For Heaven’s Sake–and Ours–STOP GLOBAL WARMING!

mailing a postcard
Joelle "mails" a postcard to her Senator.

Yesterday was the Earth Day Climate Rally in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.  I worked with the Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light to organize a multi-faith contingency at the rally, bringing together six different faith traditions to celebrate Earth and to cry out together for the need for climate change action.  It was great to hear the dialogue between different congregations and faiths about climate change, how we can be more involved as people of faith, and what’s working/not working for congregations.  I’m inspired to see congregations work together toward real climate solutions.  I was really glad we’d brought postcards and address labels for people to write “and mail” messages to the Senators right at the rally, so that our faith community could send a clear message that climate change is a priority to us and that we want to see legislative action now.

The UUA banner attracted people from near and far!  UUs from at least 10 different congregations came by, from as far away as Portland, Oregon and Littleton, Massachusetts, and from several of the more local congregations in the District, Maryland, and Virginia.  UU banner at rallySeveral more folks came by our banner, saying that they had grown up UU and recently moved to the area and were wondering about how to get involved.  People seemed to appreciate us being there, showing that as Unitarian Universalists, we are called to care for our planet and get legislation passed that makes Earth more livable for all people, both now and into the future.  So all-in-all, we had a good presence at the rally and I’d like to thank everyone who came out for it!

I was frustrated to hear that the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham bill, scheduled to be unveiled today, has been postponed indefinitely.  Senator Graham announced that he will abandon climate legislation if it isn’t moved ahead of immigration on the Senate calendar.  writing postcards to SenatorsI am particularly concerned that according to a Washington Post article, Senators aren’t hearing that climate change legislation is a priority for their constituents.  Let us make sure they know that climate change is not only a priority for Unitarian Universalists, but it is a moral and ethical imperative that action is taken on climate change.  We are polluting the very planet that sustains us and allows us to live, and the first people to experience the impacts are often the poor and people of color.  Farmers, for example, rely directly on the weather and the earth for growing their crops, and a changing climate impacts their livelihood.  While the changes we can make in our own lives are important,  legislation must be passed to enable the institutional changes necessary to tackle climate change.  Please call your Senators NOW and tell them we need strong and just climate legislation now!

Hope For Our Administration: Clean Energy Economy Forum at the White House

When Barack Obama was campaigning for his presidency, hope was a clear theme. Now, over a year later, I had the privilege of going inside the White House complex and being filled with that hope he promised. Yesterday afternoon, I attended the Clean Energy Economy Forum, in the company of mayors and business people, non-profit directors and faith-based advocates.

The Forum was split into two parts, with an opportunity to hear both the federal perspectives on why action now is important as well as what community leaders are doing at local and regional levels. The focus was on “livability” and “sustainable communities,” with discussion around collaboration between groups with different interests and purposes striving for more comprehensive solutions, examining transportation, housing, energy, environmental, and health impacts.

Secretary Ray LaHood from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Secretary Shaun Donovan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lifted up both the success of their collaboration with each other as well as the impact of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. They talked about how greening public housing improves health conditions for people of lower incomes, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and saves the government money. Housing and transportation are two of the largest costs people pay for, and good planning can help reduce the personal and environmental impacts of long commutes for all people, especially people of lower incomes. Approximately $100 million will be available this year for funding regional integrated planning initiatives, and grant recipients will be selected by the partnership between HUD, DOT, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Secretary Donovan said that communities of color cannot be left behind in this movement, like they were in the tech boom of the 1990s. I hope to see policies reflect that!

A moderator led a question and answer session between the panel and the audience. It was incredibly powerful to witness the Administration’s commitment to working towards livable cities and their willingness to seek guidance and feedback from people on the ground. Sitting in that forum made me feel like I actually live in a democracy–one that cares about seeking input from a variety of sources.

The practitioners on the panel in the second section were quite sharp and full of good insights. Doris Koo, President & CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. started off saying, “Smart growth is not smart unless it is equitable,” and quickly made clear her commitment to greening affordable housing. Rabbi David Saperstein, Director & Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, spoke eloquently about the clear connections between religion and environmentalism (“creation care”), and the unique role that faith-based community organizing can play. Religious groups are concerned with a multitude of issues, which can bring into light the synergy between seemingly different issues, and at the core, carry a special responsibility to the poor. With some 400,000 congregations nation-wide and about 150 million members, churches can carry profound influence in public policy.

