Deepening Faith. Living Well. Enacting Justice.

Category Archives: Climate Action Ministry

Divestment Movement Update – New Web Tool for Individual Funds

Earth from spaceLast spring UUCB decided to commit to divest our church endowment funds from fossil fuels over the next four years.  During this process, some people wanted to know how to assess the fossil fuel exposure of their personal holdings, but without advanced financial analysis tools, this information was difficult to obtain.  There now is a new free website where you can find this information easily – go to

In addition to joining many other UU churches, other faith institutions like the World Council of Churches, and cities including our very own Boulder, we have been part of explosive growth in this movement over the last year.  During Climate Week in September 2014, divestment advocates pledged to triple the value of funds already committed to divestment, from $50 billion to $150 billion by the December 2015 Paris UN climate negations.  With three more months to go, a recent Arabella Advisors report found an astonishing fifty-fold increase, to $2.6 trillion in assets under management by institutions, governments, and individuals committed to divestment!  There are now 430 institutions and 2,040 individuals across 43 countries who have committed to divest from fossil fuel companies.  We at UUCB are on the list of commitments to date kept here: .

Recent notable commitments include the Norway Pension Fund, the Canadian Medical Association, the University of California pension system, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Leonardo DiCaprio and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.  Wall Street is becoming interested in sustainable investing, as shown by Goldman Sach’s global head of environmental, social, and governance investing who recently stated a fund can divest from all fossil fuels without hurting returns.  This shatters the fiduciary argument used by many fund managers.  Edelman PR, world’s largest public relations firm, announced they will no longer work with coal producers and climate change deniers.  The landscape for both divestment, and reinvestment in renewable energy, is rapidly changing, affected in part by increasing awareness of the advancing crises we are living through with the need for climate change action.  Our church can be proud we are part of these timely changes.


Climate Commitment Public Meeting – November 16

Sponsored by UUCB Climate Action Ministry

Green SanctuaryUnitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, Monday November 16, 6:30 – 8 pm

Climate Change:  Challenge and Opportunity

Once considered a possibility to be avoided, climate change is now a reality to be reckoned with.  Clear indications of changes taking place in our climate are evident all around us—growing seasons are now over a month longer, fire seasons are more than four months longer, average temperatures have increased by almost 2degF, unusual and often extreme weather events are now increasingly commonplace.

Yet, even as the consequences of climate change become clearer and more daunting, we are now beginning to see this challenge as the opportunity to create new pathways that can stabilize the climate and create a healthier, safer and more broadly prosperous community—both local and global.  Addressing climate change can be more than simply avoiding  feared perils—it can be the call to action that helps us create an even better future.

It all starts here.

Boulder is recognized as a leader in climate action and clean energy development. From the first-ever local carbon tax to Boulder’s recent work to create a low-carbon local energy utility, Boulder residents have consistently invested in a sustainable future. Now it’s time for us to take the next step!

Our first step

Success rests on beginning our climate journey from a shared place of understanding. To this effect, the city and community partners will be reaching out for your help in shaping and refining our community’s climate action strategy, called the Climate Commitment. The city’s draft Climate Commitment proposes short-term and long-term climate and energy goals, and identifies potential roles and responsibilities for the city, community partners and citizens.   Community discussions have begun, and will culminate in a weeklong community-wide working session in mid-April, 2016.

Let’s go!

Lend your voice to this important community process by joining us to discuss how our community can step up to meet this challenge and create the future we want for ourselves and future generations.  Please join us……..

We look forward to hearing from you!

Climate Action Ministry Teams with Citizen’s Climate Lobby

UUCB Members Travel to D.C. to Lobby for a Solution to Climate Change In late June, UUCB members Susan Riederer, Tom Denkenberger and Susan Secord were part of a 35-member delegation from Colorado (including 12 from Boulder) that traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby our members of Congress for a solution to climate change. They joined with over 900 other Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) volunteers from across the U.S. who visited with over 500 congressional offices to discuss the CCL carbon fee and dividend legislative proposal. The Colorado delegation met with every Colorado congressional office, including face-to-face meetings with Senator Bennet and Representative Polis. According to the CCL report summarizing the 2015 meetings: “We found that the conversation on the Hill around climate change has shifted in ALL offices toward serious discussion of solutions. In many of those offices, Republican and Democrat alike, Carbon Fee and Dividend is emerging as an idea whose time has come.”

The CCL philosophy of political engagement aligns with our UU first principal of respect for the worth and dignity of all human beings. The basis of our CCL work begins with building respectful relationships with our Members of Congress. During our meetings, we always start by appreciating our Member of Congress for something they have accomplished, and we then work to find common ground as we engage in discussions about our proposal.

