Surviving and Thriving Together

In this time of reckoning, repair, and transition, we are committed to supporting congregations like yours with resources that cultivate deep, lasting connection to each other and your local communities and ecosystems. 

We believe this requires going beyond conventional environmental education and curriculum design.

UUMFE is excited to announce the development of “May You Survive and Thrive,” a new multi-generational, arts-based family ministry curriculum designed to cultivate and sustain ecological awareness within and between congregations and communities.

We are looking for congregations like yours to help pilot this draft curriculum! Join the Survive and Thrive Cohort, a cohort of committed congregations who will be among the first to use the curriculum with support from UUMFE and each other.

Find out more below, and Sign up here to join our next Cohort Support & Share call to learn more!

Building lasting connections between people, place, and our faith.

The overarching goals of Survive and Thrive are to:

  • Cultivate Biodiversity Sunday as an annual event on the UU church calendar,
  • Strengthen Unitarian Universalist cultural and spiritual practices of honoring the Web of Life in our congregations, local climate justice events, and at the UUA General Assembly,
  • Strengthen multi-generational relationships and connections between UU climate/environmental team members and the children and youth in their congregation and other congregations across bioregions, and
  • Strengthen Unitarian Universalist communities’ understanding, relationship, and ethic of accountability to Place and to the Rights of Nature.

The Curriculum

Developed by Rev. Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone, and Vassar College students Elliot Porcher, Oliver Mendel, James Grosjean, Grace Cazzaniga, “May You Survive and Thrive” is an accessible, experiential curriculum that facilitates creative, embodied connection to the natural world, each other, and local endangered species and habitats. Our goal is to make this available to congregations across the country to foster a felt, sustained awareness of our 7th principle–our interconnected Web of Life–in this time of climate crisis and transition.

The curriculum culminates with an Endangered Species Creative Art Project, which congregations can use in their own worship and programming, to participate in local eco-activism events, and/or to the annual Procession of the Species at General Assembly! UUMFE will facilitate support for creating the art and representing it at GA, as well as host a virtual maker-space and gallery for sharing with other congregations and teams.

Drawing from methodologies of nature-based education and community arts-organizing, “May You Survive and Thrive” uses collective learning and creativity as a vehicle for integrated, long term community building and social change.

This curriculum is perfect for congregations hoping to build an integrated, multi-generational, and multi-cultural ecological awareness. 

And sign up to join the Pilot Program below!

Survive and Thrive Pilot Program

Survive and Thrive Cohort member congregations will have access to:
  • The full draft curriculum and subsequent versions, including 5 full Lessons, field and research guides, additional resources, and Council of All Species community event script to be used in worship, at climate justice events, or in learning spaces.
  • A virtual makerspace and gallery to use and share additional resources and for congregations to offer mutual support and inspiration in making the art project and implementing other lessons.
  • Monthly “Support & Share” group calls with UUMFE staff to ask questions, give feedback, hear updates, and build relationships with other Cohort members.
  • Additional one-on-one support from UUMFE staff as needed for adapting curriculum to your community and facilitating cumulative creative project.
  • Opportunities to be featured in any UUMFE and other UU publications and communications that result from this Pilot Program.
Survive and Thrive Cohort member congregations will be expected to:
  • Designate a point person to be a liaison with UUMFE and stay connected.
  • Document and share experiences through writing and photos.
  • Participate in “Support & Share” group calls and virtual makerspace and gallery as you are able – can be anyone from your congregation, at least one call and virtual post.
  • Fill out form after facilitating to record and reflect on your experience and any feedback.
  • Make mistakes! Take chances! Get messy! And have fun 🙂 We hope you will embody these activities boldly and authentically, and we look forward to seeing all the creative ways this emerges in your congregation and local ecosystems.


Join monthly “Support & Share” calls to receive updates, share experiences, offer feedback, and connect with other congregations.

May 21, 2023: Biodiversity Sunday! Use this curriculum, your creative project, and additional worship resources from UUMFE to celebrate and honor your local species and the whole beautiful biodiversity of our Web of Life.

June 21-25, 2023: Bring or share your creative projects in the annual UU Procession of Species at General Assembly.

