August 2017: Opportunities and Challenges—Leaving the Paris Climate Agreement Commitment

In this Issue

Opening Remarks

In this edition of Transforming Challenges, Senior Consultant Maureen Gallagher offers insights regarding ecology based on some responses to President Trump’s withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement as well as the contrast found in Pope Francis’s Laudato Si.

Is there someone you know who could benefit from receiving Transforming Challenges? Forward this edition to them and encourage them to subscribe for themselves. They’ll thank you—and so do we!

The Reid Group News

  • We want to express our deep appreciation to Kathy Johnson for her 10+ years of superb work with The Reid Group as our Director of Communications. Kathy has helped us develop and expand our website, edited our eletter “Transforming Challenges,” assisted with drafting proposals and much more.  We wish Kathy a happy and enriching retirement chapter in her life.
  • Maureen Gallagher continues to work with four Milwaukee area parishes that are collaborating in ministry, parish councils and sharing staff.
  • Maureen Gallagher also continues to work with religious communities who are re-imagining themselves and the legacies they will leave to empower others to build the reign of God. The Wisconsin Religious Collaborative is one example of communities with different charisms and missions coming together to develop ways to share human and financial resources, as well as a collaborative vision.  Maureen also represented The Reid Group at the recent LCWR conference in Orlando.
  • Maureen Gallagher and John Reid continue working with the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph on an organizational audit. Their final report with recommendations is due in mid-August.  The Leadership Assembly meets in November to discern decisions regarding the future structure and focus of the 51 year old Federation of 16 Congregations. 
  • John Reid and Carol Guenther co-taught a class for the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University to graduate students in July entitled, “Creative Conflict Management: Paving the Road to Peace in a Conflicted World.”
  • John Reid with his wife Maureen Reid are facilitating a team building retreat for the faculty and staff of Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Castro Valley, California on August 16th.
  • Tom Reid is offering a presentation entitled “Self-Care of the Minister: Living a Balanced Life” for the priests of the Diocese of Honolulu on August 25th.
  • Tom Reid and John Reid are continuing their work with Bishop O’Connell and the Diocese of Trenton on the implementation phase of Faith in Our Future, a parish revitalization project.
  • Tom Reid was part of the core team that recently put on the Richard Rohr inspired Men’s Rites of Passage for 66 men ranging in ages from 24 to 87. It was held at Skalitude Retreat Center situated in the foothills of the North Cascade mountains.  He was one of the teaching elders and delivered a reflection on Men & Grief.  Tom is scheduled to present on Self-Care of the Minister: Living a Balance Life – for the priests of the Diocese of Honolulu on August 25.

So as you look at your individual or organizational future, what are your challenges? Could you benefit from skilled support? Give us a call at 206-432-3565 or send us an e-mail to start transforming those challenges into opportunities.

 Opportunities and Challenges—Leaving the Paris Climate Agreement Commitment

Maureen Gallagher, Senior Consultant

As appalled as many of us are at President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, there are five particular responses that have surfaced which point to some positive energy available to “respond to the urgent threat of climate changed based on the best available scientific knowledge.” 

First of all, 152 of the other nations who ratified the Agreement remain faithful to it. This is good news. China, the leader in toxic carbon emissions, recently announced that it would put $360 billion into renewable power such as solar and wind energy by 2020.  India is planning to phase out gasoline cars in favor of electric cars by 2032.

Second, more than 350 mayors representing 65 million Americans have stepped forward to say they will adopt, honor and uphold the commitments to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.  A group of governors are also showing explicit support for the Paris Agreement.  Some are reaching out not only across state lines but even across continents to foster actions that will deal with climate concerns.  They are looking for long-term solutions that will ultimately create a “green economy” with an 80% reduction in carbon levels by the middle of the 21st century.

Third, Mr. Trump’s decision is actually providing an opportunity for more “ordinary Americans” to understand some of the specifics and the implications of the Paris Climate Agreement.  Newspaper articles are explaining in non-technical language what “greenhouse gas emissions” are, how carbon discharges affect the quality of air and water and what the long-term implications of not controlling them are.  This has turned out to be an effective way to educate the public and gain their support to make a positive difference in air quality.

Fourth, the President’s decision has empowered some influential executives in business and industry to take on the leadership that is missing in Washington D.C. and make the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement their own.  One example is Jeff Immelt from GE who noted: “Climate change is real.  Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”  Others who issued similar statements of support include: Mark Zuckerberg, from Facebook, Brad Smith from Microsoft and Tim Cook from Apple.

Fifth, there is a heightened awareness that at the global level we are all connected.  We all share the same environment.  Greenhouse gases do not have borders.  What affects the air, water and soil in one country affects it in neighboring countries and on the whole planet.  The Paris Agreement recognized this and stated that all countries, developed and underdeveloped need to support the goals of the agreement “for sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty…” This sharing attitude seems to be alive and well and not effected at all by the proposed U.S. withdrawal from the agreement.