To give you a sense of perspective about the growth and impact of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the organization began lobbying Congress 6 years ago. At that time, there were 24 volunteers who went to DC. Three years ago there were about 350 CCL volunteers; last year there were 600 of us, including just 7 from Colorado. This year we were 900+. There are now ten CCL chapters in Colorado, with at least one in every congressional district. If you would like to join us in working for a solution to climate change, please contact Susan Secord ( or Susan Riederer ( We hold our Boulder CCL chapter monthly meetings in the evening here at UUCB. Our next meeting is on August 5


Over 900 CCL volunteers gather for a photo before heading out to meet with their Members of Congress.


Meeting with BennetColorado CCL volunteers – including several from Boulder — meet with Senator Bennet.




Polis MeetingTom, Susan, Susan and other Boulder CCL members wait for their meeting with Representative Polis.

UUCB Fossil Fuel Divestment: Update

Earth from space

Over the past year, the Climate Action Ministry, Endowment Committee and the Board have engaged in conversations about UUCB divesting from fossil fuels as one way to contribute to building the political will for significant national and international action on climate change.

In April, the Board voted to divest the UUCB Endowment from any funds that contain Carbon Underground 200 companies by June 2019.   This aligns with the deadline set by the UUA for divesting from fossil fuel companies in the Common Endowment Fund.

At the June UUCB Annual Meeting, ninety percent of those who attended voted to affirm the Board’s decision.  There were three abstentions and three “no’s” out of 60 votes.

Grow Young Adult Climate Justice Training

sunflowerAttend a Grounded and Resilient Organizer’s Workshop (GROW)

GROW Climate Justice, the Grounded & Resilient Organizers’ Workshop for young adults organized by the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice, is 5 days of training, exercises, and dialogue about what young Unitarian Universalists and other people of faith and conscience can bring to the climate justice movement.

  • GROW is August 7-11, 2015, in Chicago, IL. Click here to get the full scoop from organizer Tim DeChristopher and register for the training. Attendees will develop their skills as community organizers and change-makers at an event grounded in Unitarian Universalist theology and community. Presenters include Elandria Williams, Joshua Kahn Russell, Terry Tempest Williams, Lauren Wood, David Solnit, and others.
  • Unitarian Universalist young adult climate justice leaders are also encouraged to join UU Young Adults for Climate Justice, a network of young adult activists grounded in faith, supported by each other and the UU community at large, and working together for climate justice. To join the network, click here.

UUCB Fossil Fuel Divestment Resolution

Green Sanctuary


In June 2014 the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations passed a resolution regarding divestment from the fossil fuel industry, specifically and exclusively the 200 Carbon Tracker Initiative companies. The Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder is fully in support of this resolution, knowing that the widely accepted scientific consensus is that the ecosystems and human societies of the Earth are powerfully threatened by climate changes driven by greenhouse gas pollution, which derives predominantly from the burning of fossil fuels. Despite the urgent and imperative need for radical reduction of fossil fuel use, American and multinational corporations owning coal, oil, and natural gas deposits plan to continue business as usual, which is leading to increased production, not reduction, of dangerous greenhouse gases.

Our church has historically acted upon our Seventh Principle “respect for the interdependent web of all existence” by recycling and composting, making our building more energy efficient, installing solar panels, sponsoring a local community garden, working towards Green Sanctuary certification, working to impact public policy that will reduce our nation’s use of fossil fuels, and seeking to reduce our carbon footprint, individually and collectively.

In this church year, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder has embraced our Climate Action Ministry as our all-church social change focus. The ministry has been working to educate the congregation and taking action to impact climate change. We wish to continue to align our practices and actions with our religious values, to honor the part of our UUCB mission that is committed to “actively promoting Unitarian Universalist values here and in the wider world” and to honor our simple church focus of deepening faith, living well, and enacting justice.  We also wish to align our investment practices with our religious values.

The divestment movement is not a financial fight against fossil fuel companies; it is a campaign to win the hearts and minds of society to stand up for what is right. It is our hope that our divestment from fossil fuels along with other institutions will lead to the societal awareness and then societal will to act to ultimately gain the political will to make the significant changes required to address climate change.

The Unitarian Universalist Association became the first faith community to embrace divestment, closely followed by the World Council of Churches.  We are joining with at least 24 other UU congregations to date who have committed to divestment.  Many universities including our own University of Colorado at Boulder have been in the news lately for their student protests on this issue.  The city of Boulder committed to divest in 2013 along with 9 other U.S. cities.  Even the Rockefeller Foundation, founded on Standard Oil, has joined.  You can check the list of institutions involved in this growing movement at

UUCB discussions began last fall to explore the possibilities, with a variety of views and perspectives shared between the Endowment Committee, divestment team members of the Climate Action Ministry, our minister, and members of the Board. In April, the Board passed a resolution in support of divestment over the next four years:

Board Resolution – Approved April 7, 2015
Following the lead of the UUA, we, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, hereby resolve to divest from fossil fuel corporations. We do not currently and will not in the future invest directly in the 200 major fossil fuel companies listed in the Carbon Underground 200. Additionally, we will divest from funds that contain Carbon Underground 200 companies. Our goal is to be fully divested by June 2019.

