Welcome to UU Ministry for Earth
Environmental Justice in the Spotlight - General Assembly 2013
UUMFE will be very active at the UUA General Assembly in Louisville, KY in June. Join the Board on Thursday for the Annual Meeting, which features a screening of Bidder 70 - the story of UU Tim DeChristopher’s EJ journey - and Thursday and Saturday for our workshops including: a workshop showcasing three communities in the post-coal era, a panel discussion of an emerging eco-justice theological and ethical framework, stories of intergenerational climate action from our Young Adult Climate Action Network, and the Public Witness for Environmental Justice. Here is a List of EJ Programming, with dates, times and locations. Register for General Assembly here.
UUMFE Spring Newsletter
(May 23, 2013) The Spring newsletter (PDF) is now available. Content includes:
- Opportunities for Environmental Justice Engagement at General Assembly
- Message From the Board
- Bidder 70 at GA and Beyond
- Cedar Tree Foundation Awards UUMFE a Second $20,000 Grant
- Northwest Earth Institute Celebrates 20 Years
- Are You Awake?
- Young Adult Climate Activist Group Is Growing
- Reflecting on Earth Day 2013
- Celebrating Our Eco-Heroes
- Going Fossil Free?
- Environmental Justice Plunge Leads to Effective Congregational Involvement
- Book Review: Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor
- Healing Our World and Ourselves
- Faith Groups in CA Called to Action on Climate Change
- The Pipeline Fighters in Nebraska
- Photos from #Forward on Climate Rally
- Earth Day Artwork from Laura Evonne Steinman
Bidder 70 Film Available
Tim DeChristopher, known as ‘bidder 70,’ has inspired us all with acting upon the courage of his convictions by derailing a widely protested federal oil and gas land sale, bidding millions of dollars to save thousands of pristine acres surrounding U.S. National Parks—with no intention of paying. He served 1 1/2 years in prison and while on restricted parole, was denied the opportunity to accept a job as Social Justice Director at First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City. Tim plans to become a Unitarian Universalist minister and will attend Harvard University in the Fall of 2013.
His compelling story has been turned into Bidder 70 the film, which has been praised at numerous film festivals. UUMFE is very pleased to offer it to congregations for showing in their communities. Find out more . . .
Happy Earth Day 2013!
This year’s theme was “Working Towards Sustainable Communities.” The materials we developed may give you ideas for projects throughout the year - start your exploration on the Earth Day 2013 main page in the Take Action section of the website. Here is a Table of Earth Day Activities from registered congregations to give you even more ideas (updated April 25).
We have a winner! Congratulations to Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists of Finksburg, Maryland, winners of a $50 gift certificate to the UUA Bookstore. Their name was drawn from the pool of congregations that registered their Earth Day 2013 events on the UUMFE website. This small 85-member congregation celebrated Earth Day with a multigenerational worship service entitled “Crossing the Bridge into Spiritual Spring.” Jennifer Harvilak, the congregation’s Director of Religious Education, shares that the service also included a bridging ceremony and then moved outdoors to include a tree planting ceremony to honor Earth Day and symbolize new life and growth at Cedarhurst UU.
Forward on Climate Rally, Washington, DC – President's Weekend
Billed as potentially the largest climate rally in US history, the Feb. 17 event exceeded all expectations. Initial estimates of 35,000 marchers ballooned to 40,000, then 50,000 – whatever the correct number, it was huge! Hundreds of UUs from around the country were at the rally with their banners, signs and loud voices, including four of the nine UU Ministry for Earth board members and several past board members.
We would love to see photos and read stories about your experiences – just send them to our office: firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our Facebook page. Many thanks to all of you who made the trip and participated in this important event. We are also grateful to All Souls, Unitarian in DC for all the help in supporting and hosting the UU crowd.
This was a day for the history books, but our work has just begun. The rallying cry is still “Forward on Climate.”
The Livestream video of the rally is below. It’s quite long and there are some slow spots and repetition, but you can skip over those. You can watch it in a larger format at EcoWatch. As an alternative to the 3+ hour video, watch a 26-minute highlights video of the rally speakers, including Van Jones and Bill MkKibben, at Democracy Now then enjoy the 350.org slide show at EcoWatch – larger format than other sites (scroll past the video).
“The Story of #ForwardOnClimate” – with a timeline, photos, and videos – is now posted at 350.org (Feb. 20) plus all the great coverage by major media outlets and the official press release. (Update Feb. 22) Watch the new 3.54 min. 350.org video.
Check out these other stories, commentary, photos, blog posts, etc. from around the web: the Sierra Club, Truthout, EcoWatch, Huffington Post, the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media, NRDC, Conservation Law Foundation, and Daily Kos (see also links in comments).
