Welcome to UU Ministry for Earth

People's Climate March – New York City, Sept. 21, 2014

People's Climate March LogoMark your calendars! Rev. Peggy Clarke, consultant with the UU Metro New York District, is organizing UUs through this Meetup site. If you plan to go, be sure to register so you can keep up with plans as they unfold. Find more information on the new Facebook page.

Read Bill McKibben's article in Rolling Stone: "A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change," learn about the march and explore transportation options on the main website, and check out the Facebook events page.

The march was conceived by 350.org and many, many other organizations have joined in for the planning and execution of the event, timed to coincide with the UN summit on the climate crisis.

UUMFE Spring Newsletter

(May 21, 2014) The UUMFE Spring Newsletter is now available. Contents include:

  • Opportunities For Environmental Justice Engagement at Providence GA
  • Message from the Board Chair – Going From Here To Tomorrow
  • Peace, Justice and Sustainability Are Focus of New Northwest Earth Institute CurriculumSpring Newsletter Front Page Icon
  • Highlights From Earth Day 2014
  • Sacred Roots, New Shoots: News From Our Young Adult Network
  • Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement Builds Across Faith Communities
  • The Great March for Climate Action – Walking a Mile In Their Shoes
  • Is It War?
  • 2014 Courageous Love Award Presented to Westboro 8
  • Book Review – Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson
  • UU Church Is First In Chattanooga To Add Solar Panels

Historic National UU Gathering In Detroit

Many people who do not live in Detroit perceive the city as an example of the nation’s despair and the demise of "The American Dream." Yet, Detroit proved a perfect setting for Group portrait of Collaboratory participantswhat later may be seen as a watershed event in UU history.

Twenty-nine UU leaders from around the nation recently came away from a strategic gathering there energized and inspired by local activists and committed to an ambitious action plan for congregational organizing and ministry which weaves together racial, economic, and environmental justice. Read more about the "Ecological Justice Collaboratory."

Red River UU Church Is Winner in Cool Congregations Challenge

Red River UU Church

Earlier this year, Interfaith Power and Light invited congregations across the United States to enter the “Cool Congregations Challenge” with stories about their response to climate change. Red River UU Church in Denison, TX, was the first-place winner in the Community Inspiration category for creating and hosting the annual Texoma Earth Day Festival, which helps to inspire the community to save energy and live more sustainably. Several other UU congregations were also recognized.

Honorable Mention

  • Energy Saver: First Unitarian Church, Louisville, KY and Community UU Church, Plano, TX
  • Renewable Role Model: UU Church, Bloomington, IN
  • Sacred Grounds Steward: Valley UU Congregation, Chandler, AZ
  • Cool Planner: Sanford UU Church, Sanford, ME
  • Community Inspiration: UU Congregation of Fairfax, Oakton, VA

Climate Change Report From AAAS

An important new report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) was published on March 18. Titled “What We Know: The Reality, Risk,Cover of AAAS What We Know report and Response to Climate Change,” the report is an accessible, easily understood summary of the current and future trends in climate change and the urgent need for action. Read the executive summary, watch a five-minute video, and download the 18-page document on the AAAS website. You may also read and download the report here. Read a review of the report – Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate – by environmental reporter Justin Gillis for The New York Times. Additional coverage by John Light at Moyers & Company: Climate Change: 'Abrupt,' 'Unpredictable,' 'Irreversible' and 'Hightly Damaging'

A Meditation

From Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, by Carl Zimmer

If the 4 billion years that life has been on Earth were a summer day, the past 200,000 years – which saw the rise of anatomically modern humans, the origin of complex language, of art, religion, and trade, the dawn of agriculture, of cities, and all of written history – would fit into the single flash of a firefly just before sundown.

UUMFE Winter Newsletter

(Jan. 28, 2013) The UUMFE Winter Newsletter is now available. Contents include:

  • Earth Day 2014: Working Towards Sustainable Communities
  • Message From the Board Chair
  • “Our Place In the Web of Life” Second Edition Now Available
  • A Seasonal Liturgical Calendar for Unitarian Universalists
  • Honor Congregations – Thanks!
  • Save the Date for Providence GA
  • NWEI Continues to Support UUs In Their Environmental Justice Work
  • Screening Bidder 70
  • Book Review – Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea
  • It’s Politics and the Economy
  • The Great March for Climate Action: Potential Game Changer
  • The Great March: Walking My Talk

A Time to Reflect and to Look Ahead

At the time of the Winter Solstice and the turning of the year, we often pause to take stock of what we have accomplished and what we hope for the new year.

UU Ministry for Earth is grateful for your support during the past year. Your participation and ideas and financial support have enabled UUMFE to work in coalition with others to support disadvantaged populations in Oakland, California; to form a network of UU Young Adults for climate justice; to provide resources for congregations to celebrate Earth Day with creative activities and worship services; to promote and subsidize screenings of “Bidder 70” and to prepare the second edition of our environmental justice curriculum “Our Place in the Web of Life.”

We appreciate the trust you’ve placed in UU Ministry for Earth in raising the voice of the UU faith in environmental and climate justice movements.  We rely on your financial as well as intangible support as we plan for 2014.  Your continued support will help us maintain our current programs and plan new ones.  Your donation DOES make a difference! Please make a donation now.

A Winter Blessing

Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, President, Starr King School for the Ministry, shared her new poem celebrating the Winter Solstice 2013.

In the shadowed quiet of winter's light
earth speaks softly
of her longing.
Because the wild places are in tears.

Come, she cries to us.
Kneel down here
on the frosty grass,
and feel the prayer buried in the ground.