As all of the church’s investments are currently held in the Endowment Fund, the Endowment Committee will be primarily responsible for the divestment process. The Endowment Committee will manage the divestment process in a way that enables the committee to meet their fiduciary responsibilities and goals as the managers of the Endowment Fund. The Endowment Committee will report divestment progress to the Board of Trustees annually.


“Climate Justice – DO IT NOW” Worship Service April 12, 2015

World BannerThe congregation filled in post-it notes with “I WILL…”. Here’s a sample:

Add solar panels

Plant 6 trees, use the bus more often, travel less by air, bike more often, write more OpEds

Breathe deeply and imagine the new world coming…

Save water, drive economical car, not waste food, mend

Rotate tires , service car, trees, water, people, join &renew charity, join CSA (local co-op)

Publicize alternative and renewable energy conversion to 100% by 2050 by phone calls and letters to President. Senators, Congress, Governor, to adopt 100% renewable detailed at The Solutions Project.

Use more renewable batteries, eat less meat and processed foods

Ride my bike more often…enjoy the bike paths of Boulder while reducing my carbon footprint

Write to legislature urging them to support bills to regulate and curb pollution

Commit to buying local as often as possible, reduce consumerism, air dry clothes more regularly, drive less, teach my children to love the earth

Eat less meat, grow gardens, teach others to grow and preserve food, help kids develop love for the earth and understanding of interconnectedness

Help share the joy that is relationship and commitment to others, as an invaluable replacement to other forms of wasteful and consumer entertainment/past-time tendencies

Move to an RTD route, bicycle more, buy a hybrid car, install solar at home

Be patient and diligent in encouraging my fellow condo residents to compost their food waste

Contribute to UUSC work in Kenya – planting trees and education

Give away possessions and occupy less space

Implement a supply chain policy at work that considers GHG emissions when purchasing!

Donate, speak, write and post for a carbon tax

The Science of Climate Change

Dr. Chuck Kutscher of the National Renewal Energy Laboratory in Golden explains “The Greenhouse Effect” in his one hour presentation on the causes of Global Climate Change and constructive possible responses to what many around the World see as the most critical global challenge of the 21st Century.

Program was March 29, 2015 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder and sponsored by the congregation’s Climate Action Ministry and the Forum Planning Committee of the UUCB Social Justice Council.


Seated in the audience: UUCB’s Susan Secord, leader of Colorado Chapter of The Citizen’s Climate Lobby in yellow top front row and Arkansas “Strider” Benston, veteran civil rights and labor organizer of the Boulder Valley UU Fellowship.

Photo by Henry Kroll


Come get all your questions answered about this movement and what it means to our church.

Presentation: Fossil fuel divestment movement and UUCB

Date: April 12th at 12:30 – approximately one hour

Food: Lunch provided for registrants at

Who: Divestment team, Endowment committee, church president

What: Background of divestment, UUA’s involvement, and our church process

How: Register at the Climate Action table at coffee hourGreen Sanctuary

Our UUCB Household Carbon Footprints: How did we do?

Earth from space

As promised, here’s the Climate Action Ministry’s Report on how we did

in our last measurement of UUCB household carbon footprints. This

year, 17 households participated, and the results showed annual carbon

emissions ranging from 12.9 tons of CO2 emissions per year to 107 tons.

The overall average was 41 tons of CO2/household. (This was actually

an increase from when 31 households took the same survey in 2012.

The results that year were 35 tons CO2 emissions/ household/year.

It’s hard to compare the two years, however, because our participation

rates were so different.)

To get a sense of what our average means, the world average (per

capita) is about 6 tons/year and the U.S. average (per capita) is about

20 tons/year. Because our survey measured by household (rather than

per person), you’ll need to do your math to see how you compare!

What does this mean? In the big picture, if we are to prevent possibly

catastrophic climate change, scientists estimate that global emissions

per person must reach approximately 2 metric tons per year by 2050.

To reach that goal, national and international policies are urgently

needed to speed up our transition from a fossil fuel based world

economy to one based primarily on the use of renewable energy.

Putting a price on carbon is a critical next step in this process. That’s

why many of us in the Climate Action Ministry are working to make this

happen through Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

In the meantime, there are steps we can each take to reduce our

personal carbon footprints — and some may be surprisingly easy.

Please visit us at the Climate Action Ministry table where we have a

handout with ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint.

Also, if you didn’t get a chance to calculate your carbon footprint, it’s not

too late. Go to The

calculator breaks your energy usage down into travel, housing, food and

shopping — so that you know where to focus your efforts. The web site

also gives lots of ideas on how to improve.

Thanks to all who participated!

/blog/ subsite developed by Boulder Information Services.