SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
by Bob Paulen

LOVE YOUR MOTHER…EARTH!

These brief monthly articles ask, “What can I do about the environment?”  It turns out that we can do quite a bit.  Last year consumer spending made up 69% of the US economy, a whopping $14.3 trillion dollars!  That is money that you and I can direct to renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, non-toxic products and good jobs.  Here are four strategies that affirm people and the planet, social and environmental justice.

  1. Rethink Consumption.  Practice the art of simplicity.  Repair, swap, buy used, do it yourself, grow your own—there are so many ways to get what you need without buying anything.
  2. Buy Green.  Every dollar you spend is a vote for the world you want to see—so choose products and businesses that align with that.
  3. Invest Responsibly.  Move your money from a Wall Street bank to a community development bank or credit union.  Use your clout as an investor to demand that companies clean up their act.  Go fossil free!
  4. Get Even More Involved.  When you reduce your consumption and free up your

        mind, focus on relational community building.  Follow you passion!

Every choice you make has the power to protect the Earth and all her people..  That is what we mean by “going green”!

 

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”  I Cor.10:26

LOVE YOUR MOTHER…EARTH!

During our enforced “Shelter in Place” edict I’ve decided to build a compost bin.  I have secured several 4’ x 4’ pallets to repurpose from a construction site with their permission.  Composting food scraps with yard waste will reduce the amount of waste you are “feeding” to the landfill and at the same time produce a “food” for your yard and garden that is a good as any soil conditioner you can buy.   

Basically composting is simply the controlled process of natural decomposition of organic matter.  It is a process that is occurring constantly all around us.  Compost is produced through the activity of naturally occurring soil microbes know as decomposer.  Given a favorable environment with the right conditions of food, air, water and temperature, the decomposers will break down your food scraps and yard  waste and recycle them into humus-like material that can serve as an excellent soil amendment for your yard and garden. 

There are various compost systems including an open pile, a tumbler, a wire collector or a bin.  Choose a suitable location that is flat, well drained and ideally shady.  Avoid placing the bin against a tree or wooden building and make sure the bin is close to a source of water such as a garden hose or rain barrel.  Start with a base of course twigs or wood chips to aid in aeration.  Layer other materials 2-6” deep in the composter.  Alternating the types of materials will speed up decomposition, especially if you alternate nigh-carbon materials (shredded paper, leaves, sawdust, twigs, straw) with nigh-nitrogen greens (fruit peels, vegetable scraps, grass clippings, coffee ground, hair).  Mix 75% brown organic materials with 25% green organic materials by volume.

Here are a few items to include and exclude.  INCLUDE: weeds, bread ,fruit, egg shells, leaves, old potting soil, shredded paper, coffee grounds & filters, grass clippings, vegetables, tea bags and paper towels.  LEAVE OUT:  bones, lard, treated wood, oils, meat, dairy, vegetable oil, nut butters, fish, mayonnaise, dog and cat feces.  Small particles decompose faster than large ones.  Chop or shred materials before adding them to the bin.  Keep the compost pile as damp as a wrung-out sponge.  Mix the contents of your bin regularly.  Finished compost tends to accumulate in the bottom of the pile or bin.  It is ready to use when it is dark brown, crumbly, soil-like material with a sweet or musty smell.  You may have usable compost in 2 to 3 months or it may take up to a year.  HAPPY COMPOSTING!

          “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”  I Cor. 10:26

LOVE YOUR MOTHER, EARTH!

As we are thinking about New Year’s Resolutions at this time of year, here is a proposal for “Ten Commandments for Climate Change” for your prayerful consideration and action:

  1. Eliminate Food Waste:  Americans throw away 40% if the food they buy!
  2. Eat Plant-Based:  Transitioning to a vegetarian diet can cut your carbon footprint in half, and going vegan, even lower!
  3. Use Clean Energy: Renewable energy is fundamental to powering the world as we move away from fossil fuels.
  4. Divest:  Divesting means taking you money out of institutions that fund fossil fuel expansion as it is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
  5. Recycle:  Acquiring virgin resources exploits more resources than recycling.
  6. Use LED Lighting:  LEDs use 90 % less energy than incandescent bulbs!
  7. Improve Insulation:  This is one of the most cost-effective tactics to combat the climate crisis.  Older homes can lose up to 35%of heat through their walls. 
  8. Rethink Transportation:  Check out ShamePlane.com for ideas.
  9. Participate in the Democratic Process:  Climate change has implications on local, national and global levels.  Elections will help to determine how we grapple with catastrophic climate change.
  10. Buy Less: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse is our mantra!

