We, at Spirit of Life UU,
- Recognizing the fragile and interdependent state of our Earth and all living things;
- Recognizing the need to protect and maintain the quality of our common life-giving natural resources
- such as water, soil, and air;
- Recognizing the need to join with others to bring forth a sustainable society based on respect for our
- planet and all its life-giving resources; and
- Recognizing our universal human rights to a clean environment:
DO Therefore Declare
- To one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations, our acceptance of responsibility
- for preserving and protecting the health, vitality, beauty, and diversity of this planet Earth.
TO This End
As members of this congregation and participants in the Green Sanctuary program, we pledge our encouragement to one another in a personal and congregational commitment to living this promise through our Unitarian Universalist Principles, including the Seventh Principle, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” In addition to specific projects and activities, we make the following commitments:
- We incorporate Seventh Principle values and practices into our worship services, celebrations, and religious education programs;
- We live lightly on the Earth and strive to continually improve our environmental impact;
- We support efforts to improve the quality of our watershed; and
- We affirm and promote programs to raise the awareness of human behaviors that affect the health and sustainability of the living Earth.
Our Environmental Community
Spirit of Life UU is located on five spectacularly beautiful acres of sandhill and scrubby flatwoods, in rural Hillsborough County, Florida. Our property is a treasure trove of natural beauty, with abundant animal and plant life that includes gopher tortoise, pileated woodpeckers, barred owls, bluebirds and many other song birds, Florida turkey, Sandhill cranes, deer, foxes, fox squirrels, bobcats and coyotes all roaming across a shared landscape of sandhill pines, longleaf pines, live oaks, and an endless assortment of wildflowers and plants.
A source of particular joy to Spirit of Life members is a pair of red shouldered hawks who, over the past several years, have successfully fledged young hawks in a pine tree nest high above the yard, behind our church.
Our Green Sanctuary Journey
In August 2010, Spirit of Life UU was awarded Green Sanctuary accreditation in recognition of our well documented efforts to live our Seventh Principle. The Green Sanctuary Program aims to give roots and wings to the vision that, together, we can create a world in which all people make reverence, gratitude, and care for the living Earth that is central to our lives.
Voluntary participation in the Green Sanctuary Program provides a framework for congregations and congregants to publicly proclaim and live out their commitment to the Earth. A Green Sanctuary is a Congregation that:
- Has received official recognition for completing the Green Sanctuary Program.
- Lives out its commitment to the Earth by creating sustainable lifestyles for its members as individuals and as a faith community.
- Is committed towards creating a religious community that has a fundamental, bottom-line, commitment to living in harmony with the Earth.
- Shared environmentally focused services, and discussion programs;
- Worked towards environmental justice with films, and awareness programs;
- Became part of local clean-up efforts;
- Embarked on sustainable landscape and building improvements; and
- Developed broad based environmental and ecological education resources for congregation members and the general public.
In May 2013, we renewed our commitment to being a Green Sanctuary through a series of sermons and revisiting and refreshing our environmental efforts and practices.
The Environmental Learning Center at Spirit of Life UU
In October 2015, we launched the Cornucopia Project with the permaculture group, We Grow from Here, to develop a permaculture garden, and in December 2015, launched the Environmental Learning Center at Spirit of Life Unitarian Universalists.
We believe our recognition as a Green Sanctuary is a testament to our place as both a faith-based and a community role model, and serve as a top of the mind reminder to congregation members, as well as our community, of our ongoing commitment to just and sustainable practices in our church and in our individual lives. Accreditation isn’t the end of our sustainable journey – it’s just the beginning!
We hope you’ll join us in learning how to live a more intentional life in our shared environment.
Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful
U.S. Department of Energy booklet
We Grow From Here
Interfaith Power & Light
UUSC Environmental Justice
FAMU Center for Environmental Equity and Justice
National Black Environmental Justice Network
EPA Environmental Justice
UF Office of Sustainability
UF/IFAS Sustainable Living
Florida House Learning Center – Sarasota demo home
Florida Gulf Coast Green Building Council
Going Green Tampa
Florida Friendly Landscaping
Florida Native Plant Society