Christmas Trash

christmastrashThis is the total amount of non-recyclable or non-reusable trash Rachel and I had from Christmas gifting this morning.  May you and yours recycle most, if not all of your wrappage be reuseable or recylable this year and for ever!

College Food Service goes “Green”

College food services are ditching the trays we all used to use.  In doing so, they are decreasing food waste, saving water and electricity.  Good idea.  Check it out:

Georgia Tech, enrollment 18,000, has saved 3,000 gallons of water per day without trays, she said.

The 50,000-student University of Florida estimates it will save 470,000 gallons annually. At the 2,000-student University of Maine at Farmington, which went trayless in February 2007, the tally is 288,000 gallons, said Aramark spokesman Dave Gargione….

Aramark conducted a study of 92,000 students, faculty and staff at 300 institutions and found that 79 percent indicated they would accept eating off plates instead of trays. Another Aramark study of 186,000 meals served at 25 institutions found that when trays weren’t used, food waste per person was reduced 25 percent to 30 percent.

In case you Animal House fans are concerned, the report closes with this:”Fortunately for Blutarsky, the University of Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union, where Belushi’s famous food fight scene was filmed at the ‘Fishbowl’ food court, still makes trays available.”

Do Good v. Don’t Do Bad

The latest Fast Company has an interesting piece on Clorox and the development of their GreenWorks line of environmentally-friendly cleaning products.

One of Clorox’s main strategies was to enlist the support of the Sierra Club. The Greenworks products bear the Sierra Club seal of approval.  Not all club members approve.

Carl Pope is the Executive Director of the Sierra Club.  The article explains:

When Clorox approached him, Pope had already been pushing for a shift in mind-set at the 116-year-old Sierra Club for some time — from a mandate to “stop bad things,” as he puts it, to one about “making good things happen.”

Consider the simple yet profound difference in these two approaches.  How many of us have spent untold hours and energy on stopping bad things.  Or, at least, how many hours of sleep have been lost and gossip been bandied about in the interest of “stopping bad things.”  Oh, to have a nickel for every hour of lamenting  the American Church has done over the “direction society is heading”!

Perhaps our time and energy are better spent seeking to make good things happen.

Help Wanted

A good friend and fellow blogger, Rick Mang, called me the other day with a request for ideas about how to cut energy usage at the church he serves.  We talked for a while about ideas.

One of the most important points to make about churches conserving energy and reducing their carbon footprint, is that this is not to be done at the expense of ministry!  We cannot, and must not, stop serving people in the name of cutting utility bills or saving the planet.

So, if Rick called you, what tips would you give?  He reads this blog, so consider your comment here as good as a phone call.

Heyduck Amendment

At Annual Conference this past week, we took some time on Tuesday afternoon, and again on Wednesday morning, to discuss resolutions on various social issues.

When the one titled “Resolution Regarding Global Climate Change” (page 124 at this link), I offered an amendment.  Line 16 read “1. Join in covenant with people of faith to work together to halt global warming and….”

I suggested that we strike “of faith” and replace these two words with the word “everyone.”  My rationale (which I gave after the amendment was seconded and I was asked, was that I don’t want only to work with people of faith on environmental matters, but I’ll work with anyone.

The motion carried easily.  There was no debate.

So, the question arises, why would the makers of the resolution in the first place suggest that we only work with people of faith?

Are there things you will work for with people of faith, but you won’t work with others?  I can’t think of anything I would want done that I wouldn’t be willing to work on with people of other faiths, or even no faith.

Trash or Tax?

Percentage of plastic bags that end up in the trash: 99

Percent reduction of plastic bag use in Ireland after the government began taxing bags in 2002: 95

Is $4 per gallon enough?

The Senate voted yesterday to suspend daily deposits of 70,000 barrels of oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserves.  Reports say this could save motorists between 2 and 5 cents a gallon.

Two of three presidential candidates have talked of suspending the federal gasoline tax for the summer months.  Such a measure would reduce prices an additional 18 cents per gallon.

Therefore, IF oil prices level off, these two measures together would save a maximum of 23 cents a gallon; approximately 5-7 percent of the current price.

While many would benefit marginally from such a cut, I am concerned about the bigger picture as I see it.

The bigger picture is this: it is time to find sources of energy other than petroleum.  If you don’t buy this from the environmental perspective, it seems to me you ought to buy this from the economic and/or national security perspective.

Gas prices have gone up – at least tripled – over the past 4 years.  Periodically during this time, when prices shot up, only to level off, or even back down a little from high points, we hear reports of people taking drastic measures to cut costs – traveling less, trading in for vehicles with better fuel economy, even using public transportation.

Then, as soon as prices plateau, it seems people make the necessary adjustments to go back to life as usual.

It seems as if we will only maintain the needed resolve if gas prices not only stay high, but continue to climb.

Are you ready for $5 a gallon?  How about $6?  What will it take?