June 4, 2019 was first day of a movement building and fundraising tour through Oregon and Washington for the UU Ministry for Earth & Create Climate Justice initiative with Levi Draheim, his mom Leigh-Ann Draheim, and “valve-turner”  UUMFE Board member Leonard Higgins. We gave talks at seven UU churches in the time between the June 4th Juliana v US court hearing in Portland and the UUA General Assembly in Spokane, Washington.

Photo of Levi by Robin Loznak

Levi Draheim is a UU from Satellite Beach, Florida. At 11-years old, he is also the youngest plaintiff of Juliana v US, a federal lawsuit arguing that younger generations have a constitutional right to a stable climate. He is also suing the state of Florida on similar grounds. Levi will be speaking about his personal journey with these lawsuits and his concerns about climate change, inspiring UUs of all ages to think and act seriously about climate change for the rights of younger and future generations. Levi will also be lighting the chalice at the GA Service of the Living Tradition in honor of his compassion and action for this planet and his right to a liveable future.

Leonard Higgins is a UU from Eugene, Oregon. As a retired state employee, Leonard now spends most of his time organizing for climate justice, and has served on the UU Ministry for Earth Board of Directors. Leonard’s moral convictions have compelled him to take non-violent direct action on numerous occasions to stop the operations the fossil fuel industry — including locking himself to a truck carrying Canadian tar sands extraction equipment and manually turning off a tar sands pipeline in Montana in 2016. Leonard will be sharing some of his personal stories and inviting UUs into dedicating their unique talents to preventing climate chaos and restoring a stable climate.

I am a young adult, UU, arts-activist based in Austin, Texas. As Program Director of UU Ministry for Earth, I am compelled to do this work by a vision of a fortified, networked, prophetic UU Climate Justice ministry that is responding to the climate crisis on the scale required. On the tour, I’ll be inviting people to connect with UUMFE and the Create Climate Justice initiative, build puppets and artwork for a Procession of Species at the General Assembly, and to help catalyze the movement by donating financially to support key programs over the next three months.

It’s true to my experience that action (and particularly community action) is the antidote to despair. Together we can change the world and create climate justice.

We participated in these events:

  • June 6th, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR, 6:30 – 9 pm (doors at 6 pm) – vegan potluck begins at 6:30 and presentation begins at 7:30 pm
  • June 9th, UU Church in Eugene, OR, 10 am worship service, 11:30 am after-church potluck, 12-12:45 presentation, 12:45-3 pm art build with eco-muralist Esteban Camacho-Steffensen, multi-media artist Patti Warner, and UUMFE Program Director Aly Tharp.
  • June 10th, UU Fellowship of Corvallis, OR – 6:30 potluck and 7:30 presentation
  • June 14th, Bellingham UU Fellowship, Bellingham, WA, 6:30 potluck and 7:30 presentation
  • June 15th, East Shore Unitarian Church, Bellvue, WA, 11 am – 12:30 pm potluck and presentation, followed by a carpool/caravan to the Lummi Totem Pole Journey event in Seattle at 1 pm
  • June 16th, University Unitarian Church, Seattle WA, 10 am worship service, 11:30-12:30 pm presentation
  • June 16th, Woodinville UU Church, 3-4:30 eco-art build, 4:30 – 6 pm presentation, 6-7 pm potluck

To connect with others who cannot join us along the tour route, we will be posting videos and updates on the UU Ministry for Earth Facebook page and website so that you can follow along from home! Please also consider contributing out the Catalyze the UU Climate Justice Movement Faithify fundraising campaign!

Read Tour Update #1 – the Juliana v US Hearing & Rally in Portland

Read Tour Update # 2 – A Whale of a Time in Oregon