Green Neighborhood Spotlight: Green Souls!

Posted on May 27, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The All Souls Church Unitarian Green Souls Committee is signed-up for the Green Neighborhood Challenge. The Green Souls Committee is in the lead with 130 wind power sign-ups from their congregation! Check out additional information below on the background of the committee, green principles of the Unitarian Universalist Church, why the committee decided to sign-up for the Green Neighborhood Challenge, and how they have been getting the word out to their congregation members!

–Name of green neighborhood/committee:                                                                                                     All Souls Church Unitarian/Green Souls.

–Background on the committee (how long has it been established, what types of issues has the committee worked on in the past?):                                                                                                           The Green Souls has been around for nearly 10 years. Some of our long-term projects include  reducing the building’s electricity consumption with CFLs and programmable thermostats (an 18% reduction so far), creating a ride-share program to encourage green transportation to church, significantly reducing disposable dishware at church lunches, bi-monthly sale of fair-trade products, and a comprehensive recycling program. We recently became a certified Green Sanctuary Church through the Unitarian Universalist Association after completing a comprehensive church greening program. This included projects like instituting an annual Earth Day worship service, offering environmental justice themed classes and seminars, holding a socially responsible investing seminar, and more. We have quite a dedicated core of committee members who have given a lot of their time to make these projects happen.

 –Why are green/environmental issues important to your church? (values of the committee/uu church):                                                                                                                                               The Unitarian Universalist faith is guided by seven principles. The seventh principle states our commitment to “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part”. This, and a strong tradition of social justice at All Souls, have inspired us to action on many environmental justice and eco-spirituality projects.

–Why did the committee decide to participate in the green challenge? (signing-up people for wind power):                                                                                                                                                                     For the past four years we have had an annual Earth Day worship in April. Not only have we had inspirational sermons and music based on Earth Day themes, but we also have an annual Earth Day action we encourage our membership and friends of All Souls to take part in. It’s difficult to come up with an action that is high impact, yet easy to do. The book, “The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices” by the Union of Concerned Scientists, lists 11 priority actions we can take as consumers to protect the environment. Among some of them are: reducing your driving, eating less red meat, and buying organic food. But, these are difficult to carry out and to quantify. Another action listed is switching your power sources to renewable energy. When we learned about Clean Current’s program, it became a no-brainer that this was an easy, one-time action that people could take that could have a big impact.

 –Why does the committee think the All Souls UU Challenge has been so successful (you are in the lead right now for sign-ups!)                                                                                                                  First of all, it’s an easy sell when people find that you will save money by being green. Second, the fact that our church will receive a monetary award for this doesn’t hurt either! And third, it’s easy to do. Our church community is quite progressive, so we figured a good nudging via a PR campaign was all we needed. Our community is around 1000 participants, so a goal of 100 households seemed lofty, but feasible. A core group of Green Souls volunteers spent time talking to church members after the service for the 5 Sundays leading up to Earth Day. We got the email addresses of interested people and followed up with them to remind them to sign up. Church staff supported a PR blitz by including info on signing up via our website, monthly newsletter, weekly emails, and announcements in the Sunday order of service. As people signed up, we updated the publications with the totals to create a feeling of momentum. Finally, on Earth Day, we made a pitch from the pulpit…a humorous, simple skit with smoke stacks and a model wind turbine. So, lots of repetition and various means of PR seems to have got the ball rolling and it appears the ball is still going quickly.

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