UCC Carbon Baseline Report
Caring for Creation, Our Communities and Our Congregations: The Case for a National Carbon Reduction Program for Faith Buildings (2016 report)
"The United Church of Canada (UCC) has long recognized that the global climate crisis poses a grave threat to our planet and must be tackled urgently. It has a proud track record of leadership and action...[T]he UCC’s General Council Office recently identified one vital missing dimension to its climate action program: supporting congregations across the UCC in their efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of their places of worship...In an effort to fill this gap, the General Council Office commissioned this report."
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Climate Change Presentation Ontario Synod
This presentation was given by Lenore Fahrig at the Diocesan Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Ontario, held in Kingston November 3-5, 2016.
Download presentation (3.2 MB)
Faith Commuter Challenge Presentation
This introduction to the Faith Commuter Challenge may be presented to your faith community or committee to help understand:
- what it is
- how it works
- how to get started
- benefits of active and sustainable transportation
Download PDF (3.0 MB)
Faith Commuter Challenge poster
This poster is available in PDF format for printing. There is space at the bottom to include details of your event.
Download PDF (2.25 MB)
Faith Commuter Challenge Media Kit
We can help you to spread the word about your participation in the annual Faith Commuter Challenge with this complete communications kit. It is in Word format, to enable you to extract graphics, bulletin blurbs, and other promotional tools.
Download document (1.8 MB)
Faith Commuter Challenge Registration Instructions
This document provides detailed instructions on registering participants for the annual Faith Commuter Challenge using the online system.
Download PDF (412 kB)
Resilient Communities Presentation
November 24, 2015
With support from Live Green Toronto , Olive Tree Foundation, Evergreen CityWorks, Wellbeing Toronto, City of Toronto’s Environment & Energy Division, City of Toronto's Office of Emergency Management OEM), and the University of Toronto’s Geography & Planning department, Faith & the Common Good conducted a 2015 proof of concept project to understand how Toronto’s diverse faith communities could be better utilized as local service centers during extreme weather emergencies. This presentation was the culmination of that effort.
- Moderator: Dave MacLeod
- Donna Lang, Faith & the Common Good
- Adam Garcia
- Adriana Chang, University of Toronto
- Boris Rosolak, City of Toronto OEM
Download PDF (2.2 MB)
Presentation: Resilience Hub Costs
The cost of acting as a local extreme weather resilience site is one of the principal concerns for faith communities. Can we afford to serve vulnerable residents during extreme weather emergencies? What kind of capital and operating costs does this work entail? University of Toronto's Geography & Planning graduate students helped us look at this question in 2015. The result is this PowerPoint presentation.
Download PDF (2.6 MB)
Community Resilience to Climate Change podcast
April 3, 2018
Sheila Murray, Beatrice Ekoko, Lidia Ferreira, and Michelle Sullivan all work in some capacity with an initiative called the Lighthouse Project, a pilot that aims to develop new approaches for building resilience in a number of Ontario communities in the face of the growing spectrum of threats presented by climate change. Scott Neigh interviewed them about those threats, about what exactly resilience might look like, and about the different approaches they are using to get there.
How to Use the Green Rule
- social justice
- interfaith dialogue
- seniors' or meditation group
- holy days
- environmental education
- creative arts and/or youth groups
- special events
Download PDF (7 pages)
Regeneration Works Case Studies
Our Regeneration Works: Places of Faith project works with rural and urban places of faith to create community spaces that are both viable and successful. Whether the goal is to keep the doors open or make strategic real estate decisions that serve the faith group and the community, the National Trust and Faith & the Common Good offer hope, inspiration, and solutions based on our work from across the country.
Visit www.placesoffaith.ca to view a series of two-page case studies of the places we have worked with.
Case Study: St. James Carp
St. James the Apostle Church in Carp undertook Green Audits for all three sanctuaries in their parish, the youngest of which is 125 years old!
Download PDF (394 kB)
Green Audits 2014
Nine Anglican parishes across Canada conducted a Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) Green Audit in their churches in 2013, facilitated and paid in part by the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). All nine audits were completed between October 22 and December 2 of 2013, with seven in Ontario, one in Quebec, and one in Nova Scotia.
