Green Sanctuary

Green Sanctuary Designation

Since 2015, our church has been accredited as a Green Sanctuary by the Unitarian Universalist Association. The designation recognizes the work we’ve done in support of the UU Seventh Principle: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

Our Green Sanctuary Team is focused on engaging church members with both environmental justice and related social justice issues, such as energy efficiency, recycling, composting, etc., for our building and grounds. The team also promotes outside activities that our members can get involved with to improve the greater Des Moines community.

Our Vision:

1) Congregational Evolution

2) Anti-Oppressive Climate Work

3) Collaboration and Mobilization with organizations throughout the state of Iowa and the UUA.

Our Mission: Bring forth an environmentally sustainable, socially just, spiritually resilient world where we share and use resources to benefit all. Dedicate time and space for education, action, and reflection. Living our UU Values and the Seven (and proposed 8th) Principles into our climate and social justice activism.

We adopted a Statement of Conscience addressing the threat of global warming/climate change. It includes:

  • Treat environmentally responsible practices as a spiritual discipline;
  • Educate ourselves, our children, and future generations on sustainable ways to live interdependently;
  • Practice environmentally responsible consumption and encourage voluntary simplicity among members.”

We have adopted shared leadership. Members are not elected by the group but rotate on or off leadership based on their willingness to serve, and their availability and interest in leading.

We meet monthly. Members are welcome to join us.

To join the Team’s work, please contact Ron Heideman at

Learn about your Carbon Footprint!

Notes from most recent meeting:

Green Sanctuary Meeting Notes 6-1-22

Proposed Covenant: Most of our time was devoted to this topic. We have a draft which each of us will consider. We hope to finalize it next month.

Consider Shared Working Agreement: Pachamama Alliance-Iowa spent months preparing the Shared Working Agreements document. The PA-I team encourages us to use this document and modify it to serve our needs.

I Can Help Our Planet By:

We encouraged church members at our Church Revival to share their responses. We only had a few:

·       Hanging my clothes to dry

·       Go vegan!

·       Use a bidet

·       Use cloth towels instead of paper towels

·       Encourage people to purchase hybrids/reused/used/or electric vehicles

Now we invite you: What have you done this month? Send responses to

Hazardous Materials: We were reminded that our predecessor (Energy & Justice for All) was responsible for taking the church’s hazardous waste to the facility in Bondurant. We’ll discuss the logistics of taking on this duty.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, July 6, 7:30pm on Zoom: All are welcome. Facilitator Ron. Centering Jenea. Recorder Katie.

Upcoming Events

·       Pachamama Alliance-Iowa’s Gathering on Wednesday, June 22, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. We’ll continue our discussion of the Paul Hawken book Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation. Our topic this month will be Indigeneity and the video “The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code”. You can contact us for details at

·       Interfaith Green Coalition’s Solar Power Hour: June 18, 1:00-2:30, Plymouth Church. Thinking about going solar? Join us for this informative meeting sponsored by the Des Moines Citizen’s Task Force on Sustainability and the Interfaith Green Coalition. At the meeting, you’ll learn about the basics of going solar, the financial implications for a household, and how a solar group buy program works. For more information and other power hour dates, check out

·       Iowa Environmental Council’s A Day Of Giving To Benefit Iowa’s Environment: Wednesday, August 3, 2022.Iowa Gives Green is a day for Iowans to unite in their support for Iowa’s environment. From protecting Iowa’s rivers and lakes, to advocating for clean energy, to organizing Iowans to take climate action, to planting trees across the state, you can find an organization to match your environmental passion. Visit:

We Recommend: Consider joining Create Climate Justice, a UU clearing house for environmental groups and events.

Litter Pick-Up D.I.Y. (prepared by Tow)

How to Dress

– Safety first: wear puncture resistant or cut resistant gloves and dress for the weather (sunscreen, sunglasses, cold gear/heat gear).

– Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.

What to Take

– Plastic bucket, preferably without holes (to keep small pieces of litter from falling through).

– Small garden shovel or spade to dig up litter wedged into the ground. It can also be used to scoop up sharp objects.

– Wet wipes or water and a hand towel to clean off.

* If you find you really enjoy picking up litter and/or have trouble bending over repeatedly to pick it up, consider investing in a Grip-n-Grab.

Where to Find Litter

– Everywhere!

– Parks

– Parking lots

– Along roadways and waterways

Make Collecting Litter Safe and Enjoyable

– If you’re walking along waterways, wear water shoes to protect your feet from sharp rocks and broken glass.

– If you’re walking off trail, watch out for poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.

– Make it meditative by tuning into nature. If you’re collecting litter in the city, you can throw your headphones on and listen to music, podcasts, etc.

– Take a friend or family member with you: 1 to carry the bin, the other to put litter in it.

– Download the free app Litterati to document and map all the litter you find.

Sort Your Litter

– Some of your litter can be recycled. See this website for a list:

– Cash in on your good deed. Cans and bottles = 5 cents each!

– You might find items you actually want to clean up and keep! “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”