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. Unless otherwise noted, we meet at 10:00 a.m. on the 4th Sunday of the month. Emerson is an accredited Green Sanctuary Congregation.
Celebrate the Summer Solstice
Saturday, June 20, at 7:30 p.m. we’ll gather virtually online to celebrate the summer solstice. Please send an email to email@example.com to request the link.
Write to promote bipartisan legislation
This UU advocacy program is sponsored by UUs for Social Justice (uusj.org). We will meet soon to discuss the issue and write letters.
Advocating for reduction of Hydrofluorocarbons (and other “superpollutants”) to reduce global warning.
Write a letter supporting H.R. 5544 (American Innovation and Manufacturing Leadership “AIM” Act) and/or S.2745, a companion bill in the Senate. See UUSJ Update for information about the ongoing letter-writing campaign. The site has links to the current issue, Background, Talking Points, and Sample Letter.
Celebrate Earth Day
Although the best way to celebrate would be to go outside, if you have to be inside, we suggest:
A video treat for Earth Day: Links to some short but beautiful videos from Conservation International. The page opens with a story about LEGOs, but scroll down to “Julia Roberts is the voice of Mother Earth”…beautiful. Other actors are other forces of nature.
3 New Documentaries to Watch on Earth Day. ecowatch.com provides links to The Story of Plastic (on Discovery), Climate Change – The Facts (on PBS), and She Walks With Apes (on BBC America). Keep yourself entertained and informed about the planet, the challenges it faces and how you can help.
10-Minute Climate Play Competition
Coming soon – links to recorded readings of all 3 plays. Thanks to Emerson Players for superb readings.
No better way to change hearts and minds than through story and metaphor. Co-sponsored by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby Houston Chapter and Ministry for Earth
Screening has been Postponed. Date TBD.
To help strengthen UU solidarity with Indigenous frontline communities, join us for this award-winning documentary, The Condor & The Eagle. More info here https://www.uumfe.org/resources/world-water-day/
- Many UU communities are screening this documentary as a fundraiser to support indigenous group in efforts to protect their tribal lands, including the Carrizo/Comocrudo tribe near Padre Island. Their land, including a cemetery, is threatened by the border wall and proposed LNG terminals. A portion of the proceeds will go directly to local tribes in Texas and the rest will establish funding for UU indigenous solidarity and partnerships in 2020 through the UUA’s Create Climate Justice Initiative.
- About the film: Four Indigenous environmental leaders embark on an extraordinary trans-continental adventure from the Boreal forest to deep into the heart of the Amazonian jungle to unite the peoples of North and South America and deepen the meaning of “Climate Justice”. The film’s four protagonists learn from each other’s long legacy of resistance to colonialism and its extractive economy. Their path through the jungle takes them on an unexpectedly challenging and liberating journey, which will forever change their attachment to the Earth and one another.
- About Bryan Parras, Houston activist, and T.E.J.A.S. – See the extensive Houston Chronicle article on March 15th about Bryan, one of the protagonists, at https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Environmental-justice-documentary-puts-spotlight-15126835.php#
- About T.E.J.A.S. – T.E.J.A.S. received Emerson’s Share the Plate collection in 2018 and 2019 as well as an Outreach Grant. Thank you for your support of Emerson’s environmental justice outreach.
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.
Current Focus Issues
Acting on Climate Change
- Socially/Environmentally Responsible Investing for Houses of Worship & Their Members People of all faiths are invited to consider living their values through the investments they make. On May 3, a not-for-profit insurance & financial services company can explained this important topic.
- Renewable Congregations Campaign – Emerson challenges other congregations to shift to 100% renewable energy. Book discussions included
- 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.
The Emerson congregation supports the Citizens’ Climate Lobby Educational Fund through our Share-The-Plate program.
The Emerson congregation voted in Jan. 2020 to endorse the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763). We support the “fee and dividend” legislation to drive down America’s carbon pollution, help bring climate change under control, while unleashing American technology innovation and ingenuity. Importantly, it provides monthly dividends to households. Learn More: Frequently Asked Questions(1 page handout) and Slides from Educational sessions.
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 are 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.
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) – 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.
From your front yard with your household members (at a safe distance), put out posters, hold up banners (including Citizens’ Climate Lobby banner/logo!), take a photo or video calling for climate action as we restructure after the pandemic and upload to your favorite social media. https://www.sunrisemovement.org/
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.