Environmental news and information shared by our Green Sanctuary Committee. For more about our Green Sanctuary Committee, go to https://ccuu.org/green-sanctuary/

  • Green Team Watch Party

    Join us on Dec 4, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, for Dr. Katharine Hayhoe’s keynote address and Q&A watch party from Faith in Place’s Green Team Summit exploring her most recent book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World.

    This free event is easy for you to attend in Atherton Hall, and it includes a light lunch. No registration required and this event is open to everyone in CCUU and friends outside of CCUU – what a great time to invite a friend to CCUU for Sunday service, coffee hour, and an awesome event so they can see ...

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  • Solar & Energy Action

    Information and Links provided by Faith in Place

    Why it matters:

    Link between pollution, environmental justice communities, and the increase of COVID cases and deaths:

    https://grist.org/justice/how-vulnerable-is-your-community-to-coronavirus-these-new-maps-reveal-a-familiar-pattern/

    https://naacp.org/resources/coal-blooded-putting-profits-people

    • One out of Six deaths worldwide are caused from pollution – World Health Organization

    Climate change is real, here now and getting worse, caused by humans, we have the solutions we need right now, and hope is abundant as solutions are being implemented across the globe.

    How will you take action to fight pollution ...

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  • What Can We Do about Climate Change, part 4: Electric Vehicles

    August 10, 2022

    Electric Vehicles (EVs) are predicted to dominate globally by 2033. By 2045, the forecast for Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) sales is for less than 1% of the market. Reasons abound. EVs are carbon friendly. They also have fewer moving parts and fluids, cheaper maintenance, lower energy cost, and sticker prices that will dive quickly.

    Early adopters have cash advantages, too. Illinois offers a rebate of $4,000/resident, and Washington offers a $7,500 tax credit. This cuts well into the $10 – $15K price uptick for low end EVs. Add the savings in maintenance and cheaper fuel via the at-home ...

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  • What Can We Do about Climate Change, part 3: Rooftop Solar Panels

    August 3, 2022

    Imagine opening your ComEd monthly bill and finding only a minor fee for delivering from the grid. Then pulling your EV out of the garage and “gassing up’ free from the voltage generated on your rooftop by the sun. This is the privileged life of the rooftop solar owner, and it can be yours, too.

    What’s involved? First, a solar expert evaluates the pitch of your roof and its exposure to sunlight. Passing that bar, the next steps are qualifying for a loan and applying for a federal tax credit that will drop the cost by 26%. In ...

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  • Green News: Reducing Food Waste

    A University of Vermont study found that Americans waste nearly 150,000 tons of food per day. According to the EPA, “more food reaches landfills than any other single component of municipal solid waste.” Food rots in landfills, releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas. “Additionally, large amounts of water and other resources are used to grow and process food. More than a quarter of the total freshwater consumption per year in the United States is used to grow wasted food.”

    Avoiding food waste starts with smart shopping. Plan menus and shop from a list. Shop weekly—or even twice a week. You’re more likely to buy only ...

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  • What Can We Do about Climate Change? Part 2: From Flexitarian to a Plant-Rich Diet

    July 27, 2022

    Cutting edge cooks now blog and do videos on how to make the meatiest meatballs ever from Crimini mushrooms with meaty umami flavor. Less than 10% of US consumers identify as vegan or vegetarian, yet they follow such bloggers, and they buy meatless meat in accelerating numbers. Now predictions are that MMs will be 10% of the market within a decade. Why? Because they finally have a winning combination: super health benefits and really amazing taste.

    Downsides? Yes. Commercial MMs are highly processed and more expensive than meat. Home made products are superior but labor and time intensive. ...

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  • Green News: Are you a Flexitarian?

    July 20, 2022

    More than one third of Americans follow a new concept: eating all food types but controlling meat intake via routine. For some it’s Meatless Mondays, for others it’s all vegan before dinner or meat and dairy only on the weekend. For a nation committed to hamburgers, this shift to Flexitarianism is big.

    Why is it happening? Experts identify 5 reasons:

    • Ethical – crowded raising and wholesale dispatching of animals for our consumption is hard to think about.
    • Environmental – raising livestock causes 15% of global emissions, and the expansion of ranches and soy and corn feed ...
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  • What Can We Do About Climate Change?

    Part 1: Community Composting

    7/12/2022

    We suburbanites have long been disconnected from the land that grows our food. Along with it, we’ve lost the importance of sending our food scraps back into the cycle of life, enriching the earth and sequestering carbon with new growth.

