UU Ministry for Earth is grounded in environmental justice, a movement and a framework that arose in the 1970s and 1980s in response to the reality that environmental injustices disproportionately affect communities of color and poor communities.
Environmental justice seeks to center the experiences and leadership of those on the front-lines of environmental injustice and climate change, which calls us to deep awareness about the intersections of race, class, gender, ability, age, and climate. The crisis we are facing as a species is immense, and thus the solutions we work for must be bold and prophetic.
Inspiration and Grounding
UUMFE grounds itself in and draws inspiration from the following sources:
- Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing: six principles affirmed by a gathering of people of color and white allies as essential for environmental justice organizing
- Principles of Environmental Justice (PDF): a defining document of the environmental justice movement, crafted by delegates to the 1991 First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit
- EJ Principles of Working Together (PDF) — Principles of working together adopted at the Second People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 2002.
- Bali Principles of Climate Justice: a set of principles put forward by an international coalition of groups in preparation for the 2002 Earth Summit in Bali to redefine climate change from a human rights and environmental justice perspective
- The Earth Charter: The Earth Charter is an ethical framework for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross-cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values.
- Principles of Earth Democracy: ten principles of justice, sustainability, and peace promoted by Vandana Shiva’s concept of “Earth Democracy”
- Faith Principles on Climate Change (PDF): a 2007 document crafted by the National Council of Churches in partnership with an interfaith coalition, endorsed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and signed by thousands of faith leaders
Intro Resources on Environmental Justice
The following are some of UUMFE’s top sources that provide an introduction to the framework of environmental justice:
- The Genesis of Environmental Justice: considered one of the founders of the environmental justice movement, Robert Bullard explains how the movement arose in this 3-minute video
- Environmental Justice, Explained: an engaging 3.5-minute video from Grist that explains what environmental justice means
- Brief overview of environmental justice from the NAACP
- The Environmental Justice Movement: an article from the Natural Resources Defense Council that provides a concise history of the movement
- Environmental Justice: An Interview with Robert Bullard: a 1999 article from Earth First! in which Robert Bullard explains how environmental justice has redefined what environmentalism is all about
- Who’s in Danger? (English) / ¿Quiénes Están en Peligro? (Español): a report that documents the risk of chemical disaster posed to low-income communities and communities of color
Resources for Engaging More Deeply
- Environmental Justice Practitioner’s Network Webinar Recordings: Webinars organized and hosted by Karen Brammer (Green Sanctuary Program Director) and Aly Tharp (UUMFE Programs Director) provide an opportunity for UU environmental justice practitioners to engage in reflection and education, deepen their faith grounding for environmental justice, and build their skills.
- Our Place in the Web of Life: a curriculum for UU congregations and teams that offers an introduction to environmental justice, explores the racial, economic, and environmental impact of the congregation, and creates an action plan for deeper accountability
- Resources for Organizing & Taking Action: tools to support effective, impactful, and spiritually robust organizing and action, grounded in environmental justice and the needs of front-lines communities
- An extensive collection of additional resources on environmental justice from Energy Justice Network
- UUA Green Sanctuary Program: For congregational Action. Green Sanctuary provides structure, leadership and support, in broad collaboration, for the UU faith community to engage in an ambitious environmental and climate justice movement that seeks to live fully our seventh and eighth principles and achieve our vision of a sustainable and just world for all.