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89 UU congregations join Global Day of Action

Unitarian Universalists promote environmental stewardship with '10-10-10' events.
By Donald E. Skinner
10.18.10

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Bemidji community members with statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe

Members of the Headwaters UU Fellowship of Bemidji, Minn., stand with other members of the community beneath a statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe, the Blue Ox, after a day of environmentally focused activities. (Brett Cease)

Members of the Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bemidji, Minn., were out on Sunday, October 10 picking up trash in parks and along bike trails, preparing the city’s flowerbeds for winter, and handing out climate change information and canvas shopping bags.

The effort was part of the environmental group 350.org’s 10/10/10 annual Global Day of Action campaign that called on everyone to do something for the planet on October 10. Rowan Van Ness, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s environmental justice program associate, said at least 89 congregations participated in 10/10/10.

In Bemidji, UUs joined with many other groups for their day of service. At the end of it they posed under a giant statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe, the Blue Ox, next to Lake Bemidji. “Well over 70 people came out to help,” said Karen Kimbrough, social justice committee chair at the fellowship. “That’s a good turnout for a town our size.”

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City, Calif., made 10/10/10 all about bicycling. Members installed a second bike rack at the fellowship and held bike safety presentations that included closing the street in front of the fellowship so that children could practice safe riding skills. Members handed out information on biking routes and organizations and how to take a bicycle on the train.

In Washington, D.C., All Souls Church, Unitarian, joined with other groups for a citywide series of work parties including free home energy assessments. In the Twin Cities, the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance sponsored a campaign, “Renew Your Sole,” inviting people to have their shoes resoled rather than replaced. Other congregations included letter-writing campaigns to elected officials.

Not all events were on October 10. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church in Charlottesville, Va., planned an interfaith vigil October 17 at church in support of ending mountaintop removal coal mining.

“Addressing climate change is becoming an annual event in congregations, thanks to our ongoing partnership with the 350.org campaign,” said Van Ness. “With the impacts of climate change already affecting the most vulnerable communities around the world, we need to find climate solutions now. UUs are getting to work and are asking legislators to do the same!”

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