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. Emerson is a certified Green Sanctuary Congregation. Check the weekly e-blast for meetings or contact us at

How the Inflation Reduction Act helps you and your community go solar

You’ve heard that the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) contains provisions to support installation of solar panels, but you’re not sure how it works?  This site explains it all, including benefits for non-profit organizations like faith communities; benefits for electric vehicles; more efficient home electrical systems.  Check it out:

17 Principles of Environmental Justice

Don’t really understand what environmental justice is?  Check out the 17 principles explained by the Environmental Working Group at this link:

Willow Waterhole Greenspace Environmental Stewardship

Sunday, April 23, 1:30 – 4:30 PM.  Meet at 5300 Dryad Dr., Houston, TX 77035

We will engage in hands-on environmental stewardship at the Willow Waterhole Conservation Reserve, including mulching around plantings, cleaning up the park and painting. This event will offer activities for all ages and skill levels. Meet at the Schwartz Gazebo in the park to sign in. Metro bus line 7 stops nearby, and line 49 is not far.  Tools/supplies will be provided. This event is organized by Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston, in partnership with the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy.  The conservancy requires signing of a waiver to participate. Please register for planning purposes on at:  Contact Lisa Brenskelle at for more information.

Greening Finances; align your finances with their values

Recording of March 5th program is available; contact Ann

Want to align your finances, or those of your faith community or other faith-based organization, with the values of your faith – but not sure how to go about it? 

Living the Change Weekly Discussion Group – You can join as you are able

Tuesdays, through May 9, 6 p.m. central, online. Scientists tell us that we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. But it’s only a 7%/year reduction, starting now. Many participants have found easy, cost-effective reductions of 20 – 45%. This program focuses on making personal lifestyle changes in three areas: transportation, energy, and food but will be customized for participants such that additional topics may be covered. Anticipated schedule/topics to be covered are given below. Can’t make it every week? Join us as you are able by registering on at: For more information, please contact Lisa Brenskelle at
Feb. 28, Mar. 7 & Mar. 14: Transport, weeks 2, 3 & 4
Mar. 21, Mar. 28, Apr. 4 & Apr. 11: Energy, weeks 1, 2, 3, & 4
Apr. 18, Apr. 25 & May 2: Food, weeks 1, 2 & 3
May 9: Food, week 4 & closing

Heat in Houston: Justice Implications, Solutions, & How People of Faith Can Engage

Heat is the greatest weather-related disaster in the U.S., killing more people than any other kind of natural disaster. And, Texas is one of three states with the highest heat-related deaths. Houston’s urban heat issues are already serious and are forecasted to get much worse with the Climate Crisis. Urban heat negatively affects human and biodiversity health throughout the region, exacts a financial toll, leads to higher ozone levels, and reduces quality of life. Heat mapping in Houston has shown that high heat is more concentrated in underinvested communities and/or Communities of Color, thereby widening historic inequalities. Fortunately, there are solutions that can be brought to bear to reduce urban heat. Join Jaime Gonzalez of The Nature Conservancy, who led heat mapping efforts in Houston, for a discussion on the findings, their justice implications, solutions, and how houses of worship/people of faith can engage. *Emerson’s Ministry for Earth is represented on the planning committee by Ann May.


“The world is never going to be, in human time, more intact than it is at this moment. Therefore it falls to those of us alive now to watch and record its flora, its fauna, its rains, its snow, its ice, its peoples. To document the buzzing, glorious, cruel, mysterious planet we were born onto, before in our carelessness we leave it far less sweet.” Bill McKibben


Shop Socially & Environmentally Responsible Businesses

Want to patronize businesses whose values align with yours? Check out Better World Shopper:


A Climate Action Plan for Emerson?

Developing a Climate Action Plan allows us to develop strategies that will not only help minimize our carbon footprint but can help save money and improve the functionality of our buildings and grounds. Learn about Houston’s wide-ranging plan here

Climate-posters-in-front-of-churchBecause we care about our planet, we witnessed our hope for the success of COP26, the international conference on climate change, in November 2021.




Environmental Justice Efforts along the Border

logo Carrizo-Comocrudo TribeTexas UU Justice Ministry (TXUUJM), along with the UU Service Committee (UUSC) and UU Ministry For Earth (UUMFE), is forging a new relationship with the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. The Esto’k Gna have been leading environmental justice efforts along the so called Mexican-American border: protecting indigenous sacred sites, resisting construction of LNG (fracked gas) terminals and accompanying pipelines, and educating people about the environmental devastation the Border Wall will cause.

Make your Opinions Known

Front yard climate strike posters

Call your state senator and representative urging them to support Texas environmental and economic policies. To find out who represents you, see Find out more about specific actions at Citizens’ Climate Lobby

In Jan. 2020, the Emerson congregation voted to endorse the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763). Emerson supports the “fee and dividend” legislation to drive down America’s carbon pollution and provides monthly dividends to households. Learn More: Frequently Asked Questions(1 page handout) and Slides from Educational sessions.

Join, the online community organizing hub for climate justice activism among Unitarian Universalists.

Eating for a Healthy Planet; Your Food Choices Matter

Consider why the food we eat matters not just for our health, but for the health of all people and the planet.

Ethical Eating

We support a transition to a plant-based diet. From the Here are 35 places that exclusively serve vegan food in Houston

We encourage members to support urban farmers, such as Plant-it-Forward Farms, by signing up for community supported agriculture (CSA) shares and by purchasing at local Farmers Markets.

Partner Organizations

UU Ministry for Earth – (UUMFE) A national program of the UUA and the inspiration for our environmental work at Emerson. In 2003 Emerson was certified as a Green Sanctuary Congregation. In 2011, the Emerson Green Sanctuary group took took the name Ministry for Earth to match the parent organization.

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. UUs make up the largest faith-based action team within CCL!

Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston (IENOH)an affiliate of Texas Interfaith Power and Light & Texas Impact. The purpose of IENOH is to empower the faith community in Houston to advocate and act collectively as stewards of the environment.

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 (IENOH) – an affiliate of Texas Interfaith Power and Light & Texas Impact. The purpose of IENOH is to empower the faith community in Houston to advocate and act collectively as stewards of the environment.

Renewable Congregations Campaign – Emerson challenges other congregations to shift to 100% renewable energy. In Jan. 2020, the Emerson congregation endorsed the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763). Emerson supports the “fee and dividend” legislation to drive down America’s carbon pollution. Importantly, it provides monthly dividends to households.

Texas Impact, an Austin-based interfaith justice advocacy organization, is the Texas chapter of Interfaith Power and Light, with both educational 501(d)3 and advocacy 501(c)4 activities.

t.e.j.a.s. is a front-line community organization that works in the Manchester area of Houston, near the ship channel. Story about Bryan, one of the founders, at


Green Sanctuary Certification (2003)

Emerson was certified as a Green Sanctuary in 2003,  recognizing 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)


When Emerson began planning for Delaney Hall, the Green Sanctuary committee issued a “Lean and Green Challenge” to the architects: go as “green” as possible without adding cost to the building budget! The architects did such a good job that they themselves proposed the building for LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The architects provided extensive documentation on demolition, material selection and handling, and construction procedures. Delaney Hall is the first church building in the U.S. to be LEED certified (29 points) 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 that do not need irrigation. Church policies call for integrated pest management,  avoiding pesticides, use of recycled and/or reusable products for meals and parties.