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On Saturday, October 24th, people participating in more than 5200 events in 181 countries around the world called for a reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million (ppm). Scientists and climate experts agree that 350 ppm is the highest allowable level of carbon dioxide before catastrophic climate change that would further displace entire island nations and increase destruction by natural disasters.
Unitarian Universalists (UUs) are deeply committed to issues of climate change, as evidenced by the more than 100 congregations that participated in International Day of Climate Action events. Green Sanctuary Committees, Social Justice Groups, and ministers lifted up this important issue through a variety of means. Activities ranged from rallies, concerts, and teach-ins to letter-writing and weatherizing churches and homes. Photos of these actions were sent to 350.org, where they will be combined with thousands of other photos from around the world and presented to world leaders to encourage them to commit to a carbon dioxide level of 350 ppm.
Unitarian Universalists in Needham, MA, split into small teams to carry out several carbon-reducing projects, such as installing compact fluorescent light bulbs and weather strips and preparing backyard gardens. The UU Congregation of Frederick, MD, hosted a 350-themed silent auction; people donated items to fit the theme, like 35 cookies or 3.5 hours of a particular talent. Unitarian Universalists in the Houston area attended a day-long interfaith advocacy camp.
The UU Church of Southeastern Arizona in Sierra Vista participated in a local rally, raising awareness and providing people with practical steps they can take to reduce their individual carbon footprints like using recycled products, eating locally, and adopting reusable shopping bags. Minister Rod Richards explained, "Climate change is not just a scientific issue. It's not just a political issue. It's a moral issue. Our solutions will arise when we embrace our place in the interdependent web of all life—with the gratitude, respect, and humility it deserves."
Rob Keithan, Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association Washington Office for Advocacy, was pleased with the level of participation. "It's inspiring when more than 100 of our congregations rally around a single justice issue, and I'm excited to build on that momentum," said Keithan. "Congress isn't going to pass a strong and just climate bill unless they feel more pressure from their constituents. Rev. Richards is right: we need to make it clear that climate change is a moral issue. Unitarian Universalists and other people of faith can play a key role in this struggle."
See photos of the events and get involved in the Unitarian Universalist climate change campaign to continue working for a strong and just climate change policies by emailing your senator.
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Last updated on Sunday, February 12, 2012.
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