Social Justice: You, Me and the Environment
by Bob Paulen
Climate Conversations
        at Epworth March 4

Epworth will co-host with Delaware Interfaith Power & Light (DelPL) a respectful gathering for a Climate Conversation on Wednesday, March 4, from 6:30-8:00. This will take place in round table, small group discussions, with facilitators from DelPL and the Green Team@Epworth at each table. Please sign-up at the Green Team table at the Fair or at the WINGS table. All are invited.


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 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  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


         “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.