Climate Justice and Bodily Autonomy Are Connected

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Last week the Supreme Court limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to address emissions that cause climate change, compromising half a century of health, environmental, and climate justice advocacy. The decision in West Virginia v. EPA significantly limits the EPA’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from coal and gas-fired power plants using the Clean Air Act. The Court’s ruling will disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities. These populations are more likely to live near power plants, experience higher rates of pollution, are most affected by the public health impacts of climate and are more likely to experience climate-forced displacement.

  • Tell Biden: Choose People over Fossil Fuels. Sign on to a list of executive actions that Biden must take right away to protect and invest in BIPOC and working-class communities impacted first and worst by pollution and climate disaster, stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and declare climate change a national emergency.
  • Join with UUs demanding climate action. Tell your Senators and Representative that the Supreme Court’s recent climate decision requires urgent legislative action to invest in climate action.
  • Call Your Senators NOW to express outrage at this decision and demand they do everything they can to stop climate change and protect our communities from air pollution and climate disasters.
  • Multiply our impact. Organize an Action Center event this month. Learn how! Commit to getting 75% of your congregation to take one or all of these actions! Please fill out the Action Center Story and Report form to share your work with us.

This ruling adds to the pain and anger for those of us already mourning the devastating reversal of Roe v. Wade, the elimination of local gun controls, and the undermining of indigenous sovereignty – all while we face another summer of extreme heat with rising energy costs; and climate disasters like wildfires and floods displacing thousands of people. We must acknowledge our friends and neighbors who will now be denied bodily autonomy and be burdened by the financial cost and danger of trying to access care are the same people who continue to face the worst of the climate crisis.

As we wrote in May, “Our Unitarian Universalist faith affirms that all of our bodies are sacred, and that we are each endowed with the twin gifts of agency and conscience. . . . When disparities in resources or freedoms make it more difficult for certain groups of people to exercise autonomy over their own bodies, our faith compels us to take liberatory action.” This bodily autonomy applies as much to our right to choose as it does our right to clean air and clean water. We encourage you to discern where you feel called to be, and we send you our gratitude and blessings for showing up for justice.

Power the movement to Create Climate Justice! Join us as we respond with love and justice at the core of our intentions and actions.

Organize Your Congregation.

  • Make a plan to prepare for and respond to climate disasters in your neighborhood. Climate disasters impact our communities – how can UUs be prepared? Join this hands-on workshop with activities to help you identify the climate risks, understand who is most at risk, and how your community will be impacted. Register for the Climate Disaster Response Workshop – Sunday, July 31 at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
  • Advance Energy Justice through weatherization. Weatherization can reduce energy bills by up to 25% while improving community health, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving air quality, but utility programs are often inaccessible to our lower-income neighbors. Join the next Green Sanctuary Team Meeting to learn how your congregation can engage in community weatherization efforts.
  • Get ready to vote on climate. UU the Vote is partnering with the Environmental Voter Project to turn out millions of non-voting environmentalists this November. Stay tuned.
  • Commit to action on climate forced displacement. Join the UU Ministry for Earth, UUs for a Just Economic Community, UUA, UUA Office at the United Nations, UUs for Social Justice, and the UU Service Committee in a joint UU Statement of Commitment in Response to Climate-Forced Displacement. It’s an historic moment of UU collaboration at a time when we’re seeing unprecedented climate-forced migration all over the globe – even right here in our communities. Sign on to respond to Climate-Forced Displacement.
  • Connect with people organizing for Environmental and Climate Justice in your community, state, or region. Ask them how you and your congregation can help (don’t tell them what to do!). Centering values and lived experience is critical to achieving energy and climate justice. The 4th Arm – Partnership for Southern Equity demonstrates that when BIPOC communities are authentically and thoughtfully engaged in organizing, we can win on climate and create systemic change.
  • Prepare yourself for the long haul journey to climate justice. Take a deep breath. Connect with your friends. Hydrate. Smile at a child. Sing a song. Center love.

We can do this.

Rachel Myslivy

Climate Justice Organizer, Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team