Keeping with the theme of stewardship, Michael asked if I would write to you about a proposal that we hope will be presented at our Annual Meeting in January 2016 relating to our value of caring for the earth by reducing our congregation’s carbon footprint.
At the United Church of Christ General Synod in July 2015, a Resolution of witness was adopted to advocate for our country to be fossil fuel free by the year 2042. To live out such a witness, here at Old First, we need to consciously take steps to reduce our own use of fossil fuel thereby reducing our Carbon Footprint as a congregation… and as individual members of Old First.
The proposal that follows is not, I humbly admit, my idea. I obtained it by attending a webinar conducted by a group called GreenFaith that
specializes in helping communities of faith find ways to be more
environmentally responsible in the use of their facilities. (I have a
recording of the Webinar if you want to see it, let me know.)
To be obtainable, a goal such as reducing our carbon footprint requires some specific objectives AND a strategy for reaching those objectives.
GreenFaith provided some examples and the one that made the most sense to me was the overall goal of reducing our consumption of fossil fuel energy.
1. The only way we will succeed in such an effort is if we, as a
congregation, make a commitment to a goal and plan to do what needs to be done to reduce our energy consumption. For example, reducing our non-renewable energy use by some set amount the year 2016
2. From that follows a strategy of creating an Energy Consumption Committee that will look at the specific sources of energy use that can be most significant in reducing our footprint and charging that group with guiding us to meet our goal.
3. There are a few specific things that we can do as a congregation of faith that are no or low cost to realize an incredible immediate
reduction in our energy consumption and the saving we realize in these efforts can be the source of funding of some alternatives that may require a bit of capital investment.
4. Believe it or not, the biggest issue is not the windows. The biggest savings in energy use is setting the temperature at 45 degrees during unoccupied times in the winter and at 90 degrees during unoccupied times in the summer and being intentional about the use of the buildings and the setting of the occupied and unoccupied time.
The GreenFaith webinar leaders said something that made perfect sense to me. “Whatever we do, to succeed, it needs to be based on a goal adopted by the congregation at large, not just a few folks in the Admin. SLG or a few people who feel passionate about Climate Change. It is something we need to commit to.”
So in this time of considering what sort of financial and time commitment we are willing to pledge to Old First for the year 2016, I ask you also to consider a comparable pledge, as members and affiliates of Old First:
A pledge to assist in reducing our congregation’s consumption of fossil fuels by 10% in the year 2016 and a commitment to do your part in reaching that objective.
See you in church.