There is much work yet to be done, but this meeting has strengthened my faith that we’re on the right path and having some of the right conversations. To paraphrase Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary of HUD, there are some people who say these things can’t happen. Then don’t do them! But don’t stand in the way of those who will make them happen. Rumi said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” As a religious community, let us be the ones that seek love. Let us break down the barriers and make things happen.

On the eve of the final day of the Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen, I share with you some reflections from Unitarian Universalist Pam Sparr on significant events from the first week and on what the religious community can do.

I attended the first week of the COP-15 events in a professional capacity as a consultant with another religious organization and have just returned home. As I read accounts of what is happening in week #2, I think my reflections on that first intense week of activities still hold. Here are some of my impressions….

Several events in the first week stand out in my mind as significant:

  • The rock concert-like climate justice rally in Town Hall Square with the ever-charismatic Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This was the most upbeat of all events I attended. He presented more than a half million signatures from people in two dozen nations (including the U.S.) to the head of the UNFCCC – the man whose job it is to keep the negotiations going. These signatures supported a strong binding agreement. This was a wonderful example of how the religious community can use its moral authority well. It was also a reminder of how well respected and beloved a religious leader can be – even by people who do not consider themselves “religious” – if they are courageous in their faith and take a public stance on justice issues.
  • The international ecumenical worship service in Copenhagen’s Lutheran cathedral where religious leaders from around the world processed in with poignant, silent symbols of the destruction climate change is already wreaking – bleached coral from the Pacific, shriveled cobs of maize from Africa, stones laid bare from the melting of glaciers in Greenland. A reminder that ritual can be very powerful.
  • The demonstration last Saturday with 100,000 people in the streets all concerned over the lack of progress in reaching a strong, just, and binding international agreement – the largest such gathering to date on this issue. A peaceful show of concern and an unexpectedly large size group which the Danish police didn’t know how to handle well.
  • A seminar on the rights of Mother Earth sponsored by the Government of Bolivia – an example of how smaller nations are finding their voice and political strength in interesting ways with respect to climate change. This is also one of the cutting-edge initiatives that UUs interested in rights-based or Earth-care advocacy should investigate.
  • Two official US government briefings for non-governmental organizations, where, by luck, and possibly by virtue of wearing a highly visible red turtleneck sweater, I had the privilege of asking the first question of the week to our #1 negotiator.

While I am not a regular at major international meetings, I have participated in several historic conferences, including the infamous World Trade Organization ministerial in Seattle. The increasing frustration expressed by delegates from Southern nations in Copenhagen, including tears, tempers flying and threatened walk-outs seems to be much higher here than at any of the other meetings I have attended in the past 17 years. While some of this may be posturing, my sense is that most of the anguish is a legitimate reaction to the fact that the U.S. and other wealthy countries are dragging their feet while the clock is ticking. On the one hand, this first week showed signs that the South is holding together and taking a stronger stand. For me, this was one of the few beams of hope in the proceedings. On the other, the lack of progress left me gloomy about prospects on the official level.

I am most immediately concerned that we have a long way to go before we get international agreement to set a sufficiently strong, binding target to limit greenhouse gas emissions. At this time, the U.S. government is not willing to do what we must to meet our moral and legal responsibilities in this regard. Our government is the biggest stumbling block at this time. There are several policy components to this emissions cap hurdle. The most pressing one now concerns targets for 2020. We need to cut emissions dramatically and fast if we are to have a good chance of preventing a dangerous tipping point – and averting tremendous suffering and hardship on the part of people living in poverty in developing countries.

We have a very intelligent, skillful negotiating team representing the U.S. I would not want to sit across from them at the table in Copenhagen. From my personal advocacy experience, I have come to see more clearly the limits of intellectual engagement with our officials, and even limits to moral or ethical arguments. In a few areas, I have seen humanitarian and faith-based NGOs make a positive impact on the U.S. position on international climate change policy. In those cases, it is apparent that the more technical knowledge one has and the more organizing resources you have, the more effective the organization can be.

Certainly, most NGOs were using a combination of political organizing and intellectual engagement – an “inside” the Bella Center [formal location for the meetings] and an “outside” strategy. Some faith-based groups were using both strategies while others felt an inside strategy was useless.