UUMFE Winter Newsletter
(Jan. 24, 2013) The Winter newsletter (PDF) is now available. Articles include:
- Earth Day 2013: Working Towards Sustainable Communities
- From the Board
- Screening “Bidder 70”
- Our Place in the Web of Life Curriculum
- Northwest Earth Institute Courses
- Uniting YA’s in the EJ Struggle
- New Young Adult Environmental Justice Network
- Protecting Utah Wilderness
- Honor Congregations – Thanks!
- Save the Date for Louisville GA
- Energy Oscar for UU Church in Oakland
- Bad Land Book Review
- Reproductive and Environmental Justice
- Join the #ForwardOnClimate Rally
Check the online newsletter archives for this and all previous newsletters.
CERG UU Disaster Relief Fund
As you know, Hurricane Sandy has caused wide spread devastation along the Mid Atlantic coast in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and as far as eastern Ohio. The UUA Region that serves that area has set up the CERG UU Disaster Relief Fund to collect donations to assist fellow Unitarian Universalists with storm damage cleanup and members’ immediate needs and in the rebuilding efforts. You can donate online at http://www.cerguua.org/ or write a check to CERG with Disaster Relief Fund in the memo line and mail it to:
100 W. 10th Street, Suite 1008
Wilmington, DE, 19801
If you would like to see how your money is being used, visit the CERG UU Sandy Relief Facebook Page for photos and stories.
Virtual Pray-In to be Held at the White House
(Jan 17, 2013) Note: For media coverage of the Pray-In in front of the White House, see At a Climate Protest, Science and Religion in The New York Times (green blog) or Climate change activists turn to plans, persuasion, prayer in Obama’s second term in The Miami Herald.
IMAC, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate - a collaborative initiative of religious leaders, groups and individuals that came together in 2011 in response to the pressing need for more visible, unified, prophetic action to address the climate crisis – is holding a Pray-In for the Climate in front of the White House on Tuesday, Jan. 15th. Religious leaders and individuals from many faiths will gather to say to our President and Congress, in the prophetic words of Dr. King spoken at another moment of crisis: “This is a time to break the silence!”
Join Wherever You Are.
You can participate virtually by spending a few moments in prayer or reflection guided by this prayer written by UU minister Rev. Terry Ellen, one of the leaders of the Pray-In. If you feel called to action, please send your prayer to the President and/or your Congressional representatives. As Unitarian Universalists committed to working for racial justice and building the beloved community, we feel that it is very timely to honor Dr. King and this commitment by lifting up the connections between climate and racial justice. What better way than taking a moment on Dr. King's birthday to do so?
Prayer for the Climate by Rev. Terry Ellen
“Spirit of Life, called by so many names and yet beyond all names, known by each of us in our truest, most authentic minds, fullest, most compassionate hearts, and spontaneous thanksgiving for the exquisite majesty and beauty of this cosmos we have emerged from, embodying its whole history in ourselves, we know that this planet is in very serious trouble. We know that we are in a climate crisis of our own making, and that the elders among us are now breaking the age-old moral imperative to pass on to the young a better place than we found and that we who have profited most from the use of fossil fuels are visiting the direst consequences on those who have profited the least from them and who are the most vulnerable in the world. We did not intend to create this reality, but now we do know what the consequent greenhouse gases are doing. So we first pledge ourselves to do what we each individually can to live responsibly and sustainably.
But we also know that public policy on energy usage must change as well if we are to meet this crisis with anything near the effort it requires, and so we also pledge to act in accord with the urgent moral imperative upon us to change such policy. So today, gathered together in prayer with others of many faith traditions and many outside those traditions who know the preciousness of being alive upon this planet and our consequent moral responsibilities, we ask that our President use all of his powers to address this crisis with the urgency it deserves. This is a pivotal moment in the earth's history, in human history, and in our nation's history. We pray for leadership as courageous and dedicated as the time deserves, and we pray that we be more than equal to it. For the least of these our sisters and brothers, for the voiceless of all species, for future generations and for ourselves we pray. Amen.”
California UU Congregations Nominated for 2012 Energy Oscars
Two California UU congregations have been nominated for an Energy Oscar for Advocacy by California Interfaith Power and Light! Congratulations to the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, Rancho Mirage, and the First Unitarian Church of Oakland. When UU congregations get engaged in EJ advocacy and action, they do amazing things. These nominations are just two in a string of successes by California UU congregations recognized by CIPL for leading the fight against climate change. Both congregations were recognized for their advocacy work.
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