San Francisco day 2 – Dec 8

Hi all – sorry been a few days until I could get back to the computer.

Yesterday was a day of travelling (mostly) – Amtrak bus/train from L.A. to San Francisco.  Great way to see the country.  Met a lovely Amtrak worker in the dining car who was so lovely and chatty.  Also met a lovely local traveller who worked in construction with her husband, who worked on green houses made of concrete with Styrofoam insulation built-in.  These houses need little or no heating or cooling due to the thick walls and built-in insulation.  Very interesting chat.

Today was a great day of meeting and greeting, but busy!!
Julia and I are staying in the visitors flat in the Chapter House at Grace Cathedral – a wonderful spot.  The offices of the Dean and all staff are just down the hall and the offices of the Bishop of California are next door.  God is good!  I’m trying to make most of this most wonderful gift.

It is a humbling thought to think through the great minds that may have stayed in this apartment over the years, and then… me…!!??  Crazy.  The Cathedral is an amazing place.  The motto here is inclusive, inclusive, inclusive. Compared with Australia, everything is so open, especially when it comes to interfaith issues and sexuality.  As many of you may know (and some have told me), there is an interfaith AIDS memorial chapel in Grace – a symbol of the inclusive,  open nature of this place.  The staff have told of many stories of people seeing this place as a haven, a place where they can escape from the mistakes that the world AND THE CHURCH have made throughout the ages.

The Cathedral has a Cathedral school for boys next door and I have been able to make contact with staff of the school, tying in my interest in primary education/chaplaincy and sustainability.  The school have a student greenteam and also a parent/staff greenteam.  They even employ a staff-member part-time for this work.

San Francisco is such a hub for things like this, it seems, and that is just one small example.  The Diocese of California has a Environmental Justice Missioner employed to promote these causes. Unfortunately (for me!), he is away at an environmental conference in the Dominican Republic, so I am not able to meet him (on this trip anyhow! :-))  See for more information on the NATIONAL environmental network in the U.S.

A few days ago, I commented on the water issues in L.A. – a concern for the residents and environment alike. Thank you for the further information that some of you have provided to me.  It seems like there is so much inconsistency here (as in Australia!)  Some things they seem to do quite well and others not.  It is interesting to note the small differences – Australia – duel flush toilets, America, no (not that I’ve seen as yet, and the lady on the train hadn’t heard of them).  America  – sensors on all public toilet basins to save water and ALL urinals are low-flow or no water – Australia, well this is a mix too, but we have been slow on the uptake of these technologies.

As it has been pointed out, and must be said here, Australia and America are about the same in terms of per capita carbon emissions, ranking 12th and 11th place in the world as the HIGHEST producers of per capita CO2 (according to the International Energy Agency).  America 18.9 tons, Australia, 17.9.  The United States has reduced this figure from the figure in 1990 – Australia has INCREASED its figure from the figure in 1990. While some people that I have chatted today are not hopeful in this improving, many remain hopeful, and are working tirelessly in the cause for environmental justice.  I have been learning a little more about the politics here – a big factor of course, and very different to Australia, but there is, of course, so much to learn.

Later in the week – community garden projects, school greenteams, food pantries, meetings with clergy and daily worship at Grace (as today).

Please pray for peace for us both as we adjust to a different and full-on and busy country (and food too – hard to get my protein intake as a vege!!) — but loving being here.  Praise be to God: Eternal Creator, Word and Spirit.

Published by Christopher Golding

Australian ex-pat, vegan priest, spouse, and parent of two | School Chaplain of Seabury Hall, Maui, Hawai'i (All opinions my own)

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