Climate Action | Climate Justice

Our Vision 2050 document reminds us that UUAA has a long history of social action and involvement in environmental issues, We are called to learn all we can; we are called to seek new ways of being in relationship with our natural world.

2024 is YEAR ZERO at UUAA

What is Year Zero? 2024 is a year of amazing progress on UUAA’s Vision 2050 climate goals. We are going full speed ahead to get as close as possible to


27 years ago we designed the roof of the UUAA building to harvest the sun. The generosity of this congregation has made that beautiful goal a reality. Thank you capital campaign donors and thank you visualizers.

Installation of Our New Solar Panels Began on Earth Day

On April 22, 2024, Homeland Solar began the installation of 268 new solar panels on our roof. We now have 370 rooftop solar panels.  With the 10 panels on the tracker in front of the building, our total of 380 solar panels is capable of producing almost 160,000 kWh of electricity annually.

Before Covid we used about 200,000 kWh per year.  In the last few years, we have modified building use, installed energy efficient lighting and addressed all of our energy audit issues so that we are now using135-140 kWh annually – total, including solar. Significant progress… with more to come. (Contact if you have ideas for getting closer to zero.)

Thank you to Mike Halerz for this exciting drone view of our solar array!


We have been recycling and working on reducing waste at UUAA for a long time.

NEW in January, 2024– We contracted with a composting service (MyGreen Michigan) and have been expanding our care for our planet by reducing what we send to landfills. You can even bring your food scraps from home if you aren’t able to compost.

Everyone has been helping UUAA get to Zero Waste by learning what should get recycled and what goes in our compost. A team of volunteers has helped this work go smoothly. UUAA’s Food Justice Team is leading our Zero Waste efforts– Volunteer to help:

You probably want to reduce food waste at home, too! For tips on Zero Waste at home and in the wider community, click on this link.

Other ways UUAA is reducing waste include using ceramic mugs for coffee and reusable dishes for events (backed up by compostables), adding a 2nd dishwasher to support the move to ‘real’ dishes,  and more. The Fiber Arts Group now has a box where congregants can leave excess yarn and craft materials for others to use.


  • Note! Our very special guest for the Sunday Service on Sept 29th will be Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Listen to her invitation to the Revival below.

UUAA has been a leader in Climate Action in the UU community, through our Year Zero initiatives and our work in creating climate friendly landscaping, providing local farm support, providing educational events, taking part in community outreach and more. We will bring all of those pieces together with a justice focus, to renew our vision of our collaborative work that honors and heals our planet Earth. Save the weekend of Sept 28th & 29th as we join other “green” UU congregations across the US and in Canada to celebrate, imagine a bright future and take action together. UUAA is a sponsor congregation for this event. Want to help? contact

View this video invitation from Rev Sofia Betancourt.

Thank you to all who attended and supported UUAA’s EARTH DAY Celebrations 4/19 & 4/21

Friday Fun Night April 19th featured fun, food, crafts, music and storytelling.

The 4/21 Earth Day Service and Celebrations featured a Dirt Communion, a Tree of Action, Music from the Chalice Bells, an outdoor ceremony in the Ancestors’ Grove, and during the social hours: an Art & Poetry Show, zero waste and zero carbon information, games and crafts for all ages. A few hardy UU’s took a walk on our muddy trails and planted red clover that will stabilize soil and provide more beauty for us to gaze upon.

Thank you to the many contributing UUAA groups! Climate Action, Food Justice, Zero Waste Team, UUAA Painters, Community of Writers, Fiber Arts, Partner Church, Equal Exchange Coffee, UU Civs, Community Walks, Habitat for Humanity Team and of course the awesome UUAA staff, worship team and music ministries.

The Climate Action | Climate Justice Team

The Climate Action/ Climate Justice team lifts up, encourages, inspires and celebrates the many ways UUAA groups are working on our Vision 2050 climate goals to build a cleaner and healthier world for our children and grandchildren.  We are on the front lines of overseeing the climate & environmentalism goals described in A Congregational Vision, the document that was created from a 2 year congregational visioning project.

