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Earth Day 2010: 40/40/40

40 Years of Earth Day, 40 Days of Commitment, 40 UUs in Your Congregation Stand Up for Environmental Justice

April 18 - May 27, 2010

What is 40/40/40? Unitarian Universalists (UUs) across the continent are expanding Earth Day’s 40th anniversary on April 22, 2010, to last 40 days, from Sunday April 18 to Thursday May 27. How? By committing to small and large daily actions over the 40 days, for the sake of the Earth and all who live here. Some UUs are even taking small lifestyle changes for 40-day “test drives,” knowing that our personal choices affect many aspects of global environmental justice. When 40 people in one congregation make 40-day commitments, that congregation receives special acknowledgement from the UUA's Ethical Eating Core Team. (If 40 people seems too ambitious—or not ambitious enough!—a congregation can substitute 40% of average worship attendance). See the list of Sample Actions for adults, youth, and children, and many other 40/40/40 resources, at the bottom of this page.

What will 40/40/40 look like in congregations? Kick off the campaign in worship and religious education on “Earth Day Sunday,” (April 18), using the Sunday Service Kit and other resources on this page. Those who take the “40/40/40 Pledge” receive a sticker for their church nametag to help spread word of the campaign—and stir weekly conversations about how it’s going over the 40 days that follow. Some congregations will support participants and build community by hosting a special potluck or environmental justice event on day one, on Earth Day itself (April 22), or at the campaign’s midpoint. At the conclusion of the 40 days (usually Thursday, May 27, or Sunday, May 30), congregants gather to share stories—what they learned, what worked well and what did not, how their perspectives changed, and what comes next…as individuals and as a congregation.

What will 40/40/40 look like beyond congregations? Local and national media will soon be looking for stories to run on Earth Day, April 22. Use the Local Press Release Template (forthcoming on this page) to alert local media to your campaign. Tips for Media and Messaging are available on the UU Ministry for Earth website. Throughout the 40 days, the official 40/40/40 Blog will share your stories, pictures, and videos about UUs attempting the 40/40/40 challenge, as well as tips and resources to help make your experiments succeed. If you provide your explicit permission, the activities you describe in your blog submissions may be communicated to national media as part of the UUA’s national 40-40-40 publicity campaign.

Can my congregation kick off the 40 days on April 25th rather than April 18th? The answer is “Yes, but.” Yes, on this website, you will find posters and logos developed for congregations choosing to celebrate Earth Day after the fact. But starting on the 18th will likely raise the visibility of your congregation and its values in your local community more effectively, as a campaign just underway tends to make a much better story for local media to publish on Earth Day, April 22, than a story about a campaign for which no one has yet signed up.

When should I get involved? TODAY, to help your congregation gear up for Sunday, April 18th (or 25th)!

How do I begin? Identify others in your congregation who might like to participate, including ministers and staff. Direct them to this web page, and particularly the resources at the bottom of the page, for leader materials, suggested actions and activities, posters, worship resources, nametag stickers, and more. Be sure to check out the April 2010 update of the “Ethical Eating: Food & Environmental Justice” Resource Guide (including extensive educational materials for those interested), and hop off the site for abundant Earth Day 2010 resources assembled annually by UU Ministry for Earth.

Who do I contact to learn more? You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Your questions will probably be answered once you read through the materials at the bottom of this page. If not, post your question on the ongoing 40/40/40 blog or on the UUA ethical eating email list.

How does my congregation receive recognition? Choose a liaison to report your congregation’s participation on the UU Ministry for Earth’s registration page. Make sure to communicate the congregation’s decision to participate (so we can include you in early publicity), and when you reach 40 participants. Your recognition will come from the 2008-2012 Congregational Study/Action Issue “Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice” Core Team (Rev. John Gibb Millspaugh, Chair). The Core Team is coordinating the 40/40/40 campaign, in collaboration with the UUA’s Advocacy and Witness Staff Group and the UU Ministry for Earth.

What now? Check out the resources below and in the “Related Content” box, get started today if you can, and have fun!


Media Kits

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) media kits listed below provide information to help reporters and the general public learn more about the UUA and its social justice commitments.


For more information contact web @

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Friday, August 19, 2011.

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