Environmental stewardship is a basic principle of the Unitarian Universalist faith. Our Seventh Principle is "Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." Our religious life is not complete without acknowledging and celebrating our relationship with our beloved Earth.
Our congregation was recently certified as a Green Sanctuary. A Green Sanctuary is a congregation that lives out its commitment to the Earth by creating a sustainable life style for its members as individuals and as a faith community.
The Green Sanctuary program is a process of theological reflection and spiritual growth, ongoing education, and social activism.The Green Sanctuary Program includes a total of twelve activities in four program areas. These four program elements are:
- Worship and Spiritual Practice
- Religious Environmental Education
- Environmental Justice
- Sustainable Living
To be certified as a "Green Sanctuary," a congregation must complete at least twelve activities or projects spread over the four program elements. Some projects will be one time events, others will be on going over a period of months.
- A minimum of two activities is required in each of the first three elements, while at least four must be carried out in the category of Sustainable Living, including at least one energy conservation activity.
- Two additional activities can be selected from any of the four program
- One social justice project will be a major on-going activity in collaboration with another congregation or organization to address an issue of environmental justice in your community or in the world.
Our board formally chartered a Green Sanctuary Committee at its meeting on January 15, 2006. After over a year of effort, we received our Green Sanctuary accreditation on June 24, 2007. Among other projects, we gave a thousand energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs to the local farmworker town of London, two for each household.
Accrediation as a Green Sanctuary is just the beginning of our work to integrate environmental awareness, sustainable practices, and environmental justice into our church community, our personal lives, and our wider communities. Our congregation commits to continue to strive on an ongoing basis to seek reliable information, inspiration, and opportunities for meaningful ways to integrate eco-spirituality, sustainable living, and environmental justice in our congregation. You can track our continuing progress on our Green Sanctuary Blog.
How can you start? Mahatma Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see."
“Ideas for Non-Toxic Homes” by Teri Van Huss, of EIS Consulting and Sequoia Riverlands Trust
Recycle Your Used Printer Cartridges Here
Next time you have an empty inkjet printer cartridge, don't throw it away. Just put it in a plastic bag or the original cartridge box and bring it to a Visalia UU Fellowship meeting. We will recycle it, and our Fellowship will receive up to $4 for each cartridge with a print head. (Sorry, Epson printer cartridges without print heads don't qualify.) Save energy! Reduce Pollution!
Green Sanctuary Documents:
- Charter of Green Sanctuary Committee (HTML)
- Environmental Audit (Word)
- Action Plan (Word)
- Application for Greeen Sanctuary Accreditation (PDF)
- Resolution to Seek Accreditation (PDF)
- Creating a Green Sanctuary: Environmentally Friendly Practices
for Unitarian Universalist Churches
Presentation by Harold Wood.
Green Sanctuary Committee Contact:
Chair, UU Fellowship of Visalia Social Justice Committee
PO Box 3469
Visalia CA 93278
e-mail: harold at uuvisalia dot org
phone: (559) 739-8527