“When was the last time you changed your mind about something?”
For many of us who’ve been working on environmental issues, we’ve become experts on particular things, and - truth be told - it’s a lot easier to stick with what we know than to stop, reflect, and reorient ourselves to new understandings. However, this is exactly what we are called to do if we are to center justice in our climate work. Over my years as a climate advocate, organic farmer, and faith-based organizer, I’ve had to reorient and reorient and reorient again because I keep learning. That’s a good thing!
As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” The more I learned about the injustices in our energy system, for example, the more I wished I had done things differently in my early organizing. I’ve had to learn and unlearn and relearn and check myself over and over again because I need to continuously improve to better center justice. Does this resonate with any of you?
Side With Love’s Create Climate Justice Campaign organizes Unitarian Universalists (UUs) to realize a world with no fossil fuels, where clean energy is a human right, and all beings thrive. One of the big things I’ve learned and reoriented to over the years is understanding clean energy as a human right. Clean energy only works as a climate solution if it is accessible to everyone. Clean Energy as a Human Right reframes clean energy from a technical solution to a moral imperative.
As congregations are eagerly learning about the 30% direct pay option for solar and battery backup, we need to continue to challenge ourselves to ground our actions in justice while holding a liberatory vision of the future. For example, what would it look like if our congregations put on solar and battery backup storage and offered our buildings as shelters during climate disasters, power outages, or extreme heat? Or if our congregations advocated at city and county levels to weatherize and electrify low-income neighborhoods, which reduces energy bills and improves air quality and quality of life, all while reducing the pollution that causes climate change?
Over the next several months, you’ll have multiple opportunities to learn more about Clean Energy as a Human Right from some of the organizations who continue to inspire and challenge me to do better, including:
Visionary Approaches to Federal Clean Energy Funding with Rewiring America, Just Solutions Collective, and Emerald Cities Collaborative, Wednesday, October 25 at 4pm PT/ 7pm ET
Creating Hubs of Climate Resilience with Federal Clean Energy Funding with Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Black Sun Light Sustainability, and Environmental & Energy Study Institute, Thursday, November 9 at 4pm PT / 7pm ET
Climate Justice through Energy Democracy with the Energy Democracy Project, TBD
Side With Love Climate Justice Organizer
The recording is now available for our September Green Sanctuary Community Meeting, Navigating Conflict in Our Climate Work.
Upcoming trainings and gatherings include:
Wed, Oct 4: Green Sanctuary 2030 Orientation
Mon, Oct 9: October Side with Love Monthly Mixer
Sun, Oct 15: October Skill Up: Risk Discernment for Congregations
Clean Energy as a Human Right: from a technical solution to a moral imperative
Conflict is inevitable. What plan do you have to engage? Let’s get together and explore ways to transform harm and restore relationships in our congregations with Wendy Weirick, a Restorative Circles Facilitator. You’ve met her as a Side With Love Zoom host who has held the Green Sanctuary and Climate Justice gatherings with tender care as we lean into this work. Now, she invites us in to share one of her passions, conflict at the community level.
Navigating Conflict in Our Climate Work: Recording & Resources
We are pleased to announce the cooption of three new members to our Executive Committee: Sarah Benfield, Simon Hall, and Sue Morrison.
The Executive Committee act as trustees for the General Assembly (GA) and Nightingale Centre and work with the Chief Officer and other staff and volunteers to develop and oversee the strategic direction and smooth running of the GA.
Sarah Benfield lives in Berkshire and is a retired solicitor specialising in family law. She is a member of Reading Unitarian fellowship. The daughter of a Unitarian minister, Sarah has been involved in the denomination all of her life, including in Sheffield, Reading, and as Chair of the Send A Child To Hucklow charity which helps children from deprived areas experience the natural world. Sarah enjoys travelling with her family, volunteering in her local park and as a National Trust guide, singing in a choir and dance exercise classes.
Simon Hall has worked in IT for the public sector for many years and is now studying a BA in Theology. He is active in both Northampton and Leicester Unitarians.
Sue Morrison lives in London and is a former GP, medical educator and life coach. Her health education work has taken her around the world, including to Bangladesh and Kenya. Sue began her Unitarian journey at Monton Unitarians, Lancashire, attending as a child with her grandmother – memories which she cherishes. She is now a leader at New Unity in north London, but remains a proud Northerner. Sue loves being an active grandmother, making patchwork quilts and choral singing.
Small fellowships band together in just one example of the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted UU congregations to innovate and combine resources.
Central East Region of the UUA