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. Emerson is an accredited Green Sanctuary Congregation. We typically meet on the 4th Sunday of the month. Currently we are meeting virtually. Check the weekly e-blast for updates. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, April 11, 2 p.m., online. Actions Faith Communities Can Take to Reduce Pollution & Pollution-Related Health Effects
Loren Hopkins, Chief Environmental Science Officer for the City of Houston’s Health Department, will discuss current Houston Health Department programming and policies directed toward reducing pollution and pollution-related health effects. She will provide examples of where faith-based organizations play a critical role and offer additional ideas on how they can expand their support. How can our faith community work to reduce pollution and pollution-related health impacts. Learn more/register on www.eventbrite.com at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pollution-public-health-faith-communities-tickets-143588120935.
You may have seen the recent stories about urban farms in and around Houston and the devastating crop loss they faced during Houston’s Deep Freeze. Photos on PIFF facebook https://www.facebook.com/PlantItForwardFarms/photos/a.2326002377425831/5983455731680459/ Please consider making a donation if you are able their website . (link will open in a new tab). Another way to help them is to purchase their produce, purchase a share or buy at a weekly Farmers Market.
Living the Change, online discussion group- Feb. 4 through April 29, Thursday evenings, 6 p.m. – As you are very likely aware, scientists have determined that we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50% in the next 9 years to keep the impacts of climate change at a level that we can “manage”. Not sure where to start to reduce your emissions? We’ll cover a different topic each week, so feel free to join as you are able. Learn more/register at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/living-the-change-weekly-discussion-group-tickets-132686836901
Strike while the world is hot! Now is the time to take action for the climate. Call your state senator and representative urging them to support the Lone Star Stewardship Project – HCR 22 ,Texas Environmental and Economic Stewardship Resolution. To find out who represents you, see https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home Find out more about specific actions at Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Environmental Justice (online)
Climate Effects on Indigenous Peoples
Texas 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. Join this series of online conversations with the Tribe. The first two conversations explored native identity and lifeways and the pandemic of racism.
– WATCH THE TRAILER The Condor & The Eagle has won 8 awards including Best Environmental Documentary at the 2019 Red Nation Film Festival. Co-hosted by UU Ministry for Earth, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Religions Initiative, and others.
Other Organizations in 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.
In Jan. 2020, the congregation endorsed the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763). We support the “fee and dividend” legislation to drive down America’s carbon pollution. 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
We support a transition to a plant-based diet. From the Here are 35 places that exclusively serve vegan food in Houston:
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. 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.
Past Actions with 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:
We had to remove the Republic Services recycling bin in the parking lot. While the church is not meeting in the building, we are seeking another company to pick up recycling at Emerson. Meanwhile, volunteers are again taking the recyclable material to a city collection location.
Composting continues. Please bury any compostable material you leave in the bin in the fenced area.
The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology is an international multireligious project contributing to an engaged moral force of religious environmentalism. Their new website features the Forum’s new partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme’s Faith for Earth Initiative, which highlights the moral and spiritual contributions of the world’s religions to our growing environmental challenges. It also has a section linking to our multimedia project and Emmy Award winning film, Journey of the Universe.
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.
Citizen’s Climate Lobby (see above)
We participated in Stay-at-Home Climate Strike, April 24, 2020 from our yards with posters and banners.
Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston (IENOH) – Emerson UU Church is a founding member of the new Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston, an affiliate of Texas Interfaith Power and Light. 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.
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 501c)4 activities.
T.E.J.A.S. – t.e.j.a.s. is a front-line community organization that works in the Manchester area of Houston, near the ship channel. See the extensive Houston Chronicle article on March 15th about Bryan, one of the founders, at https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Environmental-justice-documentary-puts-spotlight-15126835.php#
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.