Caring for Creation

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Caring for Creation 2017-03-20T12:09:15+00:00

Spring Cleaning Day - croppedThe Earth is the Lord’s! Our care for creation must reflect God’s love for creation. We can live more lightly on the earth.

Earth Day (April 22)

Church Statements and Climate Change

Excerpt from the International Affairs Committee report on Climate Change (2010)

The earth is a gift from God. Human life relies on the stability of the ecosystem for survival. For God’s people, consideration of the planet’s wellbeing begins with proclamation and praise. Human beings, understanding their creation in God’s image, have too often interpreted god’s power and might as license to rule over the rest of God’s creation, making it subservient to human will. We are not owners, but stewards of God’s good earth.

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal… we must both mitigate, meaning implementing policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and adapt, meaning reduce the vulnerability of our systems against actual climate change effects…The scope and challenges of climate change are enormous, but there are changes that we can make and are making individually and within our congregations. We are at a threshold. The choices we make today will determine the depth of the impact of climate change on future generations.

 

Image of arrow pointing downPCC statements and policy on climate change 2015
Image of arrow pointing downGA Commissioners - Carbon Footprint Calculation

Congregations Are Making a Difference

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The Mission and Justice Committee of Knox Presbyterian Church in Calgary encourages its congregation to participate in caring for creation activities during Lent. This includes deepening knowledge regarding the impacts of climate change and living more lightly on God’s earth.

A list of 40 activities (one for each day of Lent) was generated. List authors credit the blog sacredscreaming.blogspot.ca as inspiration for this list. A separate resource for kids was made (Activities for Everyone). The first worship service in Lent focused on “Living in Harmony with Creation”.

Activities for Everyone

Use less energy

  • Turn out the lights when you leave a room.
  • Help your parents hang laundry to dry instead of putting it in the dryer.
  • Turn off your computer at night, and hibernate it if you aren’t using it for a period of time.
  • Turn your lights out for one hour at Earth Hour on April 22.

Use less water

  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth.
  • Take a shorter shower.

Use fewer resources

  • Use cloth or reusable bags instead of plastic or paper bags.
  • Bring a refillable bottle to school instead of buying bottled water or drinks.
  • Print documents using both sides of the paper.
  • Use reusable towels or “recycled” paper towels instead of regular paper towel.
  • Go through your toys and find ones you don’t play with anymore. Give used toys to others who can still use them (i.e., to shelters or other charities).
  • Plan to grow a garden next spring or herbs and vegetables. Start seedlings now.

Recycle

  • Recycle paper/glass/plastic instead of throwing it in the garbage.

Think of others

  • Prepare and cook a “simple meal” of rice and beans for lunch or dinner. Give the money you save in preparing this meal to PWS&D. Pray before the meal and be reflective about those for whom a similar meal would be their only meal.

Connect with the world around us

  • Go for a walk outside and give thanks for the beauty you encounter and enjoy.
  • “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Turn off the TV, computer, phone and rest in the stillness—even if it is just for five minutes.

