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 informally at9:45 a.m. on the 4th Sunday of the month, in the library.

Upcoming Events

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.

Sunday, Nov. 18, 1:30 –4:30 p.m. Japhet Creek Park Cleanup. Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fall-2018-interfaith-environmental-stewardship-event-tickets-50540271312    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.

Recurring Community Events

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.

Past Events

What is Houston’s Green Building Resource Center?
Sunday, July 29, at 6 p.m. Online only. 
Steve Stelzer, Program Director for Houston’s Green Building Resource Center, presentation on making Houston a greener place to live and work.

Sunday, May 6,  Making Houston a Resilient City – How Houses of Worship Can Help. Jim Blackburn shared

Prof. Jim Blackburn
Jim Blackburn

some ideas to bring resilience to our community in the future, and the role of houses of worship could play in realizing this future.

Sunday, April 22, Earth Day Houston
Emerson’s Ministry for Earth is sponsoring a UU Network booth and welcomes all UUs to help staff the booth; or stop by and say hello.

Tuesday, Sept. 4. Moving toward climate protection through music and art. We will explore moving toward climate protection through a beautiful music video, hearing insights from guest speaker Tim Mock, then make a banner for the Sept. 8 Houston climate march.

Saturday, Sept 8, “Houston Strong For Climate” rally at Emancipation Park.  Join rallies in cities and towns around the world to demand our local and federal leaders commit to building a fossil free world that works for all of us. Join Citizens’ Climate Lobby as they build political will for legislation that will put a price on carbon pollution through a carbon fee and dividend.

Green Events for Houses of Worship 
Sunday, Oct. 14, 2 p.m. at Live Oaks Friends Meeting House 
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)

Renewable Congregations Campaign

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.

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

Single-stream recycling is provided by Republic Services (blue bin at back of parking lot) for members and friends.

  • dry paper (NO pizza boxes, used coffee cups or paper plates — these go in the trash)
  • metal cans
  • plastic bottles and lids, with no food or drink residue.  (NO Styrofoam or #6 plastic)
  • flattened cardboard (cut the tape and deconstruct your box)
  • NO glass.

In Westwood Hall, near the kitchen, we collect ink cartridges for recycling in a box on the counter.

Clothing Recycling, ongoing – Bring any type of clothing. A triage process puts each piece into the highest use possible, whether resale, or reuse. Emerson receives $30 per month.

Related Organizations

Emerson was certified as a UUA Green Sanctuary congregation in 2003, and in 2011, took the name of Ministry for Earth, following the lead of the national program, UU Ministry for Earth.

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.


Green Sanctuary Certification (2003)

GreenSanctuary-logoAs the Green Sanctuary Committee, Emerson was certified as a Green Sanctuary 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 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.