The Bell Tolls for Thee – 400 times

“No man is an island, 400Bellringers 2014-04entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main….any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

The poet John Donne penned those famous lines in a meditation in December 1623. They speak of the interconnectedness of all beings, an idea that has more force today than ever before. As the effects of global warming slam into us, we are finally becoming aware that our “continent” earth is in danger. And so are we all.

For the first time, three years ago our earth’s atmosphere measured 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide, and it still does today, on average.

Carbon dioxide is the main pollutant that causes global warming. Before the industrial age, carbon dioxide levels averaged 275 ppm. Researchers have calculated that the safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 ppm or less. They say more than that “is not compatible with life on earth.” That’s a bell tolling for all of us.

Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere 100 years. The solution is a slow one. It involves reducing our reliance on fossil fuels now.

To raise awareness of our collective predicament and the need for action, UUEstrie is marking Earth Day on Friday, April 22, at 11 a.m., by ringing the church bell 400 times.

Persons who would like to participate in this annual ritual are welcome to gather at UUEstrie’s bell tower on the upper level of the church, on Gagnon Street in North Hatley, just off 201 Main Street. Come a few minutes early for coffee and to get organized for the ringing.

Earth Day is also the topic for the Sunday service, April 24, at 10:30 a.m., at UUEstrie, the Unitarian Universalist Community in North Hatley. For more information, see www.uuestrie.ca, the Facebook page UU Estrie, or call 819-842-4146.

  • Rachel Garber

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