This is a 2014 end of year report concerning their experiences, main audit findings, and the work that has been completed thus far in response to the audit for each of these nine parishes.
Download PDF (1.9 MB)
Energy Efficiency Tools
New in 2018! Our energy benchmarking team has created a series of graphics to help your faith community reduce energy and facilitate recycling efforts.
Each item shown here is available in both pdf format for printing and high resolution jpg.
If you are downloading resources for your faith community, we would appreciate you registering your faith community as part of our network by signing up your faith community.
DIY Walkthrough Audit
New in 2018! This easy-to-use 62-page guide is intended for decision-makers in faith communities who wish get to know how their buildings work and reduce the amount of energy they use in their buildings.
Energy audits of religious buildings show that 80 to 85 per cent of the energy used in places of worship is for heating and ventilation. Operators of religious buildings can take advantage of that finding to reduce their operating costs by making sure their heating and ventilating equipment is working as efficiently as possible, and by reducing heat loss from their facilities.
This guide discusses low or no-cost measures to give operators of religious buildings a range of options they can apply to reduce their energy bills while adding comfort and attractiveness to their facility. It includes a 14-page DIY energy audit.
Download PDF (3.9 MB)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a printed copy. Cost: $15 per copy (includes shipping and handling within Canada).
A Framework for Reconnection
New in 2017! This is a Christian retreat template for Stewardship and Reconnection: with God, self, others, and all of Creation. It is suitable for groups of approximately 8 - 20 participants attending multi-day reflective spiritual retreats with elements of ecological immersion. The template has modular sections. You can choose how to use it:
- in weekend (2 night/3 day) retreats,
- in a series of one-day or evening meetings,
- as daily sessions of a longer (week or 10-day) retreat,
- with one theme as a starting point for a month-long or Lenten learning focus
Download PDF (1.4 MB)
Energy Savings Webinar
Recorded November 15, 2017
Saving energy is becoming increasingly important for large buildings, with cap and trade now in Ontario. But did you know that faith buildings account for 42% of all faith community green house gas emissions?
This is why Faith & the Common Good is engaging in an exciting, new benchmarking program. It will allow you to measure and track your energy consumption, and reduce it over time.
Watch and listen to webinar (1 hour, 20 minutes)
Presented by Faith & the Common Good: Greening Sacred Spaces Toronto chapter, with support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Toronto Hydro, Save ON Energy, and Enbridge Gas.
Climate Change and Energy Benchmarking Webinar
Recorded January 22, 2018
We were delighted to welcome Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Dr. Dianne Saxe, to the webinar launch of our new Faith Building Energy Benchmarking program. For those of you who attended, we hope that you found Dianne Saxe’s talk inspirational, concerning the moral, physical, and economic urgency of meaningful action on climate change.
Download options include:
- Entire webinar
- Individual pdf presentations:
- Dianne Saxe presentation — Facing Climate Change
- Faith & the Common Good presentation — Energy Benchmarking
- Toronto Hydro presentation — Energy Saving Programs for your Place of Worship
- Enbridge presentation — Minimizing the Cost Impact of Cap and Trade through Energy Efficiency
Watch and listen to webinar (1 hour, 23 minutes)
Native Plant Garden Guide
New in 2018! This guidebook is designed to help faith communities plan and maintain a successful native plant community garden. It was created by our Greening Sacred Spaces Toronto Chapter in 2018 with the assistance of the North American Native Plant Society.
Download PDF (2.7 MB)
Outdoor Greening Fact Sheets
New in 2017! Let your sacred space be an example for your Care for Creation mission! Learn about sustainable practices for water and energy including xeriscaping, rain gardens, and waterwise strategies in the new Outdoor Greening Fact Sheets. Read about the possibilities of turning a section of your faith community property into an ecological haven for wildlife including pollinators such as insects and birds. Get to know more about the benefits of planting native species of grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees for your new meditation or prayer garden or in your memorial grounds. A special thanks to our funders the Ottawa Community Foundation and the City of Ottawa (CEPGP) for supporting the creation of these local resources!