LOVE YOUR MOTHER, EARTH!  6 Steps for Greener Laundry

Sometimes our most mundane tasks can have an impact on the planet.  Laundry is no different, so here are a few tips to keep in mind for your next wash day.

  1. Avoid Toxic Chemicals:  Many conventional detergents are made with petroleum-based substances called petrochemicals.  These are often used to make surfactants, which are substances that remove dirt and allow oil and water to mix.  Surfactants are important in effective detergents, but petroleum-based ones can cause itching and irritation.  Also some including nonylphenol ethoxylates (NEPs) are known endocrine disruptors that effect cardiac, kidney, immune and neurological systems.
  2. Get Green Detergents:  Eco-friendly detergents are biodegradable and made without petroleum-based chemicals, optical brighteners, dyes or artificial fragrances. 
  3. Make Your Own Detergent:  Taking a DIY approach to detergents reduces the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals and saves you cash.  The Small Footprint Family has an easy recipe: grab a bucket and mix hot water with 1 cup washing soda, ½ cup baking soda, and 1 cup liquid castile soap.  For a nice aroma, consider adding pure lavender, lemongrass, peppermint or tea tree oils.
  4. Use Energy Efficient Washers and Dryers:  Any appliances that have to heat things up or cool them down are the major energy-users in the home, like refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters and washer/dryers  Buying an energy-efficient version of any of these can transform a home’s energy usage.  Look for the Energy Star label.  Certified W/D respectively use 25 and 20 less energy than conventional ones.
  5. Ditch the Dryer Altogether:  If you have a yard with space go the old-fashion way and hang your laundry on a clothes line.  Exposing you clothes to sunlight is a natural way to dry and refresh them.  Using drying racks indoors works just as well as long as the area in your home gets enough air flow.
  6. Use Cool Water:  The EPA estimates that 90% of the energy our washing machines use is for water heating.  Washing in cooler water saves energy and reduces your carbon footprint.  Also, washing in cooler water saves you up to $60 annually and increases the life of your closes by preserving dyes and preventing shrinkage. 
 

                   “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”  Psalm 24:1”

LOVE YOUR MOTHER, EARTH!  “Plastic is Out; Sustainability is In”

    “Opt Out of Single-Use.”  Did you realize that it takes nearly 500 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose?  Did you know that the “plastic trash island “ in the Pacific Ocean is twice the size of Texas?

    The European Union and Canada have voted to abandon single-use plastics by 2021.  New York, California and Hawaii already have plastic bag bans.  At lease 127 countries have adopted some degree of regulation of plastic bags.  Where does Delaware and the federal government stand? 

    Plastics aren’t the only single-use  target.  Styrofoam (Polystyrene) has been band in NYC, Seattle and Miami.  Maryland is the first state to do so.  Consumers can support these movements by voting with their dollars for sustainable businesses.  Check out the Green Business Network on GreenPages.org.  Our collective purchasing power can shift the tide away from a single-use culture to a green economy that puts planet health and human welfare first.

    Here is a ranking of alternative ideas for a healthier planet that will help you in your decision making:

Instead of Bottled Water Try…
  • Green:  Brita Filter
  • Greener: Kishu Charcoal
  •  Greenest:
    • Ceramic Filter
    • Epworth Water/Coffee Drink C Thermos Cups ($10 at the WINGS table every Sunday AM)
 
Instead of Plastic Bags, Try:
  • Green: Brown Paper Bags
  • Greener: Cotton Bags
  • Greenest:
    • Polyester Tote Bags
    • *Epworth Green Team Totes ($5 at the WINGS table every Sunday AM)
 
 
Instead of Plastic Straws, Try…
  • Green: Stainless Steel & Silicone
  • Greener: Glass
  • Greenest: Bamboo

For more detailed information on these and other ideas visit www.greenamerica.org

 

         “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”  I Corinthians 10:26
 
*made from heavy duty pet food bags
Falling under the Inviting All Ministry Team is the Social Justice Ministry. Our Social Justice Team has many outreach programs that make Epworth’s “hands and feet of God” a vital part of the surrounding community as well as the worldwide community. Caring for our environment is just such one of those concerns. Feel free to take a look and see if this is an outreach where you’d like to participate.