Environmental Principles and Values of Canadian Unitarian Universalists

Adopted by the Canadian Unitarian Council at a general meeting in 2009

1. Interdependence: As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

The values of individual responsibility, personal growth, democracy, and social justice that we also affirm are essential elements in the development of a sustainable relationship with nature.

2. Inherent worth: We acknowledge that we are but one species of many on earth; each has its own value that cannot be measured by its service to humankind.

We affirm the right and requirement of all species to cohabitate.

3. Sustainability: Ensuring sustainability of the earth and all life upon it is our first responsibility to future generations and to all the species with which we share the planet.

In a sustainable world, healthy human societies will live in harmony with the natural environment.

4. Religious Commitment: We seek guidance from Unitarian Universalist and other world spiritual teachings and from the sciences to design our liturgies and inform our religious stories. Our goal is to draw inspiration from these sources in order to re-establish the proper balance of humanity with the global ecosystem.

5. Ethical Action: We must adopt practices not only appropriate to our time and place but also that address needs of the future. We must embrace a view that sees ourselves not as master of the land, but rather as an integral part of the earth’s ecosystem where all life forms are interdependent.

6. Biodiversity: Species are disappearing from the earth at a cataclysmic rate, weakening some ecosystems and causing the collapse of others. By fragmenting Earth’s landscapes, we are creating conditions for even greater losses.

We affirm to promote the health and quality of life on earth that depends upon the preservation and restoration of biodiversity.

7. Precautionary principle: We can never be certain of the impact of our actions on nature; where knowledge is incomplete and irreversible harm is possible, we must err on the side of caution.

Every decision is a choice about the future; application of the precautionary principle will reduce the possibility of undesirable consequences.

8. Natural Capital: The ecological support systems of planet earth are finite, imposing limits on the growth of populations and economies.

Since the economy is highly dependent upon the environment, it cannot be allowed to undermine the integrity of ecological processes. A sustainable economy must limit consumption to the “interest” produced by the natural capital upon which it depends.