    That’s where composting comes in.

    Some home owners have mastered this process in backyard gardens that burst with produce fresher than any in the grocery store. Others participate in composting at community gardens like the one we have at Countryside and use it to grow fresh foods for needy ...

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  • Replacing Single-Use Plastic

    July 6, 2022

    Today, 40% of plastic goes into single-use products that are used for minutes and survive for hundreds of years. We like the convenience, but there are ways to re-train ourselves to avoid plastic. Here are a few ideas.

    Coffee on the Go

    Starbucks hands out more than 4 billion single-use cups per year. Most end up in a landfill. Starbucks paper cups have a plastic lining that retains heat and prevents leaking. To recycle the cup, recyclers would have to separate the plastic from the paper. Most recyclers cannot do that.
    Starbucks is hoping ...

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  • Climate Solutions, part 4 ~ The Rest of Us

    We’ve seen that the big actors – federal, state and local governments — can make astonishing impacts in mitigating climate change. And that legislation and international pacts can even rid the earth of hydrofluorocarbons.

    Yet environmental news feeds encourage us as individuals to lower our own carbon footprints across the nation. They say 330 million people, each making even a small change can build up a mountain of mitigation. And it doesn’t have to be in trading our fossil fuel guzzling auto for an EV or living off the grid in a cabin somewhere in Montana. We humans have thrived on the planet because of ...

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  • Climate Solutions, part 3: The Big Actors

    If you think about the really huge changes needed to mitigate global warming — large-scale modifications in the transportation and energy sectors, it stands to reason that big budgets make big impacts.

    In Illinois, the multi-billion dollar Reimagining Electric Vehicles Act will push to get locally manufactured electric buses, delivery trucks, 18-wheelers and a million consumer-owned electric cars on the road by 2030.

    Higher up the chain, Washington is funding fleets of electric trucks and planes, providing charging stations on 166,000 miles of US highways, and giving tax credits for our solar panels and electric cars on an infrastructure bill budgeted at ...

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  • Climate Solutions, part 2 – The Data

    In the Draw Down plan, climate scientists propose a rank-ordered list of 100 “most sustainable solutions” along with their carefully calculated reductions in gigatons of greenhouse gases. The plan has become a roadmap to building a climate safe world by outlining methods of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in sectors such as energy, food, construction, land use and transportation. The book delivers surprises galore in its applications, from grasslands and cattle that both benefit hugely from managed grazing to a building that maintains water usage at a level no greater than the rain and snow that falls on it.

    As for the embattled energy sector, solar ...

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  • Climate Solutions – The Book

    Make a list of all the ways you’ve read about that can halt climate change. Then step back and ask yourself which will best prevent emissions or pull greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Flying less? Planting more trees? Recycling? What would be the impact of each if we could all agree to scale it up? That was the question that environmentalist and entrepreneur Paul Hawken posed to a group of climate scientists in 2001. A question no one had scrutinized in a global way.

    Sixteen years later the team Hawken assembled published a NY Times Bestseller, Project Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to ...

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  • Green News: Big Oil

    June 1, 2022

    In the 1950s psychologist Solomon Asch conducted a provocative study of how our perceptions can be bent to the will of what we perceive as a majority opinion. In Asch’s experiment, groups of male university students were given a photo of 4 parallel lines with various lengths and asked to identify 2 that were the same. In one of the groups, videoed as part of the evidence, all of the students except one were coached prior to the experiment to claim that 2 of the parallel lines were equal in length when in fact they clearly were not. The unsuspecting student ...

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  • Final Word on Plant Proteins: Longevity

    If you want to shift to eating green but can’t imagine going without animal products, consider a 2020 study for JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers recorded the diet and lifestyle information of 416,000 people age 50 to 71 in 2004 and over the following 16 years, recording mortality rates. Results: shifting as little as 3% of calorie intake from meat, poultry, fish, milk products and eggs to plant proteins corresponded with a 10% decrease in death from any cause for both men and women. For those participants who completely replaced red meat and egg consumption with plant proteins, the men’s death rate dropped by as much as 24% and ...

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  • Protein Talks, part 3

    Eating Green has a cornucopia of benefits beyond enough protein to power the blast of Venus Williams’ backhand.

