Wednesday, February 8th, 2017
5:00pm PACIFIC / 8:00 EASTERN
Are you up to exciting stuff in your congregations and communities? Want to hear what folks are up to, or discuss the latest news in climate change science and policy? RSVP to join the Climate Action Roundtable on this Wednesday evening -- 5:00 Pacific / 8:00 pm Eastern.
Another Commit2Respond webinar with the Standing on the Side of Love campaign & the EJ Practitioners Network is happening the following evening, Feb. 9, 7:30 PM Eastern / 4:30 PM Pacific.
Join the Environmental Justice Practitioners Network & Standing on the Side of Love on Thursday, February 9th, 4:30 Pacific / 7:30 PM Eastern, for a conversation on grounding for escalation.
- a rapid increase; a rise.
- an increase in the intensity or seriousness of something; an intensification.
Escalation as a concept will be explored through multiple lenses --- both as a community organizing and justice movement concept, and as a recognition of the increasing stress on environmental justice communities that we can anticipate as a result of the policies currently being pursued by the USA national government.
This webinar is part of the Environmental Justice Practitioners Network webinar series offered as a collaboration between the Unitarian Universalist Assocation (UUA) Green Sanctuary Program and the UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) Environmental Justice Collaboratory.
You can join via phone or internet, on the Zoom.us platform. Space is limited to 100 attendees, & RSVP is required. You can also RSVP to receive a recording of the webinar for later viewing and sharing.
This week, there are two opportunities for virtually connecting with the Unitarian Universalist Environmental Justice & Climate Justice movement:
Wednesday, January 11th -- Climate Action Roundtable
5:00 PM Pacific / 8:00 PM Eastern
Hosted by the UU-United Nations Office Climate Action Teams
This call will discuss current events and headlines, plans for Climate Justice programs at the UUA General Assembly in New Orleans (June 21-25th), and roundtable conversations about what people are doing locally and what we expect from the Trump Administration regarding climate.
Thursday, January 12th --- Environmental Justice Practitioners' Network Webinar
4:30 PM Pacific / 7:30 PM Eastern
Hosted by the Green Sanctuary Program (UUA) and UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory (UUMFE)
If you cannot attend in person, there is also an option to RSVP to receive a recording of the webinar. The Environmental Justice Practitioner's Network is designed to provide education, guided conversation, and peer ministry to help inspire and equip Unitarian Universalists and other interested faith-based Environmental Justice organizers to create or sustain shifts from stagnant or charity-centered models of organizing towards a more deeply intersectional and anti-oppressive praxis for Environmental Justice. Fill out this formif you would like to join the Environmental Justice Practioner's Network for ongoing updates and invitations.
By Eli Poore
Eli is an UU young adult, a seminarian at Starr King School for the Ministry, and member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Corpus Christi.
It was December 13th, and I stepped into my shower before heading to bed. As someone who is fond of a nice hot shower before bed, I took my time, letting the hot water run over my skin, warming me up after a cooler day in my usually warm South Texas coastal city. I recall noticing a slightly odd chemical smell, but brushed it off, attributing it to the less-than-ideal state of our city water system and some recent rains. Nothing out of the ordinary, really.
The next day, I awoke to find that the night before, our city government leaders had issued a city-wide tap water ban, and as we heard the news, a collective groan arose from my family members and I. “Not again!”, we all grumbled. We prepared to purchase bottled water, as it had become something of a ritual by now- over the past 18 months, our community had endured a series of water boil notices, beginning in July of 2015 when a sample site near our residence tested positive for E. Coli. A few months later in early September, yet another boil was issued due to high bacteria levels that stretched on for three weeks, followed by a third in May of 2016, due to another issue with disinfectant levels, which lasted for nearly three weeks as well.
