Green Sanctuary - History


The Green Sanctuary Team was founded in 2006 by Amy Lent and Thayer Heath as the Green Sanctuary Committee, a subcommittee of the Social Responsibilities Council. Early efforts were focused on making our church more sustainable, and several building changes were made. Over the years our goal has expanded to include education, activism and actions toward preservation of the global environment on which all life depends, by working to make the Earth sustainable and by addressing climate change.

Significant mileposts

Albany UU was accredited in 2008 as a Green Sanctuary by the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth.

Earth Day Fairs at Albany UU in 2007 and 2008.

Since 2006, Albany UU sells Fair Trade coffee, cocoa and chocolate bars along with items made by women from Guatemala, Ecuador and Mexico. 

Solar panels installed in 2012-2013.

Anti-fracking resolution of 2013-14.

The Compendium of Green Tips, 2014.

Seminar in 2016, “Climate Change … and You … and Us,” three sessions led by Rev. Sam on Naomi Klein’s book “This Changes Everything.”

Composting in worm bins introduced in 2016 in the Religious Education program by Anne Marie Haber and Mitch Cohen (ongoing).  For more information, contact Anne Marie at 

Do-more survey of the congregation and Results in 2017.

Tree-planting in 2017.

Formation of SHARE, the Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy, in 2017 (ongoing, see Working With SHARE).

GST-sponsored Forums/Articles

  • Align your money with your values.  GST presented a hybrid workshop on how to divest your bank accounts, investments, credit cards, and insurance from fossil fuels on May 4, brought to us by Michael Richardson of Rivers and Mountains Green Faith Circle.  It’s not too late to visit the Divestment Webpage.

  • On May 1, 2023, GST and Paul Fisk led a forum on the Inflation Reduction Act with Representative Paul Tonko (Flyer). The PDF of the presentation is HERE

  • Read the 12/28/2022 TU Letter to the Editor by member Paul Fisk HERE.

  • Are you hooked on growth?  A Zoom Forum on December 5,2022 featured Bill Gardner, Director of Growth Busters. Watch his documentary on YouTube. Link to the Flyer HERE.  Recording of the forum HERE.

  • Forum: Ongoing Projects of the Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy (SHARE) Forum with Mert Simpson and Ruth Foster, November 14, 2022 at 7 PM at AlbanyUU and on Zoom.  Flyer HERE.  Link to the Recording HERE.

  • Forum: Solar Panels: Why Are You Waiting?” with Bill Reinhart of Solarize Albany was presented on October 24, 2022 at 7 PM at AlbanyUU and on Zoom; Flyer; PDF of talk

  • Read Paul Fisk’s Letter to the Editor in the Times Union on August 24, 2022: Fossil fuel industry must hasten switch to renewables.

  • The GST had a Forum on “The Climate Conundrum” presented by Paul Fisk on Apr 11,2022.  

  • Climate Peril: A Weatherman’s Perspective was presented by Hugh Johnson, a GSC member and meteorologist on February 28, 2022. Click HERE for more information, and click HERE for a PDF of the slides.  

  • Recycling Forum on November 28, 2021 with panels of 3 local experts (see Flyer). Link to the recording HERE.  Chat from the meeting HERE.

  • “Global Population Will Peak Soon”  was a forum presented by Chris Bystroff on November 22, 2021, 7 – 8:30 PM, in person or by Zoom. Flyer.  Watch the forum on YouTube HERE

  • Read Chris Bystroff’s Earth Day Sermon from April 18, 2021 Click HERE.  

  • 4/21/2021: Webinar on the movie, Kiss the Ground about soil health was recorded and can be viewed HERE.  People first watched the movie on Netflix More details in the Flyer.

  • 2/23/21: Forum on Energy-efficient Heat Pump Systems for Heating and Cooling featuring Todd Fabozzi from Heatsmart Capital Region and John Ciovacco from Aztec Geothermal, 7 PM, via Zoom, Slideshow, Details and Flyer.

  • 1/14/21:  Moving Beyond Plastic Pollution Forum presented by Judith Enck, 7 PM, followed by discussion, via Zoom.  Before and after the Forum participants could, for a limited time, watch the movie, The Story of Plastic.

  • 12/15/20: The 2020 Election and Where do we go from Here?  Zoom presentation by Dr. Bruce Miroff, 7 PM,  Flyer with the Zoom link.

  • Read Paul Fisk’s Commentary on September 3, 2020, in the Times Union, “Remember reality of climate crisis when casting vote.”                                                                                                                  
  • Read the article from July 18, 2020 in the Times Union on the Faith and Values page about the Green Sanctuary Committee HERE.                                                                                                                    
  • Albany UU Virtual Forum on Election Security and What You Can Do, with Journalist Lulu Friesdat, Monday, 7/6/20 at 7 PM, Links to the Zoom meeting in this Flyer. 

  • “A New Contraceptive Vaccine” webinar at the Sustainable Population Meetup Group was presented by Chris Bystroff, PhD on May 16, 2020: Link to the conversation.

  • “Community Choice Aggregation” was presented by Louise Gava, CCA Project Leader For MEGA, the bulk electricity buying program for the cities of Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and others, January 2020. Details at

  • “Listen to the Earth: Perspectives on the Planetary Crisis.” Speakers at both the Sunday service and forum were Meghan Marohn, chair of Albany UU Green Sanctuary and active in Extinction Rebellion; and Keith Schue, electrical engineer and full-time environmental activist, January 19, 2020

  • Potluck dinner and forum on “Our Election Systems”  presented by Chris Bystroff with special guest John Oliver via YouTube video, December 6, 2019 

  • Forum on Climate Change and Justice: “Reimagining our Food Systems,” with Panelists Bill Vitek, Kiani Conley-Wilson, Scott Kellogg, and Jan Storm, November 11, 2019, Flyer

  • The movie, “Cowspiracy,” with Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline, March 13, 2019

  • “Zero Waste Efforts” and potluck with Tina Lieberman and Anasha Cummings, March 1, 2019

  • Richard Perez, “Latest Developments in Solar,” 12/6/18

  • “The Climate Crisis and its Solution,” presented by Meghan Marohn, January 2018

  • “Carbon Tax 101; Putting a Price on Climate Change,” moderated by Judith Enck with speakers Sara Hsu, Mark Dunlea, Bob Cohen, and Iona Lutey, October 2017.

  • Dandelion Energy, “What about Geothermal?” 9/30/17

  • Judith Enck, “The Trump Assault on the Environment, and What You Can Do About It,” 9/28/17

  • Potluck and Movie: “Before the Flood,” 12/2/16

  • “Strategies for fighting climate change and fossil fuel build out in NYS,” Bob Cohen and Ruth Foster, November 2016

  • Potluck and Movie, “This Changes Everything,” 4/23/16

  • Community Solar forum presented by Jean Howard of Solar Access Management, January 2016

  • Potluck and Movie “Merchants of Doubt,” 9/18/15

  • Dr. Robert Pollin from the Political Economic Research Institute in Amherst, MA lectured on “Growing a Green Economy” in November 2014

  • David Musser, Kathy Harris, Sam Trumbore, Chuck Manning, Chris Bystroff, Carol Butt, “Home Solar,” 9/14/14 

  • Richard Perez, “Solar Energy,” 11/17/13

  • Scott Kellog spoke on Composting – Radix Center, September 2012

  • Miriam Katz spoke on Climate Change, 11/13/11

  • Dr. John Delano from SUNY gave a series of four lectures on “The Living Earth” in 2006

  • Airing of the film, “An Inconvenient Truth in 2006