Understanding your current energy use is the first step in reducing it. Launched in 2017, our Energy Benchmarking Program is helping faith communities take practical and economical climate action by lowering their energy use and emissions.
The Energy Benchmarking program:
1. Supports stewardship of environmental and financial resources. 2. It allows you to target carbon consumption (buildings account for about 42% of a typical faith community’s carbon footprint). 3. Saves time and money, allowing you to target the lowest hanging fruit. 4. Assists future reporting requirements.
It’s harvest time in Toronto after a long and beautiful growing season. At Eglinton St. George’s United Church, we’re reminded of all the growth that has taken place in our community garden with each tomato that we pick and each leaf of lettuce that we pluck.
Parishioners practice waste reduction, composting and conservation. They welcome diverse members of the neighborhood and take care of the hungry and homeless through their numerous programs.
That’s why this inclusive, compassionate parish, situated in Toronto’s Danforth area since 1927, was selected by Faith & the Common Good (FCG) to receive a Green Sacred Spaces Award. This annual award recognizes faith groups that have achieved excellence in greening their places of worship as well as engaging the broader community in the care of the environment.
Amending the Soil - Church of the Messiah Community Garden
“Amending the soil” is not a phrase I thought I’d ever repeat countless times. But at Church of the Messiah, in Toronto, we have made significant efforts to improve our soil, carrying out wheelbarrows full of gravel, garbage, and weeds, and digging in shovels full of rich organic material.
Improving the soil is one of the hardest jobs we undertake as urban gardeners. Access to our plots is restricted by stairs and busy streets, and high-quality organic soil has to be carried and dug in by hand. But the effort to improve our gardening soil is worth it because this is one of the most consequential chores we can do. Boosting the quality of the soil with organic material and better drainage helps everything we grow reach its strongest and most productive potential.
Light shining down from heaven on the garden at Holy Cross.
As I write this, the Holy Cross Eco Ministry nears its first anniversary, and what a blessed year it has been! Deo gratias!
Our eco team has just arrived back from watering our native pollinator garden and our vegetable gardens. Watering these gardens is often a peaceful task: admiring the growing fauna, greeting passersby, and surveying the bees and caterpillars and butterflies who have found a new happy home.
A Commitment to Sustainable Food: Islington United Church’s Giving Garden enters its 7th year
Islington United Church has long been a “green beacon” in its Etobicoke neighbourhood, demonstrating how a faith community can operate in an environmentally responsible manner. The congregation’s work has garnered community recognition including Faith and the Common Good’s Greening Sacred Spaces Award in 2013 and has been referred to as “the greenest church in Toronto.”
Mission and Background: St. Brigid’s Parish is a faith community that comes together through Christian ministry and community celebration. We live our faith through diversity, inclusion, compassion, justice and commitment. By welcoming, giving, and sharing, we demonstrate our faith in God, both within and beyond our Parish.
We are located in the Danforth (298 Wolverleigh Blvd) and have been worshipping and serving our community since 1927. St. Brigid Catholic School is located nearby.
Our building is 20,800 square feet of space, and is well used by our parishioners, school, and community groups. We run Out of the Cold (OOTC) and St. Vincent de Paul Society programs at our building. Our OOTC program provides safe refuge, hospitality and emergency shelter to the homeless community, every Monday night from April to November. St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteers provide home visits and education for those in need.
We have been actively seeking to reduce our footprint for the past 7 years. We do our best to reduce waste, promote recycling and composting, and have taken active steps to increase energy efficiency at our building.
Toronto is particularly susceptible to extreme weather disasters simply because it’s booming: the more concrete the city, the hotter the city. The urban heat-island effect is caused by tightly packed buildings and paved surfaces boxing in the heat. And when the rain comes, the lack of green spaces and growing number of impermeable surfaces mean there’s nowhere for water to go but into our ancient, overloaded pipes.
St. Cuthbert, Leaside is an attractive red brick church, but in environmental circles it’s known by another colour — dark green. The church has won the Green Sacred Space Award for 2018, given to the most environmentally friendly place of worship in Toronto. It is only the second Anglican church in the city to receive the award since it was established in 2000.
“We’re delighted and pleased that our efforts are making a difference,” says Heather Conolly, a member of the church and its property coordinator. “We’re keepers of the world and we want to pass on to the next generation what was handed down to us.”
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.