Bend your ear to my heart
and listen hard.

Love this world, she whispers.
Distill peace from the snow
and water the cities
with mercy.

Weave wonder from the forest
and clothe grief
with beauty.

Rest in the rhythm of the turning year,
Trace the bending arc
Rounding the curve toward justice.
And vow anew to do no harm.

The winter trees stand watch
haloed in the last gleams of the slanting sun.
Glory sings here.
Heaven echoes the call: 
Repeat the sounding joy.

Make your life an answer:

Holiday Greetings from UU Ministry for Earth

Christmas card from Sandy Kurtz


Christmas card courtesy of UUMFE Board member, Sandy Kurtz

Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) Wins Award

After two decades of work, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) was recently recognized by the Roosevelt Institute with the 2013 Freedom from Want Medal. CIW receives award CIW is an internationally-recognized human rights organization working to eliminate modern-day slavery and sweatshop labor conditions in agriculture in Florida.  The Fair Food Program, with its principal architect being a workers’ organization, has a unique design and structure, all constructed with one goal in mind: to protect farmworkers’ rights.

Many UU congregations have supported CIW through campaigns and contributions, but Florida UU congregations stand out: they have supported CIW for many years and have been instrumental in organizing interfaith awareness and action.

UUs of Clearwater at Publix For more than 13 years, the UU Congregation of Clearwater has had an active partnership with CIW and supported their work with educational and letter-writing campaigns, boycotts, picketing and marching within a larger interfaith effort.  In March of 2013, UUC supported the CIW 200-mile march on Publix by providing lunch for 300 marchers. In December of 2012, UUC members protested at the Publix market in Dunedin. UCC has also been involved in FAST, a new multicultural, interfaith Social Justice Group in Pinellas County.  Through the connection with CIW, the congregation helped organize support for compassionate immigration reform on the state and local level.  In June 2013, the UUA awarded the Bennett congregational Social Justice Award for Human Rights and Social Action to UUC.  Read more on the UUA website at http://www.uua.org/action/awards/bennett/  

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers also has a lengthy history of education and advocacy for CIW.  Rev. Allison Farnum serves as a Board member of Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida.  First Unitarian Congregation of Orlando, UU Church of Lakeland, and UU Fellowship of Charlotte County  (Port Charlotte) are also very involved.

Need for Appreciation of Earth as the Giver of Life

Tony Giordano, member of the UU Congregation of Monmouth County, NJ, submitted this thoughtful reflection:

Earth From SpaceIf you look up the name of our home planet in most any dictionary, you will see the word “earth.” The fact that it’s not capitalized may seem trivial, but it’s symbolic of the overall way we tend to view our home planet. No respect. Ironically, the other planets are capitalized, as are names of countries, people, automobiles, and so on.

I find it very odd that appreciation for the Earth continues to be so lacking. Why is that? Should we not know better by now? Happily, Unitarian Universalists are much more likely than most to show the proper respect and appreciation. Continue reading . . .

UUMFE Fall Newsletter

(Sept. 16, 2013) The Fall newsletter (PDF) is now available. Content includes:

  • Guardian of the Future Award Recipients Are Eco-Justice Super-Heroes   
  • Message From the Board
  • Plan to Screen Bidder 70 at Your Congregation This Fall
  • Environmental Justice (EJ) in the Spotlight at GA 2013 in Louisville21013 Fall Newsletter Thumbnail
  • An Eventful Summer for UU Young Adults for Climate Justice
  • Fossil Fuel Divestment Update: GA and Beyond
  • Program Ideas for the Church Year
  • Countdown to Earth Day: Spring Equinox through Earth Day 2014 (March 20th - April 22nd)
  • Meditation While Weeding
  • Advocating For the Rights of Nature     
  • Beyond Changing Light Bulbs
  • Are We Smarter Than Frogs?
  • Photos From 350.org’s Summer Heat actions
  • Empower UUs: Support Development of Additional UUMFE Services

We Are All Connected

From Greenpeace USA: On this 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's March On Washington, let's remember what we have in common. People around the county are rising up, together.

Summer Heat Update

Summer Heat Banner

In late July and early August, UUs across the country participated in many actions taking on the fossil fuel industry, including civil disobedience. Bill McKibben and 350.org organized "Summer Heat" as one of several campaigns aimed at stopping extreme extraction (see also "Fossil Free" - It's Time to Divest from Fossil Fuels and "Draw the Line on Keystone XL" Day of Action planned for Sept. 21). Read updates on Summer Heat actions from around the country at 350.org. Most articles have links to additional photos and news media coverage. The Flickr photoset from the Camp David-to-DC "Walk for Our Grandchildren" is wonderful.

Summer Heat Richmond, CA: Rally & March to the Cheveron Refinery was particularly successful, with around 2,800 people participating and 208 arrested! Find out more at 350bayarea.org and read an excellent commentary on the event from Paul W. Rea, PhD, Sunflower Power at Chevron’s Gates. See great photos from many other actions at 350.org’s Summer Heat – USA, 2013 photoset on Flickr.

Here is an August 13th summary article from Bill McKibben on the EcoWatch webiste - The Climate Jutice Movement: Diverse, Joyful and Unyielding.

New Leader for UU Young Adults for Climate Justice

Photo of Curtis MurphyWe are delighted to welcome Curtis Murphy as our new intern for the growing UU Young Adults for Climate Justice network. Like us, he shares a vision for growing and developing the network, engaging young adults in UU-principled climate activism, and becoming known as a stakeholder group in our denomination and in climate activist circles. Read more . . .

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