    For the human body, its more moderate protein amounts protect the kidneys, and the generous doses of fiber in green foods lower the body’s inflammation, a prime factor of disease. The biggest bonus, though, is in its plethora of vitamins. Nearly all members of the vitamin spectrum – A B1 B2 B6 C and E – reside in fruits, vegetables, and grains. D we get effortlessly in sunshine. Only B12 comes most readily from meat, but the FDA recommends supplementing anyway after age 50. As for Omega ...

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  • Protein Talks, part 2

    Ask a nutritionist for the best disease fighting diet and you’ll get a food list like this: beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, and power greens like kale and broccoli. But most people in transition from meat and fish fare will seek out foods that look like their replacements.

    What a surprise now, that the market has responded with pretty tasty replicas for the burger and the cod fillet. Most have protein counts that rival or exceed the animal version, sometimes with less fat, always with more fiber. And the list of meatless meals that replicate our perennial favorites is growing: “Sausage” Pizza, Thai “Chicken,” ...

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  • Protein Talks, part 1

    We in the U.S. fixate on protein, the hunger filler and muscle builder of the dietary realm. For us, feeling well fed and looking buff are national ideals. And so the hi-pro drink, the meal replacement bar, the steak on the backyard grill. But how much protein do we really need to reach our ideals?

    Surprisingly much less than we think, and any surpluses of protein in our bodies can stress both kidneys and colon. Consider the six-ounce steak on the ‘barbie’: at 37 grams of protein, it’s 61% of protein needs for a 170-lb. male who does light-sweat workouts. Add a cheesy baked potato ...

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  • Green News: Microplastics

    May 4, 2022

    Brought to you by the Fossil Fuel industry: Microplastics!

    Microplastics are products of petrochemicals in oil and gas products. They begin life in commercial forms – plastic bags, straws, clothing fabrics – but once tossed into oceans, they are battered by waves into particle swarms that circulate the globe in ocean currents, trade winds and weather systems.

    First noted in the innards of fish and shellfish, these bits are now seen in human blood samples. Dangerous to us? That’s now under investigation by Laura Parker of Nat Geo. And though the science is still ...

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  • Green Money Management: Defunding Fossil Fuels

    Aside from going green in our diets, electrifying our homes and cars, and choosing greener travel options, how can we mitigate climate change in a big way? Good news: with changing options in the current banking system, we can make a big change from the money lending side by banking outside the financial giants that have traditionally supported fossil fuels.

    The big bad four in the U.S.:

    • JP Morgan Chase
    • Citibank
    • Wells Fargo
    • Bank of America

    According to the Banking on Climate report, these banks have invested the most in and earned the most from the fossil fuel ...

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  • Green News: Denial in an Era of Climate Change

    4/27/2022

    In the 1970s, fossil fuel giant Exxon funded a scientific team within the corporation to study the effects of emissions on the global climate. Once the team reported a summary of its findings, which were independently corroborated by a separate team at MIT, Exxon disbanded the scientific unit, and the summary disappeared into locked corporate files. In the five decades since then, the fossil fuel industry and its major suppliers have launched an elaborate defense against scientific research that has continued to captivate and roil the political will of America. Witness this amazing story of corporate and political twists and turns on the ...

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  • Green News: Tackle Plastic

    April 20, 2022

    Tackle Plastic, the Goliath Polluter, from all Angles

    At Home

    • Purchase any necessary plastic products from recycled plastics manufacturers.
    • Polyester and nylon are plastic fabrics; instead look for organic hemps, cottons and recycled synthetics.
    • To keep down unnecessary production, donate old clothing and purchase second hand; or purchase quality coordinates to wear in different combinations.

    In the Marketplace

    • Less than 1% of plastics can be recycled, so look for companies that practice a circular economy — inviting return of products or parts that can be replaced economically with ...
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  • Green News

    April 6, 2022

    As Peter Illyn, a late trailblazing creation care leader said, “God’s original plan was to hang out in a garden with some naked vegetarians.” This week we dive into a challenge likely familiar to many: reducing meat and/or dairy consumption for the health of the planet. Many of us now have easy access to nutritious, tasty meat alternatives. And we know that globally, livestock production accounts for 15% of all emissions. So if going meat-free is already part of your routine, consider fasting from dairy, more carbon-intensive than some meats. Or, help a friend or family member ...

