Green Team News – December 2019

submitted by Ramona Kime

As we give Christmas gifts to our loved ones and end-of-year charitable contributions to our favorite charities, let’s not forget those organizations that are working around the clock to help our earth.  Here are some of the favorite charities of our Green Team members:

Creation Justice Ministries (www.creationjustice.org):  Creation Justice Ministries works to            build ecumenical communities in an effort to protect, restore, and rightly share God’s creation.

Alliance for the Great Lakes (www.greatlakes.org):  The Alliance for the Great Lakes is the            largest citizens’ environmental organization dedicated to the protection of North America’s Great Lakes.

Wildside Rehabilitation & Education Center (https://wildsidemi.wordpress.com): This Eaton Rapids organization rehabilitates injured wildlife and releases them back into the wild.

World Wildlife Fund (www.worldwildlife.org):  The World Wildlife Fund works in the field of            wildness protection and the reduction of human impact on the environment.

Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org):  The mission of the Nature Conservancy is to            conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

Heifer, International (www.heifer.org):  Heifer works to eradicate hunger and poverty            through sustainable, values-based, holistic community development.

Green Team News

As a reflection of our church banner:  “Protect the Environment”, a church Green Team was formed.  At their first meeting May 30, 2019 they decided to start with the following projects:

1) Add more recycling bins around church to make recycling easier;

2) Make a mug holder in the Bess Fulton Room for our personal mugs so we don’t use so many Styrofoam cups; and

3) Move towards making coffee hour more “green” by teaching others to use the dishwasher so we aren’t so intimidated by cleaning “real” dishes, cups, and silverware.

Kermit sings “It isn’t easy being green,” but we’re hoping that helping our church become more green will be easy and fun!

If you have ideas of projects or ways we can be more “green”, or would like to join in our efforts, let one of the Green Team members know: Ramona Kime, Amy Frost, Mary Kohmuench, Brenda Wood, Deb Cogswell, Amy Krizek, Deanna Rendel, Mary Normand, Ethel Hallett, and Jeannine Scott.

NEWS from 9/2019

The Green Team has been given the green light by the Church Council to purchase more recycling bins for the church and the annex.  We are hoping that these will make it easier for our church family to do our part in being good stewards of our church, our community, and our planet.

When recycling, it’s important not to “contaminate” recycling bins with trash.  Recycling centers will toss a whole load of recycling if it’s found to have even a few items of trash in it.  So we want to make it clear where trash goes and where the recycling goes.  It seems simple enough, but it has ramifications if we don’t get it right.

In the Bess Fulton Room, there will be a 3-bin recycling center: one bin for plastic, glass, and metal; one bin for paper; and the third bin for trash.  With the trash bin right next to the recycling, it will be easier to put items where they need to go.  There will also be a similar 3-bin recycling center in the Annex hall.

The sanctuary will have a small recycling bin at the entrances, where our current recycling baskets are.  With a specifically labeled bin, people—especially our guests—will know where to put used bulletins and other recycled items.  The church lounge and each room in the Annex will also have a small bin for co-mingled recyclables.

We are excited to do our part in helping the church be more eco-friendly.  If you have any questions about the recycling bins, please see one of the Green Team members: Ramona, Amy Frost, Amy Krizek, Mary Normand, Mary Kohmuench, Brenda Wood, Ethel Hallett, Deanna Rendel, and Deb Cogswell.


Some of the great ideas for saving our earth:

  • Minimize idling. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually more efficient to turn your car off and then restart it than it is to idle for 10 seconds or longer. Not only does idling waste gas, it also causes smog and greenhouse gas emissions. So when you are waiting in the drive-through at the bank, or picking your kids up from school, turning the engine off will protect your pocketbook and the air around you.  (from Interfaith Power & Light)
  • Turn your water heater down to ~120⁰. Water heating is very energy intensive, and chances are your water is hotter than you need.  Also, reduce shower times by 5 minutes–showers account for two thirds of water heating costs.  (from Interfaith Power & Light)
  • If you are still using incandescent bulbs, throw them out and replace them with LEDs now! It seems wasteful, but the energy savings make this a no-brainer. (from Interfaith Power & Light)
  • Conventionally grown coffee causes deforestation. Choose shade-grown, organic coffee as a more sustainable option.  They are also often certified fair trade.  Sometimes coffees are grown organically but aren’t certified as such, and likewise with shade-grown.  Coffee that is fair trade is usually shade grown, but not always.  But if you look for coffee that is certified in one or two of those areas (shade grown, organic, fair trade), you’ll be helping to reduce deforestation.

Here are some options:

Meijer offers True Goodness Colombian coffee that is fair trade and organic. Meijer also has Newman’s Own decaf coffee that is fair trade and organic. Horrocks has Mexican Chiapas coffee (100% Aribica) that is fair trade and organic. Trader Joe’s has Ethiopian coffee that is shade grown, organic, fair trade.Whole Foods has multiple options, especially with the Higher Grounds and 365 brands.

  • Avoid using balloons, especially if they are released.  Balloons released to the sky come down to Earth, somewhere, as litter, 100% of the time.  Volunteer trash pickups found more than 18,000 balloons, balloon pieces or balloon strings along Great Lakes shorelines between 2016 and 2018.  And if the balloons come down in or along a body of water, it can look like food to a seabird, a sea turtle dolphin or other marine animal.  Many of these animals die from eating balloon pieces or from hanging from power lines, choked by balloon strings.  The bottom line is, when you let go of a balloon, you’re littering.
  • Eat food that is locally grown and in season. This will not only help ensure that your produce is flavorful and vitamin-rich, it will also help support local growers. What’s more, 13% of US greenhouse gas emissions are from producing and transporting food, so buying locally grown food is likely to have a lower carbon footprint than produce shipped from thousands of miles away.  (from Interfaith Power & Light)
  • BYOB—Bring your own bag AND bring your own bottle. Single-use plastic bags and bottled water are two key contributors to plastic pollution. Such plastics are resource-intensive to produce and transport and often end up in landfills, where they will take hundreds of years to biodegrade. What’s more, the quality of bottled water is notoriously unregulated and has often been found to be no more “pure” than standard tap water.  (from Interfaith Power & Light)