One way to put forth the process of engaging Unitarian Universalists in the First Principle Project is to work towards a Study Action Item on multispecies justice (while we continue all the other goals of our project). Below is a sample draft on a Study Action Item that your congregation could vote to put forward for a 4 year process for a topic with which all UU congregations could engage. Congregations must vote and submit their Study Action Item by October 1, 2015. It only takes one congregation to vote on it to move the process forward. Please consider having your congregation be this one (and the more there are, the better). If you'd like to know more, or would like to edit or change this draft, please comment below or contact Rev. LoraKim Joyner. Thanks for your efforts!
Study Action Item: Multispecies Justice: How do we take care of the many in our biotic community?
Life on earth is under threat, fueled by humankind's false sense of separation from nature. How can we create a biosphere sustainable for all beings while taking into account the inherent worth, value and well-being of every living individual? Addressing the intersectional of injustices, we improve life for all.
Grounding In Unitarian Universalism:
Affirming respect for the interdependent web of all existence, we deepen our faith by taking up for the first time the call to multispecies justice. We draw on our anti-racism, animal welfare, animal rights, environment, economic justice, and environmental justice work, analysis of intersectional oppression, Transcendentalism, and earth centered spiritualities.
Topics for Congregational Study:
· What legal and moral responsibilities do humans hold toward other organisms -- particularly toward other sentient forms of life?
· To what extent do other species have a capacity to suffer, feel pain, love, grieve and endure emotional distress similar to our own?
· What economic, social, cultural and religious systems degrade or destroy the quality of life experienced by other inhabitants of our planet?
· How has science as well as theology reinforced an unhealthy and unwarranted assumption of human superiority over other living creatures, and how can they help us care for other species?
· In what ways would our work, play, and lifestyles be altered if informed by an ethic of respect and compassion for all beings?
· How might our current UU Principles be changed to and resources guide us in addressing multispecies justice?
· How can we support one another in this challenging work of multispecies justice given the complexity of the interweaving of our lives with global systems of oppression.
- What is multispecies justice and how does it relate to intersectional justice and the theory "no hierarchy of oppression?"
Possible Congregational/District Actions:
- Form a Intersectional Justice or Multispecies Justice Committee
- Become a UUAM chapter (Engage in the First Principle Project or the Reverence for Life Program)
- Educate congregation on intersectional justice, including presenting a lay service on justice on holding an animal blessing
- Show films about relationships between humans and other species
- Learn the behavior, thinking, feeling, ecology, and evolutionary biology of species on your congregational grounds. What is the impact on other species, both beneficial and harmful in their relationships and proximity to humans?
- Present an intersection justice working at district meetings
- Advocate for legislative positions that foster multispecies justice
- Give money to organizations that help animals – such as shelters and conservation and advocacy groups
- Create interfaith networks and committees
- Host a plant based potluck and invite discussion on the challenges and celebrations of being aware of our relationships with other species and humans through food
Related Prior Social Witness Statements
Animals and Biotic Community
Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice - Statement of Conscience 2011
Creating Peace - Statement of Conscience 2010
Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change - Statement of Conscience 2006
Responsible Consumption is Our Moral Imperative - Statement of Conscience 2001
Solidarity with the San Carlos Apache Regarding Mt. Graham - Action of Immediate Witness 1977
Toxic Substances and Hazardous Waste - General Resolution 1984
Problem of Environmental Policy - General Resolution 1977
Environmental Justice - General Resolution 1994
End Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining - Action of Immediate Witness 2006
Safer Alternatives to the Alaska Pipeline - General Resolution 1973
Protecting the Biosphere - General Resolution 1989
Earth, Air, Water, and Fire - General Resolution 1997
United Nations and Earth Day Celebrations - Business Resolution 1994
The Green Revolution in Religion - Business Resolution 2010
Law of the Sea Treaty - General Resolution - 1982
Environment - General Resolution 1969
Safer Sources of Energy - General Resolution 1992
Endorse the Earth Charter - Action of Immediate Witness 2002
Economic Justice, Class and Racism (mixed with others)
Phoenix General Assembly 2012 - Business Resolution 2010
Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution: Accountability - Responsive Resolution 2008
Self-Determination for Blacks and Other Ethnic Groups - General Resolution 1968
Condemn the Racist Mistreatment of Young People of Color by Police - Action of Immediate Witness 2013.
The Civil Rights Act of 1990 - Resolution of Immediate Witness 1990
Congregational Programs on Racism and Classism - Responsive Resolution 2006
World Conference Against Racism - Action of Immediate Witness - 2001
Toward an Anti-Racist Unitarian Universalist Association - Business Resolution 1997
Racism Imperative - Business Resolution 1981
Immigration as a Moral Issue - Statement of Conscience 2013
Economic Globalization - Statement of Conscience 2003
Economic Injustice, Poverty, and Racism: We can make a difference - Statement of Conscience 2000
Economic Conversion for Peace and Human Needs - General Resolution 1989
Working for a Just Economic Community - General Resolution 1997
Deepen Our Commitment to an Anti-oppressive Multicultural Unitarian Universalist Association - Responsive Resolution 2013
Reference (not part of one page - refer to Issue section)
- UU Food Justice Ministry
- UU Buddhist Fellowship
- UU Animal Ministry
- UU Ministry for Earth (?)