Spring for Change 2020 brought more changes than we expected — though we couldn’t gather in our communities to show up for events and protests, the global turmoil couldn’t stop Unitarian Universalists from continuing the fight for climate justice. To ground our season of sacred activism, Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation) offered a water blessing for World Water Day. A month later, our thirst for transformative change grew into a raging river, our quarantined lives unable to dam us into complacency. Over three days full to the brim of inspiration, reflection and calls to action, the global community gathered for the Earth Day livestream — literally, a stream full of life. UU Ministry for Earth partnered with an interfaith contingent for an emergent Faith Call to Climate Justice Web Summit, grounding the three days in prayer and reflection. Over 500 people gathered for a screening of The Condor & The Eagle on Earth Day, followed by a conversation with Aly Tharp, Camp-Horinek, filmmaker Clement Guerra, Bryan Parras (cofounder of TEJAS), Johnny and Unci Lula (INITC) and Juan Mancias (Chair of the Carizzo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas). This year, while defined by compounding global tragedies and long awaited uprisings, also marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, calling us to reflect on half a century of our evolving movements — and refuse anything less than a true Just Transition to an ecological civilization over the next half a century.
In time for summer’s roaring chorus — the birds seem to be louder these days — we gathered for storytime as part of Biodiversity Sunday, before celebrating Biodiversity Day on May 22. Joined by an intergenerational audience, Rev. Dr. LoraKim Joyner (UU minister and wildlife veterinarian) offered a story illustrating the importance of endangered species; she was joined by Lara Profitt, Director of Spiritual Development at Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church (AUUC) in Burke, Virginia (and curriculum writer for the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C.) and Leigh Scott (UU Animal Ministry treasurer), who shared about UU Animal Ministry’s work. Inspiring us to deepen our relationships to the non-human world, UUMFE leads a program every year inviting UUs to create puppets of endangered animals, to honor them as part of the Procession of the Species at General Assembly. While we could not create our puppets in person this year, we see this as an opportunity to encourage UUs to learn about and protect endangered species all year round. Stay tuned for educational materials and a research guide in time for Biodiversity Sunday in 2021!
While our sense of time may feel disjointed in the fog of intersecting crises, our ritual blessings and reflection during Spring for Change calls us back into the rhythms of our surroundings, and of wisdom from time immemorial. Our planet keeps turning, and water rushes over us to give us a necessary clarity: we act knowing every day is Earth Day, every season a season of unfolding struggles for justice.
And so the work continues. If you haven’t already, you are encouraged to organize or join an upcoming regular screening of The Condor & the Eagle, and connect with other Unitarian Universalist eco-activists on CreateClimateJustice.net and at the UUMFE programming planned for the UUA Virtual General Assembly 2020.