Tuesday, August 5, 2008

radical hospitality with Chico UU Fellowship

The Chico UU Fellowship embodied radical hospitality all day yesterday, they are a truly amazing bunch of people.

We'll be in Chico learning about groundwater for 24 hours, and in that time they will feed us three meals, give us home hospitality, teach us what they know about groundwater (which is a lot!), tour us around Chico State which is in the top 10 of sustainable campuses in US, and let us help them monitor stream health in Big Chico Creek.

Yesterday morning we rolled into Chico around 10:30, and Barbara (active at Chico UU Fellowship and with League of Women Voters) gave us a crash course in groundwater issues. We learned about the two kinds of water law (surface and ground), three types of water (surface, ground, and paper), and talked about the different costs of water.

California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has a water plan 2009 - google it, check it out. This will affect all of us. Let's learn together!

What do all of us Californians need to do in terms of water? We must:
- live within our means - the supply of water that 'naturally' flows to them
- tell legislators and DWR to fund 'water projects' that enhance the natural systems and protect the source
- conserve
- recycle
- reuse

We also got a chance to go down to the river and pray yesterday. Bob and Margaret took us out to Big Chico Creek, which is incredibly beautiful - I highly recommend jumping into it! We helped them do a healthy stream check, which involved taking stream measurements - depth of water, temperature, and calculating the velocity of stream flow (done with a lemon). I'll try to upload pictures from this.

After that, the Chico folks treated us to a lovely BBQ at the local park, and Bob Hennigan (an orchardist, and husband of Barbara from LWV) talked to us about Integrated Pest Management, which sounds a bit like a hybrid of organic and some pesticides. Basically, what he's doing is figuring out which pests like to eat the pests that are eating up his crops, and he does whatever he can to encourage the 'predator pests.' When and if the crop-eating pests get too out of control, he uses a small amount of pesticide to get rid of some, but not all, of those, so the predator pests can regain control. I'm an organic advocate myself, but I think his method might be more appealing to some kinds of farmers.

We're getting lots of scientific information, but we are tending to the spirit as well. Glenn, Sonya, and Samantha are doing an awesome job of keeping us centered in our UU values. We have spirituality bags (very fun idea! each person brought a brown paper bag filled with three items that inform their spirituality. each day at a meal someone draws out a bag, opens it, and based on what is in there the group tries to guess whose it is), worship every day, and grace at meals. Plus, being out in nature, purifying our spirits with water, deepening our community - it's a beautiful thing.

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