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Environmental Justice

Given our human capacity to reflect and act upon our own lives as well as the condition of the world, we accept with humility and determination our responsibility to remedy and mitigate global warming/climate change through innovation, cooperation, and self-discipline. We undertake this work for the preservation of life on Earth.
—2006 Statement of Conscience, Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change

Our Witness: People’s Climate March on September 21, 2014

Mark your calendars for the largest climate march in history! Thousands of Unitarian Universalists (UUs), including Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President Rev. Peter Morales, will descend on New York City for the People’s Climate March on September 21, marching alongside world leaders, praying with people of many faiths, and witnessing for climate justice. Join the UU contingent: RSVP here!

Our Theology

More than just a recognition of ecological interdependency, our Seventh Principle calls us to recognize that human beings are part of the web of existence. Too often "environmentalists" and "racial/economic justice advocates" have been at odds with each other. Environmental justice is the recognition that the same paradigm of dominion that has led to environmental degradation also reinforces economic and racial inequities. Only by seeking solutions that address both can we solve either.

Since our inception in 1961, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has passed numerous resolutions and statements addressing environmental concerns, as well as numerous statements on racial and economic justice. In 1994 the UUA voted to adopt a Statement of Conscience called Environmental Justice. This Statement of Conscience encourages Unitarian Universalists to address environmental concerns through the lenses of gender, race and class at the denominational, congregational, and personal level.

Learn more about environmental justice.

Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice

Ethical eating recognizes the moral dimensions of our food choices. The ways our societies raise, buy, and consume our food has direct effects on the earth, plants and animals, and humans who work to make our food available.

Delegates at the General Assembly in Charlotte, NC, approved Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice as a 2011 Statement of Conscience.

Download the Ethical Eating Study Guide and Ethical Eating Worship Resource Supplement (PDF, 33 pages).

Our Stories

Stories from congregations engaged in environmental justice and stewardship, many through the Green Sanctuary Program, which was designed to give roots and wings to the vision that, together, we can create a world in which all people make reverence, gratitude, and care for the living Earth that is central to our lives.

Do you have a story you would like to share? Please send us your stories by emailing them to environment @ uua.org.

Our Recommended Resources

  • Green Sanctuary Program: Voluntary participation in the Green Sanctuary Program provides a framework for congregations and congregants to proclaim and live out their commitment to the Earth. Karen Brammer manages the Green Sanctuary Program.
  • Green Sanctuary Blog: Blog that highlights the work of Unitarian Universalist congregations that are engaging in the Green Sanctuary program, provides resources and ideas to congregations, and shares information about what’s going on with the Green Sanctuary program.
  • UUA Statements on Environmental Justice
  • Worship Materials for Environmental Engagement
  • Resource Guide for the 2006 "Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change" Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Statement of Conscience
  • Demonstrating Our Values through Eating (DOVE): a free food education curriculum written for Unitarian Universalists. The six-week course incorporates video, discussion, cooking sessions, and supplementary materials on themes of health, justice, compassion and sustainability.
  • With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change, a Beacon Press book by Fred Pearce
  • "Our Place in the Web of Life": Download this introductory curriculum designed by the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth (UUMFE). In five sessions, the curriculum is a thorough introduction to environmental justice advocacy in a Unitarian Universalist context. Using highly-participatory techniques, the lesson plans take you through a journey exploring your values and the consequences of the choices you make
  • Climate Change Religious Education Curriculum: This curriculum has been developed by the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO), and many of the solutions discussed are from the UN.
  • Earth Hour Energy Meditation (PDF, 3 pages): Originally created for Earth Hour, this is a Unitarian Universalist Association-guided meditation on energy and our interdependent connections.
  • Worship Web: worship materials for Ecological Disasters
  • Voluntary Simplicity: From the Northwest Earth Institute, a five-session discussion course book for the workplace, community or faith center, university or home. This course addresses the distractions of modern society that keep us from caring for ourselves, our relationships, and our environment.
  • General Assembly Presentations on Environmental Justice
  • Subscribe to the GlobalWarming Email List: Sharing technical information and news about the causes and implications of global warming so we can develop appropriate strategies for individuals and congregations to combat its dangers.
  • Subscribe to the EthicalEating-Network Email List: Email list for discussion of “Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice”.

Our Partners

Unitarian Universalist

  • Unitarian Universalist (UU) State Advocacy Networks: Each of these 11 networks are locally based and led by UUs working under the basic principle that sustained, positive change is built through the work of organized activists with the courage to challenge and confront oppression. Many of these networks work on environmental justice—find out what’s happening in your area.
  • UU Service Committee (UUSC): The UUSC has a focus area on environmental justice, specifically the international human right to water, and is concerned with climate change.
  • UU College of Social Justice (UUCSJ): The UU College of Social Justice is a joint collaboration of the UUA and the UUSC. Its mission is to help Unitarian Universalists deepen and sustain the work of justice in their congregations and communities through experiential learning journeys and social justice training grounded in the UU faith’s historic commitment to human rights.
  • UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE): The UUMFE has a focus on environmental justice and provides support to congregations with their Earth ministry.
  • UU-UNO Climate Change Task Force: Dedicated to advocacy of mitigating the increasingly severe risks of climate change, this web portal contains a wealth of climate resource information and action suggestions relevant to Unitarian Universalists.

Interfaith

  • Interfaith Power and Light: Interfaith Power and Light works through state chapters to mobilize a religious response to global warming in congregations through the promotion of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation. 
  • Stop the Frack Attack: Stop Frack Attack Network represents a broad base of people who are impacted by fracking and members of the non-profit community.  The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has endorsed the organization Stop the Frack Attack.

Join the Discussion

For more information contact environment @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Monday, August 11, 2014.

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