Ministry for Earth
Promoting the seventh Principle of Unitarian Universalism: to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Our mission is to educate ourselves and others about environmental issues; advocate public policies to protect the global environment; act locally in our homes, church and city; and connect spiritually with the web-of-all-existence. We work towards that mission by organizing educational, community-building action and service projects. We meet informally at 9:45 a.m. on the 4th Sunday of the month, in the library.
Sunday, Jan. 6, 2 p.m. Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston, 2019 Kick-Off Event at First Congregational Church, 10840 Beinhorn Rd.
We will hear from faith leaders of a variety of faiths (Bahai, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Unitarian Universalism) on the ethics of eating. There will be a presentation on the top ten actions houses of worship can take now to preserve the earth. We will also recap activities from 2018, and you’ll get an opportunity to provide your input into 2019 planning via a survey.
Please join us! To help us plan, please Register for the event here. Contact Lisa Brenskelle at email@example.com for more information. If you can do so, please bring some snacks to share for our break-out sessions, during which we’ll get to know each other better.
Recurring Community Events
Citizen’s Environmental Coalition Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour
Date: January 30 and 31, 2019 featuring 20 films on critical environmental issues, ranging in scope from international to national to local. These films have inspired CEC to help the local environmental community share its stories through film and video.
Houston Green Film Series at Rice University
Date: third Wednesday of the month
Time: 6:30 p.m. light meal, conversation, & networking, 7:00 p.m. film
Where: Rice Media Center, 6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005
Cost: free and open to the public, donations gratefully accepted.
Sunday, Nov. 18, 1:30 –4:30 p.m. Japhet Creek Park Cleanup. Meet at 4600 Clinton St. at Emile St. Ministry for Earth invites you to join a great activity for all ages. Tools and supplies will be provided. Hosted by Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston.
Wed., Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Kilgore Lecture in Emerson Sanctuary. “The Quest for Environmental Justice: Why Place Matters, and So Does Race” – Dr. Robert D. Bullard. Hosted by Emerson Kilgore Lecture Committee.
Sunday, Oct. 14, 2 p.m. at Live Oaks Friends Meeting House, Green Events for Houses of Worship
Lisa Brenskelle shares tips on managing food, waste, transportation/travel, materials, housing, energy use, equipment & more for your next event. Hosted by Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston
Current Focus Issues
Acting on Climate Change
Wisdom from a climate champion: A conversation with Katharine Hayhoe (Oct. 25, 2018 interview on GreenBiz)
Emerson challenges other congregations to shift to 100% renewable energy. This program is one response to climate change. Recent book discussions included This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein and Change the Story, Change the Future by David Korten. Recent videos included Chasing Ice and Bidder 70. We actively engaged in the UUA’s Commit2Respond program.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is the leading organization in the nation advocating for climate change and its practical solutions. CCL has been actively working with all levels of legislative bodies and educating the general public on the “Carbon Fee & Dividend” program that is CCL’s central focus. The mission of CCL is to create the “Political Will for the Livable World.” Dori Wolfe, Briar/Memorial chapter organizer.
Solarize Houston, the grass roots, volunteer, non-profit group, organizes Houstonians in a group purchase of solar systems. You can find out more by going to www.solarize-houston.org. Enrollees get a free design and energy projection.
Ethical Eating and Environmental Justice
Many programs over the last few years feature sustainable suppers, movies, and events. Our potluck suppers feature vegetarian and vegan menus, such as the “veggie burger cook-off.” Other campaigns have highlighted the concerns of industrial agriculture, consumption, and unfair labor practices in the production of chocolate.
Consumption and Sustainability
We encourage members to reduce and reuse. Movies have included No Impact Man and the classic Story of Stuff. We encourage members to use china, glassware, and cutlery instead of disposables for all events that provide food and drink.
Permaculture: Links to downloads from a sustainable living website, thanks to a member of Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston.
- How to Attract Dragonflies to Your Plot https://www.regenerative.com/download-pdf/39724.pdf
- Five Threats to Global Biodiversity https://www.regenerative.com/download-pdf/38100.pdf
- How to Minimize E-Waste https://www.regenerative.com/download-pdf/38683.pdf
- How to Bring Permaculture Into the Workplace https://www.regenerative.com/download-pdf/39674.pdf
Supporting Local Conservation and Animal Welfare Organizations
- Rowdy Girl Farm Animal Sanctuary in Alvin
- Pet Adoption and Support for Corridor Rescue Coalition.
- Marsh Mania (planting sea grass) with the Galveston Bay Foundation
- Planting trees with Trees for Houston
- Cleaning up the beaches and bayous (Adopt-a-Beach and Trash Bash)
- Working in community gardens (Last Organic Outpost and Plant-It-Forward)
- Volunteering at Earth Day Houston, sponsored by Houston Air Alliance
- Volunteering at the Texas Bioneers Conference (Emerson has hosted the conference twice.)
Recycling Programs at Emerson
Everything except GLASS: Single-stream recycling (without glass) is provided by Republic Services (blue bin at back of parking lot) for members and friends.
- dry paper (no food or drink residue)
- metal cans
- plastic bottles and lids, no food or drink residue. (NO Styrofoam or #6 plastic)
- flattened cardboard (cut the tape and deconstruct your box)
- NO glass.
GLASS: Place glass bottles and jars (no lids) in marked container in Westwood Hall. A volunteer takes the glass to Westpark Recycling Ctr.
INK CARTRIDGES: Place in a box on the counter in the front of Westwood Hall, near the kitchen. A volunteer takes to commercial recycler.
CLOTHING: Place any type of clothing in big green bin at back of parking lot. A triage process puts each piece into the highest use possible, whether resale, or reuse. Emerson receives $30 per month.
In 2011, took the name of Ministry for Earth, following the lead of the national program, UU Ministry for Earth.
Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston – Emerson UU Church is a founding member of the new Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston (with support from Texas Interfaith Power and Light, see Texas Impact, an Austin-based interfaith justice advocacy organization and recipient of an Outreach Fund Grant from Emerson. The purpose of the new organization is to empower the faith community in Houston to advocate and act collectively as stewards of the environment. The organization is open to staff of local environmental non-profits, so that a strong connection between them and the faith community can be nurtured.
Citizen’s Environmental Coalition – To foster dialogue, education, and collaboration on environmental issues in the Houston / Gulf Coast region.
Green Sanctuary Certification (2003)
Emerson was certified as a Green Sanctuary in 2003 through the process now administered by the UUA. Certification recognizes our work to expand eco-awareness to religious education, service, worship and sustainability of our church’s physical facilities.
When Emerson began planning for Delaney Hall, the Green Sanctuary committee urged the architects to consider green building design and gave them a “Lean and Green Challenge” – to go as “green” as possible without adding cost to the building budget! The architects did such a good job of this that they themselves submitted the building for LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). After documenting the demolition, material selection and handling, and construction procedures, we received 29 points. Delaney Hall is the first church building in the U.S. to be certified, and the third building (of any kind) in Houston to achieve this certification. The building features sustainable design and construction methods, energy conservation, use of recycled materials, and pollution prevention techniques (air, water, light). The grounds were landscaped with native or highly adapted plants. We use integrated pest management and avoid pesticides. We encourage the use of recycled and/or reusable products for meals and parties.