By the end of the week, I was feeling like the most productive contribution the U.S. religious community could make would be to try to break through to an emotional and spiritual plane with our negotiators in some form of public witness. This is the realm where the religious community has particular expertise and responsibility.

Eco-psychologist Bill Plotkin describes our nation as in an adolescent stage of emotional and spiritual development. This felt true for the U.S. position in Copenhagen, despite the sophisticated economic and political rationale for the official stance. Most of us in the U.S. are comfortable in our privileges and ignorant of the consequences our policies and lifestyles have on the lives of people living in poverty in developing nations. As a nation, we are addicted to fossil fuels, privilege and power. The world sees us as digging in our heels to defend “The American Dream” which is a dream only for some in the U.S. and increasingly becoming a nightmare for many others around the globe.

In his sermon in Copenhagen, the Archbishop of Canterbury reflected that government negotiators from the North and South were operating out of fear. Some of that fear is rational and some of it is not selfish. Nonetheless, he urged the negotiators to detach from the fear and forge an agreement out of love. Certainly this is the mandate for the U.S. religious community — to shift public attitudes and re-set the tone of Congressional debate on climate change policy. This is a long-term challenge that will remain with us well after the conference ends. UUs have practiced Standing on the Side of Love before. Now we must do it again.

Youth and the Future of Climate Change: Notes from Copenhagen

Lynn Dash, UU-UNO Special Correspondent, has shared more notes with us from her experiences at the Copenhagen Climate Conference. These notes are from side events she attended on Thursday, 12/10, and illustrate both the ways that youth are affected by climate change and what they’re already doing to take action.

Youth have an incredible stake in the negotiations going on right now. Today I attended two “side events” organized by youth (defined as those under 25). Both had a sea of bright orange T-shirts, printed in front with “ How old will YOU be in 2050?” and on the back with “Don’t bracket our future.” Today I learned there are about 2000 youth here. Like the CAN—Climate Action Network—they are asking for an agreement that is FAIR—AMBITIOUS—BINDING. Yes, this sounds pretty elementary but it is very complicated, deciding on “Differentiated responsibility,” whether carbon off-sets should be counted, and a myriad of other technical details. The youth point out that in the end, it is their lives that are being affected more than the present negotiators.
In the workshop “Youth and Student Movements Leading the Way,” we heard about use of social networking technology to bring youth together from all over the world. They are reaching out to younger students, inspiring local actions, and creating innovative energy-saving devices. They are promoting intergenerational and inter-institutional cooperation. They are presenting their concerns to the powers that be in their towns, countries, and at the UN. Their careful study results in articulate presentations whether to peers, at a plenary session here with thousands of observers, or at a special briefing. Two young women, one from San Francisco and one from India, joined the environmental writer Bill McKibben to co-found the movement. Scientists say we need to reduce our greenhouse gases to 350 parts per million from our present 389 ppm to maintain our environment as we know it.
Another workshop focused on “Intergenerational Equity” and noted the growing number of young people around the world who are working on climate change. I am bringing back a little book entitled Climate Legacy Initiative: A New Legal Perspective on an Unprecedented Crisis, by one of the speakers, Tracy Bach from Vermont Law School. The responsibility the older generations have, to pass on a world as intact as the one they received, may be codified into law in some ways, but we know it is already a moral and ethical obligation. This reflects the wisdom of the Iroquois Nation Seventh Generation—whatever we do, let us think how it will affect our progeny unto the seventh generation.
Some interesting web sites: This past weekend some activities are being planned such as candlelight vigils to encourage an equitable Copenhagen agreement—the heads of state are coming this week)
www.studentsummit2010 world student summit for sustainability tomorrow—looking into Climate Action Network
Cheers to you all Stateside,

Notes from COP 15 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

After much preparation and anticipation, the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference began on Monday, December 7th. Several congregations, including The First Unitarian Society of Schenectady in NY and the UU Fellowship of the Peninsula in Newport News, VA, are planning candlelight vigils around climate justice, to show their support halfway through the climate negotiations. More information is available on the UU Ministry for Earth website.

Lynn Dash, a special correspondent for the UU-United Nations Office, is currently in Copenhagen and has kindly shared some of her reflections with us.

