Green Sanctuary Ministry
Unitarian Universalists recognize that we are all part of an interdependent web of existence and therefore advocate for environmental stewardship and seek to set the example in recycling, waste reduction and pollution prevention. We attract people who have a deep respect for the earth and environment. The UU faith embraces environmental justice, which acknowledges that marginalized communities are often hit first and hardest by environmental crisis. Ideally, environmental justice efforts partner with these communities to address both human and environmental needs.
Green Sanctuary Certification
In 2011, AUUF became Green Sanctuary certified, having fulfilled the national UUA Green Sanctuary program requirements. Green Sanctuary action plans influence the fellowship in these areas:
Worship and celebration. Worship and Forum services regularly highlight environmental issues and opportunities for individual and fellowship involvement.
Religious exploration. RE learning is enhanced with environmental topics and classroom activities including adoption of environmental justice projects.
Sustainable living. Fellowship operations encourage reuse and recycling, while facility improvements are aimed at energy reduction.
Green Sanctuary Ministry Team
The AUUF Green Sanctuary Ministry Team serves as a hub to plan, facilitate, encourage, and organize environmental justice and stewardship activities involving the fellowship. The team helps connect volunteers and resources to allow many individuals and groups to work simultaneously on various projects. Some Green Sanctuary-supported programs occur regularly year-after-year, while new efforts often evolve in conjunction with other community efforts. Team lead contact information is available on our Contact Us page.
Green Sanctuary-Supported Efforts and Programs
5 R Message: Rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose
The committee posts regular reminders on ways to be more environmentally-friendly when considering what to do with materials that no longer adequately serve their original purpose.
The Green Sanctuary team and several individuals support and facilitate recycling efforts, such as:
Paper products, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and other recyclable items accepted by Anchorage Waste are collected for regular curb-side pickup
Number 5 plastic containers not allowed by the Anchorage recycling program are collected each month for transport to Mat-Su facilities that will accept them.
An electronics recycling event is organized at least annually at the fellowship.
In the kitchens, washable mugs, plates and utensils are used instead of their disposable counterparts.
Earth Day Service
A mid-April Sunday worship and forum services include a special presentation to help AUUF recognize and celebrate Earth Day.
Early Spring Clothing Swap
In early spring, the Green Sanctuary Team sponsors a clothing swap, encouraging AUUF women and their friends to bring clothes they no longer want/use/need and swap them for like-new wardrobe additions! Clothing that is not swapped or otherwise claimed, goes to a charitable organization at the end of the event.
AUUF continues to work on ways to reduce energy consumption. One focus is to improve energy efficiency of the AUUF facility. The June 2015 installation of a high-efficiency boiler system marks good progress.
AUUF encourages alternate means of transportation that use no or less fuel. For example, AUUF encourages car-pooling with sign-ups to help connect folks who are traveling to/from generally the same areas. This includes friends and members coming from the Mat-Su Valley some 40+ miles to the north of Anchorage. The fellowship also provides a bike rack to encourage two-wheeling transit, which is a preferred mode for many UUs.
Alternative Gift Wrapping
During the holiday seasons, AUUF people skilled in crafts and sewing have made furoshiki (colorful cloth wrappings) and cloth drawstring bags from recycled material. These are sold for use in place of disposable wrapping paper. Proceeds support Green Sanctuary projects.
Earth Care Climate Change Group
An example of environmental justice partnering is the Earth Care Climate Change Group, an association of organizations who share this concern. The group sponsors monthly mini-forums; coordinates formation of issue-driven interest action groups; and reports and recommends reading during the AUUF Sunday Forum.