Each year the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations (UU@UN) hosts our Intergenerational Spring Seminar. Our 2020 theme was All In for Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Seminar was held online rather than in-person in New York City.
About the theme: All In for Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet
Our understanding of how to achieve climate justice is centered around being ALL IN:
INterdependent: We are a part of the interdependent web of all existence. While climate change poses grave threats to humans, every single living thing’s health, well-being, and very existence are also at stake.
INtergenerational: Although much of the current climate movement is youth led, the struggle has been ongoing for generations. People of all ages must be involved and support one another to keep the movement strong.
INdigenous-led: Indigenous communities around the world are on the frontlines of the climate justice movement. Many of these communities contribute the least emissions but are the most affected by climate change. Indigenous leaders can contribute sustainable solutions to the crisis and we must listen to them and amplify their leadership.
INtersectional: Climate change effects marginalized communities the most. As Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw defines the concept of intersectionality, people with multiple marginalized identities that intersect (i.e. women of color, or trans people with disabilities, or etc.) experience compounded discrimination beyond what they might experience simply based on one of their inseparable identities. People of Color, Indigenous communities, LGBTQ+ communities, and those with disabilities will feel the most impact from climate change. We need an intersectional movement with underrepresented voices leading us all forward.
- INternational: This is a global struggle that requires international collaboration and solutions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urged international policy makers that keeping global warming under 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would require revolutionary changes in society. Under UN Sustainable Development Goal 13, the world is encouraged to take urgent climate action to fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement and beyond.
Center the people most at risk.
Climate change is a human rights issue. Climate is affecting our health, our homes, and our freedom. Although people are the ones to blame, we are also the solution to reducing greenhouse gases and making our world live-able.
Shift power away from polluters and destroyers.
We must recognize the power dynamics at play. Powerful, wealthy countries have been most responsible for the climate crisis but will be the least impacted because they have the resources to adapt. On the other hand, those small or developing countries with the least political and economic power that have been least responsible for creating the crisis are the most impacted by natural disasters, drought, flooding, and rising tides. It is important for those who hold privileged social positions to use their power to amplify the leadership of those who have been historically marginalized.
Protect the planet for a sustainable future.
We only have this one planet. We must take care of our planet, recognizing the inherent rights and interdependence of all existence. We can learn to live on this Earth without polluting it.
2020 Seminar Objectives
- Equip participants with examples of powerful local organizing and skills to organize their communities strategically for climate justice.
- Learn how to strengthen relationships with local indigenous organizers and support their leadership in the struggle for climate justice.
- Contextualize the intersectionality of the climate justice conversation -- esp. Climate-forced migration and other disproportionate impacts on frontline communities -- and what to do with that knowledge.
- Understand global picture of climate change mitigation & adaptation, how the UN is involved & what individual or congregational involvement with UN efforts looks like.
- Prepare and fortify participants spiritually for the climate justice struggle, especially lifting up youth leadership & training.
- Modelling sustainable practices for carbon-neutral & ecofriendly zero waste living.
Resources for Further Engagement with People, Power, Planet
We've compiled resources from some of the presenters for further engagement with this year's Seminar topic. Check out the resources page and stay involved with taking action for climate justice both locally and globally!
2020 Seminar: Recap
Read about the highlights of the Seminar in a blog post from UU Ministry for Earth, written by Amelia Diehl
Read about the main Seminar take-aways in a blog post from the UU Office at the UN, written by Allison Hess
Read about and watch the 2020 Keynote Conversation.
Reminisce by perusing the 2020 Seminar program guide website where you can find speaker bios, program descriptions, and more.