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. Unless otherwise noted, we meet at 10:00 a.m. on the 4th Sunday of the month. Emerson is an accredited Green Sanctuary Congregation.

Great News: Emerson Endorses Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR763) 

At its Annual Meeting on January 26, 2020, the Emerson congregation voted to endorse the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763). Ministry for Earth has endorsed this legislation and proposed congregational endorsement by Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church. We understand that the “fee and dividend” 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. 

Learn More: Frequently Asked Questions (1 page handout) and Slides from Educational sessions.

Upcoming Events at Emerson 

Sunday, Feb. 23 – Join us at 10:00 a.m., in Delaney Hall

Saturday, March 7 – Spring cleanup day at Emerson. Come prune and trim plants on the Emerson campus. Inside, sweep, dust, wash windows, wax the pews, etc.

Spring Equinox – stay tuned for date, time, and location

Saturday, April 18 – Beach Cleanup Day,  Galveston

Plant It Forward Farm Shares Emerson is a Drop-off Location Every Sunday, 12 noon to 3 p.m.  Support refugees and local 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. Support refugees! Eat Local! 

Events Outside of Emerson

A Conversation on “Living the Changehttps://livingthechange.net/

Sunday, March 1, 2 p.m.
Live Oak Friends Meeting House,  1318 W. 26th St. or simultaneous web meeting.

Reducing the impact of our consumption is a spiritual challenge. By Living the Change, we engage this struggle with joy as part of our response to climate change.
Ministry for Earth and the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston invite you to a conversation on Living the Change, a global multifaith initiative to address climate change. Learn how to host a Living the Change discussion in your home or at church. “Local suppers & guided conversations.” 
Please register for onsite or simultaneous online event at www.eventbrite.com. For more information about this event, please contact Ann at ministryforearth@emersonhouston.org.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the River Oaks Theatre on January 28 and 29, 2020. There will be a different selection of films each night. The event will also feature local films from Houston Parks Board, Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Environmental Defense Fund. Visit the CEC website or Facebook page to purchase your tickets today.

Earth Day Houston, April 19, 2020, 12 to 5 p.m. The 50th worldwide observance will be held at Discovery Green.

For a comprehensive list of events in and around Houston

Check out Citizen’s Environmental Coalition weekly update, on the News tab.

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:

Congratulations to Emerson member Dori Wolfe! Sunnyside Energy, led by developer Dori Wolfe of Wolfe Energy LLC, has won a competition to repurpose a  240-acre former landfill in Sunnyside. This “win-win” design calls for the development of a 70 Megawatt ballasted solar array. Details are available at https://www.c40reinventingcities.org

Screening “Paris to Pittsburgh.” Aug 4, 2019. Over 100 cities and 6 states plus Puerto Rico have set goals to match the Paris Climate Accord committing to 100% renewable energy. 

Screening “Climate in Crisis: the End of Ice” by Dahr Jamail. Oct. 11, 7 p.m.

Current Focus Issues

Acting on Climate Change

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, Houston Central 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. 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:  

Let’s recycle right! paper plates and cups with food/drink residue is trash, headed to the landfill. 

Outside bin: 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.

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.

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.