- Set of 10 fact sheets
- Individual fact sheets:
- 1. Sustainable Lawns, Groundcovers and Alternatives
- 2. Landscaping for energy-savings
- 3. Stormwater Management
- 4. Water Conservation and Drought-tolerant Landscaping
- 5. Hedgerows
- 6. Choosing and planting Native Trees & Shrubs
- 7. Wildlife-friendly Garden
- 8. Bird-friendly Garden
- 9. Urban Meadows
- 10. Special Purpose Gardens: Healing, Meditation, Medicine Wheel, Labyrinth Gardens
- Gardening Primer
Outdoor Greening Case Studies
New in 2018! Read how other faith communities are expanding their mission outdoors through various gardens including xeriscape, labyrinth, pollinator, sacred medicine wheel, and wildflower gardens. In the following case studies, you will find examples of both larger suburban projects along with small urban sites including sidewalks. Some gardens were initiated with very little money, while others sought out grants and other financial support. Find out how your garden team can do the same with a review of our case studies that include lessons learned and keys to success! A special thanks to our funders the Ottawa Community Foundation and the City of Ottawa (CEPGP) and all the faith communities who shared their stories, photos, and enthusiasm for their Care for Creation outdoor projects with us!
Scroll through the 10 case studies. You can download them individually or download the complete set at the bottom of this section.
Kitchissippi United Church transformed a grey asphalt courtyard into a green lush entranceway that parishioners and building tenants benefit from and enjoy. Green landscapes can help soak up rainwater and lessen the burden of local storm water and sewer systems while also cooling down microclimates that add to the heat island effect of cities…
Download PDF (2.5 MB)
The Trinity Presbyterian pollinator garden in Kanata is home to native plants that provide nectar and pollen to beneficial insects and birds. Native pollinators are an essential component to the ecology of plants, ensuring that flowers are fertilized and food can grow. Supporting a variety of pollinators promotes a strong, biodiverse local ecosystem…
Download PDF (3.5 MB)
Trinity United Church’s wildflower garden initially conceived by their Church in Society Committee, was installed in the back lawn of the faith community’s property and has evolved over time.time. Native wildflowers are better able to survive local conditions including temperatures and drought and require less maintenance including pesticides than their more exotic counterparts…
Download PDF (2.5 MB)
The First Unitarian Meditation Gardens have been designed and maintained by the First Unitarian church over the past twenty years for the benefit of all groups on the sixacre campus plus visitors from the entire city. It was designed to be an urban oasis for “relaxation, restoration, observation and meditation”…
Download PDF (3.0 MB)
At Centretown United Church, raised sidewalk planters that held trees for more than 30 years have been transformed by the installation of a community garden. Something valuable has been created from the derelict empty planters for the church, the community and for Centre 507, a downtown Drop-In…
Download PDF (1.95 MB)
Empty spaces that had once held city shade trees for more than 30 years have been transformed by St. Luke’s Parish through the installation of gardens to grow fresh produce for the local St. Luke’s Table meal program. These gardens are now a valuable community asset and have brought back to life a…
Download PDF (1.8 MB)
St John’s Church in Kanata provides an outdoor meditation experience for both its congregation and the larger neighbourhood community with their labyrinth garden. An outdoor labyrinth is a versatile addition to a faith community. A labyrinth walk is a spiritual and meditative tool that can be used for various purposes. It’s also a pleasant and unique landscape design that…
Download PDF (3.2 MB)
The Glebe-St. James United Church Sacred Medicine Wheel garden is a visible sign of the faith community’s allyship with First Nation communities. A Medicine Wheel garden represents the cycles of nature and is grown for medicinal purposes and harvested to be used as peace offerings. The First Nation relationship with…
Download PDF (2.8 MB)
With a large expanse of lawn, support from the City of Ottawa’s Community Garden Network Fund and a generous bequest, Knox United Church has created a wonderful local gardening space that is open to both congregants and community members. Community gardens such as these allow people to grow local healthy fresh produce that doesn’t have to…
Download PDF (1.15 MB)
This case study shares some of the details of three other special faith community and cultural gardens found in Ottawa. They are an inspiration for their ingenuity, community spirit and cultural significance. Each has a unique focus and approach and have been successful in gathering local support and volunteer dedication…
Download PDF (2.98 MB)
Download PDF (1.76 MB)
One Planet: Harnessing Hope
" With one foot in the world of social work and the other in the world of photography, I feel I have finally found the perfect union. " -- Irene Borins Ash
Irene Borins Ash is social worker, photographer, author, speaker, and environmentalist.
