Climate Action Team


Awake! A Dream from Standing Rock

Monday, June 26, 7-9pm, St. Andrew’s, 111 NE 80th St., Seattle
Film with discussion following, led by Beth Chronister, UUC Assistant Minister.

Past Climate Action Team Events

Climate Lecture

March 15, 7:00 P.M. University Unitarian Church, Nathan Johnson Hal


Film, Food, and Panel Discussion Fundraiser—Saturday, January 28, Nathan Johnson Hall, University Unitarian Church, 6556 35th Avenue NE, Seattle. Film at 5 P.M.; panel discussion at 7:30 P.M.

UUC’s Climate Action Team is sponsoring a film and panel discussion fundraiser for the five activists who shut down the five pipelines carrying tar sands oil into the United States on Oct. 11, 2016. Josh Fox’s documentary How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change will begin the event, followed by a food break and then a panel discussion by the five Valve Turners.

Update on climate science by Richard Gammon

Richard Gammon is an Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, Oceanography, and Adjunct Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. He will describe recent scientific findings that are likely to prompt amendments to the 2013 forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Dr. Gammon’s contributions to climate science include measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide at a global network of monitoring sites for NOAA, publishing dozens of articles on greenhouse gas cycles in relation to climate and climate change, and many impactful presentations on climate topics for scientific and lay audiences. He is a member of UUC.

Paris Agreement First Anniversary Update

William McPherson, Board President, UU Voices for Justice

William McPherson, Board President, UU Voices for Justice


December 12, 2016 is the first anniversary of the Paris climate agreement committing the nations of the world to chart their course toward reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. What has happened since that agreement was reached? What commitments have been made? Has the agreement put us on a path to stabilize our climate? Will Washington State meet its commitments?

Dr. William McPherson is a former U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officer who worked in Geneva, Switzerland with the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As a retired diplomat he represented the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Office of the United Nations at the Paris Conference last year. He has worked tirelessly on climate change issues and written several books on the topic of climate change and climate change denial.


Nov 1, 2016 Paul Kennard Climate Action lecture

Jay O’Hara: Climate Disobedience Center

Monday, October 10, 7-9 pm, in the Sanctuary 

Jay O'Hara next to the Energy Enterprise during Lobster Boat Blockade, via

Jay O’Hara next to the Energy Enterprise during the lobster boat blockade

Jay O’Hara is a Quaker and native of Cape Cod. In 2009, after moving to his hometown, he founded Climate Summer, a transformational program for student climate activists. In 2011 he co-­founded the Young Adult Friends Climate Working Group to provide leadership to New England Quakers. Called to bolder action, in 2013 he, along with Ken Ward, blockaded 40,000 tons of coal destined for the Brayton Point power plant with their small white lobster boat named the “Henry David T” – the Lobster Boat Blockade. The ensuing legal proceedings garnered national attention. Most recently he co-­led the faith-based “Pipeline Pilgrimage”. He currently lives in Vermont.

His topic will be doing activism from a basis of faith–the real-life experiences of a climate activist.

Standing Rock Sioux and UUs

Several Unitarian Universalists are supporting the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other Native American tribes to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) owned by a Texas company. Carlo Voli, whom some of you know as a Community Supported Organizer (CSO) and member of Edmonds UUC, was arrested there; at least two ministers from Washington state have also been there (Florence Caplow from Quimper and Dennis Reynolds from Whidbey Island) as well as other UUs. See the UU Facebook page at

The UUA, UUSC, Commit2Respond, and UU Youth for Climate Justice have all issued statements in support of the action to stop the DAPL which crosses the main water source for the Sioux as well as some of their sacred lands. The Bismarck-Mandan UU Church has been very actively supporting the tribes and many other UU congregations are also supportive, including University Unitarian Church. Please see UUC’s resolution. Deb Cruz of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship is leading the effort by Washington State UUs.

Deb recommends supporting this fight for Native American rights and against the pipeline by contributing at the following websites: the Sacred Stone Camp (food, supplies, etc.), the Camp Legal Defense Fund (bail, legal support), or to the Standing Rock Nation itself.


Public Forum on I-732

I-732 flyer_v6

Click to enlarge

Please join the UUC Climate Action Team on Sunday, September 11 at 1:30 p.m. in Nathan Johnson Hall for a conversation on i-732, the revenue-neutral carbon tax that will be on the WA state ballot in November. CarbonWA founder (and stand-up economist) Yoram Bauman and Audubon Washington Executive Director Gail Gatton will speak. Following a brief presentation, there will be ample time for members of the audience to ask questions. The original concept for this event was to invite two proponent speakers, two opponent speakers, give each five minutes to present their view of I-732, and follow up with plenty of time for questions from the audience. However, several opponents declined our invitation to participate. Questions about this event can be directed to John Crusius (


UUC Climate Action Team Endorses Initiative 732

Click here to read about our endorsement.

