What’s Going on with Green Sanctuary 2030?

by The Green Sanctuary Steering Committee

In November 2023, the Green Sanctuary steering group collected your climate action experience and ideas for how we can take action on climate change. One hundred and thirty-eight people responded to the survey. Wow! Over 90% of us rated the severity of global warming from an 8 to 10 with a 10 being catastrophic. The good news is that over 80% of us felt we were well-informed about climate change and had a good understanding of the connection between climate change and social justice. The even better news is that nearly 80% of us were ready to take action on climate change. If you’re curious about all the great ideas, you can visit the list
HERE.

Following the survey, on December 3 our group held an action forum to help folks identify and volunteer on a selection of initiatives. Many people at the forum signed up to help lead and volunteer for those projects that gained support at the forum. Here is the status of these projects as of mid-January:

  • A team of nine folks agreed to pursue a geothermal energy conversion for the church building. This project group has just begun to get organized, with volunteer leaders meeting to figure out next steps. Early work will include bringing the volunteer group together, researching possible vendors to contact for proposals and considering how to fund the potential project.
  • A team of eleven folks agreed to pursue a single use plastics ban and/or reduction in the Concord
    Area – both within our church and in the greater Concord community. This project group has just begun to get organized, with volunteer leaders establishing times to get together to figure out next steps. The full volunteer group will get together in the next few weeks to set goals for 2024 and explore partnerships to increase our impact and reach.
  • Guided by zero-waste principals, the Zero-Waste Project will focus on leading the church in using fewer resources and creating less waste in pursuit of being a Zero-Waste Community. Much was in place prior to the Climate Action Forum. The team will build on earlier success helping the church community use the Five-R approach, a sequence of five practices: First Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, or Repurpose and then Recycle. The best way to tackle waste is to not create it in the first place! The team welcomes folks interested in this impactful work.
  • The WindowDressers group will likely be a low-key effort this year at the church level. Several area groups are planning WindowDressers insulating window insert Community Builds later this year in Henniker, New London, and Canterbury. Volunteers needed! Find more information about WD Community Builds at windowdressers.org
  • The landscaping group has had a strong start in January. The group will be working on two big themes: (1) Providing educational and “how-to” sustainable landscaping resources to the church community; and (2) Improving landscaping practices on the church grounds. We are still seeking an appropriate name for the group that represents our efforts to encourage biodiversity through landscaping, pollinators, removal of invasives, and native plants.

If you’re interested in getting involved, all of these groups would welcome you with open arms. There were also many other ideas submitted and if you and a handful of people would like to pursue another project, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach the steering group at  greensteering@concorduu.org. As the steering group, we’re here to encourage and support efforts that folks are ready to bring to life. Meanwhile, leaders and volunteers that have gathered around each specific initiative will plan and run those efforts, to keep our collective work streamlined and tight-knit.

In summary, we’re in the early stages of our congregation’s Green Sanctuary 2030 initiative. Our startup projects, described above, reflect the priorities of those who were present at our December 3rd Climate Action Forum. We’re so happy to see this initiative begin to take root. Soon enough, you’ll hear from us about future possibilities for bringing additional ideas to life. To stay current on the go, you can sign up for the Church’s Sustainability email list to get updates. To be added to the Sustainability email list, send an email to office@concorduu.org to request to be added to the list. Please allow a couple of business days.

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