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  • Green News: Lenten Fast Week 4

    This week’s challenge is to fast from all unnecessary driving. In other words, skip the car for any trips where you can reasonably walk, bike, or use public transportation to get where you want to go. If car travel is necessary, do your best to combine trips and carpool with others. We live in such a busy world, slowing down can give us the opportunity to appreciate God’s wonderful creation.

    • Car-pooling or taking public transport gives us opportunities to connect with other people.
    • Plan car trips in advance this week to combine stops and save fuel. A shopping list helps avoid going back for something you ...
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  • Green News: Styrofoam & Heat Pumps

    Styrofoam

    Polystyrene (#6 PS), known as Styrofoam, takes 500–1,000 years to biodegrade. Unfortunately, it is hard to recycle, and most of it ends up in landfills. Polystyrene foam is used in several ways: (1) the big white blocks that are used as packing material, (2) coffee cups and clamshell carryout containers, and (3) packing peanuts.

    Abt Electronics in Glenview accepts white block Styrofoam (no peanuts, no food containers). Abt has a machine that compacts the Styrofoam by 90%. The compacted material is reused to make picture frames or plastic woods. The Abt recycling center at 1200 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Glenview ...

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  • Green News: Earth Hour

    3/23/2022

    Electricity is essential in modern life, but it is a privilege that we can sometimes choose to set aside in favor of a higher goal. Reducing electricity consumption is good for the planet, and it helps tackle fuel poverty. A fast can remind us that access to energy is also a justice issue.

    The war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis have made us more aware that we need to reduce our consumption of energy and also be less reliant nationally on fossil fuels.

    If you can make only one change this week, join us in ...

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  • Green News: Fast for Mother Earth

    3/16/22

    What better way to fast for Lent than fast for Mother Earth?

    Fast from extra energy use by lowering your thermostat to 68 degrees till Easter. Celebrate that you’re now able to wear that bulky sweater you got for Christmas, and enjoy TV under the Navajo blanket your adult daughter got you in Arizona last year.

    And why not save the family budget while championing the world? Check in at https://www.smartenergy.com/save-energy-by-defeating-your-energy-vampires and discover ways to unplug from excess with minimal effort.

    Noteworthy: We’ll soon start fasting from fossil ...

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  • Green News: Lenten Bucket List

    3/9/2022

    Some mindful practices from Creation Justice Ministries for Lent, the season we adopt practices that draw us closer to the Creator, our neighbor, and the earth.

    • Grab a copy of your home energy bills and calculate your carbon footprint at
      https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/. Take note of the activities that are most carbon intensive and resolve to change some of them now.
    • Save energy and add some much-needed winter humidity to your house by air drying some of your laundry.
    • Remember why earth justice matters by writing a note to a child in your life who inspires you to sustain the ...
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  • Recycling: Common Mistakes

    It’s called wish-cycling: People throw things into the recycling bin, hoping they can be recycled, without realizing that they may be dooming an entire batch to be sent to the landfill. In fact, about one-quarter of the items tossed in recycling bins don’t actually get recycled because of contamination. Here are the top things you should NOT throw into your recycling bin:

    • Items soiled with food (e.g., greasy pizza boxes, unwashed food containers).
    • Small items: Anything smaller than a business card should not be recycled. Small items are hard to sort and can end up in the wrong pile, contaminating an entire batch. Or they can ...
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  • Recipes for a Plant-based Diet

    One of the most important things individuals can do to have an impact on climate change is to shift to a plant-based diet. But it’s a hard change to make. Eating is profoundly personal and cultural. Start slow. Try having Meatless Mondays – look for recipes on www.meatlessmonday.com. Experiment with different recipes until you find one you like. Then slowly expand to more meatless days.

    Do you have some favorite plant-based recipes that are easy and tasty? Here are a few favorites from members of the Green Sanctuary Group. Try one of the recipes below, or send your own recipes to ...

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  • How about some good news?

    Feb 11, 2022

    KISS THE GROUND unveils a game-changer to our climate crisis: the Earth’s own soil. Here it is…we can reverse global warming. The solution is called Regenerative Agriculture and this film presents the research, practice, and hope we need to move forward. Together. A screening of this documentary, sponsored by the Green Sanctuary Committee, will be held online on April 2 at 10:00 am. Jerome McDonnell will moderate a Q&A after the screening. See more details & register to attend: https://ccuu.org/kiss-the-ground-screening/

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  • Green News: Happy Valentine’s Day & Imbolc

    Feb 9, 2022

    Valentine’s Day is almost here. The tried-and-true gifts are chocolate, cards, and flowers. Why not give these gifts with a slight alternative?

