Our Green Sanctuary program affirms and promotes the seven principles of the UUA, including the seventh: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”
A Green Sanctuary is a congregation that lives out its commitment to the Earth by creating a sustainable lifestyle for its members as individuals and as a faith community. (For more information go to www.uua.org.)
Our Green Sanctuary committee has the immediate goal of obtaining Green Sanctuary certification and, in the process, seeks to provide information and motivation to find ways to live more sustainably.
As 2009 begins we have created our Action Plan and it has been approved by the Program Council and the Board of Trustees as our working document for the next two years. Our application for candidacy as a Green Sanctuary was submitted to UUA in December 2008.
Here is a very brief summary of the 12 actions that we have proposed:
- Green purchasing and cleaning within the church building
Address two aspects of our environmental impact — the cleaning practices in the building (floors, windows, furniture, toilets, sinks, counters) and our use of office paper.
- Toward a carbon-neutral house of worship: Heating and electricity use
Make changes with lighting, appliances, and energy conservation measures to use electricity and gas more efficiently.
- Toward a carbon-neutral house of worship: Architectural improvements
Develop a proposal to reduce our use of fossil fuels by means of some or all of the following: insulation, skylights, updating of our heating system, use of passive solar, and, possibly, installation of photovoltaic panels.
- How we care for our own piece of the earth
Develop a comprehensive policy and a 10-year landscape management plan for our site.
- Eating for our own health and the health of the planet
Hold discussion groups using the Northwest Earth Institute discussion course “Menu for the Future” and pursue further actions that result from that study.
- Youth education
Maintain a focus on the 7th Principle through curricula, worship and stewardship.
- Using resources sustainably
Examine ways to achieve a sustainable life style in a society where consumerism is viewed as being necessary to keep the economy growing.
- Reconnect with the natural world
Design and introduce one or more Nature Study areas on our varied landscape, involving both children and adults, and organize annual activities for the congregation to explore our own property and an activity at one of the nature centers or parks.
- Dedicated worship service
Hold Earth Sunday services. Annually, we will celebrate the year’s “green” accomplishments and inspire and educate the congregation, including the youth, toward ongoing efforts toward sustainability.
- Quarterly emphasis
Incorporate environmental concerns into a portion of a service in each quarter.
- Building bridges
Work with a local community garden to make that garden more able to provide organic vegetables for the families living there. Work with the Circles Bridges out of Poverty program to explore no-cost or low-cost ways of promoting energy savings.
- Advocacy efforts related to global warming, water, clean energy, clean air, and a healthy environment
Advocate for changes in local, state and federal government policies toward a more sustainable future.
Visit us at our frequent Green Gatherings table in the Social Hall after the service to share environmental concerns and check the bulletin board on the way to the Social Hall.
Our current co-chairs are John and Janet Allen. They can be contacted at
Links to interesting, informative, and innovative websites
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E-mail newsletter of Eco-Justice Ministries
Kitchen gardeners strut their stuff
Better bags for a better planet
Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth
New York Interfaith Power and Light