Celebrate Earth Month

Apr 5, 2011 | What's New

[expand title=Cool Harvest Kit]

About one-fifth of climate change pollution comes from the food industry. That’s more than from all transportation combined. The Cool Harvest program supports educational activities about the food, faith and climate connection, with support materials to facilitate dialog and action. The Cool Harvest Kit for congregations includes: Nourish (DVD), Table Grace in a World Struggling with Climate Change Booklet, Downloadable flyers and handouts, and a Seafood Pocket Guide. Order the Cool Harvest Kit: this program is available to the first 1,000 registered congregations for just $15.[/expand]

Resources for religious services available in the Clergy Corner

[expand title=Five ways to lower your food print]

Eat less meat and dairy

Animals raised for meat consumption and dairy create about 1/5 of manmade greenhouse gas, even more than all transportation combined. That’s because 10 billion animals a year means a lot of manure and droppings – around 5 tons of waste for every man, woman and child. That adds up to a lot of methane and nitrous oxide gases, two very potent greenhouse gases. Factory-farmed animals also eat high concentrations of carbon-intensive grains, such as corn, instead of grass. Eat less meat and dairy, and when you do, look for grass-fed organic. Chicken and fish have a much lower foodprint. Calculate your meal’s “foodprint” with the Bon Appétit calculator.

Choose fish wisely

Fish is a great substitute for meat, but only if from sustainably sourced seafood. Many fish populations are stressed from overfishing and destructive fishing practices. Oceans that are in balance are vital to controlling global warming according to researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Healthy ocean ecosystems absorb a tremendous amount of greenhouse gas. Look for sustainably sourced seafood. Identify sustainably sourced seafood.

Buy local, organic produce in season

Long-running studies show that organic farming is far more effective at removing greenhouse pollution from the atmosphere and fixing it as beneficial organic matter in the soil than current industrial farming practices. Eating organic local produce in season also reduces the number of “food miles” necessary to get food onto the table. Fewer miles means less greenhouse pollution. Consuming a 30-mile salad has a much lower carbon foodprint than a 3,000 mile salad. Use the Eat Well Guide to find local, organic, sustainably produced food.

Reduce packaging

Overly processed and packaged foods take a lot of energy to produce. Choose foods with eco-friendly packaging. Get in the habit of bringing your own reusable produce and shopping bags to the store. When done eating and cooking, recycle packaging as best you can. 15 ways to reduce packaging

Reduce waste

Nearly half of all food in the United States is thrown away before it’s consumed. Per capita food waste has progressively increased by about 50% since 1974. It’s now estimated that 25% of all freshwater and 4% of all oil consumed in this country are used to produce food that is never eaten. Get in the habit of buying only what you plan to eat. Make room in the menu for “leftovers”, and practice composting to turn inedible food into nutrient-rich dirt for the garden. Learn how to waste less food
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[expand title=Links to further resources]

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Find local events at EarthDay.org

Much has changed since the first Earth Day over 40 years ago. Yet the problems remain. In 1970, Earth Day catalyzed the modern environmental movement as people responded to shocking events like the Santa Barbara oil spill and the Cuyahoga River fire. Today in 2011, the Gulf of Mexico remains imperiled from the devastating BP oil rig disaster last year, and the world watches as radioactive waste seeps into the Pacific from Japan’s destroyed nuclear reactors.

It has become clear that the environmental crisis in a global one, and that’s what the religious response to global warming is addressing.

The good news in 2011 is that people of faith have come together to save God’s creation. Interfaith Power & Light is just one part of a vibrant and growing religious movement to change the human relationship with the Earth. As we work to address seemingly insurmountable environmental problems around us, we are doing as an expression of love, in awe of the magnificence of God’s Creation and our role in its stewardship.

Earth Day is an opportunity to express this love and reverence. Instead of only celebrating on the 22nd this year, IPL is encouraging our congregations to participate in Earth Day activities for the entire month of April.

