On April 22, 2011, Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations will celebrate Earth Day by holding worship services and making commitments focused on the theme of Sacred Waters.
Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has fostered grassroots activism resulting in national policies including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Urged on by the grassroots efforts of UUs across the country, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has a long history of faith-based commitments to conservation and environmental protection, and many UU congregations designate the Sunday closest to Earth Day as Earth Sunday.
This year, the UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) and the UUA have launched the 40/40 Campaign to help congregations take steps toward a more just and sustainable relationship to the environment. Congregations are encouraged to sign up and participate in the campaign by enlisting least 40 percent of their members to commit to an environmental action for 40 days, starting on Earth Day.
This year's theme of Sacred Waters offers the opportunity to examine the role of water in justice issues ranging from nuclear power to food production to immigration. In addition, April 20 marks the one-year anniversary of the Gulf oil spill, which may move participants to consider those communities still recovering from the disaster, as well as steps to preventing future manmade disasters.
"We at the UUA are deeply committed to living our Seventh Principle, and the 40/40 Campaign is an excellent resource for strengthening our awareness of water-related issues," says UUA President the Rev. Peter Morales. "In keeping with the UUA's environmental justice work, I'll be participating in the 40/40 Campaign by committing to a series of spiritual reflections about water and social justice. I hope congregations and individual UUs will join me in sharing their ideas and actions."
Links to current and past Earth Day resources are available on UUA.org and the UUMFE website, including links to worship materials, and ideas for actions in your own community.
Congregations that register their Earth Day events will be entered in a raffle for a $50 gift certificate to the UUA Bookstore. All congregations are encouraged to sign up through the UUMFE.