40 Activities for 40 Days of Lent

  1. Give up plastic and paper bags. Commit to using a cloth/reusable bag for groceries.
  2. Stop buying bottled water.
  3. Stop receiving unwanted catalogues. If you do not want to receive the catalogues that appear in your mail—cancel them. Put a sign on mailbox that reads: Please no flyers.
  4. Wash your laundry in cold water. 90% of the energy used by washing machines goes into heating. The higher the water temperature, the higher the cost to you and the planet.
  5. Give up conventional detergents. Use products that are plant-based, concentrated and biodegradable.
  6. Give up using the clothes dryer. It is the second biggest household energy-user after the refrigerator. Over drying your clothes can end up costing you money as well.
  7. Prepare and cook a “simple meal” of rice and beans for lunch or dinner. Give the money you save in preparing this meal to PWS&D. Pray before the meal and be reflective about those for whom a similar meal would be their only meal.
  8. Give up using paper towel. Try reusable microfiber towels instead.
  9. Give up 2 degrees to save energy; turn down the thermostat if its cold, or up if its hot outside. Turn the thermostat down at night and while you are away from home. Save energy and money.
  10. Stop idling your car’s engine.
  11. Turn off your computer and printer at night.
  12. Research green energy (energy from renewable sources) providers in your area. Many (although not all) communities have access renewable energy providers such as Bullfrog power. Know what your options are, and the costs and benefits of each option.
  13. Pay bills online. Save natural resources by enrolling in online bill-paying options. Opt for paperless services.
  14. Engage in spring cleaning—it’s an opportunity to get rid of “stuff.” Ask yourself what don’t I want? Also ask what don’t I need? Invite God into your consideration of these questions and journey into a place of “letting go” of excess in your life.
  15. Print documents on two sides of your paper sheet.
  16. Carpool, ride your bike, walk or take public transit (if possible).
  17. Do an energy audit (on your house or church). If you live in an apartment and don’t have access to utility bills, audit the things you are able to: garbage, transportation, etc. Assess how much energy you use each day. Set goals to reduce your consumption. Greening Sacred Spaces has a guide for self-conducted building energy audits. The Presbyterian Church in Canada has information on calculating carbon emissions for car and air travel.
  18. Use rechargeable batteries.
  19. Conserve water. Fix leaky faucets and use a 6-litre flush toilet. Use a low-flow showerhead.
  20. Plan to grow an herb and vegetable garden. Start seedlings now.
  21. Drive a fuel-efficient car.
  22. Use biodegradable doggie bags instead of regular plastic.
  23. Avoid overnight shipping; ground transportation means less fuel use and pollution.
  24. Install solar electric panels or use geothermal heating and cooling.
  25. Switch to energy-efficient appliances.
  26. Clean windows with vinegar instead of chemicals.
  27. Offset your carbon emissions. Calculate your carbon footprint and ease your conscience by purchasing CO2 offsets to compensate for what remains.
  28. Recycle your Christmas tree. The City of Calgary collects trees and grounds them into wood chips available for people to use in their gardens in the summer.
  29. Recycle your Christmas paper. Reuse paper bags, bows and boxes. Keep them out of the garbage. Consider making cloth bags and ribbons for ties that can be recycled over the years by family members.
  30. Install a demand water heater, which heats up water when you need it. For much of the time water sits in the tank unused, slowly losing heat. A gas-fired demand water heater rather than an electric model requires less energy.
  31. Recycle your cell phone; make sure it gets disposed of properly. Most cell phones contain lead, high amounts of copper, nickel, antimony and zinc that can leach into landfills. Visit one of Calgary’s electronic recycling depots. For locations, see the City of Calgary web site.
  32. Save gas by avoiding rapid acceleration and braking when driving your car. Keep your tires properly inflated and the car tuned up.
  33. Turn your lights out for one hour at Earth Hour on April 22.
  34. Buy locally produced groceries, where available. Eat less meat.
  35. Learn about your ecological footprint.
  36. Discontinue or reduce use of disposable products when alternatives exist (i.e. travel mugs and water bottles).
  37. Go for a walk outside and give thanks for the beauty you encounter and enjoy.
  38. Watch the film “An Inconvenient Truth.”
  39. Study the ACCRA Confession: Covenanting for Justice and the Economy and the Earth, World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), 24th General Assembly in Accra, Ghana, 2004. Read a book on climate change. Try Keeping our Cool: Canada in a Warming Climate by Andrew Weaver; Eco faith: Creating and Sustaining Green Congregations by Charlene Hosenfeld; or A New Climate for Theology by Sallie McFague.
  40. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Turn off the TV, computer, phone and rest in the stillness, even if it is just for 5 minutes.

 

What Can You Do?

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Creative Actions Your Church Can Take

 

Useful Links

Image of arrow pointing downCaring for Creation

For more information on how you and your congregation can care for creation, contact Justice Ministries.