Featured Survive and Thrive Creative Project

Unitarian Universalist Justice for Arizona’s (UUJAZ) project is a great example of using creativity to tell a story about migration, biodiversity, and climate justice for all. Under the leadership of Casey Clowes, 13 congregations across the Arizona decorated paper cut-outs of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo bird, which were then collected and strung together into a banner and display at GA.

View this video they created that weaves together the story of this endangered bird, the border wall, the land and water flow, and the native O’odham peoples.

What climate justice story is waiting to be uncovered and shared through your congregation?

What sources of insight, connection, and hope might emerge from reconciling the story of your congregation with the story of local species, as well as human communities, land, and water?  

Fourth Universalist Society of NY hosts Food Justice Month Webinar Series

Throughout January 2021, the 4th Universalist Society of New York hosted a series of online programming exploring food justice, focused on a different angle of food justice, bringing in powerful speakers from frontline organizations, scientists and other advocates. These sessions were an excellent “opening course” ahead of this year’s Intergenerational Spring Seminar, All In for […]

UU@UN’s Spring Seminar

Are you passionate about food justice, global justice and climate justice? Next year’s seminar will take place all online April 9-11, 2021, and builds off of this year’s climate justice theme to focus on the connections between food and climate justice. I really enjoyed working on this year’s spring seminar as part of the Trajectory […]

Earth Day Film Screening of The Condor & The Eagle

The Condor & The Eagle Documentary Screening  Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020 Hosted by UUMFE, Side With Love, the InterNātional Initiative for Transformative Collaboration (INITC) & the film impact campaign There was a suggested $10-50 sliding-scale donation (all are welcome regardless of ability to pay; those who have donated already are not expected to donate again). […]

Ethical Eating Day January 11

In 2011, the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association adopted a Statement of Conscience on the issue of ethical eating. The UU United Nations Office has since been advocating for ethical eating as a necessary component of climate action in partnership with the Buddhist Tzu Chi  Foundation. The Tzu Chi Foundation is inviting the […]

UU Ministry for Earth is your go-to source for actions, tools, stories, and connection to the global environmental justice movement. Explore the major issue areas UUMFE focuses on, using a racial and economic justice-informed framework of environmental justice.

Climate Change

Photo by Peter Bowden. Image shows a large, interfaith gathering in resistance to the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline.
Photo by Peter Bowden. Image shows a large, interfaith gathering in resistance to the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline.

There’s no denying that climate change is happening, and is human-caused. There’s also no denying that those on the front-lines of the climate crisis are among those who have contributed least to creating the problem, such as island nations, Indigenous peoples, and those who directly depend on the land for sustenance.

Top links:

Recommended sources for action:

Recommended sources for climate change info:


Ecology & Rights of Nature

Ecosystems are communities of interacting living beings and natural systems, and the Rights of Nature is a framework for respecting the rights of “all beings to the freedom they require to realize their full potential in the larger web of existence.” This calls us to work for ecosystem conservation and restoration, biodiversity, clean air and water, and the rights of animals.

Top Links:

  • World Wildlife Fund 2016 Living Planet Report: global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012. This report details these findings, and actions needed to preserve & restore biodiversity.
  • What is “Rights of Nature”?: a great summary of the Rights of Nature framework with links to additional resources, from the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, a global network of organizations and individuals committed to supporting legal systems that recognize, respect, and enforce Rights of Nature

Recommended sources for info and action:


Food Justice

Food justice involves ensuring that all people have access to nutritious food, that those who work in the food industry are free from exploitation and earn a living wage, and that food is grown, sourced, and consumed in ethical ways.

Top links:

Recommended sources for info and action:


Front-Lines Solidarity

Joe Brusky via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

An environmental justice framework centers the needs, voices, and leadership of those who are most disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and climate change, including Indigenous and low-income peoples, people of color, island nations, and youth.

Top links:

Recommended sources for info and action:


Social Justice & Human Rights

When cultures value profit over people, those who are already marginalized suffer the worst effects: from water and air pollution to toxic waste disposal to natural disasters to forced migration due to droughts, floods, and other climate impacts.

Top links:

Recommended sources for info and action:



Francesco Pasqualetti via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Sustainability means living within the ecological limits of the Earth’s ability to regenerate, meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. Pollution, overconsumption, poverty, escalating inequality, habitat loss and biodiversity decline, and climate change all make our current global society fundamentally unsustainable.

