UUA Green Sanctuary 2030: Mobilizing for Climate Justice

The mission of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Green Sanctuary is to provide structure, leadership and support, in broad collaboration, for the UU faith community to engage in an ambitious environmental and climate justice movement that seeks to live fully our seventh and eighth principles and achieve our vision of a sustainable and just world for all. Click here for an Overview of Green Sanctuary 2030.

Adaptation and Resilience

Our Green Sanctuary work involves four “Campaigns” laid out by UUA with the 4th being:

Adaptation and Resilience: the Adaptation element of the program focuses on reducing vulnerabilities to the harmful effects of climate change and making the most of potentially beneficial opportunities associated with positive responses to the crisis. Resilience refers to the capacity to maintain function in the face of external stresses created by the climate-change crisis.

This campaign seems to be the one that we are having the toughest time with, in terms of coming up with specific ways and projects that we can incorporate into our work to help address adaptation and resilience issues. Any ideas that you may have would be appreciated.

UUA has offered this resource linked here: “Climate Resilience through Disaster Response and Community Care”. Below you will find an excerpt from the article to give you an idea of the content.

How can we center the inherent worth and dignity of every person in climate disasters?

We can use our gifts to offer love, to work for justice, to heal injury, to create pleasure for ourselves and others. We can recognize our mutual independence with all life. We can take actions that are grounded in justice, guided by wisdom, and sustained with hope. We can learn, act, and reflect to cultivate the beloved community.

Every community is different, and climate impacts will vary at the hyper-local level.  Some neighborhoods may be devastated by a hurricane while others experience only minor impacts.  Adequate preparation and response for climate disasters must center the lived experiences and impacts of climate disasters on those most at risk.  

The American Resilience Project, https://www.amresproject.org/does work “designed to strengthen civic engagement for achieving the energy transition, adapting to sea level rise, managing the climate crisis, strengthening food security, and more.”  There are several interesting films and podcasts available through links on their website.  You might want to check it out.

Climate Justice

Our Green Sanctuary work involves four “Campaigns” laid out by UUA with the 3rd being:

Climate justice: relates to the concern that to a large degree, those who are less responsible for contributing to climate change are often the ones who suffer the most from the effects of climate change.  

“Climate Justice calls for collaboration with communities who experience the reality that the greatest impacts of climate change are disproportionately experienced by those (a) historically oppressed and least responsible for the crisis (b) with the fewest resources with which to face the crisis while already under environmental stresses, and (c) future generations.” 

from UUA Green Sanctuary Materials

Our Dec 10, 2023 service addressed this topic as it relates to victims of flooding in the Kickapoo Valley area. Dr. Margot Higgins shared information about climate refugees in Wisconsin with a case study in the Kickapoo River watershed, which has experienced unprecedented flooding in the last decade. Dr. Higgins worked with UWL students to create an oral history project: “Stories From the Floods.” These stories highlight the devastation and loss but also creativity and strength in local communities as they deal with global change. Click Here to read some of these stories. 

SoundCloud and/or YouTube depending in your preference. Click on the buttons below for quick access to the recordings.

Also included in that service was a Time for All Ages segment in which Climate Justice was pretty well addressed by children and their art work.  It’s well worth a watch!

If you would like to become involved in some of the climate justice work that will be involved in our Green Sanctuary work, please contact one of our Green Team members.


Our Green Sanctuary work involves four “Campaigns” laid out by UUA with the 2nd being:

Mitigation: reducing our carbon footprint as individuals and as a congregation

The Green Team worked with our Sunday Service & Music Team to plan and facilitate two Sunday Services dealing with mitigation and reducing our carbon footprint this fall. Both services featured presentations by Rob Tyser, retired faculty member in the Department of Biology at UW-La Crosse. The first took place on Nov 19th and focused on the “why” of carbon footprinting. The second service was on Dec 3rd with an explanation of how to prepare and use your carbon footprint data. Both presentations were recorded and can be accessed on SoundCloud and/or YouTube depending in your preference. Click on the buttons below for quick access to the recordings.

In his talk on Dec 3rd, Rob described how a person could estimate their household carbon footprint using the Cool Congregation tool found here –> Household Calculator (interfaithpowerandlight.org) He also referenced a video produced by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that helps make the case for reducing our carbon footprint. We recommend that everyone watch this valuable resource. And please consider using the Cool Congregation tool to get a rough estimate of your own household carbon footprint. The main thing that you will need to help with this is data from your utility bills, (electric and heat).

We found that there wasn’t a super easy way to simply print or save your results after you have entered your data, so we have created a form for you to use to record what data you entered and what your estimated cfp (carbon footprint) turned out to be: Click Here to download the form!

The Green Team has also used the calculator to determine our Fellowship’s carbon footprint, which we hope to work on decreasing together. These were our results, as calculated in September 2023:

Stay tuned, as your Green Team has plans in the works for potential small group meetings after some services (and possibly at other venues), to work together on calculating cfps and sharing ideas.

Congregational Transformation 

The 1st “Campaign” laid out by UUA is:

Congregational Transformation: evaluating our knowledge and commitment to climate action

GS team member, Alysa Remsburg came across this 10 minute Ted talk titled “How to Find Joy in Climate Action” that we are using as inspiration to tackle this concept of transformation.

Please give it a view and listen as it may be helpful to you as you ponder how you may best be involved in climate action!

The Green Team Welcomes Your Input!

Whether you are a member or friend of UU La Crosse, or you came to this page by scanning the button that you received or for some other reason, please feel free to offer your suggestions as to what issues that you think would be important to include in our work.  It could be basic things like composting coffee grounds and other food waste at the UU building.  Or it could address more complex issues such as how marginalized groups prepare for climate change.

If you are a parent, please discuss with your children of any age to see what input they may have about climate change or ‘greening’ our community.  If you have connections to groups of people who are disproportionately affected by heat waves, flooding, poor air quality, or altered seasons, we’d especially like to hear your stories and goals for the community.

If you would like to learn more about what was involved in our Green Sanctuary accreditation the first time around, Click Here to view our Green Sanctuary Application from 2013.  

Be sure to check this page often to see what types of issues and projects are being considered.

To learn all about our first Green Sanctuary project, Procession of the Species, Click Here!

Contact Us

If you’d like to receive updates,

have suggestions, ideas or comments that you would like to share please contact one of our team members by emailing greensanctuary@uulacrosse.org or use the contact form below!