The Sustainable Living Committee (SLC) helps put into action the Seventh UU Principle: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” SLC efforts to gain and renew our Green Sanctuary status are among its major accomplishments. We incorporate “green” thinking and actions into all areas of programming at UUSE – from worship services, to adult and youth Religious Education (RE), to recycling many types of items and purchasing recycled and earth friendly supplies, to composting and growing an organic vegetable garden. We helped insure that recent UUS:E renovations were as “green” as possible, including adding a geothermal HVAC system to heat and cool the entire building, and more recent installation of solar panels. We purchase only 100% Clean Energy. We have an Ecological Landscaping Team working to restore, naturalize and beautify the grounds—see below.
An annual activity is planting and maintaining an organic garden with RE, which ends in the fall with a veggie roast for the congregation. SLC also sponsors a monthly sale of Equal Exchange fair-trade, sustainably-grown, organic coffee, tea, and chocolate after each service on the second Sunday of the month. These products are good for the growers, good for the earth and are offered at a very good price. The coffee served on Sunday mornings and at other UUS:E events is also the Equal Exchange brand. The UUS:E monthly newsletter always includes an item related to our Green Sanctuary status or other environmental topic—see some examples in the Green Sanctuary News.
The SLC meets the second Tuesday of each month from 7 to 9 P.M. at UUS:E. For more information contact Anne Vaughan, co-chair of the Sustainable Living Committee, UUSE153 at sbcglobal.net.
Two other groups have been fostered by SLC. The Climate Action Team (CAT) is now a subcommittee of SLC that was inspired by the Climate Action Teams of the UU United Nations Office. CAT seeks ways to educate the congregation and the public about climate change and its consequences; It also works toward effective policies from the local to the international levels. Most CAT members are congregational members, but everyone is welcome.
SLC and CAT helped foster a Manchester chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). The Manchester CCL is part of the national Citizens’ Climate Lobby and has recruited people via the national CCL website and their activities, as well as from its local efforts. It is one of more than 212 CCL groups across the US, Canada and a number of other countries. All CCL groups are working toward a specific national policy: place a fee on fossil fuels, based on the CO2 content of those fuels. This additional fee helps reflect the true costs of fossil fuels on health and the environment, and encourages the shift to renewable energy sources. All revenue from that fee would be returned to the public as a monthly dividend to protect households from rising costs associated with the carbon fee. Citizens Climate Lobby works to create the political will for a livable world by empowering individuals through training to engage elected officials, the media and the public to generate the political will that will be needed to pass a Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation.
The Manchester CCL group has written many letters to our two senators and the representatives from CT’s congressional Districts 1 and 2, as well as visited several of their local offices. Manchester CCL members have published over a dozen opinion pieces or letters to editors in local papers. Members have attended a regional CCL conference and the annual June national conference in DC, where all the CT representatives and senators were lobbied to support a carbon fee and dividend policy.
Anyone interested in supporting these goals is welcome to join our local CCL group. Visit the CCL website and join one of the weekly introductory calls. Contact Janet Heller to learn when our next CCL chapter meeting is scheduled: Janet.Heller at snet.net.
Some web sites of special interest to SLC members:
- UU Ministry For Earth
- UU United Nations Climate Change
- Citizens’ Climate Lobby
- Interreligious Eco-Justice Network
- Connecticut Climate Coalition at Connecticut Clean Water Action
- Connecticut branch Northeast Organic Farming Association
- Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Glastonbury
- Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice
- Connecticut Roundtable for Climate and Jobs