Faith Communities Go Green

ECO Tips

The below tips are from Susan Vogt.
Susan provides monthly tips on becoming eco-friendly in our everyday lives.

  1. June 3: FOOD

EASY: Veggies are good. Especially think root crops like carrots. Carrots provide the absolute most nutrients for the least emissions. The Climate Diet by Paul Greenberg

CHALLENGING: It takes some time but try planting your own carrots or other healthy crop.

123. June 10: ENERGY USE

EASY: When possible, use stairs instead of elevators. It doubles as exercise.

CHALLENGING: During hot weather minimize air conditioner use by using a small fan or maybe install a whole house fan.

124. June 17: SHOPPING

EASY: When shopping, consider an email or digital receipt instead of a printed copy. Digital receipts are easier to save and organize, plus they reduce paper waste.

CHALLENGING: When making major purchases, consider the environmental impact, particularly production and transportation, and seek ways to minimize these.

125. June 24: NATURE

EASY: Take a walk in the woods for fun and exercise.

CHALLENGING: Keep natural wooded areas clean by taking a non-plastic container to pick up trash.

118. May 6: CLEANING
EASY: Review the cleaning products you use for the kitchen and bathroom. How many are
made of single-use plastics (SUPs)? If you can refill the container, you don’t need to count it – yet.
CHALLENGING: Decide to find substitutes for at least 10% of your SUP containers.
Consider silicone storage containers, lids, reusable food bags, etc.·       

119. May 13: EDUCATE YOURSELF
EASY: Learn about a local environmental organization, for example, Sierra Club, The
Nature Conservancy, 350.org, and FCGG.org
CHALLENGING: Join your chosen organization and support it with your time and money.
FCGG is seeking volunteers. Write to info@fcgg.org for information, and we will contact
you. Thank you!

120. May 20: WATER
EASY: To conserve water, wash your car less frequently.
CHALLENGING: When your car does need washing, consider using a commercial car wash. The
average homeowner uses more than 100 gallons of water to wash a car, while most car washes use
far less water.

121. May 27: SYSTEMIC 
EASY: Promote a green practice with a fellow worker, client, customer, or student. 
CHALLENGING: Submit a public comment on proposed federal regulations. You can find
opportunities at https://www.regulations.gov.

114. April 1: SPIRITUALITY 
We humans are not the center of the universe. What specific action can I take to honor
creation by caring for another – animal, plant, air, ground, or water this week. 
CHALLENGING: Join the Faith Communities Go Green’s Ecochallenge Team for April
Earth Month to take actions with others to protect creation for future generations.
https://earthmonth.ecochallenge.org/dashboards/teams/bakhtavar-desai

 115. April 8: CLEANING
EASY: Review the cleaning products you use for the kitchen and bathroom. How many are
made of single use plastics (SUPs)? If you can refill the container you don’t need to count it
– yet.
CHALLENGING: Decide to find substitutes for at least 10% of your SUP containers. Click
here or here for options. 

116. April 22: EARTH DAY
EASY: Planet vs Plastics is the theme for Earth Day 2024. Commit to not using or
buying any plastic on April 22.
CHALLENGING: Educate yourself on ways to reduce your use of plastics. Click here to
read many ways. (https://www.earthday.org/campaign/end-plastic-pollution/). Choose at
least 1 new action to take.  

117. April 29: NATURE
EASY: Plant a vegetable or fruit in your yard or near a window. If your dwelling cannot support a
home-grown crop, check out if there is a community garden near you. 
CHALLENGING: Plant a full vegetable garden or join a community garden near you.

110. March 4: FOOD – MEATLESS MONDAYS

EASY: To reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from the production of meat, try eating less meat. You can start with Meatless Mondays (https://www.mondaycampaigns.org/meatless-monday) for a month.

CHALLENGING: Commit to Meatless Mondays for the rest of the year. Eating less (or no) meat reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

 111. March 11: EDUCATE YOURSELF

EASY: Watch the inspiring 14 minute Ted talk “Are We the Last Generation?…” (https://www.ted.com/talks/hannah_ritchie_are_we_the_last_generation_or_the_first_sustainable_one?hasSummary=true) OR (https://bit.ly/3UFyHy1) by Hannah Ritchie about hope for a sustainable future. (Alert: be patient with the 14 second promo ad leading into the video.)

