight Savings Time,
we gathered as Earth rolled up
and sun disappeared,
outside the Jim Thorpe building,
which houses the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
In less than a month—December 1—
the Commission will hold a hearing
about OG&E’s request to charge tariffs
for individuals and businesses
that use solar panels to create energy.
During an Interfaith Prayer Vigil
sponsored by the Oklahoma Interfaith Power and Light,
the Oklahoma United Methodist Environmental Coalition
and the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House,
people from several faith communities
joined in prayer, readings and song.

Many earths  will be required
to support humanity if we don’t reduce our carbon footprint.

DSCN8637Peace House Director Nathaniel Batchelder standing by Earth
outside the Jim Thorpe Building

DSCN8642Bob Waldrop, of the Catholic Worker House, with Pope Francis

DSCN8647Mark Davies, co-chair of the Oklahoma Environmental Coalition
leads readings and introduces interfaith prayers

DSCN8654Chebon Kernell sings and prays from the indigenous peoples’ traditions

Kris Ladusau prays from the Buddhist tradition

Imam Imad Enchasi prays from the Muslium tradition

Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Oklahoma Peace House
leads the song “Touch the Earth Lightly”


Here’s the prayer Pat lead:

May we be in an attitude of reflection.
Out of nothing,
creation came forth and created a world of galaxies
in which a collision of hydrogen and helium
spawned the fiery cauldrons that are stars—
stars that burn over 100 billion degrees
as they blaze out in supernova explosion s
with the brilliance of a hundred billion stars
and from which the nuclei of all the elements of the universe
are created.
In the supernova explosion
that birthed the star that we call Sun
and the small planets
that rotate around her,
came life on planet Earth.
This is a world
in which a star a million times larger than Earth
burns so much of its self,
that there is life on our planet home, 93 million miles away.
Sun’s warmth and light give everything that breathes on Earth
the possibility for its next breath.

In silence, may we stand in awe of this stupendous, magnificent, wondrous miracle that is life.

In silence may we stand in gratitude for life on Earth, life with each other and with all creation, powered by the sun.

May we be in an attitude of lament.
Too often
we are blind
to the miracles of creation,
and deaf
to the cries of injustice.
May our eyes open,
to see the beauty of the world.
May our ears open
to hear the cry of the earth.
May our hearts open
to care for all living things.
May we be lifted
from despair to hope,
from apathy to action,
from indifference to compassion.
May the Impetus for Life
lift us and heal us,
for love’s sake.[i]

May we be in an attitude of contemplation.
Can a butterfly in China
affect the trajectory of a tornado
in North America?
Will aerosol sprayed in London
mean skin cancer in Australia?
Or a road trip across Oklahoma
add to hurricanes in the Caribbean?
We know each nation’s carbon
will affect all someday.
The details may elude us
but all our actions matter
in this great web of life.
For this complex living planet
does not know divided nations.
The lovely blue marble that is Earth
simply needs co-operation
to house human populations.[ii]

Wondrous, Mysterious Impetus for Life…
we hold in our hearts and minds
planet Earth and all that compromises
the flourishing of life.
We pray for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Grant them insight to perceive that Earth is at risk.
Grant them the vision to see the implications of burning fossil fuel.
Grant them compassion for all life that suffers due to climate change.
Grant them the wisdom to take those actions that will reduce carbon emissions.
Grant them courage and empower them to create an environment in Oklahoma where the free and priceless energy of the sun can provide the carbon-free power needed for all to thrive.
We pray for ourselves.
Grant us hearts that love creation in all its aspects.
Grant us courage to acknowledge our failure to care.
Grant us compassion for all who suffer due to climate change
and the courage and will to bring about a better and fairer world.[iii]

[i] Fiona van Wissen, in A Heart for Creation, edited by Chris Polhill. P. 87
[ii] Adapted from Polhill, p. 149 (by Chris Polhill)
[iii] Adapted from Polhill, p. 151 (by John Polhill)


12112059_1212332732115808_2512906843229288837_nEarth Huggers:
Oklahoma Sierra Club state director Johnson Bridgwater and Pat

To write a letter to the editor
and to send an email letter to
the Corporation Commission,
click on the Oklahoma Sierra Club’s

When it came time to get the word out
about CommonWealth Urban Farm’s neighborhood potluck,
a flier was created
and placed on a facebook event page
and emailed to friends. The flier
was also copied
and handed out door-to-door
in a six block area around the urban farm.
It has been a long time
since I went door to door in the city.
It was a very different experience
from inviting facebook friends
by sitting at my laptop in my house,
clicking on their names. I met
new people,
sometimes we chatted awhile;
we smiled and were friendly
with each other. I loved it:
walking the neighborhood
in autumn, beneath golden and copper-colored
trees, greeting people,
inviting them to a potluck picnic
in the garden.

