A week-long event that coincides with the National Environment & Commuter Challenge weeks (May 31 - June 9, 2019)
A friendly competition between Canadian places of faith
A celebration of active and sustainable transportation
An fun and easy way to try different low carbon modes of how to get to worship
Nationally hosted by Faith & the Common Good, through local partners
How it works:
Register your faith community and yourself to participate in the challenge week. Encourage others to join. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for resources, including detailed registration instructions.
Between May 31 and June 9, choose a day to leave your car behind when you travel to worship. Rideshare, take public transit, carpool, bike, or walk. Do whatever moves you!
On that day, log in to track your trip to worship via the Commuter Challenge website. See your GHG emission reduction, calorie consumption, distance, and fuel cost savings.
Check out which faith communities and cities have the highest percentage of healthy travelers.
Join with faith communities across the country to acknowledge and celebrate with certificates, prizes, and fun events!
Suggestions for Getting Started:
Talk to your faith community about joining the challenge (May 31-June 9, 2019) to demonstrate your care for creation.
Choose a Champion or Team who will plan and coordinate your event(s). These events may include:
Carpooling, launching a ride-share program in your faith community, or riding the bus together
Hosting a bicycle tune-up station, distributing bike maps
A special blessing ceremony, prayers, or acknowledgement of all the ways people are working to reduce their carbon footprint
A neighbourhood bike ride before or after a worship service
Bicycle decorating for the young and young-at-heart
To make it easier for faith communities with a lot of members participating, one of our participating faith communities has created a registration form, which you can print for your members and have them return on the final day of the challenge. The forms may then be bulk entered online at faith.commuterchallenge.ca.
If you also want to track your workplace trips during the week of June 3-7, visit commuterchallenge.ca.
Benefits of active and sustainable transportation:
Reduce the threat of climate change — Did you know that it takes 130 trees to produce the amount of oxygen needed to combat the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from one car each year?
Connect with others — Active transport and ride sharing fosters new friendships, helps others, and increases networking.
Reduce traffic congestion — Reducing the number of individual car trips means we will have less traffic congestion and less demand for roads. This will improve travel times and reduce fuel consumption.
Enjoy better health — Introduce calorie-burning exercise time by biking or walking to a public transportation or carpool stop.
Reduce air pollution — Pollutants from many transportation sources aggravate respiratory disease and contribute to property damage and acid rain.
Places of faith have anchored and shaped our communities for generations, and remain social and physical landmarks, whether in urban or rural settings. Many congregations are at risk as they face declining attendance and insufficient funding to maintain and operate their buildings.
Recognizing that congregations and communities are struggling with these issues, the National Trust for Canada and Faith & the Common Good, two national not-for-profit organizations, have come together to provide expertise, training, advisory and custom coaching services under the banner Regeneration Works: Places of Faith.
In 2017, we participated in Canada’s and Ontario’s 150th anniversary through the Ontario 150 Youth Partnership Program.
Growing Community: Engaging Diverse Youth to Strengthen Ontario’s Tapestry of Urban Gardens (Growing Community) engaged young people from diverse faith and cultural backgrounds to design, plant, and maintain urban gardens across the province. This initiative featured the creation of 8 urban gardens in Ottawa, Toronto, and Halton.
We have shared stories and photos throughout the year as these projects unfolded. See videos plus blog posts at the bottom of this page.
Ontario recognized the historical significance of 2017 with Ontario150, a year-long commemoration that honoured Ontario’s past, showcased the present, and inspired future generations. The Ontario150 Partnership Program provided youth with opportunities to actively participate in their communities in ways that reflect their creativity, cultural expression, diversity, inclusion, environmental stewardship, entrepreneurship, healthy living, and civic engagement. Faith & the Common Good is grateful to the Province for providing funding for Growing Community.
Faith & the Common Good is proud to be a founding member of Fossil Free Faith (FFF), an interfaith Canadian fossil fuel divestment network.
About Fossil Free Faith
FFF is an multi-faith consortium made up of passionate volunteers from around Canada supporting and engaging one another and our faith institutions about climate justice, fossil fuel divestment / reinvestment, and the role of bold faith in strengthening our shared future.
We connect organizations, faith groups, and resources working for climate justice and fossil fuel divestment/reinvestment.
This winter the Ottawa Chapter of FCG is offering a free garden webinar series for local faith communities to learn about how to support the birds, bees and other wildlife on your property. Native birds and bees benefit from simple and easy changes that we can make to our gardens. Providing more “habitat” supports these important species that help strengthen the resiliency of our local ecological systems and also provide many personal benefits to us including mental health and spiritual joy.
During the FCG winter webinar series, we will:
- discuss the reasons why we should be supporting local birds and the bees on our faith community property and the benefits of a more sustainable and ecological landscape;
- share how prayer, meditation, community food and/or sacred space gardens can attract more birds and bees through easy enhancements and simple changes to maintenance techniques;
- highlight some local Ottawa programs and resources that can support both your home and faith community garden (including signage that will let your neighbours know about your efforts!);
- be there to answer your gardening questions and perhaps we can have some cross-pollination with gardeners sharing their own experience with their peers online.
This FREE four-part garden webinar series starts in January 2020. All Ottawa webinar participants (those who attend the webinar) will be entered into a draw to receive some great garden paraphernalia to help with your sustainable efforts at your faith community! We are looking forward to supporting your sustainable and ecological gardening efforts this spring.
Tues January 28 at Noon (EST) – Introduction to The Birds and the Bees of Sustainable Gardening - We will start off with the 5 W’s, providing an overview of ecological and sustainable gardening, why it is important and where to start in your own garden. (LINK)
Tues February 11 at 7 PM (EST) – Supporting Wild Pollinators in your Gardens – What Wild Bees are Visiting your Sacred Space? Our focus will be on wild bees and other beneficial insects you will meet in your landscapes and how to support them. (LINK)
Wed February 26 at Noon (EST) - Gardening for Wildlife – guest presentation by Canadian Wildlife Federation - The CWF program highlights the key “ingredients” to a successful and beautiful garden that will support local wildlife. (LINK)
Wed March 11 at 7 PM (EDT) – The Birds and the Bees of Sustainable Gardening – What Next? This final webinar will focus on new research and how to apply it to your gardens, local resources and any other final questions you may have to help get you started for spring gardening. (LINK)
This series is being offered as part of the Ottawa Interfaith Sustainable Garden Network. Please contact Katherine Forster to join the OISG Network and received the Ottawa Chapter - Sustainable Garden Network newsletter which is sent out 4-6 times a year providing updates on local garden resources and new FCG Outdoor Greening programs.
As always, FCG Ottawa staff is here to help support faith community staff and volunteers working outdoors on their landscape and gardens and those who want to add a new sustainable garden component to their property. Let us know what your needs are in terms of your sacred landscape and ecological gardens — we are here to help!
Give Katherine Forster a call today (1-866-231-1877 x 107) or send an email to: [email protected]