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 ministryforearth@emersonhouston.org.

Winter Solstice Celebration

Wednesday, December 21 at 7:00 PM in the Sanctuary. Join this celebration for all ages, a family-friendly evening of music, readings, and candlelight. Our service includes lighting a circle of candles as music moves us from the dark silence of the quiet earth to a hopeful call for the return of the sun. Mim, Ed, and Erik Freiter will once again provide engaging music for our celebration.

We are seeking readers, more musicians, ushers, and refreshments. If you’d like to be part of the service, please email Ann at ministryforearth@emersonhouston.org.

COP 27 begins Nov. 2

Egypt – a Time, a Place, a Moment in human history calling on you to Embody, Empower, and Engage as a Unitarian Universalist, living each of our 8 Principles, at the United Nations Conference of Parties, COP 27, to advance Climate Justice.

Starting with an Overview of COP 27 on November 2, UUMFE-facilitated discussions will be held almost daily to follow the progress, make sense of the sessions, and engage with observers on the ground.

Former COP attendees, and UUMFE members Dr. Bill McPherson and Doris Marlin with invited guests will help break it all down, and then close the series with meaningful advocacy.

RSVP HERE to join the COP 27 Connections notifications list. This will be the primary communication method to announce programming. So be sure to RSVP to stay up to date on the dynamic programming as it unfolds.

Follow the Events of COP 27 and find Resources here.

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.

Build Back Fossil Free people pushing back against pipelines and drilling, asking Biden to take action on climate

In February, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church signed onto our coalition letter, along with over 1,100 other organizations, demanding President Biden stop approving fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency.

Check out which businesses are good for the environment!

Texas Energy Policy Simulator

Use the Texas Energy Policy Simulator to test how various policy initiatives would measure up. Check it out at: https://texas.energypolicy.solutions/docs/?emci=b789a1b4-51d4-ec11-b656-281878b8c32f&emdi=60b67d4a-84d4-ec11-b656-281878b8c32f&ceid=532783

Shop Socially & Environmentally Responsible Businesses

Vote with your money and shop at sustainable businesses! Check out this list: https://www.greenamerica.org/green-businesses-products-services

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 http://greenhoustontx.gov/climateactionplan/

Our Climate Witness for COP26

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 https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home 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 CreateClimateJustice.net, the online community organizing hub for climate justice activism among Unitarian Universalists.

Challenge yourself to help draw down the current level of CO2

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 HoustonChronicle.com: 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 https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Environmental-justice-documentary-puts-spotlight-15126835.php#

Sunrise MovementFront yard climate strike posters Stay-at-Home Climate Strike, April 24, 2020

Certifications

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)

IMG_0852-LEED2-cropped

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.