|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.
It is a historic time for International climate action --- The Paris Agreement was just ratified by enough countries to now go into effect, on November 4, 2016. This is just days before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) meets in Marrakesh, Morocco, Nov. 7 - 18th.
Nine people will be traveling to Morocco next month as official observers to the COP22, representing the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). This is an important measure for UU witness and advocacy for climate justice, as the COP22 will focus on critical components of implementing the Paris Agreement that will have tremendous impacts for the whole world, and especially severely climate impacted communities, for generations to come.
Here are three ways that you can get involved and learn more:
Check out the delegation’s Faithify campaign to learn more about our representatives and support their journey.
RSVP for a special meeting about COP22 and the Paris Agreement, hosted by the UU-United Nations Office Climate Action Teams, on Wednesday, Oct. 12th at 8 PM EST. Members of the delegation will be attending as special guests.
- Make plans to raise awareness and take action during the Women Act for Climate Justice: 10 Days of Global Mobilization, October 28 - November 6th.
Stay tuned for more information and communications from our COP22 delegation. Thank you for supporting and following this important UU witness and advocacy for climate justice.
If a Disaster Were to Strike, Are We As a Community Prepared?
Free Anti-Oppressive Disaster Response Webinar
Register for Sept. 8th or Sept. 15th
Join the Environmental Justice Practitioners’ Network for an online presentation and conversation with Paul Dalzell whom some of you know from his work in West Virginia. The webinar is entitled “Anti-Oppressive Disaster Preparation and Response” and is scheduled for two times: September 8th (live) or September 15th, 7:00 PM EST.
Paul Dalzell was "flushed into activism" on Jan. 9, 2014 when 7,500 gal of the coal cleaning chemical crude MCHM was spilled into the Elk River about one mile upstream of the region's only water intake in Charleston, WV. Residents were advised not to drink, cook with, bathe, or wash with West Virginia American Water Company tap water; up to 300,000 of his closest friends and neighbors were affected.
Sign up and select your preferred date (Sept. 8th or 15th) with this Online Registration Form. Deadline to RSVP is Noon Central on the day-of, if space allows.
|Art by Jesus Barraza|
Historic things are happening in Standing Rock Sioux (Lakota / Oceti Sakowin) territories, near the border of North and South Dakota. Thousands of people, primarily Native Americans, are camped out at the point where the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction easement intersects with the Missouri river, pledging unrelenting non-violent resistance to stop the pipeline from crossing beneath the water body. Momentum for this current surge of action has been building for many months.
The Sacred Stone Spirit Camp (Iŋyaŋ Wakháŋagapi Othí) was established April 1, 2016 with a 30-mile horseback ride of tribal citizens of the Standing Rock Lakota Nation and ally Lakota, Nakota, & Dakota citizens, under the group name “Chante tin’sa kinanzi Po”. Dozens of youth from the Standing Rock Sioux Lakota (Oceti Sakowin) tribe ran a 500-mile relay to deliver a message to the Army Corps of Engineers in April 2016, and a 2,000 miles relay all the way to Washington, D.C. to deliver a message to the US Government in July and August of 2016.
The Indigenous-led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline has been rooted in prayer and reverence for the sacredness of the water and the earth. Numerous days of resistance have involved continuous prayer. The people there are saying, “We are protectors, not protesters”.
Check out Oscar Nominated director Josh Fox's latest documentary, How to Let Go of the World and Love the Things that Climate Can't Change --- Or better yet: host a watch party! The film is available on HBO tv and web platforms throughout the summer.
"Traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, the film acknowledges that it may be too late to stop some of the worst consequences and asks, what is it that climate change can’t destroy? What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?" (source) Tim DeChristoper, a UU young adult seminarian and climate justice movement leader since his 2008 disruption of a US government mineral rights auction in Utah, is featured in the film.
This is Xwe’chi’eXen --- also known as Cherry Point. Its lands and waters have sustained the Lummi people since before the exodus of Jews from Egypt, the foundation of Rome, the birth of Jesus Christ. 3,500 years --- meaning that the bones of 140+ generations past rest in this place. Two-thirds of the Lummi people have ancestral roots tied to the reef net fishing people of Xwe’chi’eXen -- ancestors who “witness[ed] the landscape transform as an Ice Age came and went, rivers and streams began to flow, salmon arrived and forests grew to provide shelter for all our relations.” 
This deep cultural heritage and the Lummi Peoples’ connection today to the spirits of their ancestors buried at Xwe’chi’eXen flat doesn’t matter to the profiteers of an extractive global economy.
Nina, a cat, sits inside a pet crate after being rescued from flash flooding outside a home in Rainelle, W.Va.
Steep mountains, narrow valleys and a deadly train of storms came together in West Virginia to cause horrendous flooding that killed 23 people last week, forced thousands to evacuate and destroyed or damaged thousands of homes and businesses.
Disaster Areas have been declared for 44 or the 55 counties in the state. FEMA and the National Guard have been called in and once again we see pictures of homes with the dread markings of house-to-house searches for the missing people and pets.
In observance of World Refugee Day, we recognize the stark and devastating fact that 2015 had more people displaced from their homes than any year before in human history: 65.3 million people --- 2014 was the highest year before that, with 60 million people total displaced. Approximately 1 in 7 people in the world is a migrant, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Multiple amazing events are happening in the escalation of public resistance to the fracked gas pipeline through West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Events begin with mass actions June 19 and continue through June 29 to include marches, a film showing, vigils, and clergy actions. Click here for more information.
The theme of General Assembly (GA) 2016 is “Heart Land: Where Faiths Connect.” There will be many workshops and activities that tie this theme to environmental, ecological, and climate justice. These presentations may be of interest to individuals and congregations looking for inspiration and projects for their Green Sanctuary action plans.
Also, come by the UUMFE booth in the Exhibit Hall (#222), a.k.a., “Climate Justice Central.” for Commit2Respond newsletters, action alerts, and sign-up stations.