Update: On October 10, 2010, UUs from more than 100 congregations joined people in 188 countries for 7,347 Global Work Party events. The world-wide day of action was organized by 350.org.

Check out the photos/projects posted on the UUA’s Facebook page and read the feature story on the UUA website. View photos from around the world in a post-event video at 350.org.

Even though the 10-10-10 event is over, you can still use the information below to plan a work party for your congregation or community.

What It Is

It is time for us to get to work! Last October, the International Day of Climate Action was a grand success with more than 5,400 events in 181 countries. More than 100 Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations participated, hosting events and sending in photos to 350.org. These images were sent on to national and worldwide decision-makers, calling upon them to reduce the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm) to prevent the worst effects of climate change. We need strong and just federal energy and climate legislation to improve conditions for the most vulnerable populations in our country who are already living with the consequences of our energy-intensive economy. Opposition funded by out-of-state oil companies threatens existing state legislation, like the California Global Warming statute. Until the Senate passes climate change legislation, the US will not be able to be an active player in the international negotiations.

October 10, 2010, will be the day that communities around the world will get to work, and we want to make sure UUs know about this opportunity. We are asking you, both congregations and individuals, to get to work. Plan events in your congregations and communities to make changes in your communities and your lives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution and to make real improvements in the quality of people’s lives. Let’s show our elected leaders and the business community that we are getting to work—and ask them to do the same!

On Tuesday, August 31, 350.org founder Bill McKibben appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman – check out the video! It’s a great segment. Bill talks about the Global Work Party on 10/10/10, 350.org’s plan to put solar panels back on the roof of the White House, and just generally gets people fired up to join this global movement.

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Why UUs Should Participate

We cannot promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person and respect the interdependent web of existence if we do not address the damage from anthropogenic (human-caused) climate changes. We cannot have justice, equity, and compassion in human relations and a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all unless we address anthropogenic climate change. The world is already experiencing impacts from both the human activities that caused climate change as well as from climate change itself. People are getting sick from mining for coal and cleaning up oil disasters.  Changing weather patterns contribute to food and water shortages, leading to increased migration and unrest. Plant and animal species are going extinct. The causes and impacts of climate change disproportionally impact low-income communities and communities of color.

In the year 2010, we’ve seen a mining tragedy in West Virginia and the worst off-shore oil “spill” in world history. We’ve seen extreme heat and wildfires in Russia, the heaviest monsoons rains on record and immense flooding in Pakistan, along with severe flooding in China and Iowa. This increased frequency and severity of natural disasters was predicted in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We’ve also seen successes! We’ve seen the US Army Corps of Engineers suspend the streamlined “Nationwide Permit 21” in Appalachia, so that coal-mining companies that do mountaintop removal mining, which fills valleys and buries streams, now are subject to a more stringent individual permitting process that allows for greater public input. We’ve seen the State Department scrutinize and delay its decision to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline to more carefully examine the dangers the pipeline would pose to the land, air, and water of communities in its path and to the climate.

We’ve seen the 2010 UU General Assembly pass an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW), calling us to ask the Senate to Clean Up the Clean Energy Bill. The Assembly also passed an AIW on Gulf Coast Environmental and Economic Justice, dedicating itself to learning about personal and community connections with oil and to restorative justice practices that will change our lives and communities and support the people and the wildlife along the Gulf Coast. The Green Revolution in Religion business resolution passed at the Assembly callsUU congregations to make a special commitment in 2011 to environmental justice, stewardship, and restoration.

We’ve seen congregations act. The Towson UU Church won the “Cool Congregation Prize” from Interfaith Power and Light, after reducing their congregation’s carbon footprint by nearly 20 percent and the UU Congregation of Atlanta was the first of two UU congregations to win the Energy Star Award. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church (UU) spent a weekend witnessing mountaintop removal coal mining, the source of their congregation’s energy.

It’s time for us to act.

What You Can Do

  • Join forces with other religious and secular organizations and plan a community event! Find out what your community’s needs are, and see how they fit in with climate change. Work together to address those issues!
  • Join with your state UU Legislative Ministry (or help form one in your state if one doesn’t exist) to support and promote environmental legislation at the local, state, and national levels.
  • Write letters, make phone calls, and visit the local offices of local, state, and national officials! Work to get climate change on the radar, and make sure that any energy policies are strong and just. Become a 1Sky ally and receive policy updates so you can stay in touch with what’s happening in Washington and work with your congregation on these issues year round!
  • Join the Interfaith Power & Light 10% Challenge and reduce your congregation’s carbon footprint by 10% (free webinar on 9/14 & toolkit available).
  • Encourage people to dry their clothes outside in the sunshine, when weather allows! Have kids paint clothespins. Find out if there are laundry bans in your area. Additional resources available at Project Laundry List.
  • Is your community walkable? Bikeable? What needs to happen so people can feel safe and inspired to use their cars less and get around in other ways? Host a bike repair clinic, hand out bike maps of the area, teach bicycle safety. Coordinate with local bicycle organizations to support people in commuting by bicycle.
  • Growing food and getting it to us can use a lot of energy! Find existing community gardens and see if they need support. Build new gardens to be ready for spring. Distribute fliers about what can be grown locally and during what seasons different fruits and vegetables are available in your area. Host a local foods supper.
  • Commit to turning off the electricity! Take an electricity Sabbath. Make a list of activities your family enjoys that don’t need electricity or transportation to do. Make a mural of these activities. Do them at home. Do them at church. Use 10/10/10 to kick off a year of electricity-free Sunday afternoons, or whatever makes sense for your family.
  • Watch the movie, No Impact Man, available for free for congregations, and kick off a congregation-wide “No Impact Experiment.”

Register Your Events

Curious what people did for the International Day of Climate Action last year? Check out the list—more than 100 congregations participated!

Share Your Stories

Stories shared with us may be highlighted in UUA and UU Ministry for Earth newsletters and websites, in UU World, and in press releases. Sharing your stories helps us tell your stories and know the extent of UU involvement! We look forward to hearing from you.

Share Your Resources

Photos, PDFs, and word documents of sermons, chalice lightings, etc. may be shared by e-mailing office@uuministryforearth.org.

Relevant Links

International Day of Climate Action, October 24, 2009