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.

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…

97. December 4: THE CLIMATE CRISIS
EASY: As we approach the holiday season, it’s tempting to put the rest of life on hold.
But…think now about at least 1 way to reduce waste during the holidays. Maybe buy
less, donate to an environmental cause…
CHALLENGING: Read an inspirational article or book of your choice about the climate
crisis and act on it. Find suggested books here: https://fcgg.org/ecobooks/

98. December 11: CREATE GOOD LEFTOVERS THIS HOLIDAY
EASY: Read what to do with leftover food this holiday here,
https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/12/26/holiday-leftovers-weve-got-you-covered
CHALLENGING: From the site above, or site of your choice, make least 1 new recipe
using your holiday leftovers.

99. December 18: HOLIDAY WRAPPING, LIGHTS, and DECORATIONS
EASY: Re-use paper, cloth bags, boxes, and bags from prior years. If purchasing
holiday lights be sure they are LEDs. For Hanukkah buy eco-friendly Hanukkah candles.
CHALLENGING: Make your holiday decorations out of objects found in nature.

100. December 25: WASHABLE, REUSABLE or ECO-FRIENDLY SERVICEWARE.
EASY: Use washable dishes and cutlery for your holiday meal. If you must buy “single
use” items, buy paper plates made from 100% recycled products or plant-based
material such as bamboo. Buy cutlery made from plant-based material or wood by-
products. Note: Compostable items generally do not decompose in the landfill.
CHALLENGING:  Use cloth napkins and cloth towels for cleanup. Ask you grocer to stock
toilet paper made from bamboo or other plant-based products.

93. November 6: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle

EASY: If you must use plastic bags, when possible rinse them out after use and reuse.

CHALLENGING: Recycle batteries, printer cartridges, cell phones.

94. November 13: CLOTHING

EASY: Look for upcycling opportunities in your area OR check out 17 Genius Things You Can Do With Old Clothes You Can’t Donate

CHALLENGING: Sew and/or mend some of your own clothes.

 

95. November 20: NATURE

EASY: Enjoy house plants and pets to bring a bit of nature inside your living space

CHALLENGING: Over the Thanksgiving holiday invite your family to take a walk/hike in nature. Thank our Creator for the beauty and value of nature.

 

97. November 27: FOOD

EASY: Don’t waste food. Only put food on your plate that you think you can reasonably eat.

CHALLENGING: Only buy food that you think you will consume and use all that you buy.

 

88. October 2: PLASTIC

EASY: To reduce single-use plastics (SUPS) carry snacks from home (fruit, nuts, etc.) in a paper bag or reusable bag.

CHALLENGING: Buy juices and soft drinks in cans or glass rather than plastic bottles. After use, recycle them.

 

89. October 9: ENERGY

EASY: Repair leaks around windows/doors. Lock windows to seal.

CHALLENGING: Repair hot water leaks. Insulate water heater (“blanket”) + hot water pipes (wrap).

 

90. October 16: FINANCIAL

EASY: When shopping, look for items made as close to home as possible to help reduce the carbon footprint of global shipping. Not only will you save money but also help preserve natural resources.

CHALLENGING: Also look for items that have a reputation for being sustainably made (compostable phone cases, sunglasses made from recycled ocean plastics, etc.).

 

91. October 23: BATHROOM

EASY: Dental care: Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. 

CHALLENGING: Consider a bamboo toothbrush. Try silk dental floss; many come in refillable glass containers. Check out toothpaste tablets instead of plastic tubes.

 

92. October 30: SPIRITUALITY

EASY: Reflect on your environmental hopes and concerns. Find a prayer or meditation in your faith tradition for our earth and environment.     

CHALLENGING: Meditate on how this reflection applies to your life.

September 4: FOOD

EASY: Support farmers and reduce food miles by buying local produce.

CHALLENGING: Commit to a “hunger meal” once a week. This might mean skipping a meal or eating only 1 item (like an apple or simple vegetable.)


September 11: BUYING CLOTHES

EASY: When considering buying a new piece of clothing, evaluate whether you really need another “x”. Count how many you already have.

 CHALLENGING: If you decide the clothing item really is necessary, evaluate the material it is made out of. Prioritize natural fibers rather than synthetics or acrylics.


September 18: NATURE

EASY: Take a hike in the woods. Listen to the subtle sounds of nature. How many can you identify?

CHALLENGING: In addition to a hike in the woods, “hike” through the poorest neighborhood of your city/town. Listen to the sounds. Are they any different?


September 25:
EDUCATE YOURSELF more on Laudato Si’

EASY: Read 2 of the 9 sub-chapters of Laudato Si’ Chapter 6, (bit.ly/3pCSCjE) on Ecological Education & Spirituality. (Sections 202-245) Why were these 2 of special interest to you?

CHALLENGING: Read the other 7 sub-chapters. It’s a lot to digest. Which of them calls you to action?


Optional Generic ECO-TIP

EASY: Find a newspaper article to read about what your city/town is doing (or not doing) to protect the environment.

CHALLENGING: Figure out a way to join those who are working to protect the environment.

 

  1. August 7: PLASTIC

EASY: For Community meals: Instead of plastic utensils, carry a metal collapsible cutlery set or a Spork

CHALLENGING: At home, avoid Teflon-coated non-stick pans as Teflon contains plastic. Invest in ceramic pans instead. 

  1. August 14: CLEANING

EASY: Review my Eco-Friendly household cleaning products list at bit.ly/44rpb3C

CHALLENGING: Choose one new product to try.

  1. August 21: ENERGY

EASY: Turn off computers and other appliances when not in use.

CHALLENGING: Clean or replace filters for all appliances/furnaces/air conditioners that have filters.

  1. August 26: EDUCATE YOURSELF

EASY: Google Regenerative agriculture vs Industrial agriculture. Do you understand the difference? Then google “What are the pros & cons of Industrial farming?”. 

CHALLENGING: Choose a Regenerative agriculture farming practice to support.

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
For related articles, go to my Living Lightly Blog: www.SusanVogt.net/blog
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.
© 2023 Susan Vogt
PHONE: (859) 291-6197, FAX: (859) 291-4742
E-MAIL: SusanVogt1@gmail.com
WEBSITE: www.SusanVogt.net