350, UUMFE, and Bill McKibben

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of joining the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) for their board meeting in Vermont. Amidst the natural beauty of the late summer forests and farmland, I learned more about how UUMFE is fulfilling its mission of “[providing] Unitarian Universalists and their congregations with organized ways to connect energy, ideas, and information about how their lives relate to the living Earth, environmental justice, and future generations.” They’re a passionate group, working hard to provide resources to engage UUs in this important work. Check out the UUMFE website and sign up for their eNews to find resources for engaging yourself and your congregation in environmental issues and to learn more about what other UUs are doing.

I was delighted to have some special guests join us for dinner on Friday night, including Bill McKibben, the co-founder and director of the 350.org campaign to demand strong international climate policy in Copenhagen. Leading climate scientists declare that 350 parts per million (ppm) is the highest level of CO2 considered “safe” for sustaining human civilization on Earth. We are already at 390ppm and rising, illustrating the necessity of immediate climate action.

Despite this urgency, Bill McKibben’s message for us was not one of despair. Small changes like switching to energy-efficient light bulbs are great, but they are not enough. On October 24th, people in over 100 nations all over the world are planning to send a clear message to their governments of the need to commit to diminishing CO2levels to 350. Churches all over will be ringing their bells 350 times, sending the message to all within hearing distance. A farmer in the Cameroon has already worked with his neighbors to plant 350 trees, in solidarity of this movement. We need to work together if we want to make effective change. As people of faith, and guided by the 2006 Unitarian Universalist Statement of Conscience on the threat of Global Warming/Climate Change, we need to put our faith into action.

Tell UUMFE what you’re doing for the International Day of Climate Action here, look for ideas of something to do here , or find an existing event near you here.