We are interconnected genetically, socially, internationally and economically; we affect each other beyond our “national” interests; our decisions touch each other’s very life and existence.  Without serious cooperation in this regard, life on the planet as we know it today will diminish and die because of our non-sustainable actions based on self-interests.  The Paris Climate Agreement is a starting point.  Let’s take some leadership and work with others to start seriously dealing with global warming issues, changing challenges into opportunities. 

Praise Be to You or Laudato Si

Maureen Gallagher, Senior Consultant

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, On Care of our Common Home, is addressed to all people on earth.  In this document, the Pope calls for dialogue with all about the urgency of dealing with the future of our planet.  He talks about the ecological crisis as a summons for profound interior conversion.  He notes that “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (#217).  The document has six chapters, each of which further unfolds the challenges and the opportunities of creating a sustainable environment.

The first chapter points to “a sober look at our world showing that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, even more limited and grey… We seem to think we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.” (#34)

The second chapter, The Gospel of Creation, again addressed to all people of good will, notes that “science and religion have distinctive approaches to understanding reality” and “can enter into intense dialogue fruitful to both.” (#62)  Pope Francis points out that the biblical notion of “tilling the garden” means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving, implying mutual responsibility between human beings and nature, not the domination of human beings over creation (#66, #67). 

The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis is the focus of chapter three and draws attention to the tendency to let science and technology shape our lives at the expense of the inalienable worth of ourselves as human beings (#101).  Such models are often dictated by powerful interest groups whose values are not those of the gospel (#107).  While we can benefit in many ways from technological creativity and advancement, we can also be robbed of a dignified experience of human work and human collaborative efforts that reflect the dignity and respect for all of creation.

Chapter four, Integral Ecology, points to the fact that an integrated approach of ecology must be sought, given that there is no single approach that is comprehensive enough to make a sustainable difference in the long-term.  Pope Francis issues an urgent call for a “humanism capable of bringing together the different fields of knowledge, including economics, in the service of a more integral and integrating vision.”  He notes that “environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of human, family, work related and urban contexts, nor from how individuals relate to themselves, which leads to how they relate to others and the environment.” (#141)

The fifth chapter, Lines of Approach and Action, outlines the major paths of dialogue which can help us escape the spiral of self-destruction. (#163) Interdependence and global consensus are key issues addressed in this chapter with a focus on the value of dialogue.

The final chapter, Ecological Education and Spirituality, points to the need for us as human beings to be aware of “our common origin, mutual belonging and a future to be shared by everyone” (#202).  Throughout the document Pope Francis presents many challenges and opportunities to all people of good will.  Building on the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi, he notes “we come to realize that a healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion, which entails the recognition of our errors, sins, faults and failures, and leads to heartfelt repentance and desire to change. (#218).

The Reid Group webinar series

Living Whole Life creator Tom Reid, a strategic partner of The Reid Group, will be leading a webinar for people and families recovering from hurt and heartache.  The webinar is scheduled for Thursday September 21 at 4 PM ET.  Look for more information and registration details in early September.

  • Thursday, September 21, 2017
  • 4 pm ET / 3 pm CT / 2 pm MT / 1 pm PT
  • Session Focus: People and families recovering from hurt and heartache

At The Reid Group we help leaders and organizations transform challenges into opportunities to create a better world.  We are proud to be celebrating 20 years of service to our clients as consultants, mediators and coaches.   

At Living Whole Life, we inspire purpose, passion and peace by helping people and families live from their:

  • hopes rather than their fears
  • possibilities rather than their limitations
  • imagination rather than their history

In an engaging and heart-centered exchange, webinar participants will have the opportunity to:

  • briefly share their experience of gun or other forms of violence
  • name their current biggest challenge and/or opportunity for growth
  • receive input and practical suggestions for moving forward through positive action.

  To register for this webinar, simply click here.   Space is limited, so register today!


The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning

Think about what your organization could do if the process of planning met the inevitability of change head-on—and it resulted in significant success.

bookcoverweb2Organizations large and small, religious and secular, for-profit and not-for-profit, successful and unsuccessful, go through change. John Reid and Maureen Gallagher of the Reid Group have been instrumental in helping many groups discover the power of Prophetic Planning. This book presents a complete overview with detailed information that any organization will find useful in understanding how to plan for change.

The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning, and its companion CD are now available from Liguori Publications as well as from

The Reid Group E-Letter is © The Reid Group, 12535 15th Ave. NE, Suite 211, Seattle WA 98125; 206-432-3565.
Any part of this newsletter may be reproduced with full attribution.