On May 20, immediately prior to the National Council of Churches' meeting on eco-justice issues, 65 UCC environmental justice advocates from 15 states and the District of Columbia met in Washington D.C.
From across the UCC, members told stories of environmental justice issues and strategies.
From Maine, the Rev. Roger Burkhart spoke of the participation of 1,000 individuals and churches in that state in Interfaith Power and Light, a religious purchasers club for green power that does not contribute to global warming.
Several members of People's UCC in Washington, D.C., spoke about an emerging campaign to regulate diesel and noise pollution in poor neighborhoods adjacent to the D.C. bus barn.
Iris Brown told of her links with the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries staff in Franklinton Center, N.C., and is pressing forward with a lawsuit against the city of Hollitsville, N.C., for locating a sewage treatment plant within 250 feet of her front door.
The UCC coined the term "environmental racism," when the former UCC Commission on Racial Justice built an organizing campaign against a toxic PCB waste dump in Warren County, N.C., into a national movement.
The group also recognized the interest among UCC congregations in environmental issues.
A recent survey by the Pension Boards on corporate responsibility and shareholder resolutions shows that environmental stewardship came in second among nearly a dozen issues.