GETTING TO YES: HOW TO CONVINCE OTHERS TO ‘GREEN’ YOUR FAITH BUILDING
Almost every faith community wants to improve their building, lower energy costs and be more environmentally-friendly; but there is also a shared worry that sabotages our desires- the worry we don’t know how to accomplish it all and overcome the naysayers.
You are not alone
Even some of the most successful faith communities that made big, expensive changes to their building had the same worries, but in time, got to a place of ‘yes’.
Lorene DiCorpo recalls growing up in Sudbury many decades ago, and how, daily, she could smell and taste the sulphur dioxide in the air emitted by the neighboring mining company, Inco Nickel. On cloudy days the sky would be tinged with yellow. It was well known that miners developed emphysema and asthma and that the land had been reduced to non-fertile clay. “As a child, I thought this was just the way things were,” she says.
Faith & the Common Good, Halton Environmental Network, Greening Sacred Spaces Halton-Peel, and an array of partners will be working together over the next year, thanks to funding received from the Oakville Community Foundation (OCF), to pilot an Oakville neighbourhood extreme weather resilience hub model using places of worship and other neighbourhood organizations as neighbourhood engagement and care anchors. The goal is to create an Oakville resiliency hub network that engages diverse community stakeholders to increase community capacity and understanding around how we can work to support each other. The Project plan is to pilot “neighbourhood hubs” in 3 geographic hubs based in the community of Oakville.
For the past four months, I have been a co-op student working with Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) Halton-Peel, a program of Halton Environmental Network (HEN) and a chapter of Faith & the Common Good (FCG). My focus was helping to develop and implement the Energy Benchmarking Program in Halton and Peel. This program allows our team to monitor and measure the energy consumption of faith communities and help them reduce or become more efficient energy users.
With this program I had the amazing opportunity to be put into an environment that I was not used to. I am used to speaking about the importance of the environment and saving energy. However, until I started to speak with the different faith communities that we worked with in Halton and Peel, I never realised the important role the environment plays across faiths.
Faith & the Common Good recently launched an energy benchmarking program and Toronto Hydro and Enbridge Gas Distribution are assisting us in the City of Toronto. Hamilton, Halton, Peel, and York regions are also participating in this program.
The 2017 Ontario150 Youth Partnership Program was an opportunity for Ontario youth to participate in their communities in ways that would reflect their creativity, cultural expression, diversity, environmental stewardship, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement.
Building a Meditative Garden at Christ the King Catholic Secondary School
The students at Christ the King Secondary School received tremendous support from TD Friends of the Environment, Ontario150, and Greening Sacred Spaces Halton Peel to build a new meditative garden on the property in Georgetown.
Climate change. It’s worse than we thought. That was the message we heard from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Dr. Dianne Saxe, who joined us on three separate occasions over the past months — a June event in Hamilton and September events at Church of the Incarnation in Oakville and the Jaffari Community Centre in Thornhill.
Tarbiyah students enjoy their time in the garden and help to create their own green space.
What happens when you introduce gardens and plants to your students? Well, they get awfully interested in learning more! We’ve had such an amazing time working with the students of Tarbiyah Elementary School in Milton, ON and a large part of that is due to the students’ excitement of being in the garden!