A Sacred Public Witness with Lummi Nation
On June 27, 2015, more than 2,500 Unitarian Universalists and allies gathered for "A Sacred Public Witness," sponsored by Commit2Respond. Attendees listened to the story, struggle, and wisdom of leaders from Lummi Nation, who are on the front lines of the environmental crisis, and then co-created a powerful ritual of sending blessings to the four directions and making spiritual commitments to climate justice.
Solidarity and Action
In a few short hours thousands of Unitarian Universalists gathered in Portland, Oregon, will join together with other people of faith and conscience, regional activists, and Indigenous partners for a powerful event to bear witness to the struggles of front-line communities (particularly First Nations), take a moral stand against climate change and the fossil fuels industry, and call for climate justice.
Environmental Justice 101
"Environmental justice" isn't just a new way to say "environmentalism"—it's an entirely different approach.
Environmentalism generally looks only at a single piece of the puzzle at once, like the piece about conserving natural places or the piece about not filling landfills with materials that could be recycled. Consequently, it results in solutions that only address one piece at a time without questioning the larger system.
Environmental justice, on the other hand, attempts to look at all of the pieces and seek out the injustices within the entire system, ultimately questioning the system itself when it results in things like destruction of natural places and filling landfills with recyclable materials. Consequently, it leads to solutions that work to dismantle unjust and immoral systems, recognizing that all injustice is interrelated.
Many Faiths, One Earth: A Response to the Papal Encyclical
The crisis of climate change is the gravest threat facing our world today, and as people of faith and conscience we are called to respond to the moral imperative to advance climate justice.
We therefore applaud Pope Francis for focusing the world’s attention on the threat of climate change by issuing "Laudato Si," or "Praise Be to You," a papal letter addressed not just to Catholics but to "every person living on this planet."
Tough Choices on Mineral Rights
At the October 2014 meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association's Board of Trustees, I informed the Board that the UUA administration had recently sold mineral rights in Texas for just shy of one million dollars. This information was included as part of the budget update that I presented at that meeting and was reported on UUWorld.org.
Given the budget shortfall of the previous fiscal year, I considered this sale to be good news for the finances of the Association. But there were others in the UU community who viewed this transaction through a different lens—that of climate change and our moral imperative to address that crisis.
The Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous People
The Original Nations of Great Turtle Island (typically called “the Americas”) have contributed much to the world, but are seldom publicly recognized by major educational institutions as having done so. Nor are they often recognized as models of ecological sustainability. Yet reverence and passion for thousands of years the earth and its web of life was the primary focus and way of life of all Original Nations and Peoples in North, Central, and South America, and this was a direct result of their values and worldviews.
Announcing Commit2Respond's Newest Leading Organization: UU Young Adults for Climate Justice!
It is a joy to announce that Unitarian Universalist Young Adults for Climate Justice is joining Commit2Respond as a collaborating organization. Leaders of our network have long been collaborating for the campaign through developing programs for action, resources for Climate Justice Month, and more.
UU Young Adults for Climate Justice is an organization sponsored by the UU Ministry for Earth, and was founded in 2012. Our staff Network Coordinator, Aly Tharp, will be representing us on the Commit2Respond Steering Committee.
Thousands Strong, We Will Witness
On Saturday June 27 at 4:45pm Pacific, across North America and beyond, we will bear witness.
During the first-ever Climate Justice Month we were spiritually renewed and grounded and we committed ourselves to new action. Now we have a chance to witness on the side of love with front-lines First Nations and American Indian partners.
What's Next For Commit2Respond
What’s next for Commit2Respond is a big chance for collective action: “A Sacred Public Witness,” an event in Portland, Oregon, on June 27 that will be attended by thousands of Unitarian Universalists and others and also accessible to all by live stream.
Together we will witness for the rights of First Nations and American Indian peoples and other front-line communities, and bring our moral voice to the struggle against the fossil fuels industry’s plan to decimate ecosystems and Native sacred lands throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Food Justice is Climate Justice!
A powerful training opportunity is coming to the Midwest: Justice in the Food Chain: Training for Organizers and Activists, September 25-27, Chicago, IL