From arrests in front of the White House for protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline to grassroots activism across the country, members of the United Church of Christ have often worked with 350.org in the pursuit of justice and shared goals. This informal, longstanding relationship is now being deepened through a pilot endeavor that encourages and invites UCC green teams to affiliate with 350 through the steps outlined in their affiliation process.
In realizing that strength is found through partnership, the Council for Climate Justice of the United Church of Christ saw that this promising opportunity existed and could be potentially beneficial to both sides. As a global leader in the climate justice movement, 350.org is gifted with knowledgeable and talented organizers with a successful track record in taking action to bring about change. Such an organization could only enhance our denomination’s contributions to the larger movement. As a denomination with an active and growing network of climate justice advocates, we have an expansive reach in communities across the country. Moreover, we offer a unique voice rooted in our faith and history.
The UCC and 350 are well-suited for partnership because of our common values, historic commitments, and organizational structures. As the 350 Organizing Principles state, 350 holds justice as a core principle, stands in solidarity with the communities most impacted by climate change and fossil fuels, takes an approach that is inclusive and global in its concerns, and resolutely commits itself to seeking social change through nonviolent action. Such values align with the present purpose, vision, and mission of the UCC as well as our historic commitments, which include serving as the leading organizational force behind the birth of the environmental justice movement, becoming the first denomination to call for divestment from fossil fuels, and passing a 2015 resolution that seeks an immediate ban on fracking, the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, and the rapid societal transition to renewable energy among other measures.
The potential for partnership is also furthered by compatible organizational structures. Both 350 and the UCC stress an organizational structure that simultaneously promotes autonomy and joint voluntary endeavors. Due to this harmony of approaches, UCC affiliates can maintain their distinct voice of faith in working within the larger, diverse and welcoming network of 350.
To confront a challenge as large as climate change will require new partnerships. Now is the time to explore possibilities for working together.
Green teams that are interested in exploring the opportunity of affiliating with 350 are encouraged to take four initial steps.