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. Emerson is an accredited Green Sanctuary Congregation.

We typically meet on the 4th Sunday of the month. Currently we are meeting virtually. The meeting link will be posted in the weekly e-blast and on this page. 

Autumn Equinox online gathering Welcome-fall-banner, Autumn Equinox

Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Online. Meeting link: www.emersonhouston.org/MFEWe will gather to mark the change from summer to fall, as the sun reaches the point of balance between the solstices. We invite you to share a brief reading (doesn’t have to be original). If you would like to bring a song or story to share, please send an email to Ann at  ministryforearth@emersonhouston.org

Monthly Meeting of Ministry for Earth

Sunday, Sept. 27 at 2:00 p.m. Online  Meeting Link: https://emersonhouston.org/MFEmeets 

  • A lot of news in the past few months about climate change, renewable energy, and climate action in general.  Please think of a “good news” headline to share at our meeting.
  • We’ll discuss Houston’s Climate Action Plan. Learn about it from Houston’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Lara Cottingham, Wed., Sept. 23 at 2:00 p.m.  Register now at www.houston climate week.eventbrite.com  for this and other FREE Presentations, Houston Climate Week: SEPTEMBER 14-18 & 23rd

People of the Land: Healing From the White Supremacy & Colonization Pandemic

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.  Join this series of online conversations with the Tribe. The first two conversations explored native identity and lifeways and the pandemic of racism. Please register for the remaining dates:

Friday, October 16th at 6 p.m. for Defend Yalui Village
Friday, November 20th at 6 p.m. for Protect Garcia Pasture
Friday, December 18th at 6 p.m. for Eagle Pass Mine & Other Tribal Sites

Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston

Rain Barrel Distribution in October 

rainbarrelsRegistration includes access to the online webinar, one rain barrel, and one connecter kit. LIMIT 2 BARRELS. Sponsored by LyondellBassell and Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages; Galveston Bay Foundation. Register to participate at: www.galvbay.org/events. For more information, contact Lisa Brenskelle at gcs.lrc@gmail.com.
Register for a specific location. Pick-up locations and dates/times:

Saturday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. – noon: Unity of Houston, 2929 Unity Dr., Houston 77057
Saturday, Oct. 10, 1 – 4 p.m.: Solar Outdoor Classroom, 4848 Higgins St., Houston 77033
Sunday, Oct. 11, noon – 3 p.m.: 1st Congregational Church, 10840 Beinhorn Rd., Houston 77024
Sunday, Oct. 11, 4 p.m., online webinar How-to Assemble and Install Your Rain Barrel.

Living the Change Weekly Discussion Group

Thursdays, September 3 through November 19, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.,  Join Living the Change to examine how you can make lifestyle changes with a significant impact on climate change. A free resource will be sent electronically to all participants. Can’t make it every week?  Join us as you are able.  Please register for this event on www.eventbrite.com. For more information, please contact Lisa Brenskelle at gcs.lrc@gmail.com

Sept. 10, Sept. 17 & Sept. 24: Transport, weeks 2, 3 & 4
Oct. 1, Oct. 8, Oct. 15 & Oct. 22: Energy, weeks 1, 2, 3, & 4
Oct. 29, Nov. 5, & Nov. 12: Food, weeks 1, 2 & 3
Nov. 19: Food, week 4 & closing

First UU Houston – Climate Action Team Presentation

Sunday, Sept.  27, 12:45 p.m.  Sandy Spears explains En-ROADS, a climate change simulator for you.  Open to all. 

Rice Univ. Green Film Series: The Condor & the Eagle Condor_Eagle_Poster

Wednesday, Sept. 30. Virtual screening as part of Rice Univ. Green Film Series.  The Condor & the Eagle 

Award-winning documentary, The Condor & The Eagle

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Featuring Bryan Parras, Houston activist, and Yudith Nieto, of T.E.J.A.S. 

10-Minute Climate Play Competition 

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

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

Current Focus Issues

Acting on Climate Change – 

  • 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 MoreFrequently 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 as well as recycle. We encourage members to use china, glassware, and cutlery instead of disposables for all events that provide food and drink.

Water Quality and Water Conservation for Houses of Worship and Their Members, Sunday, September 13, 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. online. Join Sarah Gossett Robinson, Senior Community Liaison for Houston Water, to learn how you/your house of worship can assist in conserving water & preserving water quality. 

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.

Partner 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. More info here  https://www.uumfe.org/resources/world-water-day/   

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. 

Sunrise Movement Front yard climate strike posters

We participated in Stay-at-Home Climate Strike, April 24, 2020 from our yards with posters and banners. 

Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston –  Emerson UU Church is a founding member of the new Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston (an affiliate of Texas Interfaith Power and Light, see Texas Impact, an Austin-based interfaith justice advocacy organization. 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.

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.  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#


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.