UUMAN received wonderful news [in April 2013] from the UUA. We are now a fully accredited Green Sanctuary. Congratulations to us all! This achievement comes to us by virtue of the 14 projects we have engaged in over the past five years and the many efforts each of you have made to shift old comfortable patterns of behavior to more sustainable ones.

If you have composted coffee grounds, washed a dish in our low-water, high-efficiency dishwasher, filled up a reusable water bottle from the faucet or refrained from using paper or plastic either at home or on our campus, then you have contributed to our efforts. If you have remembered to reset our thermostats or to turn off the coffee maker, if you have turned off the lights or replaced a CFL, then you have contributed. If you have washed out a glass container for recycling, taken home cleaning cloths for laundering or purchased green supplies for our kitchen, then you have made a difference. If you have brewed our fair-trade, shade-grown coffee, put money in the coffee jar, washed a coffee mug, then you have played a role in the process.

If you purchased a china place setting for our UUMAN cupboard (allowing us to move away from paper and plastic), or bought one of our UUMAN water bottles, you have made a difference. If you have ever helped when we gather each month to create ecological, safe, and effective laundry detergent for families at North Fulton Community Charities, you have contributed. Or if you joined us for an ethical eating potluck, discussed Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, or Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food with us, you have been on the path. If you have bought local and /or organic foods or planted a small garden, if you have begun to eat less meat, If you have sought to make any of these small changes in your own life, then you have supported this effort.

Our UUMAN board has approved a Sustainability Policy (PDF format) and we have voted as a congregation to continue to make sustainable choices when purchasing supplies or replacing appliances. There are many more ways, both large and small that many of you have contributed to this recognition. This accreditation is for you. It takes a village. It takes all of us UUMANs!

In case you are new to UUMAN and would like to know more, or you just want a refresher, find our formal application for accreditation attached to this email. This is the second of two applications that were required in the process.. The first was for acceptance for Green Sanctuary Candidacy. At that early stage we included energy audits and a congregational survey along with a plan for our projects. The final accreditation application details all of our projects, their duration and their outcomes.

As an accredited Green Sanctuary, we will continue to challenge ourselves to move forward. Consider becoming involved in Sustainability at UUMAN. There are so many ways to make a difference. If you would like to know more or to get involved, contact me, Kate Hudson as outgoing Sustainability chair. We seek new leadership and new ideas. We welcome your input.

— Kate Hudson, April 7, 2013