Dec. 8, 2009, Copenhagen

If you’ve been to General Assembly you know how intense the experience can be. The Copenhagen conference has the flavor of a giant GA with several times the number of participants. As of this writing, about 15,000 people from 200 countries are here. It is wonderful to see the faces of so many different people from around the world.

The logo is a sphere with thickly interconnecting lines, a web held together in a big blue ball. What a graphic reminder that we are all in this together, in our interconnected web on our one precious planet. So among the multiple offerings on many topics at any given hour, I am reminded that it is all about environmental and social justice for all of us on Earth.

COP is “Conference of Parties” and this is the 15th, and largest, such conference since international negotiations began in 1992 with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

There is an undercurrent of tension between the developed and the developing countries. The major issue seems to be that the developed countries have already put a disproportionate amount of Greenhouse gas Emissions into the atmosphere, while the developing countries have yet to develop infrastructure that would help lift them out of poverty. (The U.S., with 5% of the world’s population, emits 20% of GHG). The “Side Event” panel I attended on the first full day of the conference, “What the Copenhagen Conference must deliver for climate justice,” included speakers from Africa and the Philippines. It was pointed out that developing countries are already dealing with adverse effects of climate change.

“Climate injustice means ignoring that some people somewhere are exposed to danger and yoked to suffering due to climate change.”

There is some fear that the North-South divide that permeates the negotiations may threaten to retard the gains so far achieved ahead of COP15.
Let’s keep posted…and hopeful for a just solution.

And speaking of hope—there is a growing international youth climate movement. Over 1000 youth from 100 countries are here at COP 15 and I’ve been talking with some of them. A young Australian stated simply: “It’s our future.” The Australian Youth Climate coalition sent 20 youth through an application process. They raised their own funds to be able to come here, and to be able to support youth from developing nations. They are peer-organized and meet every morning for strategy sessions. Today they drew a large crowd around them as they sang “Give Peace a Chance” with some added lyrics about climate justice.

Youth from all across the U.S. have come together as SustainUS. They are under 25 years old and were chosen through a competitive application process. There are 1600 members of SustainUS in the US—and their chair is a UU, Kyle Gracey! They trained together in August on how to make presentations, take action, talk with the media and other ways to make a difference. They are expected to go back into their communities and raise awareness of climate change and encourage actions for sustainability. We will be hearing more from these inspiring young people.

If you’re interested in reading the Daily Programme, it’s available at

We are grateful to be here at this exciting time.

Lynn Dash

Climate Change Update

A lot has happened this past month on climate change. The Kerry-Boxer Bill (Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009) was voted out of the Environment and Public Works committee. Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman started a tri-partisan “dual track” of negotiations on a climate bill, working with the White House to craft legislation that would be likely to get the necessary 60 votes. President Obama agreed to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which many of us and our allies have been and announced that he will negotiate to reduce US global warming emissions “in the range of 17%” by 2020. We need stronger climate action to really protect our planet and prevent further climate catastrophes from happening.

With the start of the United Nations Climate Change Conference next Monday, December 7th, we’ll all have to keep tuned to the direction the climate talks go. A number of UUs will be in Copenhagen and may contribute to this blog while they are there. In other news, information on the Dial Down Climate Change campaign should be on the Climate Change pages of the UUA website soon and the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth website has information about other ways of getting involved.

Day of Climate Witness

Having arrived at the capitol building early, I paused in the middle of grass, surrounded by sturdy, welcoming trees. A soft breeze rustled the leaves as I was surprised by the warmth of the sun on that November day. Even in the midst of a busy city, an immense gratitude for the natural world filled me and reminded me of the important work that lies ahead.

Last Thursday, November 5th, was the interfaith Climate Witness, with speakers from various denominations joining together to speak truth to power. Morality and ethics call us to act to curb climate change and alert us to the consequences of not acting. While climate change will impact all of us to some extent, it already is most greatly affecting the poorest peoples. Sea level rise could put entire island nations under water, causing millions of people to become climate refugees. A projected increase in hurricanes and other natural disasters puts more people and ecosystems at risk, as we saw in Hurricane Katrina. Farmland can dry up or be washed away with flooding as a result of changes in rainfall. Part of the injustice of the situation is that these people who are most affected by climate change are not the historical contributors of the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere today. We are asking the U.S. to take a strong leadership role at the Climate Convention in Copenhagen this December to ensure strong and just climate policy for all.

