What can *I* do to help save the environment?

The tag-line for the Green Sanctuary program is “Congregations and congregants working together to restore Earth and renew spirit.”  The Green Sanctuary program is collective effort – its about all of us, according to our talents and capacities, coming together to create the Earth community we have envisioned.  The program encourages individual actions that reduce our impact on this planet while also acting as a program of congregational action.  Its about working together to strengthen our ability to create change.

One of the barriers for individuals to get involved in environmental work is that they feel detached from the situtation.  They believe that they are too small of a unit to make any real difference.  And often end up asking themselves “What can *I* do to help save the environment?”

In response to this those dedicated and most committed environmentalists end up creating long-lists of small everyday actions people can take.  Yet those that feel detached often find that this isn’t enough for them and so they continue being aware that there is a problem and not really doing much to change the situation.

Here’s the deal: solving the climate crisis will take a strong grassroots movement. Until we have a strong climate movement that can make our politicians work for us, they’ll keep working for the big polluters. We are called by our faith as Unitarian Universalists to get to work by changing our country from the bottom up.  As Congress finally begins to debate climate and energy legislation, we, as believers in the democratic process need to take a minute to ask our Senators a simple question: are you working with us or are you working with the big polluters?

Make a call and remind your Senator that they work for you, their constituent, not big companies. Use this resource from 350.org to make the call.

This is something *YOU* can do to help save the environment.

Out of Balance – Film Review

Transocean Ltd. Rig Deepwater Horizon, which was drilling for BP off the coat of Louisiana, has been the topic of conversation for many individuals that are horrified by events of the past several months. As the disaster has sparked the need for a criminal investigation, one might wonder how much economic liability BP will ultimately be responsible for. Additionally, many are frustrated by the lack of response to this crisis. How has this continued for months? How long will it continue? Many are hoping to see harsh penalties for BP, but at the same time some are beginning to feel hopeless at the possibility of this happening.

With that said, it seems only appropriate that my film review be in some way related to this recent environmental disaster. While searching for films that could be connected to this, I stumbled upon Out of Balance: ExxonMobil’s Impact on Climate Change, a film by Tom Jackson.  The film begins with Jackson discussing the present impacts of global warming on the world. After this introduction, Jackson then discusses the history of the most powerful oil company in the world, ExxonMobil. We then learn about the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill that occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska and Jackson delves into the ethical decision making of former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond regarding the response and clean up to this massive spill. The overall message that we get from this film is how influential one company can be on the state of the environment.

General Assembly and Environmental Programming

The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations’  49th Annual General Assembly in Minneapolis, Minnesota is only 14 days away.

General Assembly, GA, is our yearly meeting of congregations where we come together “to take part in the governance of our Association, to build together a vision for its future, to learn from each other, to work, talk, play, and imagine together, to grow together” (from the opening of the General Assembly Program).

The Green Sanctuary program will be well represented at GA.  Robin Nelson, Program Manager for Congregational Stewardship Services who manages the Green Sanctuary program, will be presenting workshop #2092 Environmental Stewardship: Green Sanctuary, leading a discussion group, heading up the Environmental Justice Passport project, and honoring congregations that have received Green Sanctuary Accreditation in the fiscal year 2010 in Sunday’s closing Plenary session.

For those of you who can attend GA:

You might also be interested the following workshops:  

  • #2015 Environmental Justice in Our Congregations sponsored by the UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) featuring Steve Maier, Dr. Mark A. Hicks and Rowan Van Ness
  • #2051 Proposed Congregationsl Study/Action Issues for 2010-2014 sponsored by the Commission on Social Witness led by Rev. Dr. Paul Johnson and Rev. Heather Starr
  • #2059 Using Sustainable Solutions to Impact Climate Change sponsored by the UU United Nations Office featuring Jennifer Jewell Thomas, Jim Harkness, Michael Noble and Will Steger
  • #2073 Environmental Justice: The Green Revolution in Religion sponsored by the Ballou Channing District featuring Rev. Robert Murphy, Rev. Jose Ballester, Rev. Paul Rasor, Rev. Dr. Fred Muir and Rev. Dr. Lucy Hitchcock Seck
  • #3013 Saving the World One Fork at a Time sponsored by the Commission on Social Witness featuring Howard Lyman, Rev. Dr. Paul Johnson, and Rev. John Gibb Millspaugh
  • #3058 Ethical Eating: Moving Toward a Statement of Conscience sponsored by the Commision on Social Witness featuring Rev. Dr. Paul Johnson, Re. John Gibb Millspaugh, Rev. Robert Murphy, and Rev. Dr. Lucy Hitchcock Seck