Unit 6 Destination Discussion: Hurricane Sandy

Advance Reading: Members of the group should read Chapter Thirteen and the Conclusion of This Changes Everything.


Please read aloud the following quotation from Chapter Twelve:

[blockquote][M]any people are remembering their own cultures’ stewardship traditions, however deeply buried, and recognizing humanity’s role as one of life promotion. The notion that we could separate ourselves from nature, that we did not need to be in perpetual partnership with the earth around us, is, after all, a relatively new concept, even in the West.”[/blockquote]

  • What can we look to in our own past, our own traditions and cultures, which might allow us to participate in this same process of recovery? We can think about this question as UUs, as Americans, or on the basis of our other identities.
  • Drawing on our UU theological inheritance, what elements could allow us to relate positively and non-extractively to the Earth and the natural world?
  • What, if anything, in our religious inheritance might hinder such efforts?


Please have someone from the group read aloud the following quotation from the Conclusion:

[blockquote]I’ve heard the story many times: ‘One day it was just me and my friends dreaming up impossible schemes, the next day the entire country seemed to be out in the plaza alongside us.’ And the real surprise, for all involved, is that we are so much more than we have been told we are—that we long for more and in that longing have more company than we ever imagined.”[/blockquote]

Hope is also a crucial theme in our UU heritage. The theologian James Luther Adams used to speak of his “ultimate optimism” about the human destiny, which he preserved even in the midst of his “immediate pessimism” about the near future.

  • Where does this passage and the rest of the Conclusion leave you? How do you feel at the end of it?
  • Do you find sources of hope in your own thoughts about the future that Klein leaves out?
  • Are there reasons for pessimism that she underestimates, in your view?
  • Do you connect Klein’s hopes for the future and her belief in a greater human capacity for good to our UU heritage?

To end on a lighter note, here’s the political cartoon about climate change that Klein references in Chapter Thirteen:

Cartoon graphic

Additional Materials

The 1962 Australian government film about Nauru mentioned by Klein in chapter five has been made available for free on Youtube. In light of Klein’s account of Nauru’s recent history, its rose-tinted predictions take on a bitter irony:


Here is the Frontline Documentary Klein mentions, which describes the cynical ways that corporations have been exploiting the global market in carbon credits. Ironically, Frontline is sponsored by Shell:


If groups are interested, the story from Men’s Health that Klein references about the chemical pollution that created an artificial gender imbalance on a Canadian First Nations reservation in Canada ( “The Lost Boys of Aamjiwnaang”) can be accessed here:


[print_link] Please note that there are external links to videos, articles, and other resources that you will need internet access for.

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