We aim to be a fully functional Eco-Congregation and are working towards that aim. We have a designated ‘Green Team to help us achieve this.
At PPC we are moving towards LED lighting and have been debating the replacement of our elderly and rather inefficient central heating boilers but are constrained by the Church of Scotland’s review of church buildings.
Meanwhile we have lagged a good length of the pipework that delivers heat to the basements rather than to the Sanctuary and halls. We recorded Sanctuary temperatures over a couple of weeks and found that the temperature continued to rise after the end of the evening service which suggests that the heating should could be on for less time as there is thermal lag in the system. If you look at the banners hanging from the gallery you can see that they move which indicates that we have good air circulation. We have now turned off all the radiators to the gallery and expect that our monitoring of the energy meters will show a reduction of consumption. We are making progress towards a Silver Award as an ECO congregation but need to do more.
Slightly more controversial is the suggestion that we should disconnect hot water to all the toilets. There is no medical reason for using hot water to wash hands, just use soap. As individuals we should recognise, and many members of PPC were brought up without central heating and some of the other conveniences that we have come to expect, that we can help on global warming on an individual level by such actions as wearing layers of woollies, not fleeces made from oil, not heating rooms that we seldom use, walking, cycling and using public transport, bringing our own mug to church and buying biscuits with less packaging. The Green Team is also looking into our use of cleaning products with a view to ensuring that they are both ECO friendly and used efficiently.
Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year), by humanity’s Ecological Footprint (humanity’s demand for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year. That is not good news for today’s children and future generations who will have considerably more serious problems of accessing water (and in the longer term food) than we are having as a consequence of the current heatwave!
In 1971 the Global Footprint Network estimated that humans “overshot” their sustainable use of the Earth’s resources on Christmas Day. In 2022, that overshoot happened on 28 July. What does this mean? One way of expressing it is that for the rest of this year our environmental “bank balance” is in the red! The official description of how it is calculated is:
To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot.
What can we do? “Reduce, re-use and recycle” as much as possible at a personal level – as well as lobby our governments and big business for action at a higher level.
Earth day has been a global environmental movement since 1970. It’s not just one day of the year, every day is Earth Day. Read more about it at http://www.earthday.org The Christian perspective is that we should cherish, conserve and appreciate all that God has provided in his creation on our Earth.
‘Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet?’
What can you do ?
Walk or cycle where you can. Apart from reducing your use of fossil fuels it’s a great way to improve your health and fitness.
Make more use of public transport.
Recycle and reduce landfill.
Get involved in community clean ups – beaches, parks and rivers.
Plant a tree.
Buy sustainable fashion and clothes.
Reduce purchase of single use plastic bottles drinks.
Use environmentally friendly cleaning materials.
And finally, visit the church Traidcraft stall! We’d love to see you and hear about your Eco experiences.
Food waste is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions since by consigning it to landfill not only does it add directly to greenhouse gas emissions but it also wastes the energy used to grow the food and provide it to your table. For those of us with gardens this is an interesting tip: “You can also pop any bits suitable to feed birds and other wildlife into a food scraps tub. Bruised or overly-soft fruit can be left out for badgers, foxes and birds. Cut your fruit in half and leave it on your grass or spike it on a tree branch. If any cats or dogs live nearby, avoid grapes and dried fruit, as this could cause them harm.
“Waste” seems an appropriate topic after 12 days of strikes by our refuse collectors! The “aroma” of food waste in particular has been a hot topic of conversation onthe streets of Edinburgh recently! In Scotland we waste around 988,000 tonnes of food and drink every year. Here is an eco-tip on how to use cauliflower leaves. Give the outer leaves a thorough wash, then pop them in a bowl with oil and spices. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until crispy – bish, bash, caulileaf nosh!
When boiling water, only put as much water in the kettle as you are going to use and if you overfill you can always store the extra in a flask for later use. To reduce your “phantom energy” use. Even when a device is on standby, or fully charged, it continues to draw energy if plugged in, so switch off and unplug. You can read more about phantom energy here: Do appliances use electricity when plugged in but turned off? (takecontrolandsave.coop)
Stop Food Waste Day was in April this year and it is aimed to educate and ignite change about food waste. Did you know, that One Third of food produced for human consumption globally goes to waste, yet One in Ten people go hungry each day?
“When the people had eaten their fill, Jesus said to his disciples, “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.” They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves.” John 6:12-14
Top tips to stop food waste include:
- Plan ahead and don’t overbuy · Use up what’s in your fridge/cupboards; plan your meals; make a list before you shop
- Use your freezer · Batch cook and freeze portions; freeze bread and other leftovers; label items with date and use them in order
- Get creative · Experiment with what you have in the fridge; make bubble & squeak or colourful frittatas from leftovers; use odd bits of vegetables to make soup
Not long until Valentine’s Day – how can you limit the impact of your flower purchases on the environment?
Best Sustainable Flower Delivery UK | Zero Wasted
gives some eco-tips. Other websites say UK grown flowers have a lower carbon footprint than those grown in Kenya or the Netherlands, but at this time of year buying daffodils from the Scilly Isles Scilly Flowers – Scented Flowers By Post From The Scilly Isles may be your best option!
The Green Team
Research by the RAC Foundation has found that eco-driving leads to safer, cleaner and more affordable journeys. Regular vehicle maintenance improves fuel efficiency by as much as 10%.
Before a long journey, check tyre pressures (tyres underinflated by a quarter can cause a 2% increase in fuel consumption), remove unused roof racks and boxes, and don’t overload the car (every additional 45kg reduces fuel economy by 2%).
At less than 40mph, it’s more fuel-efficient to open a window than use air conditioning. Turn off engines for waits of more than one minute (5-8% of fuel is consumed while idling), and avoid sharp acceleration and heavy braking: aggressive driving can significantly raise fuel consumption.