Learning more about our society’s dependency on fossil fuels and how we can change this model has been very exciting in my work with Fossil Fuel Free Denver. The Fossil Fuel Free Denver mission is to work to end the use of fossil fuels in the city of Denver and offer a better quality of life to its citizens through engaging in and fostering civil conservation with decision makers, and conveying the necessity, the viability, and the attractiveness of ending our use of fossil fuels. I used research methods such as, online research, attending meetings, and participating in public awareness efforts, to learn more about this organization. I anticipated my research would reveal information about the history of the organization, further knowledge of their mission and message, and the different methods and strategies they use in the political arena. The results of my research showed that Fossil Fuel Free Denver is a fairly new organization and a sub-committee of CO-Force, an organization focused on achieving fair utility rates and clean energy for Coloradoans. Fossil Fuel Free Denver connects with citizens by raising awareness for their organization. They achieve this in different ways such as passing out business cards during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Marade, participating in the Eco Justice Ministries climate change rally, and many other public events. Research has also shown that the main way in which Fossil Fuel Free Denver engages in politics is through lobbying. Their organizational meetings focus on sharing the results from conversations with Denver decision makers and targeting new decision makers to talk with and share their mission. For the future I think Fossil Fuel Free Denver should produce some literature that lays out simple ways everyday people can reduce their fossil fuel usage. I believe passing something like that out at events rather than just business cards would be better at raising awareness for this problem and influence people to make those simple changes in their life. Working with Fossil Fuel Free Denver has shown me how powerful lobbying can be at engaging both citizens and policy makers if your cause is just and I hope to continue Fossil Fuel Free Denver’s mission by reducing my use of fossil fuels as much as I can while encouraging others to do the same.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Sunday, February 24, 2013
The issue at hand is gun violence, and the solutions seem to be varied. Unfortunately, there have been 31 mass shootings since Columbine in 1999. In addition to the mass shooting at the theater and Colorado and adding the Sandy Hook massacre, it makes approximately 32 mass shootings. This number is alarming even though nearly 14 years have passed, but there should be no mass shootings at all. In 2012, 70 people were killed in mass shootings and another 72 were injured. It is overwhelming to see these numbers of people killed and hurt by guns and especially mass shootings. Research into each mass shooting case looks into where the gun or guns come from that the shooter has used to commit such a violent act. Many times, the shooter doesn’t own their weapon of choice which makes it more difficult to control who is allowed to purchase or handle a gun. In addition to ownership of weapons, the fact of an identified mental illness will be considered in allowing individuals to own a weapon. In regards to research methods for this engaging politics assignment, it will be done through attending meetings, bill hearings, and other Colorado Ceasefire related events that will help me to broaden my understanding of the entire situation about gun violence and the ways to end it.
With hopes to find out ways the Colorado government intends to end gun violence through their bills and laws, and a strong interest in the bills that will go through the legislature about gun violence and what both sides are saying about the issue. With a desire to attend different types of events and gatherings that deal with gun violence and Colorado Ceasefire, this will assist in the increased knowledge and understanding of gun violence and specifically laws according to Colorado. Understanding different points of view and how different people plan to tend to this problem will be vital in determining the results of this engaging politics project. With this project, an expansion of a knowledge base about the legislature and how it works will be gained, especially around these different types of gun bills. A strong focus will be put on the ways in which Colorado Ceasefire and other organizations go about changing the current laws and adding new laws regarding gun violence. This will be done through attending meetings, bill hearings, and Colorado Ceasefire gatherings. This issue is important to me personally because my father is big into hunting and I will be getting my hunter’s license but the tragedy of mass shootings and shootings in Colorado and the ones involving children, have hit hard to me because I couldn’t imagine losing a family member but also I agree that it’s important to be cautious about who is able to own a weapon.
Monday, February 18, 2013
For my engaging politics assignment I have been following and going to events to learn more about the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. It is a community of faith organization that promotes justice, diversity, respect and opportunity for all. I became interested in this organization because of their current involvement with the civil unions bill and all of the work they have done to support and promote it in the past.
I am very much in favor of supporting equality for same sex couples and was very interested in getting involved. I plan to attend various breakfasts, lunches and other one on one meetings as a guest of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, in order to find out more about what is being done to support civil unions. I will also be working with Jeremy Shaver, the executive director, to find out more about the organization. I have learned that Interfaith Alliance does not only support equality for LGBT individuals, but that they are also strong advocates for immigration reform and women’s reproductive rights.
From what I have learned in speaking with Jeremy thus far about Interfaith Alliance, I have found that it is so important to become involved within your state. Our senators hold more power than I think most people realize. We need to get involved in order to make a difference and a change. I know that I will continue to do so because of this experience.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Abrahamic Initiative at St John’s Episcopal Cathedral: Explore a 200-year old Torah- Claudia Villarreal
Thanks to the Abrahamic Initiative, I had the opportunity to be part of a big moment in history. I was able to see two sister Czech scrolls get together: Torah #600 and #1118. These Torahs (Hebrew Scriptures) have a number because during World War II, some Nazis decided to store them and put a tag to numerate them. This experience was amazing because I saw how Jews are moved when they see a Torah; through their eyes you can see the love and the connection to these sacred ancient scriptures. These scrolls survived war, holocaust, they are what links the Jews back to their ancestors that suffered so much, and also link them to their ancestor’s teachings. The hours of this event have impacted my life. I felt the energy when I touched the wood on the scrolls. Even more, I understood why Jews are so peaceful after so much pain, because these scrolls gave so much peace to the soul and spirit.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
I think I spent a good 4 or 5 hours perusing all of the art at a visit to the Denver Art Museum. It was so cool! My favorite floor was the Asian Exhibit where they had a section completely about Buddhism. I am studying Buddhism a little more closely in my Religion class, so I really enjoyed being able to see art from that religion. Some of the art was hundreds of years old, so it was incredible to see it right in front of me. I talked to one of the museum curators and we discussed a little bit about Buddhism and some of the art. I really hope to return to the museum before I leave for the semester.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
On November 11th, I attended a meditation service at St. Paul Methodist Church here in Denver. After having some herbal teas, we were lead in meditation by a student from the local ILIFF School of theology. It was a very relaxing experience. Afterwards, there was a discussion about the concept of interfaith. My idea of ‘interfaith’ is best expressed through the metaphor, “There are many paths up the same mountain”. (I first read this metaphor in the Hinduism chapter of a book we are reading in religion class- “The world’s religions” by Huston Smith). The student leading the discussion expressed his disproval of that idea by explaining that it can potentially lead to us projecting our views onto others. He explained that in his own view of interfaith, we aren’t necessarily all moving towards the same goal. One woman in the group thanked the student for sharing this obscure idea of interfaith with the group, because she felt the same way. She explained that she felt her own deep Christian faith allows her to better understand other faiths and see all people as members of her own community. This experience has certainly broadened my understanding of the word ‘interfaith’. I am fascinated by the idea of interfaith communities. I am interested in potentially starting an interfaith group back on campus—somewhere that people from different faith traditions can learn about one another in a safe environment.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
On Sunday October 6th, I attended a Methodist church service at Shorter African Methodists Episcopal Church. It was a longer service that lasted for about three hours, which gave me a new idea on what it really meant to praise Jesus. There was standing up, hand gestures, and everyone spoke their mind when the preacher was talking. These outward expressions of faith are new to me personally since I come from a more reserved background that is Lutheran. The few hundred congregants that attended the service really made the place fill up with a great atmosphere. This was a very new and eye opening experience that I was able to achieve because of the interesting topic of world religions for one of our classes at Wartburg West.