CHALLENGING: You found the bottom right sound icon & put up with the video ad; Now take one action prompted by this Ted talk to spread a message of hope. 

 112. March 18: TRANSPORTATION

EASY: Reduce the environmental impact of your driving by driving no more than the speed limit, making easy stops and starts, not idling.

CHALLENGING: Burn less gas by keeping your car tuned up, change the oil/air filters regularly, when using the AC use the recirculating mode.

 113. March 25: ENERGY USE

EASY: Install a power strip for appliances to avoid drawing ghost electricity.

CHALLENGING: Set your refrigerator at 36F to 42F, your freezer at -5F to +6F, and your water heater at 120F.

106. February 5: INFLUENCE OTHERS
EASY: Talk to a neighbor or friend about your commitment to care for planet earth plus
an eco-friendly practice you do. Sign up for Katherine Hayhoe's free climate newsletter.
CHALLENGING: Call, write, or email your mayor or other community leader about how
climate affects your region. Ask them to take action. Extra credit:Do the same for your
senator or representative. For contact information click here.
(https://www.congress.gov/members/find-your-member)

107. February 12: GENEROSITY 
EASY: For the next 4 weeks, look for 1 item a week to give away to someone in need. 
CHALLENGING: How about looking for 1 item a day to give away to someone in need.

108. February 19: SHOPPING
EASY: When shopping, look for items made as close to home as possible to support
local businesses and reduce the carbon footprint of shipping.
CHALLENGING: When shopping focus on sustainably made products (compostable
phone cases, sunglasses made from recycled ocean plastics, etc.) Be brave enough to
not be a slave to fast fashion.

109. February 26: PLASTICS
EASY: Avoid chewing gum. It’s made of plastic. To find out other health hazards of
chewing gum, click here (especially #2).
CHALLENGING: Research what your local garbage collection company does with
plastic trash. Then research what organizations are available in your community that
recycles #1, #2, and #5 plastics.

101. January 1: PLASTICS

EASY: Say no to single-use plastic straws and take away coffee cups.

CHALLENGING: Bring your own reusable carryout cup, OR slow down, relax, and drink your beverage at the eatery.

 

102. January 8: CLOTHING/WARMING UP

EASY: Layer Up – During cold months wear an extra layer around your home thus allowing you to lower the setting on your thermostat.

CHALLENGING: Install a programmable thermostat which allows you to automatically reduce heating at night or when no one is home.

 

103. January 15: PAPER USE

EASY: Instead of disposable tissues, use handkerchiefs when possible.

CHALLENGING: Instead of paper copies of stuff, use electronic media when possible/practical.

 

104. January 22: REDUCE/REUSE/RECYCLE

EASY: Buy Products with less packaging.

CHALLENGING: If/when your computer, printer, phone, or other tech equipment has become obsolete, research how to safely dispose of these devices. (Optional add on: Email susanvogt1@gmail.com your best solutions so I can spread the word.)

 

105. January 29: SPIRITUALITY

EASY: Meditate once a week on your relationship with the ecosystem in which you live.

CHALLENGING: Commit to act on at least one environmental cause that concerns you. Write a letter to the editor, join an environmental group, donate to an eco-cause…

TO EDUCATORS, LEADERS, & MINISTERS:
I offer you these Eco-Tips as a resource for those you serve.
My own faith tradition is Catholic, and thus Pope Francis’ teaching in Laudato Si’ inspired these ways of Living Laudato Si’. Of course caring for creation transcends religions and is indeed a universal undertaking. It cannot be done alone.
You are welcome to reprint these in bulletins, newsletters, and on your website with the credit “By Susan Vogt, www.SusanVogt.net
Since those we reach may be in many different places regarding environmental efforts, I offer 2 options each week:
EASY: Some of us are just starting to awaken to the need to care for creation, or have been busy with jobs, raising a family, or other social justice commitments. We may not have much discretionary time. OR, it may simply be a relief to note, “Hey, I’m already doing this one!” Good.
CHALLENGING: Others have been engaged in the environmental movement for awhile and are ready to take a bigger step. To multiply our efforts, we are called to go beyond our own personal lifestyle, and to make bigger, systemic changes. Consider how to impact change in our neighborhoods, cities, country, the world.