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Environmental Ministry

The Green Team

If you have not been keeping up with environmental news and the scientific community’s research about the condition of various eco-systems on this planet, then you need to know that the time is NOW for us to take action.  As Christians, we hear a compelling call for justice. Creation Justice.  Eco-Justice.  And it also should be deeply personal.  The health and welfare of you, your family, your children and grandchildren and future generations to come — every being on this planet depends on the life-sustaining systems of Creation.  There is something YOU can do, ranging from very simple to more involved, depending on your time and ability to respond at this time.

While sheltering in place prevents even small groups from gathering in protest, or other collective action, there are many things that individuals can do.  These range from very personal/ household actions to adding your voice to others in our communities, state and country.  We have gathered a list of ideas and resources for you here.  Watch for more ideas to be added regularly!

Personal and Home

  • Eat at least 1 plant-based meal per week. Or increase by 1 the number you already do.  There are wonderful recipes and resources online for vegan inspired meals.  Meat production uses huge amounts of resources per pound, including fossil fuels, water, grains, and land.  Make it even more environmentally friendly by purchasing your produce from local farms.
  • Green your laundry routine: 
    Use cold water when washing clothes to reduce energy use.  Energy is needed to heat water.  You can also opt for a shorter wash cycle, a single rinse instead of two.
    Only do laundry when the load is full.  Not only does this save water, but it also saves money and time.  You can either wait until you have more items to wash or combine your partial load with your family or housemates.
    Avoid using energy to dry your laundry by hanging a laundry line or using a drying rack.  This cuts down on your electricity bill and also reduces wear and tear on your clothing!
  • Eat those leftovers and plan your meals and purchases better.  Did you know that Americans throw away 25% of the food they buy?  Not only is this a waste of money but it is also harmful to the environment.  Producing food takes land , water (lots of it!), and heavy machinery.  By eating your leftovers, you are not only saving money but also preventing energy waste from food production.  Not to mention you are keeping down the volume in your trash can and in our state incinerators, reducing air pollution, too!
  • Start a garden!  Start one in your back yard or share space with others in your community by creating a neighborhood garden.  Gardening is good for creation and saves money.  If you don't have space outdoors, grow veggies or herbs indoors or in pots on your patio or deck.
  • Shut off your vehicle. Idling your car, even for a few minutes releases excess emissions into the atmosphere. Did you know that idling over 3 minutes in Connecticut risks a fine of up to $5,000? Go to https://icne.com/anti-idling-laws/ to find out more about the impact and why you should not sit idle.
  • Reduce unnecessary trips... to the store, to pick up the kids, and other errands.  Plan your activities, plan your meals and shop for a week's worth of groceries or more.  Help out a friend or neighbor who needs just a couple of things and offer to pick them up on your regular shopping day.  Or get some exercise and walk!
  • Educate your self.  Pick a topic of concern to you, like water, waste reduction, climate change, energy, etc, and read all you can from reputable resources.  Find ways to apply what you learn and share it with others.  The Green Team would also love to hear what you are up to so let us know!  Contact the church office through the email link at the top of the page, along with a good time to get back to you if we have questions or want to know more.
  • Create a backyard wildlife habitat. Put bird feeders and other wildlife attractants, such as bird houses and baths.
  • Establish a pollinator garden with native vegetation in your yard. Native plants provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Attracting native insects like bees and butterflies can help pollinate your plants. Avoid planting invasive species. Non-native plants can overtake and destroy native species on which animals depend.
  • Minimize use of herbicides and pesticides. Herbicides and pesticides are hazardous pollutants that can affect wildlife at many levels. Reduce use of fertilizer. Excess fertilizer will likely wash into streams and rivers and may lead to amphibian deformities and deaths.
  • Reduce your use of water in your home and garden so that animals that live in or near water can have a better chance of survival. Don’t dump paint, oil or antifreeze or other chemicals, which pollute the water and can harm people and wildlife. Keep litter and pet waste out of the street drain, which often washes into rivers, lakes or the ocean.
  • Place decals on windows to deter bird collisions. Millions of birds die every year because of collisions with windows. You can help reduce the number of collisions simply by placing decals on the windows in your home and office.
  • Recycle and buy sustainable products. Buy recycled paper and sustainable products like Forest Stewardship Council wood products and shade-grown coffee to save rainforests.
  • Report any harassment of threatened and endangered species. You can find a list of state wildlife departments at http://www.fws.gov/offices/statelinks.html

Local Activities

  • Roadside Clean-up - Washington Environmental Council (WEC) is encouraging families and individuals to pick a road and pick up! Get more info at www.wec.org.  Even in this time of social isolation, it seems that on busier roads, it only takes a few weeks to build up more roadside trash.  Consider adopting a road or portion and returning periodically to care for this part of creation.
  • Organize or participate in a “clean up” campaign of an important habitat in your area. (Be sure to work with appropriate city officials/environmental organizations.)

Civic Engagement - Use your voice!

  • Talk to others about the environment and your concerns and vision for a more sustainable future.  Talk about what you do now and hope to improve on in the future.
  • Take action to support the 30x30 resolution by writing your congressperson. An online letter provided by Creation Justice Ministries (affiliate of the UCC) is available at on their website.  Click the 30x30 resolution link to go directly there.
  • Watch this video to understand the connection between restoring nature and preventing infectious diseases like COVID19.  Read more on the connection between the environment and infectious diseases.
  • Almost every week, some aspect of environmental protection policy is being eliminated. This will likely reverse progress previously made and affect the health and well-being of all, especially the most vulnerable populations. Sign up for regular alerts from Interfaith Power & Light on opportunities to take civic action and communicate with your government representative on important environmental issues.  Their home page is clearly laid out to find what you need.
  • Be Vocal. Write a letter to your local newspaper urging support of important species protection measures. E-mail your Congressional representatives asking them to support the Endangered Species Act.
  • Join others (and organize) in the annual Stop Extinction Challenge. Organized by Endangered Species Coalition (usually in August).

Other Resources to Stay Informed and Active

  • Interreligious Eco-Justice Network http://irejn.org/ is a faith-based environmental non-profit organization. Committed to justice and grounded in hope, IREJN is a unifying voice dedicated to postive, hopeful action on behalf of the earth, the one thing we all share and the one place we all call home.·  The mission of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network is to inspire and empower religious communities in Connecticut to be faithful stewards of the earth.
  • MORE environmental resources on our website.

 

 
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