Hurray! It rained most of the day Friday.
Saturday dawned damp, misty, cool.
Still, people came for the Saturday morning
Garden School. They made compost sifters
out of recycled wood and new screen.
It was dry and autumn-cool
when we sat up the tables for lunch,
and neighbors, supportive friends and food
began to arrive. David and Clem Braden
played guitar and mandolin;
David sang. Sweet neighborliness
broke out all over the place. Music, food
conversation. I didn’t see one single cell phone

DSCN8603  DSCN8610
Food and neighbors continued to arrive.
Lia gave a tour of the garden.
Several adults and one child
set out to gather items
during the nature scavenger hunt.
The little girl finished first
and judged the order of when the others
would collect their prizes. Everyone
won that way.


By mid-afternoon,
guests were gone,
tables, chairs put away.
But we who live in the CommonWealth
Urban Farm neighborhood
will for a long time
feel the sweet support
of community.

OG&E has applied to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission
to levy four new tariffs
to residential and business customers
who have solar panels.

The proposed residential TOU tariff (R-TOU-kW) includes a monthly customer charge ($18.00), a demand charge ($2.68/kW), on-peak ($0.173/kWh) and off-peak energy charges ($0.0137/kWh), and fuel charges.

The proposed commercial TOU tariff (COM-TOU-kW) includes a monthly customer charge ($34.75), a demand charge ($3.30/kW), on-peak ($0.1875/kWh) and off-peak energy charges $0.0143/kWh), and fuel charges.

In addition, if the customer generates more solar power
than they use that month,
they will not receive any compensation
for net access. (This is also true of Kay Rural Electric cooperative,
which services Turtle Rock Farm,
where both of our houses have solar panels.)

The Oklahoma legislature made this tariff possible
by passing packaged legislation presented by ALEC
last legislative session. One U.S. utility company,
has already levied demand charges on solar customers.
In that state, solar installations have decreased
by 98 percent. Of course, people have lost jobs as well.

Making the transition from burning fossil fuel,
which causes global warming and climate change,
to alternative fuels is financially painful
for some; many in Oklahoma.
But so was ending slavery.
Both transitions were/are moral imperatives.
This time,
moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy
is about revering life on this planet.

The powerful fossil fuel industry
is going to great lengths
to prevent development of renewable energy.
In Oklahoma, fossil fuel company executives
and university presidents
serve on each others’ boards of directors,
with compensation close to that of the salaries
of the university presidents.
Bloomberg News reported earlier this year
that Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm,
a major donor to OU (and OU President David Boren
sits on the CR board) told an OU dean
that he wanted certain OU scientists dismissed
who were studying the links between
oil and gas activity
and the 400-fold increase in Oklahoma earthquakes.
The state’s top seismologist, Austin Holland,
was called into “a little bit intimidating” meeting
with Hamm in Boren’s office.
This summer Holland left Oklahoma to go to work
as a supervisory geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey
Seismic Lab in Albuquerque, NM.

And this week comes the revelation
from Inside Climate News and the LA Times
that in the 1980’s Exxon scientists told Exxon executives
that climate change is real,
dangerous and caused by fossil fuels.
Exxon’s climate models accurately predicted
the global temperatures that have occurred since.
But Exxon executives publicly cast doubt
that climate change is real, insisted
the planet is cooling, and funded campaigns
to manufacture doubt about climate change
that its own scientists had confirmed as real.

So, Oklahoma,
we invite everyone to participate
in three events this week
that we are participating in.
Monday evening, 5:30-7, there will be
an Interfaith Prayer Vigil for Solar in Oklahoma
outside the Corporation Commission offices,
Jim Thorpe Building, 2101 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City.

And Thursday evening at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral,
Pat will present the spiritual foundation for environmental care
as one of three panelists during
An Evening of Conversation: Climate Change is Real.
Other panelists are Cimarron Presbytery Stated Clerk Deborah Meinke,
presenting the science,
and Jim Roth, Murrah Law Firm,
talking about what we in Oklahoma can do.
Rev. Tim Luschen, Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, is moderator.
6:30 p.m.
127 NW 7th Street., Oklahoma City.
The event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, at 10 a.m., at St. Paul’s Cathedral,
Oklahoma Conference of Churches is holding
a news conference in which,
in advance of the UN Climate Summit
in Paris beginning November 30,
representatives of many faith traditions in Oklahoma
will speak to the necessity of nations to commit
to lowering carbon emissions.

Back at Turtle Rock Farm,
we, who have long lived in—
and yes, benefited from—
an oil and gas field,
are thrilled to welcome a wind farm
that will stretch twenty miles
from Billings to Bressie.
It is our understanding that this wind farm
will supply energy
to the currently coal-fired
Sooner OG&E plant.


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