    • Ever wonder how the cacao for your chocolate is grown and harvested? Choose chocolate that is sustainably produced and where the farmers are given fair pay. Look for the seal of third-party certifiers.
    • Choose flowers without a floral foam holder. These foam holders are crumbly plastic and end up in waterways and eventually in our drinking water. Also, choose cut flowers that were grown locally (in hothouses in our case) and not transported miles away. Better ...
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  • Hopeful

    February 2022

    Personal resolutions for the new year are now in the rearview mirror, and we can feel the shift in global consciousness of the earth. From March 19 to May 6, there are five major sacred days or seasons, an Equinox, and Earth Day, all bringing our minds to bear on the global cycle of life. So what can each of us and our families do to honor this time and promote our Countryside UU vision of a sustainable earth?  Here are some good things happening:

    Saturday, April 2:  Save the date for an afternoon screening of Kiss the Ground, ...

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  • Deep Ecology & Simple Living

    January 2022

    January always begs the question, “How can we make the new year better in some fundamental way?” Not surprisingly, some of us elders are drawn to the older life style models of simplicity and holism that invigorate the ecological movements of today because they seem to make sense than the old. Here are some that seem to speak to our current world events —

    Wisdoms of DEEP ECOLOGY

    • The web of life is interconnected and delicately balanced
    • All living beings have inherent worth (from microbe to man)
    • Earth systems protect, nourish, and balance all beings simultaneously
    • Balance in growth ...
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  • Reduce Food Waste

    Dec 2021

    According to experts, shifting toward a plant-based diet and reducing food waste are the two areas in which individuals and families can have the biggest impact on climate change. Would it surprise you to know that waste accounts for a surprising third of all food production? Here are some ways to make big reductions and save money on groceries, too:

    • Before shopping, consider what dinners you may have to eat out in the coming week.
    • Write a menu for each of the dinners at home on a magnetic whiteboard stuck to the fridge.
    • Make a list of food needs from the ...
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  • Water – the global picture

    Nov 10, 2021

    Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water: which we use to drink, bathe, and irrigate our farm fields is incredibly rare because two-thirds of that is tucked away in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for our use. As a result, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. Inadequate sanitation is also a problem for 2.4 billion people—they are exposed to diseases, such as cholera and typhoid fever, and other water-borne illnesses. Two million people—mostly children—die each year from water-borne, diarrheal ...

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  • Where Our Plastic Goes

    Nov 2021 ~ This is a summary of a Consumer Reports article

    By the numbers – In 2018, of 35 million tons of plastic waste: 8.7% was recycled, 15.8% was incinerated (think greenhouse gas here) and 75.5% went to landfills. Eventually, the landfill plastic ends up as microplastics in the air, water and soil. Plastic bags used globally every year: 5 trillion (expected life: 500 years) –Plastic beverage bottles sent to the ocean each year: 21 – 34 billion –Disposable razors used in just the US in 2020: 158 million – Rolls of plastic wrap used in the US in the last 6 months ...

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  • GOOD NEWS

    from our Green Sanctuary team partner, Sierra Club Illinois Chapter

    Illinois finally passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) (SB 2408) after years of negotiations, lobbying, organizing, and campaigning. The bill passed the House 83-33-0 and the Senate 37-17-3. It was a hard fought battle, but the Illinois citizens deserve it! CEJA includes:

    • 100% clean energy by 2050
    • 40% renewable energy by 2030; 50% renewable energy by 2040
    • 0% carbon free by 2045
    • just transition assistance for workers and communities impacted by coal communities
    • energy efficiency programs to lower bills and emissions
    • new ethics requirements on Illinois utilities; no automatic rate hikes
    • equity programs with training ...
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  • Green Sanctuary News Sept 2021

    There is a lot happening with Countryside’s Green Sanctuary Committee. The first thing we did is rewrite our mission statement:

    The Green Sanctuary Committee promotes awareness, appreciation, and action in support of the environment on which we all depend. We promote worship that deepens our connection to the natural world, educational programs for all ages, service projects, and non-partisan political actions that address the climate crisis.

    Keeping that in mind, we have some ideas for projects (with more to come): 

    • Why not have Countryside buy its electricity from Trajectory Energy rather than from ComEd. Trajectory Energy sells electricity from ...
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