Statement of Conscience

We, the congregation of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, affirm:

That we are an integral part of the interdependent web of all life, per our seventh UU principle.

Global climate change is fundamentally a moral, ethical and social justice crisis. Our Unitarian Universalist faith tells us we have a responsibility to work with communities of faith everywhere, to use the political process, to change our own lives, and take actions to limit the potential catastrophic effects of climate change.

Climate change is happening. The scientific consensus is that the causes of climate change are not primarily natural, but stem from human action such as burning fossil fuels and disrupting the natural means of dissipating and absorbing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change make clear that climate change is happening because the atmosphere is warming due primarily to human activity in the burning of fossil fuels. Impacts of this warming are already being felt, among those impacts are droughts and wild fires in North America, decreased food production in South America, the “high risk” of disease spread in Africa. It further states that “the world is close to missing a chance to limit the global temperature rise that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution” and that if we exceed 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit in global temperature rise unpredictable and unacceptably severe climate change will occur.

Therefore, be it resolved:

The congregation of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church affirms that we ground our mission and our ministries in reverence for the Earth. We will act personally and as a congregation to limit global temperature rise.

We commit to reducing our own personal and congregational carbon footprints through our choices in transportation, in our homes and buildings, in use of renewable resources, and in serving and eating sustainably raised food that is locally produced and low on the food chain.

As a congregation, we demand action from our elected leaders to implement effective climate change solutions, starting with the adoption of enforceable agreements to rapidly and significantly reduce national and, in concert with other countries, global greenhouse gas pollution.

We call for the U.S. government and state and local governments to counter the forces that are causing climate change, and to do so within the short time we have left to avert the worst of climate chaos:

  • Price carbon to reflect its true societal impact in order to lower demand for fossil fuels and encourage use of non-polluting energy sources.
  • Create sustainable markets for renewable energy and cut subsidies favoring fossil fuels.
  • Dramatically reduce pollution from power plant energy sources, especially coal- and gas-fired power plants, shifting to emission-free or very low emission choices.
  • Strengthen renewable energy infrastructures, energy conservation, mass transit and investments in technologies essential for effective use of renewable energies such as the “smart” electrical distribution grid, and better energy storage devices.
  • Sharply reduce fossil fuel extraction activities, in particular coal, tar sand oil, fracking, mountain-top coal removal and environmentally damaging drilling.
  • Mandate and help fund energy conservation at the personal, governmental, and corporate levels.
  • We pledge to help our vulnerable and impoverished communities who will bear the greatest burdens from global climate change, and call on our elected leaders to do the same.

Be it further resolved:

  • The Social Justice Council working with the Board of Trustees and church staff will evaluate actions our church can take to further reduce our energy footprint and our environmental impact. We will work together to implement these actions.
  • The Social Justice Council and the Green Sanctuary Task Force, in conjunction with the minister, will work to create an advocacy campaign for the reduction of carbon emissions, and facilitate the participation of congregants and others in our community.
  • We will work to link our advocacy campaign with those of other community organizations, other UU faith communities, other faith communities, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.
  • The Green Sanctuary Task Force and the Social Justice Council will work to develop a personal and family based pledge program wherein the family or person identifies practical lifestyle changes that will be taken over a year to reduce their environment.

Adopted at Congregational Meeting May 4, 2014.