Thirty years ago when she was studying at Yeshiva University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work in New York City, she came across the philosophies of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. The Rebbe preached about a non-judgmental love for all mankind and he counselled people of all faiths. This was the beginning of Irene's lifelong passion for multi-faith.
“One Planet: Harnessing Hope” is her latest work about what some multi-faith and multi cultural groups are doing to help the environmental situation we are all experiencing. She partnered with Dr. Lucy Cummings, Executive Director of Faith & the Common Good, in this endeavor.
We are all in this together. We are one.
Videos produced in 2017
Greening Sacred Spaces DVD
Created in 2008, this engaging and instructive 5-part DVD highlights different aspects of the Greening Sacred Spaces program.
The first part is a 12-minute segment, Reasons to Green, offering insightful interviews with faith leaders from eight religious traditions on why people of faith need to address the ecological crisis and how their faith communities are responding.
The Renewing the Sacred Balance section offers stories of how people from different faith traditions are working to change their ways of life to be more ecologically sustainable.
The Greening Sacred Spaces section, in both an 18 minute and 5 minute version, point to a variety of ways that faith communities have begun to green their buildings. These are divided into light, medium, and deep green options.
The final section, Audits, provides a 5-minute tour of how a professional auditor conducts an energy audit of your religious building.
Presentation: Protecting Water and Your Place of Worship
November 18, 2015
Alix Taylor is the RAIN Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Green Communities Canada. She has been involved in community environmental engagement for over 10 years. For the last 6 years Alix’s focus has been on engaging the public and municipalities in urban and rural water issues.
Andrea Prazmowski is the former Faith Formation Leader at Kitchissippi United Church in Ottawa. Prior to that she established the Ecological Christianity Circle at the church, and has been active in local environmental initiatives since 1990.
Alan Coughlin is in charge of the Green Passion ministry at St John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Kitchener, where he helped champion the Rainwater cistern project.
Presentations from the CEPP Webinar
August 30, 2011
Background: The Community Energy Partnerships Program (CEPP) was a program of the Province of Ontario to assist community groups with new renewable energy projects.
Download options include the following pdf presentations:
- Greening Sacred Spaces — Introduction to solar
- Solar Projects by Faith Communities — Monastery of Mount Carmel
- The Neighbourhood Solar Project — Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congration
- Guelph Solar Community Cooperative — St. Ignatius Jesuit Centre
Presentation: The Business Case for Solar at Your Place of Worship
October 6, 2015
Description: Does your faith group want to help build a clean energy economy for your children and grandchildren? Is your faith-based organization looking for an ethical, low carbon, and socially responsible return on investment? This webinar described how your community can generate energy from the sun, including roof-top solar success stories and cooperative bonds and shares. The webinar explored both the ethical and the business case for engaging in Ontario’s Feed in Tariff program to generate electricity from the sun. The PowerPoint presentation from this webinar is available for download.
Download PDF (2.2 MB)
Renewable Energy 101
Recorded April 2015
Description: Learn the basics of renewable energy and community power in Ontario
Presenters: TREC Renewable Energy Coop, the Federation of Community Power Co-operatives, and Faith & the Common Good co-hosted this webinar.
Climate Justice & Indigenous Allyship
Faith & the Common Good’s 2016 Annual Forum brought together a dozen speakers from Canadian Indigenous and settler backgrounds to address allyship, climate justice, and the interfaith response. The all-day forum was held at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON. Thanks to Divest Waterloo for co-ordinating the event. This video recording contains bookmarks for each of the speakers.
