Dear Vice President Gore

I have been thinking about climate change. Too many people think it is a debate; they don’t see the pictures of the ice caps and don’t understand the science.  This bothers me.

Public discourse does not even mention climate change. “Climate Silence” is current term being mentioned on the internet.  Policy makers are afraid it sounds too dooms day. And granted, it is. We need legislation reducing carbon emissions. But in order for this to happen, we need an educated population that demands legislation.  I think media is the best way to accomplish this goal.

I suggest you, with possibly Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Ney, do a TV show on climate change. Each week you can talk about a piece of science, interviewing researchers and showing pictures of places of the world. The program could encourage individuals to reduce their impact and contact their representatives to get climate legislation on the table.

I was in DC last week and met with a staffer of my House representative for a Quaker Lobby weekend.  The topic in discussion was to reduce of pentagon spending.  I feel kind of ashamed because I didn’t mention climate, and this topic is the weightiest thing on my heart.  I didn’t do it because it is not part of the discourse, thought he would not take me seriously and wanted to focus on one topic highlighted by the Quaker lobbing group that I came there for.  I regret that I did not mentioned this and realized that I should have.

After the An Inconvenient Truth, people saw the data and change started to happen.  Your movie made shifts in the discourse, but currently many people are questioning the science again. And from my experience, many people that do know the science are giving up.  They see it as inevitable, and are less motivated to do something than they were 5 years ago. Even if we go over 3 degrees, as we are projected to do, we need to stop this with serious legislation.  And more importantly we need to live in a society that can talk about our most pressing issues.

I believe with your leadership on the issue, you can educate the general populous and alter the conversation of Climate change.  End the climate silence. I suggest a television show as a means to this end.

I’d watch it.

~Julia

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How should I engage with people who think differently than I do?

In the last two weeks, I have contemplated what it means to be fully engaged, and noticed my complete avoidance of engagement.  I find it difficult to allow myself to be fully immersed in discussion with people who take a different stance than I do, mostly from a political label.  I find it just as difficult to fully immerse myself in discussion with people I hold the same “label” as I do, if not more difficult. The line between these complicated levels of engagement is blurry, and my reaction is to take the easier option, and to focus on the things we do agree about, and to ignore the rest. This closes my heart to understanding why there is disagreement and difference.

About a month ago, on a plane to California, I was sitting next to a man who obviously shared the same political spectrum as me. There was another person in our row, a 15-year-old woman, who was going to visit a friend.  The man was talking about how he was planning on smoking pot when he arrived at home. He turned to me and said, “A little bit of pot never hurt anyone.” I do not have a problem with people who smoke marijuana. I think marijuana should be legalized. However, I do not use it, because I see it how it can be used as a way to escape responsibility in life, and I think it should not be used in excess.  At the time, I just agreed with him. Upon reflection, I see that I should have engaged in conversation with him. I should have expressed my full beliefs. By not speaking, I allowed myself to take the more comfortable option of not engaging in the discussion because I agreed, and thought his opinion was kind of true.  Also, had I actually spoken, it might have made the young woman sitting in the row more comfortable.

Lately I have been exploring areas of tension.  I have sensed something that is leading me to engage in the conversations about Christ among Friends.  The subject of Christ seems like such a taboo topic in many ways.  The Quaker branches have differing views that are often glossed over when the groups get together, because it is more comfortable not to discuss their opinions about Christ.  I am new to the religious Society of Friends, but find that any time I try talking about theology and Christ, the energy shuts down. I have been working with two Friends on planning a Young Adult Friends retreat in January. This involves inviting other branches to talk about our views of Christ.  To start this conversation, I have decided to discuss my own views about why I don’t think I could ever believe that Christ is the Son of God and the “only” way to God. I am not saying this to close discussion, but to show where I am in the discourse, and why I believe what I believe.  I truly appreciate others that think differently than me. I also envy my more conservative Friend’s connection with Spirit, and see something there that I am interested in exploring.  However, I feel limited due to this barrier of avoiding engaging in conversation, I want to open my heart so I can completely engage in this conversation, and learn all that I can about differing opinions, so I can accept and understand others, and grow as a person.