From the Climate Action Team

The UU Seventh Principle

"Touching", painting by Catherine Ruha
“Touching,” Catherine Ruha

The UU Seventh Principle is thought of as our environmental principle, but it is really a very comprehensive principle. We covenant to affirm and promote “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

We humans are not above or apart from the natural world. Everything we do affects the natural world, which in turn affects us. As we continue to burn fossil fuels to heat homes, transport ourselves across the globe, and eat meat, our lifestyles are changing others lives. In Alaska, ice sheets are melting, fish populations are changing, and walruses and polar bears struggle to find new ways to exist. Shorelines are eroding, and coastal communities must move to higher ground. (1)

UU Rev. Lindi Ramsden, in her sermon last week at the General Assembly Service of the Living Tradition, said, “America must understand that those both within and beyond our nation who are the most vulnerable to climate disasters…are also those who have made the smallest contributions to causing this hot mess.” (2)

Our seventh Principle is about seeing ourselves as considerate participants in the lives of all others on this shared Earth. “[It] is our Unitarian Universalist way of coming to fully embrace something greater than ourselves. It can be our response to the danger of individualism…and can help us develop that social (and relational) understanding of ourselves that that we and our culture so desperately need,” (3) and the natural world desperately needs from us.

What does our seventh Principle mean to you? Does it confront your individuality? As you consider your embedded relationality to life on this planet, how are you called to be in the face of the changing climate?