In this global day and age, continuing to emit monstrous quantities of greenhouse gases as a nation hurts all of us. Pollution crosses national boundaries, as does trade. Let’s continue to work together and bring more people into the movement for a global climate that is sustainable for everyone.

International Day of Action Success!

After months of planning, the International Day of Climate Action finally came with great success. More than 5200 events in 181 countries around the world were registered on, demonstrating immense worldwide support for reducing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm). Many people are calling this event the largest worldwide grassroots mobilization ever.

With the support of the UUA, the UU Ministry for Earth, the UU Service Committee, the UU State Advocacy Networks, the UU-United Nations Organization, we were able to connect with congregations across the US and Canada. Over the course of the past couple of weeks, emails have been pouring in with details of the more than 110 UU-related events. This is so energizing to hear, knowing that the future of our world depends on our ability to effectively curb climate change, and the future of our brothers and sisters all over the world depends on our ability to do this justly.

Here are just a few snippets of stories that inspire me that I wanted to share with you:

  • The UU Fellowship in Columbia, South Carolina is just starting up their Green Committee. Their 350 event was their first event ever and included collecting 350 Compact Flourcent Lightbulbs (CFLs) and donating them to Habitat For Humanity as well as starting up a new Freecycle Program.
  • Members of Towson UU Church in Maryland spent four hours caulking and weather-stripping their church, reducing their need for dependence on fossil fuels for heating.

  • Neighborhood Church in Pasadena, California brought their message to all those driving on the highway.
  • Members of the UU Congregation of Binghamton, New York held a vigil outside the gates of their local coal-fired power plant.
  • Members of Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church in Washington State watched the movie HOME, followed by discussions, sharing of resources, and petition-signing.

Congregations all over the country catalyzed and supported interfaith and community-wide events. This is not only a UU issue, but something that reminds us of the interdependent web of which we are all a part. Dozens of congregations rang their bells 350 times, facilitated conversations in their congregations and communities, wrote letters to governmental officials, watched movies, sang out, and rallied!

For some, these events were a great starting point for discussion, demonstration, and action. And for others, this is just a step on a path they’ve already been traveling. The press coverage of UU events was great, sharing news of these important events with folks not in attendance. Right now, we should celebrate these great efforts, but let’s keep our motivation for these events in sight–a strong and just international agreement on climate change policies.

Blog Action Day 2009 – Climate Change

Today is the annual Blog Action Day, with the intention of creating discussion. More than 8500 blogs in 148 countries are committed to discussing climate change today. With that many voices discussing this issue at this critical time, there’s a lot of opportunity to raise energy and participate in actions.

There’s only 52 days left until the United National Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to make an international treaty on Climate Change. The International Day of Climate Action is in just 9 days, on October 24th, and people will be doing actions worldwide to draw attention to the importance of lowering the parts per million (ppm) of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 ppm. Right now, Senators Boxer and Kerry have introduced the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act in the Senate. There’s a little less than two weeks before the intensive legislative hearings are expected to begin, on October 27th, which means that right now there’s a window of opportunity to shape the bill in the directions we want.

In other words, we’re at a pivotal time in the environmental movement. There are opportunities at the national and the international level to shape the climate change debate; it’s an opportunity to have governmental support in the direction of justice through climate action. The most marginalized communities are the first to feel the impacts of climate change, and if we wait until the wealthier nations are directly affected, it will be too late.

I invite you to join the conversations today and blog about Climate Change. Our ally 1Sky has ideas for what to write about if you’re feeling stuck. You can register your blog on the Blog Action Day website. And then next week, participate in the International Day of Climate Action. The UU Ministry for Earth has resources available on their website, and a list of what UU congregations are doing for the event is forthcoming.

Climate Change-Energy Debate Moves to the Senate

On June 26, 2009, while many of us Unitarian Universalists were gathered at General Assembly, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) came up for a vote in the House of Representatives. The projected vote was so close that we felt compelled to interrupt the scheduled business of GA and ask participants to use their cell phones to call their Representatives. ACES (or the Waxman-Markey bill, as it is more commonly called) passed that day, 219 to 212. When news of its passage came there was joy, relief, and regret. Joy for what was a historic achievement, a comprehensive overhaul of our energy policies, and an important first step to addressing the pressing issues of climate change. Relief because the victory had been hard fought. And regret because the bill that passed was in the end much less than we had hoped for.

