At the Feast of St. Francis, we celebrate Creation with the blessing of the animals in a joyous liturgy. Through our participation in the Diocesan Environmental Commission we work regionally and nationally on environmental issues. Beach clean-up days, creek clean-ups, work with other local churches, Habitat for Humanity projects, and educational field trips are just some of the ways we seek locally to protect our fragile Earth. Here are some projects All Souls’ Environmental team has been working on:
The team applied for and received a $2,300 grant from StopWaste.org, the Alameda County Waste Management Authority, for the purchase of a large recycling center for the Parish Hall. The new recycling center separates organics, glass and plastic, paper, and trash, and will aid the parish in complying with the City of Berkeley’s recycling requirements. The team also created educational brochures and leaflets on the recycling system and is in the process of implementing training sessions with the parish, janitorial staff, and Open Door Dinner teams.
The team has organized a system for parishioners to recycle small household hazardous wastes that cannot be sent to a municipal landfill or recycled at home. We collect batteries, compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs, and cell phones from parishioners in a box in the Parish Hall Lobby, and periodically recycle the hazardous waste at authorized recycling centers. The response to this service has been overwhelming, and is a very worthwhile way to help parishioners stay green.
Inspired by the solar initiative taken by Interfaith Power and Light, the Environmental team ventured to reduce All Souls’ dependence on non-renewable energy by upgrading to solar energy production. The team researched the installation of solar panels on the south-facing roof of the church to provide clean energy for the parish, and reduce long-term electric costs, and submitted a proposal to the vestry for the purchase of solar panels, which included a site-assessment and proposal from a local solar provider.
As a part of the team’s energy-reduction efforts, CFL light bulbs continue to be installed in all fixtures. However, many fixtures in the parish are not CFL-compatible, and must be replaced with high-efficiency fixtures. The team is working with the parish administration and property committee to replace inefficient lighting fixtures.
And, on an ongoing basis, the team organizes activities to educate and/or enable parishioners to care for the environment. At our annual Earth Day Celebration, the team offered a sermon from the Reverend Canon Sally Bingham from CLIP and a presentation from the Berkeley Climate Action Team. The team also organized two adult education sessions: first, a moving presentation on Climate Change by Andrew Gunther of the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration; and second, an Earthkeeping Series created and lead by seminarian Justin Cannon. The team also participates in state-wide activities with the diocese to improve our environmental efforts at All Souls. This year we attended the Diocesan Environmental Commission annual conference and continued to network and share ideas with our counterparts in nearby parishes.