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Unitarian Universalists (UUs) are environmentally-conscious, and, also, we are concerned about human rights and human dignity. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has a seventh principle that affirms 'respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.'
The Association has six other principles, equally important, that speak to human needs such as they need to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Together, all of the Association's principles form one statement that presents a vision of environmental justice. Unitarian Universalists are concerned about environmental quality and we want to join with others to help create a just, sustainable, and peaceful world for all people, not just for the fortunate few.
Thoreau became an amateur naturalist at Walden Pond and many of Transcendentalists were quick to accept Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Darwin, too, was influenced by Unitarian thinking and his basic teachings are well-known and often celebrated by today's Unitarian Universalists.
The Transcendentalists were involved with nature studies, and, also, they were concerned about social justice issues. They spoke for women’s rights, for world peace, and for reforms in education and health care. Henry Thoreau hosted anti-slavery gatherings at his cabin at Walden Pond. In one famous episode in his life, he went to jail in Concord, to protest the use of his tax money to support the Mexican War. Thoreau's essay "Civil Disobedience" provided inspiration to Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and to others in the twentieth century, and, in some ways, his life and work anticipated the environmental justice movement.
UUs work for environmental justice in many ways: religious education programs that teach our children to respect the earth, environmentally-friendly congregational buildings and sustainable practices, and advocacy on issues such as climate change, environmental racism, socially responsible investing, and corporate accountability. We are committed to understanding and addressing the threats to vulnerable communities that are always connected to the degradation of the environment. Earth justice and social justice go hand-in-hand.
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Last updated on Monday, May 2, 2011.
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