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 at 9:45 a.m. on the 4th Sunday of the month, in the library.
Upcoming Events at Emerson
April 4 online eco-challenge. Join the interfaith team to challenge yourself and other teams to take action during Faith Climate Action Week.
Sunday April 7 Willow Waterhole
Saturday, Feb. 23, at 9.a.m. Katy Prairie Workday.
Sunday, March 3, 2 p.m. at Emerson. Do It Yourself Energy Audits for Houses of Worship and their Members.
Wed, March 20, Celebrating the Vernal Equinox. 6:30 p.m. Potluck supper in Westwood Hall; 7:30 p.m. service. We gather to celebrate the equinox, to acknowledge the cycles of change in the natural world, and to celebrate our place in the universe.
Community Events we are promoting
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:
Friday, Feb. 8 screening “Human Element,”
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)
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.
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
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.
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) – To foster dialogue, education, and collaboration on environmental issues in the Houston/Gulf Coast region.
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)
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 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.