UUAA wants to live into Unitarian Universalism’s 7th Principle, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part” by serving as an example of sustainable living in right relationship with the natural world. We want to learn about climate issues together. We want to further build on our past renewable energy projects to reach carbon neutrality. We want to broaden our view of climate action to include justice for vulnerable communities most affected by, and least responsible for climate change.

How you can help

The entire UUAA congregation, all ages and all interests, is needed to help UUAA shrink our carbon footprint, work for climate justice in our community and support each other in our climate learning. You can be part of this effort at whatever level of involvement works for you, from becoming more diligent about your home recycling and food waste, to leading a multi-year climate project. To add your address to the climate action email list, contact Click the button below to read a summary of our multi-year Climate Action Plan, mapping our work together over the next several years!

Recent climate projects throughout UUAA have included: expansion of our rooftop solar, the Zero Waste campaign, planting an “Ancestors’ Grove” of trees, helping plan and run the 2nd Annual A2 Climate Teach-in, holding an all congregation celebration of climate work on Friday Fun Night and Earth Day 2024, a Green Corner column in our Weekly News, a climate potluck last summer and much more.

Green Sanctuary 2030

Green Sanctuary 2030 Logo

To help us organize our efforts to lower our carbon footprint, build sustainability, partner with local climate justice groups, and learn alongside other UU congregations, UUAA enrolled in the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Green Sanctuary 2030 program. The steps we have completed are:

1- [Submitted March, 2021] Write a Congregational Profile that grounds our work in our congregation’s history and past / current environmental projects. Learn about our foundations in environmentalism by reading UUAA’s Congregational Profile.

2- [Submitted June, 2022] Write an Opportunity Assessment showing potential actions we might take over the next several years. These proposed actions were gathered from a survey of the congregation, many meetings with current UUAA groups, connections with Ann Arbor and UU climate based organizations and more. Please read the “in brief” version of the Opportunity Assessment, or the full text as submitted.

3- An Action Plan to guide several years of work together. The plan is based on our current information… and subject to change and evolve as technology changes, passions of the congregation emerge and the world changes around us.

4- We are submitting “Action Reports” on the many climate events and projects at UUAA as they occur. Before the end of 2024 we expect to receive recognition for our good work from the GS 2030 leadership. UUAA will remain active with the GS 2030 group indefinitely.

UUAA 2021 Collaboration with the U-M Graham Sustainability Institute

UM Graham Sustainability Institute logo

A team of University of Michigan students led a project  to look at UUAA’s building and internal processes to make recommendations for working toward our energy goals. The team collaborated with six UUAA members, staff, and ministry group leaders, including Ed Lynn, Jeannine LaPrad, Colleen Crawley, Don Hackney, and Dave Friedrichs. Elizabeth LaPorte facilitated the project as part of the U-M Graham Sustainability Scholars Program, which she manages. Their report was submitted in March, 2021 and recommended actions are already underway.

The team divided the analyses and recommendations into four categories.Some of the recommendations are listed briefly in each category below. Full reports are linked under the bulleted lists..

 Interested in helping sort out the priorities and do some planning for this initiative? Email

Zero Waste

  • Form a volunteer driven recycling collaboration with other area religious organizations.
  • Move to using compostable-ware and hold zero waste events.
  • Create a zero waste culture.

— Read the Guide for a path to Zero Waste.

Building & Energy

  • Conduct a building energy audit.
  • Install more LED lights.
  • Install more solar panels on the roof.
  • Explore the possibility of geothermal heating.

Read the UUAA Building & Energy Analysis Report.


  •  Incorporate more native plants.
  • Create learning spaces where people can engage and learn about the environment.
  • Plant for carbon sequestration.
  • Create landscaping projects and learning guides for all ages.

— Read the recommendations for using landscaping to help reach carbon neutrality.

Building Congregational Engagement in Sustainability

  • Use the event toolkit provided to plan sustainability events that engage all ages.
  • Make a sustainability checklist that groups can use when planning events.

— Read the recommendations for projects to engage the whole congregation in thinking sustainability.

Time frame recommendations –

Graham Report Recommendations