Get Organized: Green Teams
Perhaps there is just one or two of you who are enthusiastically committed to your congregation’s carbon-reduction efforts, or perhaps you already have a team with clergy backing. As this process can take you down many paths, it’s desirable to have individuals with varied interests, skills, and perspectives. One or two motivated individuals can jumpstart the process, but we advise recruiting a team to avoid burnout and to increase consensus and ownership.
While each congregation is unique, you may want to consider forming a “Green Team” to serve as “project manager” to administrate the bidding, sizing and solar installation process at every step of the way.
- Recruit at least three friends from your congregation who care about sustainability as an aspect of faith.
- Meet with your pastoral leader(s) to get their endorsement.
- Research your denomination’s statements on creation care.
- Become an officially recognized group in the congregation.
In your first Green Team meetings:
- Craft a mission statement. If your tradition has a statement on sustainability, incorporate that.
- Brainstorm about what you hope to accomplish as a team. Go wild with this list – don’t hold back. Highlight up to three action items that can be accomplished within the first year.
- Set a timeline of practical goals and a meeting schedule. Consider meeting once a month when getting started.
- Issue news releases about Green Team initiatives in congregational media outlets.
- Above all, pray together, learn together, and enjoy creation together!
Some Beginning Entry Points
- Plan one event in the first six months – perhaps a class, a documentary screening, establishing a community garden or a tree planting. Consider “greening” a congregational event already planned.
- Ask pastoral leaders to include environmental stewardship themes within regular services or classes.
Embracing Energy Efficiencies
- Review the power bills for your buildings. Meet with the property staff to determine which energy efficiency projects to adopt.
- Strive for a 25% energy reduction.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice
- Establish a recycling program in your congregation. Or maximize the visibility of your current one.
- Obtain reusable dishware to reduce waste.
- Adopt a “No-Water-Bottles” policy for events. Single- use plastic creates a huge environmental footprint. Encourage people to bring water bottles to events or use pitchers of water and cups.
- Participate in community conversations. Meet with local and state elected officials.
- Plan interfaith or ecumenical eco-activities. Build relationships across congregations.
- Apply for a Cool Congregations Certificate.