Unitarian Universalist Hot Topics

Hot Topics and Ways to Take Action


Climate Activist Report from Commit2Respond

Mass actions took place twice in the Denver, Colorado area: first protesting a Bureau of Land Management auction of mineral rights on public lands on May 12th, and then occupying a fracking site adjacent to an elementary school on May 14th (pictured below). Activist trainings were held at the First Unitarian Society of Denver, with Elizabeth Mount, a Meadville-Lombard seminarian and UU Young Adults for Climate Justice core member, as one of the trainers (pictured to the right).

Photo: Christian O'Rourke, Survival Media Agency (source)
Photo: Christian O’Rourke,
Survival Media Agency (source)
 Photo: Jessica Stone Troy (source)

Photo: Jessica Stone Troy (source)








In PhiladelphiaPennsylvania — Jimmy Betts, member of the UU Young Adults for Climate and the Beyond Extreme Energy collective, took action with the group EDGE (Encouraging Development of a Green Economy) to disrupt the Natural Gas for Power Generation summit at the Hilton Philadelphia by claiming eminent domain to put a human pipeline through the hotel. The protest news release states, “Built along two tidal rivers, Philadelphia is the city second-most at risk [in the USA] to power outages from climate-change-fueled storms. Members of the public who brought their message to the conferences say that reliance on fossil fuels undermines global efforts to slow climate change and locks the city and the state into decades of fossil fuel use while the rest of the world shifts to energy efficiency and renewables.”

In Anacortes, Washington, hundreds of people
took action over multiple days. Over one-hundred people camped out on a railroad line to blockade rail access to fossil fuel refineries operated by Shell and Tesoro, others took to the water in canoes and kayaks
, and participated in marches and prayer ceremonies. Unitarian Universalists representing eleven congregations and the Oregon UU Voices for Justice were present. UU climate justice activists Barbara Ford and Carlo Voli helped to coordinate various aspects of the activist gatherings and protests. Check out this video for an overview of what happened in the Pacific Northwest:

In Washington, DC, Unitarian Universalists participated in a mass march to demand an end to offshore drilling and mineral right leasing in the Arctic and Gulf of Mexico, alongside Quaker and United Church of Christ activists:


In St. Augustine, Florida, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. Augustine was one of the main sponsors for a March for Future Generations.

Photo by Bob Simpson (Source)
In Whiting, Indiana, activists gathered at Lake Michigan for a Native-led water ceremony and prayer — and then hundreds marched to a BP refinery known to process large amounts of Canadian tar sands. Check out this video of the march and protest produced by Unicorn Riot :ons, urging world leaders to leav
e fossil fuels in the ground and embrace a sustainable clean energy future.
Pictured (to the right) are Joyce Peterson, Toni Wallace and Nana Royer, members of the Fellowship who marched carrying a kayak with signs reading “Keep It In the Ground OR We Will Drown” and “No Seismic Testing”.

Check out the riot here

Fourty-one protestors were arrested outside of the facility, including UU Young Adult Dominic Giafagleone (pictured below, wearing a blue shirt and grey jacket).  You can catch him among our UU Perspective episode 32

Photo by Bob Simpson (Source)

“Break Free 2016” has officially ended (be sure to check out the campaign’s website for inspiration from actions that took place all over the world), but the momentum of public demands to keep oil, gas and coal in the ground is maintaining strong.

  • The day that Break Free 2016 ended, the Beyond Extreme Energy collective launched a “#RubberStampRebellion” escalated week of action (after months and months of sustained protest) demanding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) stop rubber-stamping interstate fracked gas pipelines.
  • And this weekend, thousands will gather for Hands Across the Sand / Hands Across the Land— bringing together “thousands of Americans and global citizens at beaches and cities to draw metaphorical and actual lines in the sand; human lines in the sand against fossil fuels that threaten our future.”

We are sure that there are many more stories of spiritually-grounded activists taking action for climate justice over these past two weeks that are worth sharing — If you’ve taken action recently and have stories or pictures to share, please comment below!

Aly_Tharp_in_pulpit Aly Tharp
Commit2Respond Program Manager





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Love Films?

Here is a great resource to movies that are of importance to many Unitarian Universalists. UU Fellowship of Door County provides a great spot on their website to see what you can find and then search on any of your movie apps to see.


Commit2Respond is a coalition of Unitarian Universalists and other people of faith and conscience working for climate justice.

Climate Changetake action now 

You are invited to commit to at least one action in each of these three pillars of Commit2Respond. How will you take action?


Shift towards a world in which energy is used sustainably, the world’s resources are treasured and shared, and resilient and democratic support systems exist to help all of creation survive climate change. LEARN MORE


Advance towards a future in which those who disproportionately bear the burdens of climate change are leaders in the search for solutions, and their rights and needs are the bedrock of our collective climate justice work. LEARN MORE


Grow a movement fed by hope, love and nonviolence that amplifies the voices of affected communities, counters oppressions and inspires people everywhere to join the urgent creative struggle to bring about climate justice. LEARN MORE



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