Please work with the Religious Educator in your congregation to craft a lesson that will work well:
Meet with the RE Committee
- Discuss ways to get the children involved in the service.
- Processional – for example use “Let There Be Peace on Earth” banners, or flags representing different countries in the UN
- Include an activity during Time for All Ages.
- Other involvement: reading opening words, passing out pencils, perform short skit, etc.
- Email the parents about what the children are doing and when.
- Invite teachers to incorporate sections from our “UN Me Religious Education Curriculum” into their classes a Sunday or two prior to—as well as on—UN Sunday.
- Contact the Youth Group advisors to ensure Youth are aware of their opportunity to participate in the planning and execution of this event.
Constructing a Lesson Involving Climate Justice
We encourage all congregations to fully engage all members in UN Sunday. Please refer to our Religious Education Packet, “UN Me” available on our website. Below, we have some suggestions specifically based around our 2020 theme of Climate Justice.
RE teachers should start by educating themselves through our resource section on current work of the UN on climate issues. Use some of the text or resources to draft a brief lesson that will work for your class. After the lesson, engage the children in an activity/ craft. A few activities to connect children with climate issues are suggested below. Possible craft suggestions are in the UU@UN RE packet, “UN Me”. Additionally, links to further lesson possibilities from the Tapestry of Faith program are listed below.
Following the craft, we suggest reading a book; please feel free to choose from the list below. (This is often a good time for a snack.) A powerful way to end the class is to prompt the young people to connect what they have learned to the seven UU Principles. Perhaps you can have guest speakers in October from the congregation (consider youth, young adults, adults, and seniors). See Part 2: 2020 Theme for more ideas about the topic.
A few children’s books related to the subject of climate justice. You can find them at your local bookstore by following the links provided after each book and entering your zip code on each page, or visit your local library (or its website) to rent a hard copy or e-book.
The Water Walker
The Water Walker, written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson, Second Story Press, 2017: This book shares the story of an Ojibwe grandmother who advocates for the protection of water.
Greta’s Story: The Schoolgirl Who Went on Strike to Save the Planet
Greta’s Story: The Schoolgirl Who Went on Strike to Save the Planet, by Valentina Camerini, published by Simon & Schuster UK, 2019. This book is based on the true story of Greta Thunberg, a young climate activist. This book shows how seemingly small steps can make a big difference, and that even young kids can participate in activism.
The Lonely Polar Bear
The Lonely Polar Bear, written and illustrated by Khoa Le, published by Fox Chapel Publishing, 2018: This book tells the story of a lonely polar bear and a young girl in the Arctic which is threatened by climate change.
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and The Recycling Women of the Gambia
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and The Recycling Women of the Gambia, by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, published by Millbrook Press, 2015: This book tells the story of how one woman began a recycling movement.
Kenya’s Art, by Linda Trice, Illustrated by Hazel Mitchell, published by Charlesbridge, 2016: This book tells the story of a young girl learning how to reduce, reuse, and make art. She is inspired to make art with recycled materials.
We Are Water Protectors
We Are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade, published by Roaring Brook Press, 2020: Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, this bold and lyrical picture book issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption. Available for purchase from inSpirit, the UUA bookstore and gift shop!
For other incredible children’s books, check out Flamingo Rampant, a micropress that produces “feminist, racially-diverse, LGBTQ positive children’s books in an effort to bring visibility and positivity to the reading landscape of children everywhere.” Their books, written and illustrated by people who are queer, trans, and/or people of color, address topics like racial justice, disability pride, LGBTQ+ families, and more through a lens of celebration, adventure, and love!