Videos recorded June 10, 2016
Canadian Rebates and Incentives Reference
Need help to green your faith community? Find rebates and incentives to help get you started in the following areas:
- Renewable Energy
- Hot Water
Please note: This was last updated in 2016. Rebates and incentives may be outdated at times due to changing governments and private sector programs. Please visit the listed website of each program to determine if they are still active.
Download PDF (1 page)
Financing Options for Greening Your Sacred Space
A brief overview of some options by which your faith community can finance energy audits, and proceed with retrofits. There are many types of potential funding for your project, provided by many different sources. Which ones you use will depend on your needs, your financial situation, and your eligibility.
Download PDF (263 kB)
Reduce Your Footprint – Tip Sheets
Two double-sided informational sheets with tips on reducing your ecological footprint are available:
- Reduce Your Footprint — Faith Community Tips
- Reduce Your Footprint — Household Tips
Steps to Greening
Steps to Greening is intended to give you and your faith community a quick overview of what is possible as you plan to green your sacred spaces and a ‘path’ to follow.
Download PDF (1 page)
Faith and the Environment Toolkit
This toolkit has been created to empower and engage faith communities in building a safe, healthy and sustainable future. This inaugural edition of the toolkit focuses on three topics: water, biodiversity and food waste. We hope that it serves as a meaningful resource to educators, organizations, and others who are engaged in building healthy and sustainable communities. Community Environment Alliance, our Greening Sacred Spaces partner in Brampton, ON, created this guide in 2015 as part of their grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Visit CommunityEnvironment.org to download (6.5 MB, 44 pages)
Extreme Weather Toolkit
This Extreme Weather Tool Kit will help your faith group think through the essential components of an extreme weather response plan. It is tailored for faith groups in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who want to support their most vulnerable community members to better withstand extreme weather emergencies.
Download PDF (3.5 MB)
Community Garden Presentation
This pdf document is a presentation for use with your faith community or garden team to kickstart or support your community garden program. It is a companion to the Edible Community Garden Guide.
Download presentation (4.5 MB)
Community Garden Guide
Greening Sacred Spaces has developed a community garden guide for faith communities creating a community food garden. This comprehensive how-to guide includes information on:
- setting up a garden
- forming a volunteer team
- planting a garden, including depth and drainage, organic matter, container gardening, rooftop gardening, tools, and other options
- maintaining a garden – weeding, watering, and pest control tips
- harvesting the garden – picking, monitoring, and chronicling the crop, freezing and fermenting, storing and replenishing soil
- a garden resource list
Download PDF (1.8 MB)
See also the companion Community Garden Presentation.
Youth Voices Outreach Manual
A comprehensive manual on how to organize an inter-faith youth group. “This is not a typical manual. It wasn’t written by a famous author, or even a single author, but by members of the Sacred Water Circle (SWC), who collaboratively contributed to the words on these pages. This how-to-manual is based on our experience reaching out to young adults of different faiths and backgrounds to rally around a common cause.”
Download PDF (825 kB)
Greening Sacred Spaces: Eco-Spiritual Workshops
Explore the connection between your faith and the health of the Earth, and create an action plan to begin making changes and encourage one another. This is a single session workshop guide for introducing the Greening Sacred Spaces program to your faith community. Participants focus on aspects of daily life, such as food, home, place of worship to explore how they may make small and significant changes and apply their spirituality in practical ways to reduce energy consumption and help care for creation.The goals of the session include:
- Exploring the relevance of “greening” to our way of life
- Exploring how “greening” sacred spaces is relevant to this faith community
- Exploring the connection between our faith and the health of the Earth
- Exploring how our beliefs become concrete in our behaviour
- Exploring possibilities to make our homes, lives, and sacred spaces greener
- Creating an action plan to begin making changes
- Encouraging one another to change
Download presentation (182 KB)
The Green Guide: What we can do to Preserve our Sacred World
Suggestions to help you live your faith and walk more lightly on the planet.