Events in 2015 / 2016

  • The UUC Climate Action Team presents a series of distinguished lecturers talking about how climate change will affect us locally, globally, and spiritually.  On the first Tuesday of every month from October, 2015, through May, 2016, we will have the opportunity to hear an expert discussing a different aspect of climate change in our present and our future.  All lectures will be held in the Nathan Johnson Social Hall; doors open at 6:45, lectures begin promptly at 7:00.  We welcome UUC members, friends, neighbors, and all interested people to join us for any or all of this extraordinary series. View full lecture details
  • Other upcoming events of note:

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Tim DeChristopher

  • Tim DeChristopher spoke here at University Unitarian Church, on “The Power of Civil Disobedience: Awakening Our Spirits to the Challenge of the Climate Crisis”on Saturday, January 16, 2016. If you missed it or would like to hear and see him again, click on this link to view his rousing presentation.
  • Tim disrupted a highly disputed Utah BLM Oil and Gas lease auction on December 19th, 2008, effectively safeguarding thousands of acres of pristine Utah land that were slated for oil and gas leases. Not content to merely protest outside, Tim entered the auction hall and registered as bidder #70. He outbid industry giants on land parcels (which, starting at $2 an acre, were adjacent to national treasures like Canyonlands National Park), winning 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7 million before the auction was halted. “Two months later, incoming Interior Secretary Ken Salazar invalidated the auction. DeChristopher, however, was indicted on two federal felonies with penalties of up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. He served 21 months in prison.” ~Beth and George Gage, Gage and Gage Productions
    After Tim’s release, he entered Harvard University Divinity School to become a Unitarian Universalist minister. He is the founder of Peaceful Uprising in Utah and of the Climate Disobedience Center.

Flyer for Paris Climate Summit Report

  • On January 13th, 2016, UUC member, Dr. Bill McPherson, along with Carlo Voli, gave us their eyewitness reports from the 2015 Paris Climate Summit! If you missed that, you can view Dr. McPherson’s slides here. Bill M ParisAgreement preview

Events in 2014 / 2015

  • On July 6th, 6-8pm in Nathan Johnson Hall, we hosted “Breaking Clean”.
  • Along with their two children, Daniel (age 13) and Alex (age 10), and with the support of Appalachian Voices(, the Mullins family, a fourth-generation coal-mining family from Central Appalachia, has embarked on an 8-week, 7000-mile tour ( to tell their personal story of coal’s negative impact on their lives and region.

    Co-sponsored by UUC’s Climate Action Team, Sustainable NE Seattle, and the Sierra Club. Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 4.26.33 PM

  • On May 31, we hosted a guest speaker Woody Wheeler at 1pm in Emerson. He spoke about birding, nature, and lifestyle choices and their relation to the environment:
  • On May 30, UUC hosted the UU Voices virtual conference at 9am. Climate Action will be a key topic.
  • On May 2, we hosted a Climate Action Breakfast.
  • In January we held Climate Action Week, with several events, speakers, etc.
  • If you missed Kathleen Dean Moore’s talk on Sunday evening, January 25th, it was filmed by Pirate TV Kathleen Moore & Rachelle McCabe: Variations on a Theme of Extinction
  • We are encouraging congregants to become aware of their Carbon Footprint by trying online calculators: a household calculator, an air travel calculator, and a planet requirement calculator. Please share your scores with Bill McPherson. Names will not be shared.
  • We recently established a network on Rideshare Online to enable people to share the ride to church. Learn more about ridesharing
  • We have joined Earth Ministry as a greening congregation.

About the Climate Action Team

UUC established its Climate Action Team in the spring of 2014. In the spirit of the seventh principle of Unitarian Universalism–respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part–the Climate Action Team’s mission is to seek reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through efforts to —

      • promote understanding of the climate crisis;
      • encourage action by individuals, the congregation, and the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
      • advocate for just government policies to reduce these emissions; and
      • form linkages with other organizations to support sensible efforts to reduce these emissions.

In the spirit of the second UUC principle–justice, equity and compassion in human relations–the team will advocate policies to begin to redress injustices already set in motion by past and present emissions.

In pursuit of UUC’s mission we strive to be responsible stewards of the gifts we hold in trust, endeavoring to leave a generous and sustainable climate legacy for those who come after us.

The UUC Climate Action Team will inspire hope through positive action and empower the UUC community and others to undertake faithful efforts to mitigate the climate crisis. We plan to —

      • sponsor educational programs such as films, lectures, music, and art to promote understanding of the climate crisis;
      • encourage the church to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by, for example, replacing existing lighting systems with cost-effective, more efficient systems;
      • encourage congregants to reduce their own contributions to global warming by, for example, using more efficient modes of transportation when feasible and reducing energy usage at home;
      • explore options for additional future efforts including advocacy of a carbon tax, strict enforcement of environmental laws regarding the hydrocarbon industry, and divestiture of hydrocarbon industry securities; and
      • initiate collaboration on this work with others, including other communities of faith.

About Climate Change

The earth’s climate is warming primarily due to human activities that emit heat trapping gases, known as greenhouse gases. The burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) in vehicles, power plants and other industrial processes releases into the atmosphere carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas due to human activities. Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for many years, so past emissions have already set in motion changes we will live with for generations. After carbon dioxide, methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas due to human activities. Methane is emitted by the raising of livestock, sanitary landfills and leaks from natural gas and petroleum production and transportation systems, including fracking. Methane persists in the atmosphere for a much shorter period of time than carbon dioxide but over a 100-year period, its heat trapping capacity is about 30 times greater than that of carbon dioxide.

Scientists cannot precisely estimate the extent of future global warming, but the severity of the consequences depends on how rapidly we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Without reductions, the consequences, especially for future generations, will be horrendous. They will vary by location and include more severe heat waves affecting human health; more severe droughts threatening food production; more extreme rainfall events leading to more flooding; the extinction of many species; and the melting of sea ice and glaciers and warming of the oceans leading to sea level rise, affecting homes, businesses and infrastructure.


For more information or to get involved, please contact co-chairs Ben Pfeiffer or Deejah Sherman-Peterson.