Shortly before ACES was voted on, I wrote a rather long blog post reflecting on how it had gotten to be that we were supporting a bill that has some admittedly serious flaws, and why it was important to still act. At the time, I already knew that the fossil fuel industries had been spending tens of millions of dollars to weaken and/or derail the bill. I knew that some of the claims (such as skyrocketing energy costs for families) were outright lies preying on fear. But what I didn’t know was that one of their lobbying firms had resorted to even greater levels of deception. Using the names and letterhead of organizations of color, Bonner & Associates sent fraudulent letters to at least three Representatives, urging them to oppose ACES. One of the organizations that they impersonated and misrepresented was a local chapter of the NAACP; the NAACP supports ACES because of the green jobs it will create.

We are up against opponents who will lie and commit fraud in order to maintain their lucrative stranglehold on our nation’s energy sources. But we are also up against our own apathy. The most painful thing that we had to admit on the eve of the historic vote was that, honest or not, our opponents had been out there making their views known to the people who were going to cast the votes and we had not been. I don’t mean to say that our side did nothing. Organizations like 1Sky and others worked hard to not only get the bill passed but to insert key strengthening amendments that made it more just. And UU groups from the UUA to the State Advocacy Networks joined them. But most of our efforts came in the final push. When talking to staffers of various Representatives, what we heard over and over again was that they had not been hearing from us during the process – during the deliberations in committees, while measures were being put in and taken out. They had not heard from people who wanted the bill to be stronger. They had heard from people who wanted it to be weaker or didn’t want it at all. So what we got was a weaker climate-energy bill, and we almost didn’t get one at all.

So why am I reliving these past mistakes now? Because the conversation isn’t over. ACES passed in the House on June 26th. The conversation now moves to the Senate, which has said that it will use ACES as the starting point to draft its own version. And once again the fossil fuel industries are spending tens of millions of dollars to further weaken and/or derail the process (and using dirty tricks). We need to be out there telling our Senators that we want climate change legislation, and we want it to be even stronger and more just than the version that passed in the House. What’s more, we need to be out there explicitly as Unitarian Universalists. Rightly or wrongly, our elected representatives listen more attentively to constituents who identify themselves as people of faith. And for the most part right now, they are hearing from self-identified religious people who oppose climate change legislation. They must hear from us too.

Act Now:

August 10th begins the Senate summer recess – a time when your Senators come home to listen to you (so that you don’t have to go all the way to DC). Get some members of your congregation (and/or team up with neighboring congregations) and welcome your senators home to your beautiful state. Remind them that you are their constituent, and then tell them that it’s crucial that they pass strong and just climate change legislation as soon as they get back to DC. The simplest (and possibly most fun) way to do that is to attend a 1Sky beach party. 1Sky is holding “welcome back” parties for senators across the country on August 10th. If you can’t make that date, you and fellow UUs can schedule an in-district visit later in the month.

Let your senators know that as a Unitarian Universalist, someone who believes that we are part of an interdependent web of creation, it is our moral imperative to pass effective and just climate change-energy legislation now.

Reassure them that a comprehensive climate-energy bill will preserve the environment, free us from dependence on fossil fuels that compromise our national security, and create millions of jobs in a new clean energy economy. It’s win-win.

Tell them that Unitarian Universalists respect science, and the science tells us that we need to cut carbon emissions, at least 20 percent by 2020.

Tell them that the bill must limit offsets to no more than 10 percent of the emissions cap. Anything greater would compromise the effectiveness of the cap and put undue burden on communities of color.

Tell them that UUs stand on the side of economic justice and therefore, they need to maximize the number of allowances used to create clean energy jobs and train workers to fill them. The Senate bill must also maintain (or improve) the transition assistance that the House version has.

Tell them you want stronger a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) and Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS). Urge them to:

  • Co-sponsor S. 433, Senator Tom Udall’s “25 by 25” RES
  • Support Senator Schumer’s stand-alone EERS Amendment (based on S. 548

If you simply cannot make it to your Senators offices, we understand. Use 1Sky’s online tool to fax your senators. Do what you can and please do it soon.


Grist magazine is tracking where your senators stand on climate change.