This 8-page booklet is designed to be shared within your community and includes information on:
- Eco-Spirituality: Why should we look after the natural world?
- What can we do? Think about values, systems of production and consumption, true life-cycle costs, and changing our habits.
- Greening our homes, gardens, workplaces, and transportation methods.
Order the Green Guide ($4 each)
A Guide to Developing a ‘Green Team’ in Your Faith Community
Involve, organize, and motivate members of your faith community to take action towards eco-sustainability. This 14-page guidebook provides practical suggestions and steps for changes you could put in place to make your faith community a greener place. We know that talking about things is not the same as actually doing them; this guide will help you get things done by examining the processes and priorities to realize your green vision.
Overview of Contents
- The power of one
- Joining with others
- Developing a Green Team: Who should join, involving youth, and motivating people
- What does a Green Team do: Education, Advocacy, Facilitating Action, and Networking
Download PDF (598 kB)
Greening in Faith Communities: Ten Community Profiles
Our original “Greening in Faith Communities: Ten Community Profiles” (2008) lists case studies from 10 diverse faith communities from across Ontario, focusing on community actions and building improvements.
Download PDF (850 kB)
Retrofit and MicroFIT Action in Faith Communities
Our Go Green Case Studies (2013) feature the retrofit and MicroFIT actions of four faith communities, including community action, memorable moments, keys to success, and lessons learned.
Download PDF (720 kB)
Extreme Weather Resilience Case Studies
The Neighbourhood Extreme Weather Resilience pilot project, completed in 2015, explored how Toronto’s diverse faith communities could be better utilized as local service centres to help vulnerable populations during extreme weather emergencies. These case studies give a sense of the potential of this work by providing a snapshot of the action plans and community partner engagement at each of the project’s faith pilot sites.
Download PDF (4.05 MB)
Solar Case Studies: Follow-ups
We went back in 2015 and revisited 4 of our solar case study partners to see how they were doing 4 years later. Read more about the progress of solar projects at: Neighbourhood Unitarian (NUCC), Toronto; Islington United Church, Etobicoke; Hillcrest Mennonite Church, New Hamburg; and Laidlaw United Church, Hamilton.
Download PDF (4.5 MB)
Solar Case Studies
Solar case studies were part of our original Solar Faith Initiative project (2011) to assist and encourage faith communities in successfully navigating the MicroFIT program.
Download PDF (2.1 MB)
Mission Per Square Foot Case Studies
In 2015, we launched a new program called Mission Per Square Foot (MPSF) designed to help any congregation fully harness their building in a way that meets its mission, acknowledges its capacity, protects the environment and serves the larger community. These case studies (from the Ottawa area explore how diverse faith communities are fully and sustainably utilizing their buildings, guided by a clear mission and in service to the larger community. The MPSF program was relabelled Regeneration Works: Places of Faith in 2017.
Download PDF (1.8 MB)
Green Rule Study Guide
The Green Rule Study Guide offers suggestions for how you can use the Green Rule poster as an imaginative and practical tool to teach youth and adult members of your faith community and school system about the sacredness of creation in their own faith, while taking into consideration the similar beliefs of other faith traditions.
Order the Green Rule Study Guide ($8 for first guide; $4 each for additional guides or if added to poster order)
For bulk sales and international orders, email email@example.com to ask for a quote *before* placing order.
The Green Rule Poster
Faith & the Common Good derived the Green Rule poster from the classic Golden Rule found in major faith traditions.
“Do unto the Earth as you would have it do unto you.”
Each Green Rule was chosen from the great texts of the world’s major religions and spiritual philosophies. The texts all acknowledge the natural world as an essential phenomenon through which we may better come to know the divine and our oneness with it.
The Green Rule poster is approximately 22" x 28".
Order the Green Rule Poster ($15 folded; $20 rolled ON/QC; $25 Canada)
For bulk sales and international orders, email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for a quote *before* placing order.
Green Rule study guide (orderable with poster)
How to use the Green Rule (PDF download)