Earth Ministry / Sustainability

Common Ground Green Initiative

The Common Ground Green Initiative (CGGI) at UUCW is well underway in studying the local issues concerning WATER in order to come up with a tangible and winnable issue to pursue.

As of March 2nd, 2014, the CGGI research teams have conducted over 20 interviews with local experts in water issues. If you would like to view the Research Summary Report to learn who was interviewed and which local water issues are of most concern contact Pete Overholt or Amy Taivalkoski. Research meetings are continuing and the report will be periodically updated.

Come to the All Church meeting on Sunday April 13th after second service to learn more about the issues and to help decide which issue(s) merit pursuing as our main Green Initiative.


History of Green Initiative:

The organization Common Ground, in collaboration with the UUCW Earth Ministry Committee, is working on an all-church Environmental issue project. At a church-wide meeting on October 27th,2013 WATER was chosen as the issue for the Common Ground Green Initiative (CGGI).

The Common Ground process has been proven successful in solving significant community problems and is unique. The basic strategy is to find the "common ground" among all the  community stakeholders on a given issue. The goal is to try to determine, "What is the problem?" and "What are the barriers to a solution?". This is done by conducting Research Meetings to build relationships with anyone who understands and/or has power regarding the issue. In addition to building a relationship, the goal is to find out more about the issue of concern.

This is a non-political activity. The only goal is to see if, by focusing in on a given problem and by finding the common ground among the stakeholders, a solution can be found and implemented. Think what could be accomplished by a motivated group of citizens with no political agenda that is volunteering their time to listen and learn, and then to work toward a solution!

Since members of UUCW are not experts on water and the issues surrounding water are numerous, the first job was to get some teams out into the community to start conducting information gathering research meetings. Based on the results of these meetings, a water problem that is real and tangible and that can be solved with measurable results will be chosen as UUCWs project.

Research started with a MMSD tour of the Jones Island waste treatment plant on December 7, 2013, attended by 50 UUs. Twenty plus research meetings have been held as of March 1, 2014 and continue.

A list of members who want to be part of this program has been created. Members can choose to be in one or all of three basic groups:


  1. "Warm Bodies" - This is the group that mobilizes when large numbers of people are needed to show support. This may be at a protest event, or a public hearing etc... In addition these members may staff a table in the community room or do other one-time type actions.
  2. Research Teams: This group conducts information gathering meetings with members of the community who are experts on, or have power in, the water issue. These include scientists, community activists, Non-profit organizations, businesses, politicians, etc... The purpose of the meetings is to learn more about the local water problems from people who really understand these issues at a deep level.
  3. The Core Team. This is the group that sets up the "research meetings" and assigns them to the research teams, as well as doing the analysis of the information gathered at these meetings in order to narrow the focus of the problem that UUCW will take action on.

Additional participants are welcome and encouraged to join the process at any time. Movement between the above three levels of involvement is fluid. Speak with Team members to express express interest and/or contact the church office to be added to the UUCW CG Green Initiatve listserv.

Meanwhile, here is background information on some potential water issues:

  1. Waukesha's Water Diversion
  2. Water Pollution - including non-point source
  3. Overflows into Lake Michigan
  4. Water Conservation




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