This Board member profile is one of a series that will roll out from now through the early fall. Board members are active PA IPL volunteers who live and serve across Pennsylvania. Rachel Mark is a charter board member, and was re-elected to the Board for a second 3-year term in October 2014, and has previously served as board Secretary.
A panel discussion held at Unitarian Church of Harrisburg in 2007 was the event that sparked an interest that ignited an obsession about climate change. I began a ten-year journey of reading many books and articles, attending conferences and talks about climate change, an arrest (actually, a fine and release) in the Tar Sands civil disobedience event in D.C., attending multiple anti-fracking rallies and demonstrations, and volunteering with Gas Truth of Central PA, Citizens Climate Lobby, UUPLAN (Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network), and PA Interfaith Power & Light.
My concern about climate change and a growing awareness about the importance of interfaith work has led to my participation on the board of PA IPL. Working within an interfaith setting has allowed me to deepen my own understanding of what it means to act as a statement of faith. My own faith and sense of the sacred comes from a naturalist framework, but it is no less deeply felt, and I have learned that the heart of all faith traditions carries a respect and reverence for creation.
The work of climate change (and any justice issue for that matter) leads to many troubling and negative feelings. Will the turning point happen in time to avoid catastrophe, or will it be too late? We are forced to confront fear, frustration, blame, and anger. The work of Joanna Macy and Active Hope has helped me to process and honor these feelings of despair, and just as importantly, to nurture the feelings of gratitude and hope, which sometimes get lost. Starting with gratitude allows me to move into action from a place of love.
My commitment to the work of climate change comes from a place of love for earth’s beauty, a wonder of the universe, a sense of the outrageous and corrupt injustice to people, children, and all species around the world, and a personal love for my family, especially grand-nephews Maddox and Aiden.