Our beautiful earth
Earth is in our hands

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 at 10:00 a.m. on the 4th Sunday of the month. Emerson is an accredited Green Sanctuary Congregation.

Upcoming Events at Emerson 

Plastic Free Ecochallenge, July 1 – 31, online
The Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston invites all area residents to join their team for the Plastic Free EcoChallenge! This challenge engages participants in committing to reduce consumption of single-use plastics during July. Choose from challenges in food, personal care, community, lifestyle, pets, family, or create your own custom challenge. Search for Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston team and join us! https://plasticfree.ecochallenge.org/teams

July 21, 12:30 p.m. – Congregational Meeting to endorse the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763). Ministry for Earth recommends a vote in favor of Emerson UU church endorsing this legislation. We understand that the legislation will drive down America’s carbon pollution, help bring climate change under control, while unleashing American technology innovation and ingenuity.  Importantly, it will protect the most vulnerable among us by providing monthly dividends to households. 

Whereas we understand this bill is effective, good for people, good for the economy, and revenue neutral, we support Emerson’s Ministry for Earth being listed as one of Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s Endorsers of this legislation. In addition, we encourage Emerson’s Board of Trustees to support seeking congregational approval of endorsement by Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church.

Plant It Forward Farm Shares Dropoff Location – Every Sunday, 12 noon to 3 p.m. – Support refugees and sustainable gardens with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  If you go on vacation, log in and set a “delivery hold” at least one week in advance, to insure your share doesn’t go to waste.

Community Events

VegFest Houston – The Premier Vegan Community Festival of Texas! Saturday, July 13, 2019 at Minute Maid Park. 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. This popular event features vegan vendors and exhibitors, family-friendly kids activities, giveaways and more. VegFest Houston promotes an ethical, compassionate and truly sustainable world for all.  Link to the Festival is http://www.vegansocietyofpeace.org/VEGFESTHOUSTON

Houston Interfaith Advocacy Training
Sunday, July 21 at Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, 1440 Harold St, Houston, TX 77006. 2 to 5 p.m. Presented by Texas Impact. Free and open to the public. 
Get Prepared! Get Trained! Includes faith leader panel, Advocacy 101, and 3 breakouts (immigration; climate and energy; health policy). Register online See the Facebook event for more information. 

Houston Green Film Series (Facebook page) 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.

Past Events that Emerson hosted or attended:

Summer Solstice Celebration – Friday, June 21, 6:30 p.m. Potluck Picnic in Westwood Hall followed by 7:30 p.m.  Informal Service outside. 

Vernal Equinox Celebration, Wed, March 20. Welcome Spring!

Sunday, March 3, 2 p.m. at Emerson. Do It Yourself Energy Audits for Houses of Worship and their Members. 

Saturday, Feb. 23, at 9.a.m. Katy Prairie Workday. 

Friday, Feb. 8 screening “Human Element,” and Saturday, Feb. 9 Citizens’ Climate Lobby Conference “Uniting for Climate Solutions,”  

Sunday, Feb. 3, 2 p.m. at Emerson. Justice Advocacy Workshop presented by Texas Impact

Sunday, Jan. 6, 2 p.m. Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston, Faith leaders spoke on the ethics of eating. 

Sunday, Nov. 18, 1:30 –4:30 p.m. Japhet Creek Park Cleanup

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.

Current Focus Issues

Acting on Climate Change

Wisdom from a climate champion: A conversation with Katharine Hayhoe (Oct. 25, 2018 interview on GreenBiz)

Renewable Congregations Campaign

Emerson challenges other congregations to shift to 100% renewable energy. 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 works with all levels of legislative bodies and educates 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.

Ethical Eating and Environmental Justice

Our potluck suppers feature vegetarian and vegan menus, such as the “veggie burger cook-off.” Other campaigns have highlighted industrial agriculture, consumption, and unfair labor practices in the production of chocolate.

Consumption and Sustainability

We encourage members to refuse, 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.

Local Conservation and Animal Welfare Organizations

  • Support for Corridor Rescue Coalition and Pet Adoption
  • Planting trees with Trees for Houston
  • Cleaning up the beaches and bayous (Adopt-a-Beach and Trash Bash)
  • Marsh Mania (planting sea grass) with the Galveston Bay Foundation
  • Volunteering at Earth Day Houston

Recycling & Composting at Emerson

GLASS: Place glass bottles and jars (no lids) in marked container in Westwood Hall. A volunteer takes the glass to Westpark Recycling Ctr.

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, lids OFF, no food or drink residue. (NO Styrofoam or #6 plastic)
  • flattened cardboard (cut the tape and flatten the box)
  • NO glass.

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.

Related Organizations

UU Ministry for Earth    – A national program of the UUA and the inspiration for our environmental work at Emerson. In 2011, the Emerson Green Sanctuary group took took the name Ministry for Earth.

Citizen’s Environmental Coalition (CEC) – The CEC is an alliance of over 130 diverse nonprofit, governmental, professional, conservation, advocacy, and educational organizations to foster education, dialogue, and collaboration on environmental issues in the Houston/Gulf Coast region. The weekly Houston Environmental News Update publicizes opportunities to become involved, take action, and make a difference. 

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.



Green Sanctuary Certification (2003)

GreenSanctuary-logoEmerson 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. 

LEED Certification of Delaney Hall (2006)IMG_0852-LEED2-cropped

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 the architects provided extensive documentation on demolition, materials and handling, and recycling and construction procedures, we received 29 points. Delaney Hall is the first church building in the U.S. to be LEED 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.