Rising Together: Temperature, Water, Health, and Strength

Rising Together: Temperature, Water, Health, and Strength

Crowdfunding Completed: August 4, 2016

Amount Funded: $8565

Project Owner: Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida

Short Description of Project

Eight UU congregations in coastal Florida will work in partnership with vulnerable communities impacted by climate change and sea level rise to build climate resilience and to advocate for inclusion and self-determination in adaptation planning. They will make advocacy tools available on www.ReactToolKit.net so organizers in other coastal communities can engage in this important work.

How was this project connected to UU?

This is a project of UU Justice Florida: one of 21 UU State Action Networks. The Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth submitted a letter in support of this project to the UU Fund for Social Responsibility when UUJF applied for grant funding. The UU Fund for Social Responsibility has committed $5,000 in direct support for this project, and an additional $7,500 challenge matching grant.
UU Justice Florida’s mission is to promote justice, equity and compassion in public policy, guided by our faith tradition and working with public interest groups and interfaith partners who work for the common good. This project will be directed by Janice T. Booher, a Trustee of UUJF, to extend the environmental justice work undertaken by the Green Sanctuary Committee of the UU Fellowship of Boca Raton in its accreditation process. Our denomination has been involved in creating this project in the following ways: The Florida clusters in conjunction with UU Justice Florida have been presenting informative workshops on environmental justice and climate justice so leaders from the congregations are prepared to engage. Florida congregations have sent representatives to Interfaith Climate Assemblies and to cluster events. The Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth has provided meaningful support by creating the Green Sanctuary Environmental Justice “Our Place in the Web of Life” curriculum that is included in the Green Sanctuary accreditation requirements. This curriculum and Green Sanctuary requirement for congregations to complete environmental justice projects led UUFBR to initiate the EPA grant project, which is developing the Toolkit that will be used in this project (see www.ReactToolkit.net ). The Unitarian Universalist Funding Program and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton Endowment Fund, by funding the HighWaterLine Project associated with Florida Earth Festival ( see http://www.floridaearthfestival.com/highwaterline/ ), enabled UUFBR to create community partnerships in South Delray Beach, Florida for the environmental justice pilot project that developed the ReACT Tool Kit.

Full Description of Project

This project is part of a broader effort to provide a model for inclusive adaptation planning in coastal states, and will produce advocacy tools to enhance the online ReACT Tool Kit available at www.ReactToolKit.net The videos and pictures in this project description are from the pilot project that this current campaign will expand and spread to other geographies. The UU Fund for Social Responsibility has offered a $7,500 challenge matching grant for this work. Please help us qualify to receive these funds, knowing that your generosity will be matched.

Florida is currently experiencing impacts of climate change. Current impacts include sea level rise that is causing increased beach erosion, increased flooding and saltwater intrusion into our water supply. In some areas, the aged and outdated canal systems are unable to drain neighborhoods quickly, resulting in lingering standing water. Saltwater often backs up through storm drains in coastal areas to create pools of saltwater in the streets. This saltwater corrodes cars and elements of infrastructure. These phenomena, and the expected climate change impacts of extreme heat and more frequent and severe storms, exacerbate human health issues such as extreme heat, vector borne diseases, incidence of asthma, mold, contaminated water, and the frequency and severity of hurricanes. Adaptation planning is taking place in coastal communities throughout Florida. Decisions that must be made involve public funds. Adaptation planning typically does not include diverse populations as ‘stakeholders’ to participate in the decision-making process. This project will address inclusion and self-determination in vulnerable communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change. The methods and tools developed will be made available on the www.ReactToolKit.net website so that coastal communities in other geographies can use them.

Goals:

To document the opinions of residents in vulnerable communities in Florida regarding their adaptation priorities and concerns
To connect 8 UU congregations in Florida to leaders in vulnerable communities, and to strengthen the existing relationships between UU congregations and partners in vulnerable communities.
To connect leadership from at least 8 vulnerable communities, and their 8 UU congregational partners, to public officials and agencies that are responsible for adaptation planning or public health and safety.
To educate UUs and 100 individuals from each vulnerable community in 7 Florida counties about health issues that will be exacerbated by climate change in their communities, and how to prepare for or respond to them
To make downloadable tools for climate justice education, outreach and advocacy available to the public