Earth Day 2015

Earth Day Banner 2013-2015

Working Towards Sustainable Communities, Part 3

     Climate change is unfolding with unexpected speed and a lack of predictability, and is a factor in our increasingly frequent severe weather events. Communities worldwide are faced with the challenge of preparing for and adapting to a changing world the likes of which they may have never imagined. At the same time, we continue to mar Earth’s beauty and balance, defiling lands, air, and waters by overconsuming resources, and disproportionately shifting the ill effects of our ways onto the most vulnerable and disadvantaged among us, here and abroad.

     The need to create and realize the modern dream of an inescapably linked network of resilient, equitable, sustainable communities increases in importance and urgency as each day passes. Yet working towards such a just, sustainable world is possible only by addressing and working through the wide range of interconnected issues that have led us to these times. Our solutions and efforts must not consider only the physical environment, but also the environment created by economic inequality, racism, classism, and political powerlessness. We invite you to engage deeply with the complexities of ecological and climate justice work.

      UU Ministry for Earth continues to preach the message that your UU community – regardless of size, composition, location or wealth – has an important role to play in the just transition to sustainable and resilient communities. We are called to employ our collective reason, shared values and diverse gifts in service to the common good. Let us draw upon our respect for the interdependent web of life, our deep connections with nature and all beings, our compassion and our enduring commitment to justice for inspiration and motivation as we help create the just and equitable world so needed.

      For Earth Day 2015, UUMFE invites congregations to connect to one or more issues that relate to realizing economically, environmentally and socially sustainable communities. We introduced this broad topic for Earth Day 2013 – check the main Earth Day page for links to numerous resources already developed to support this effort. New this year is attention to the critical role energy plays in today’s world and a sustainable future.

Shift to a Low Carbon Future Banner

      UUMFE developed this year’s resources on Energy and Climate to help congregations choose actions that tie in closely with the “SHIFT to a Low Carbon Future” goal of the denomination-wide Commit2Respond campaign; some actions will also touch the “Grow the Climate Justice Movement” and the “Advance Human Rights” goals as well. (link to C2R web resources).

      Here, on our website you will find UUMFE’s introductory information, online resources for learning more, some suggested actions, and a reading list (links are also in left navigation panel). We have a page for your congregational energy success stories – just e-mail a short article (and photos) to office@uuministryforearth.org and we will post it.

     Go to Earth Sunday Resources for worship materials, which include an UUMFE-commissioned sermon – “Energy Matters” – by Matthew McHale, readings, meditations, hymns, etc., plus order of service covers. You will also find instructions on how to honor your congregation’s Eco-Hero. Learn how to engage your community through press and publicity for your Earth Day events in the Spread the Word page.

     Be sure to register your congregation’s plans to share with others (note: registration closed for this year). All registered congregations will be entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift certificate generously donated by the UUA Bookstore. Take a look the 2015 table of Earth Day events and learn what other congregations are doing this year.

      We hope the resources assembled here provide inspiration and the tools to help you get started with dialogue and activities around Earth Day or any time of the year. If your current environmental focus or interest is elsewhere, we encourage you to make use of the materials for prior Earth Days. Tables of Earth Day activities from registered congregations (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010) also contain many inspirational ideas. Be sure to check out our Environmental Film Library for suggested films on climate change, building sustainable communities, and other topics. 

     In addition to making good use of these resources for Earth Day and throughout the year, we ask you to make your Earth Day service or event an opportunity to support the work of UU Ministry for Earth. Including an annual special or shared plate collection in your worship service, making an annual congregational gift, or introducing individual potential donors to UUMFE are some possibilities. Your congregational and individual generosity helps us provide a rich array of programming and resources for use by all UU congregations and religious environmentalists.

“Take one thing and do it very deeply and carefully, and you
will be doing everything at the same time.” – Thich Nhat Hahn