(Delivered at UUSF on February 23, 2020. See the video or audio recording)
Sometimes I hate that saying, "Think Global; Act Local." Don't get me wrong, I recycle. But sorting your plastic isn't really inspiring. I don't think it's gonna stop global warming.
But you know what might? What if we could make a machine that drained heat out of the ocean to remake melting icebergs and turned that energy into electricity. What if we planted a trillion trees and turned the Sahara Desert into a rainforest? What if we connected the whole country with high speed rail?
Those ideas might be a little unrealistic, but they're fun, right?
In college, I took a class on design thinking. One of the things they taught was how to do a brainstorm. Now, I know some of you are thinking "Those are great!" and the rest of you are thinking "ugh, people talking about things they think are great." But what I learned is that you're both right -- in a brainstorm, you're supposed to withhold judgment. That means phase 1 is energetically talking about all the wild ideas like freezing the ocean, and you don't judge, you build on those ideas, because that's fun, it gets the creative juices flowing, and you won't feel shut down. But don't worry, the judgment isn't gone -- just withheld until phase 2. Then, you try to figure out what ideas you actually want to go forward with. So maybe we're not gonna freeze the ocean, but China has already planted 66 billion trees to reforest the Gobi Desert, so maybe there's something to that.
And those big dreams aren't just good for a brainstorm. They keep us going. The reason I'm so focused on social good is because I surround myself with people who dream big. I have friends who started nonprofits or who are working for diversity. I've seen Dolores Huerta, who founded United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez. I've listened to Emma's Revolution. And it makes me think we can rise to any challenge.
The dreams of these people keep me going. When I left my job to try to find something more social justice focused, I spoke with other members of this community, and they helped me figure out where to go next. That's why I'm a part of this community. You all help me be a better person, and we, together, make the world a better place.
I am proud to be a part of a congregation that gathers, every week, to recognize the injustices at the border.
But it's not just about pride in what we've done -- it's also dreaming about what's possible.
Four days ago, The Guardian wrote about how the conservative government in Utah is starting to acknowledge and combat climate change. That makes me believe that we will beat global warming.
Three days ago, there was a study in Nature where scientists found an immune cell that fought every kind of cancer they threw at it. It's still early, but that makes me believe that one day, we will cure cancer.
Yesterday was the Nevada Caucus. There was record breaking turnout, and half of the early ballots were from people participating for the first time ever. People are more engaged than ever before, and that makes me believe we can rebuild our democracy.
And today, we are all gathered together. I've told you some of my dreams, but this is about all of us. Think of one of your dreams and tell it to someone in your community. We can make those dreams happen together.