Our focus for Earth Month 2011 is on food and the abundance of creation. Food is central to many sacred rituals. And it the basic resource for survival that must be shared and distributed more equally. Amid reports of the contamination of milk and vegetables in Japan, and the damage our industrial agriculture is doing to the climate and to food security, we can make different food choices that will help heal our people, our communities, and our planet.

We live and move in a delicate dance of consumption and growth with our food supply. How do we honor that relationship? How can we create sustainable food practices? How is it possible to ‘eat more lightly’ in our impact on the earth?

Clergy and other faith leaders: We invite you to visit our Clergy Corner page for past Earth Day sermons and other worship resources. We have compiled scriptural references from many traditions that orient around food, abundance and stewardship of the earth.

For Christians, Earth Day 2011 falls on a high holy day, Good Friday. Several Christian faith communities are exploring the union of the crucifixion of Jesus and the desecration of the earth, and the resurrection of Christ and the renewal of creation. Please visit the Clergy Corner for resources.

[expand title=Cool Harvest Kit]

About one-fifth of climate change pollution comes from the food industry. That’s more than from all transportation combined. The Cool Harvest program supports educational activities about the food, faith and climate connection, with support materials to facilitate dialog and action. The Cool Harvest Kit for congregations includes: Nourish (DVD), Table Grace in a World Struggling with Climate Change Booklet, Downloadable flyers and handouts, and a Seafood Pocket Guide. Order the Cool Harvest Kit: this program is available to the first 1,000 registered congregations for just $15.[/expand]

Resources for religious services available in our Clergy Corner

[expand title=Five ways to lower your food print]

Eat less meat and dairy

Animals raised for meat consumption and dairy create about 1/5 of manmade greenhouse gas, even more than all transportation combined. That’s because 10 billion animals a year means a lot of manure and droppings – around 5 tons of waste for every man, woman and child. That adds up to a lot of methane and nitrous oxide gases, two very potent greenhouse gases. Factory-farmed animals also eat high concentrations of carbon-intensive grains, such as corn, instead of grass. Eat less meat and dairy, and when you do, look for grass-fed organic. Chicken and fish have a much lower foodprint. Calculate your meal’s “foodprint” with the Bon Appétit calculator.

Choose fish wisely

Fish is a great substitute for meat, but only if from sustainably sourced seafood. Many fish populations are stressed from overfishing and destructive fishing practices. Oceans that are in balance are vital to controlling global warming according to researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Healthy ocean ecosystems absorb a tremendous amount of greenhouse gas. Look for sustainably sourced seafood. Identify sustainably sourced seafood.

Buy local, organic produce in season

Long-running studies show that organic farming is far more effective at removing greenhouse pollution from the atmosphere and fixing it as beneficial organic matter in the soil than current industrial farming practices. Eating organic local produce in season also reduces the number of “food miles” necessary to get food onto the table. Fewer miles means less greenhouse pollution. Consuming a 30-mile salad has a much lower carbon foodprint than a 3,000 mile salad. Use the Eat Well Guide to find local, organic, sustainably produced food.

Reduce packaging

Overly processed and packaged foods take a lot of energy to produce. Choose foods with eco-friendly packaging. Get in the habit of bringing your own reusable produce and shopping bags to the store. When done eating and cooking, recycle packaging as best you can. 15 ways to reduce packaging

Reduce waste

Nearly half of all food in the United States is thrown away before it’s consumed. Per capita food waste has progressively increased by about 50% since 1974. It’s now estimated that 25% of all freshwater and 4% of all oil consumed in this country are used to produce food that is never eaten. Get in the habit of buying only what you plan to eat. Make room in the menu for “leftovers”, and practice composting to turn inedible food into nutrient-rich dirt for the garden. Learn how to waste less food
[/expand]

[expand title=Links to further resources]

[/expand]

Find local events at EarthDay.org

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