While the Climate Action Ministry team may have been less visible this past fall, it has actually been quite active and has a number of activities planned for the coming year. One of our goals for this year is to strengthen our collaboration with other climate action groups. To that end, we have been developing relationships with several eastside climate/environmental groups, including the newly organized 350 Eastside chapter, a new Sierra Club eastside group, and CENSE (Coalition of Eastside Neighbors for Sensible Energy), in addition to our long-term connection to Citizens Climate Lobby (which includes at least 11 East Shore members).
We have hosted several events and meetings of these different groups over the past few months and hope to continue, pending the development of church policies that will guide the use of East Shore facilities by groups that are sponsored by East Shore ministry teams. One of these events was a talk by a local expert in advanced nuclear power energy and a discussion about the possibilities of using nuclear power to transition away from fossil fuels. 350 Eastside had their inaugural and second chapter meetings at East Shore, and CENSE had a large public event gearing up for the next stage in their opposition to PSE’s “Energize Eastside” project.
One noteworthy accomplishment recently was getting East Shore Unitarian Church to endorse Citizens Climate Lobby’s (CCL) carbon fee and dividend proposal. This proposal would put an increasing price on fossil fuels at the source (e.g., mine, well, tanker) and return the revenue to households as a dividend. If implemented, economic models show this proposal would lower U.S. CO2 emissions to 50% below 1990 levels, and also add 2.8 million jobs (dividend = stimulus) and avoid 230,000 premature deaths (cleaner air) over 10 years. East Shore became the fifth UU congregation in the country to endorse CCL’s carbon fee and dividend.
In January, we will be participating in the “letter writing faire” sponsored by the Racial Justice Action Team. In February, we are beginning a series of pre-Sunday service breakfast conversations oriented around the book Drawdown (edited by Paul Hawken), which highlights the most effective ways that greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced to slow down climate change. We expect our discussions to show numerous ways that reducing carbon emissions intersects with other social justice issues, such as global women’s rights and agricultural/food.
In late winter or early spring, we are planning a forum to bring together different eastside environmental/climate action groups to foster relationships among the groups and East Shore and to identify common issues that we can work together on, setting the stage for more effective collaboration into the future.
As always, any East Shore member is invited to be a part of the Climate Action Ministry team and particiapate in any of our activities, whatever your level of involvement. If you have any questions or want further information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by David Chapin
Chair, Climate Action Ministry team