Inaugural NH UU Climate Action Team meeting a success!

We had a great time on Saturday morning! 19 NH UUs had registered to spend their morning in Concord talking about climate, but we had to keep pulling down chairs as we had over 40 people in attendance! The one downside was that I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture of this great event. Did anyone else happen to do so?

I also want to thank everyone who brought snacks, including home-baked goods.

We begin with short introductions: since there were forty people in the room, we asked which UU congregations were present. These congregations included:

  • UU Church of Nashua

  • UU Church of Manchester

  • UU Congregation in Milford

  • UU Church of Concord

  • UU Society of Laconia

  • Starr King UU Fellowship

  • UU Fellowship of Durham

  • South Church

We then had a relationship building exercise, during which people had a short one to one conversation with someone they didn’t already in response to the question, “What is a place that matters to you and why?”

Rev. Dr. Judith Wright of UU Laconia then led us in worship. This worship included a short homily based on a recent article by Elizabeth Kolbert, “What will another decade of Climate Crisis will bring?” in the January 5, 2020 article of the New Yorker.

We then heard short presentations from representatives from the following NH environmental and climate organizations:

  • Cathy Corkery, Executive Director of the NH Sierra Club, talked about the work the club does on the NH Presidential Primary and legislation in Concord. We encourage you to sign up for their newsletter on NH based environmental legislation.

  • Derek Haddad and Gissele Hart, organizers with Rights and Democracy (RAD) NH talked about the work they do on the presidential primary. RAD is also part of coalitions that work on promoting the Green New Deal and stopping the Granite Bridge Pipeline, which would run from Manchester to the sea coast.

  • Susan Fuller, organizer with Interfaith Power and Light NH, talked about the work this new chapter does on getting communities of faith to share best practices for greening their houses of worship as well as supporting legislation that reduces our reliance on fossil fuels.

  • Jenn Dube, organizer with 350 NH talked about the work they do stopping fossil fuel extraction, including preventing the Granite Bridge Pipeline and shutting down the coal fired power plant in Bow NH.

  • Michael Fleming, a leader with Citizens Climate Lobby, NH. Michael also organizers climate forums at UU Durham for presidential candidates. You can watch recordings of these forums on their Youtube channel. Their latest forum, with Andrew Yang, included questions from Rev. Michael Leuchtenberger of UU Concord.

  • Fred Portnoy talked about the work that he has done with Canterbury Citizens for Democracy on tracking legislation in Concord. He generously shared with us some resources that you can use as models if you are interested in tracking legislation for the 2020 session. These resources are stored on the UUANH website here, here, here, here and here. You can also listen to the State House Watch here, the show that he produces.

Then we got to the heart of the meeting. We split into three small groups on different topics to answer these questions:

Table 1: Green Stewardship

  • What are ways that your congregation has greened your church?

  • What worked well?

  • What was harder than you thought it would be?

  • What was easier than you thought it would be?

  • In the ideal world, what next steps would you take?

Table 2: Advocacy and Political Action

  • What have you done in the past to oppose the extraction of carbon intensive fuels?

  • What can we do now to oppose the further extraction of carbon intensive fuels?

  • What have you done to advocate for laws that support clean energy and Green jobs?

  • What can we do in the future to advocate for laws to support clean energy and Green jobs?

Table 3: Education and Care

  • How do you stay up to date on what is happening in the climate and the environment? What resources do you use to stay up to date on what is happening in New Hampshire specifically?

  • Care: The climate crisis is a problem so vast that often people prefer not to think about rather than confront it. What techniques or spiritual practices do you use to stay in this fight for the long haul?

Afterwards, we returned together to review the most important information and pieces that came up.

We agreed that these three tables would form the basis of smaller teams within the NH UU Climate Action Team in the future.

Tristan agreed to make Google Groups for these three teams. Please contact him if you want to be added to one of these Google Groups.

Two announcements:

Please save the date of May 9, which will be the 2020 Spring Summit for UU Action NH. Our theme this year is No Carbon, No Cages, which seeks to highlight our work on immigration and climate. I can also reveal that we are hard at work making this event as intergenerational as possible: please make sure to mention this to any families you invite!

Location and precise time of this event will be announced soon.

Planning Meeting for NH Faith, Hope, Climate conference. UUANH is partnering with NH Interfaith Power and Light to plan a NH based conference on the theme of Faith, Hope, Climate. If you are interested in this project, please register for our next planning call: Tuesday, January 28 at 7:30 over Zoom.

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