Top links:

Recommended sources for info and action:


Many Unitarian Universalist congregations hold film screenings in order to engage members and/or the wider community in environmental justice education. This is a list of films to inspire education, reflection, discussion, and action on climate change, activism and resistance, energy, ecosystems, food systems, and more, listed chronologically.

Many of these films are available for viewing online (just do an internet search for the title). You can also check out Top Documentary Films—“the world’s greatest free documentary library”—to view many environmental and nature films online.


The Reluctant Radical – Lindsey Grayzel, producer, director (77 min, 2018)

  • Film website –  We are excited to announce that the movie is now available for viewing online via Vimeo On Demand, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. The DVD can be purchased on the web site.
  • Review The Portland Mercury
  • Toolkit for hosting a screening
  • NOTE: UU congregations receive a 20% discount on Reluctant Radical film screenings! More information here.

The Condor and the Eagle – Clement Guerra and Sophie Guerra, directors; UUMFE co-producer (90 min, 2019)

  • Film website –  We are honored to be a co-producer of this film! UUMFE will be screening this film twice a month through the end of 2020. See below for toolkit.
  • Review The Sad Mag
  • Toolkit for hosting/joining a screening


Age of Consequences – Jared P. Scott, director, producer, writer (80 min, 2017)

Planet Earth II – David Attenborough, director (360 min, 2017)

Seed: The Untold Story – featuring Vandana Shiva and Dr. Jane Goodall, directed by Taggart Siegel (94 min, 2017)

A Plastic Ocean – featuring Craig Leeson and Tanya Streeter, directed by Craig Leeson (100 min, 2017)

Before the Flood – Fisher Stevens, director (96 min, 2017)

Years of Living Dangerously, Season 2 – Joel Bach, David Gelber, directors (410 min, 2017); Season 1 (727 min, 2014)

How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change – Josh Fox, director (128 min, 2016)

This Changes Everything – Avi Lewis, director (89 min, 2016)

Racing Extinction – featuring Elon Musk, Louie Psihoyos and Jane Goodall, directed by Louie Psihoyos (103 min, 2016)

The True Cost – featuring Rick Ridgeway, Tim Kasser, and Vandana Shiva, directed by Andrew Morgan (92 min, 2015)

Groundswell Rising: Protecting Our Children’s Air and Water – directed and produced by Renard Cohen (70 min, 2014)

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret – Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn, filmmakers (91 min, 2014)

The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism & Communitydirected by John Ankele and Anne Macksoud (56 min, 2013)

Bidder 70 – featuring Tim DeChristopher, Robert Redford, James Hansen, and more; directed by Beth and George Gage (73 min, 2013)

Chasing Ice – featuring photographer James Balog; directed by Jeff Orlowski; 2014 Emmy award winner (73 min, 2012)

Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives – directed by Jeffrey M. Smith (85 min, 2012)

Forks Over Knives – featuring T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell B. Esselstyn (90 min, 2011)

Dirty Business: “Clean Coal” and the Battle for Our Energy Future – directed by Peter Bull (90 and 60 min. versions, 2011).

Revenge of the Electric Car – featuring Tim Robbins and Bob Lutz; directed by Chris Paine (90 min, 2011)

Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? – featuring Michael Polan and Gunther Hauck; directed by Taggart Siegel (82 min, 2010)

Deep Green: Solutions to Stop Global Warming Now – contributors Michael Pollan, Lester Brown, Amory Lovins, Dr. David Suzuki; directed by Matthew Briggs (101 min, 2010)

Dirt! The Movie – featuring Jamie Lee Curtis; directed by Bill Benenson and Gene Roscow (80 min, 2009)

Ingredients: The Local Food Movement Takes Root ­– featuring Robert Bates; directed by Robert Bates (67 min, 2009)

Fresh – featuring Joel Salatin and Will Allen; directed by Ana Sophia Joanes (72 min, 2009)

The Cove: Man Is Their Greatest Threat and Their Only Hope – featuring Richard O’Barry and Louis Phihoyos; directed by Louis Phihoyos (92 min, 2008)

Food, Inc. – featuring Eric Schlosser; directed by Robert Kenner; nominated for Academy Award (91 min, 2008)

The generosity of individual donors and members make the work of UU Ministry for Earth possible. Please consider making a donation today to help us continue this important endeavor.