The 22nd gathering (COP22) of the countries involved in the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) began one day before the USA presidential election, on November 7, 2016. The two-week gathering was attended by heads of states, diplomats and federal employees, unions and business representatives, and civil society organizations. Seven Unitarian Universalist lay leaders from around the USA, and Salote Soqo, UUSC’s Senior Program Leader for Environmental Justice and Climate Action, attended the COP22 as official observers representing the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). There were numerous other UUs in attendance as representatives for other organizations.
Listen to a special LIVE recorded Q&A conversation with members of the Commit2Respond COP22 Delegation, from Dec. 14, 2016: here.
One of Donald Trump’s promises on the campaign trail was that he would “cancel” the Paris Agreement --- something that’s not actually possible. By the letter of the Paris Agreement, the USA is not be able to officially withdraw until November 4, 2020 --- four years after the Agreement entered into force, and four days before the next USA presidential election. If the USA government chooses to flat ignore its commitments to participate in the global effort to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the country is likely to face international trade sanctions.
Given the turbulence that is in the forecast, it bears reminding that Climate Justice calls us to listen and look up to leadership from most impacted communities. One consistent takeaway message from COP22 is that grassroots power and leadership is absolutely essential to achieving a liveable climate. In this spirit, the Commit2Respond observers to COP22 would like to share the following snapshots and observations from their experience in Morocco with you:
Last Sunday night, in below-freezing temperatures, unarmed water protectors just north of Standing Rock survived shocking assaults from water cannons. Many were traumatized, and some needed emergency room care. In the aftermath of these attacks, and in the months prior, my congregation has received countless messages from people around the country – and world – asking, "What can we do?”
Meanwhile, we have received one of the most important invitations we are ever likely to receive, as people of faith and conviction. Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle, has called upon each of us to join him at Standing Rock on Sunday, December 4th, for an Interfaith Day of Prayer. In solidarity with indigenous people and mutual love for the water, it is my hope that you and your communities of faith will participate in this history-making day.
Today, Daphne Wysham, the Director of the Climate & Energy Program at the Center for Sustainable Economy, facilitated a press conference at COP22 about real city-level and faith-community leadership in moving towards 100% renewables through ending new fossil fuel infrastructure development. The press conference was live-streamed and recorded for on-demand viewing online.
Daphne Wysham is one of nine people who are observers of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP22 credentialed with the Unitarian Universalist Association. Salote Soqo, another UUA credentialed observer and the Senior Program Leader for Environmental Justice and Climate Action at the UUSC, also spoke at the press conference. WATCH HERE
By Salote Soqo,
UUSC Senior Program Leader for Environmental Justice and Climate Action
Two days into COP 22 and Marrakech is swarming with various stakeholders from around the globe. This COP, dubbed by many as the African COP due to its location and the strong turn up of the African diaspora is focused on accelerating implementation of the Paris Agreement, which was ratified by 100 Parties on November 4th, including the United States. The world broke out in celebration when the Paris Agreement was adopted, and we can still feel the momentum here in Marrakech. What has been exciting so far, is the expected outcome that COP 22 will produce a roadmap for how things will proceed - such as how the GCF will achieve its mandate of reaching US$100 billion by 2020, or how States will report their emissions and reductions, etc. However, whether COP 22 will actually produce something tangible, just, equitable and sustainable is the concern of many civil society organizations.
On November 1, 2016, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President, Rev. Peter Morales, signed a letter to Jonathan Pershing, the U.S. Department of State Special Envoy for Climate Change. This letter comes three days before the International Paris Agreement on climate change goes into effect on November 4th, and approximately one week before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22), in Marrakesh, Morocco, November 7-18th.
|Art by Jesus Barraza|
Today is Indigenous Peoples Day -- a great day for solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. On August 30th, UUA President Peter Morales wrote, “I urge you to join the effort to bear public witness to the injustice in North Dakota and add your voice to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline”.
The struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline is galvanizing and uniting a Global Indigenous movement. Hundreds of Indigenous tribes and even numerous US cities have made official statements of solidarity. UUs have been taking direct action, as covered recently by the UU World magazine, and many more UUs are wondering what they can do.