Welcome to this Special Action Alert Newsletter from the UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center!
A warm welcome to newcomers to this e-newsletter! The UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center inspires and equips individuals to take action in support of a just, equitable, resilient and sustainable world. We do this through educational programming, advocacy and building a connected network of faithful stewards in support of the environmental justice movement.
The monthly e-newsletter offers information about global, national, regional and local news, action opportunities and events centered on the climate justice movement. The intention is to inform, educate and help folks connect with the movement and each other, so that we can amplify our collective voice on behalf of Creation and future generations here in southern New England (and beyond).
I'm grateful to have spent another summer teaching "Earth Avengers" - environmental justice workshops - to more than 500 summer campers in the organic food and pollinator garden at Silver Lake Conference Center. Silver Lake is an outdoor ministry of the historic CT Conference of the UCC, and runs a summer camp and hosts year-round retreats on the beautiful 63-acre site in Sharon, CT. I am looking forward to sharing with you about the summer, along with other news and events, in the regular monthly newsletter format, coming soon.
This Special Action Alert Newsletter focuses entirely on offering information about, resources and opportunities to participate in the Global Climate Strike on September 20th through 27th. Please read on, share and join us!
If you find these e-newsletters helpful, please share widely, and encourage others to subscribe. If you have relevant stories, environmental events open to the public or legislative actions (especially if you're from MA or RI) that you would like to include in future e-newsletters, please be in touch.
Thanks for reading!
Pam Arifian, Director
On Fridays throughout the world this past year, students walked out of classrooms and went into the streets to compel action in addressing the climate crisis. What started as a one-person protest by Greta Thunberg has grown to a movement of millions in over 160 countries and at least 2000 locations.
"Together, we will sound the alarm and show our politicians that business as usual is not an option. The climate crisis won't wait, so neither will we."
As we deal with devastating climate breakdown and hurtle towards dangerous tipping points, young people are calling on millions of people across the planet to disrupt business as usual by joining them for a week of action from Friday, September 20th to Friday, September 27th, 2019.
"The climate crisis is an emergency — we want everyone to start acting like it. We demand climate justice for everyone. Our hotter planet is already hurting millions of people. If we don’t act now to transition fairly and swiftly away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy for all, the injustice of the climate crisis will only get worse. We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart." - Global Climate Strike
The mobilization is organized around the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City on September 23rd. Read more about why Great Thunberg and other youth say "we need everyone" and from Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and other adults are "stepping up" to join the strike.
If You Can't Strike...
"Workers’ rights and labour laws vary hugely around the world, and not everyone can work, strike or be part of a union. On a grossly unequal planet, some of us can’t do without a single day’s pay, and some of us work for bosses who would fire us if we dared try.
And some jobs simply can’t stop: emergency room nurses and doctors should keep on saving lives. But many of us can put off for 24 hours our usual work, confident it will be there when we return."
The strike called by youth on September 20 will kick start a week of climate action with many different plans underway in different parts of the world allowing everyone to join together, step up and take action for our climate. Here is a list of ways you could join the Climate Strikes if can't leave work or school on September 20th or 27th.
Already, the strike planned for the 20th is shaping up to be one of the largest mobilizations in the history of the climate justice movement.
Some will spend the day in protest against new pipelines and mines, or the banks that fund them; some will highlight the oil companies fueling this crisis and the politicians that enable them. Others will spend the day in action raising awareness in their communities and pushing for solutions to the climate crisis that have justice and equity at their heart.
Because of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City on September 23rd, New York City expects to see a large mobilization and a number of accompanying events. The NYC Climate Strike will take place at 12pm on Friday, September 20th.
UCC Witness at NYC Strike
UCC Environmental Justice Minister, Rev. Brooks Berndt, is organizing a UCC contingent for the mobilization on 9/20 in NYC. Sign-up to receive updates for actions and events such as an interfaith worship service planned for September 20th, plans to form a UCC contingent at the mobilization on the 20th, and a faith climate conference scheduled for September 24th.
Can't Make it to NYC on 9/20?
There are coordinated strikes happening around the world, including nine currently listed events across the Southern New England Conference region. Find an event near you and make some plans!
Are you already, or do you want to start organizing a climate strike event in your community? Find all the guidance, resources, toolkits, graphics and more at the Global Climate Strike website.
Planning a faith-based witness? Email me your local event details and I’ll help spread the word in our regional networks. You can also join the Climate Strike Faith Working Group for ideas, promotion and support. Stay tuned for updates on UCC and interfaith witness opportunities in the Southern New England Conference.
Other Climate Actions during Climate Strike Week
Following are some related events in the Southern New England Conference region. If you would like your UCC or interfaith Global Climate Strike event listed here in the next newsletter, email me the details!
Let There Be Light: A Green Forum on Solar Power - September 15th (Windham, CT)
The keynote speaker will be Sena Wazer, Co-Director of Communications for the Sunrise Movement CT. An inspiring high school student, Sena will speak about the climate crisis and why we need to act. You will also learn about the pathways to solar via installation and community shared solar, as well as financial strategies for achieving your renewable energy goals. This event is FREE and open to all; please register here.
The 2019 Al Filipov Peace & Justice Forum presents Lois Gibbs, Environmental Justice Pioneer & Icon - September 15th (Concord, MA)
Lois Gibbs will be honored for her lifetime work in environmental justice. "In 1978, as a young mother in Niagara Falls, she led the grassroots fight for justice at Love Canal, resulting in the evacuation of over 800 families and the creation of the first EPA Superfund site. Since then she has worked tirelessly to train and support local activists of environmental causes around the nation. She is currently the Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice in Washington, D.C."
Following a brief presentation, Gibbs will be joined by two young activists from the organization Zero Hour, a national youth-led movement that provides training and resources for new young activists wanting to take concrete action around climate change. Their broader discussion will center around the changing strategic approaches related to environmental and climate justice in our increasingly complicated and imperiled world.
The event will be held from 4:00-5:30 pm at Trinitarian Congregational Church in Concord, Massachusetts. More details here.
Walk/Bike/Carpool or Take Public Transportation to your House of Worship - September 20-22 (CT / Everywhere)
In support of the Global Climate Strike, the InterReligious EcoJustice Network is calling everyone to walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation to their religious service on the weekend of Friday, Sept 20 through Sunday 22, 2019. Let's join the children of the world with an interfaith climate witness that strikes at the heart of the fossil fuel industry.