Climate Justice: Lessons from the First and Seventh UU Principles

hands around globe

I’ve frequently said: while I care about many progressive issues, climate change is most important because we have to act now!

However, I’ve begun to realize I can’t just choose to work on the Earth and let other issues take care of themselves. Taking care of the Earth means I must care for the lives on it, especially the disenfranchised. When governments seek to disenfranchise voters, I can’t sit by while local commissioners ignore the housing crisis, nor while the state approves maps that further disenfranchise black voters, nor while the federal government overrides indigenous rights in the name of cheaper gas prices.

Climate justice is centering Frontline communities in the fight to stop climate change, which affects marginalized people first and hardest. 

Last year, Monroe County approved a plan to elevate roads in the Keys, while also admitting it lacks the funds to meet all needs. The Florida Keys sit at the frontline, with an extra 17 inches in sea level rise expected by 2040.  

While perhaps thought of as a wealthy, older, white enclave – we must recognize that 1/4 of Monroe County’s residents are Latinx, with many living at or near poverty. They simply don’t have access to insurance, wealth and assistance to mitigate the worst effects of climate change in their own lives.  

LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities have disproportionally high percentages of people experiencing homelessness – and gender-nonconforming people are often turned away from emergency services such as shelters.  After hurricanes, members of the transgender community report discrimination from not only their fellow shelter inhabitants but also from shelter staff.  Some are refused medical service based on their sexual identity.  In the face of climate change that affects everybody, marginalized people seeking safety are rejected basic human services.

We are so much stronger working together in helping to save this planet. So, I challenge you to be a part of the solution – to show up for justice, to lift up voices for change, to build trust with those who have reason for wariness, and to join together for this monumental task of healing the Earth. 

Click here to view the April 24, 2022 Sunday Service: Caring for the Earth and Everyone on it: How UU’s First and Seventh Principles are Inextricably Connected