The Path of Sustainability shows how to achieve energy savings and stepped-up sustainability practices in five steps.

1. Form a Green Team
2. Educational Action – Develop a Program of Education for Sustainable Practices
3. Conduct a Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit
4. Apply The Calculator Tool to Select and Schedule Actions
5. Congregation Members Pledge to Follow the Path of Sustainability

1. Form a Green Team

A green team in your faith-based organization promotes positive change in a caring and non-judge-mental manner. Behaviors and attitudes can change in a fun and supportive way. ECOFaith Santa Barbara has developed a Path of Sustainability for its participants to use to develop sustainability practices in their faith-based organizations.

Faith communities have strong social networks that can help promote behavioral change in their members. Behavior changes can have a high impact without costing any money. People are more likely to try new things, learn new habits and make long-lasting changes when they have the support of others. Forming a Green Team at your house of worship informs, guides, and encourages sustainability actions — such as recycling, energy conservation, carpooling, bicycling, water conservation. The congregation’s Green Team gets everyone started. Keep it flexible. Educate the group. Give people a list to pick a few actions that they can do, rather than ask them to do everything. Your Green Team provides the education, guidance, encouragement, and information needed to make decisions about changes that are feasible now and for the future. The first step is to recruit members to the team, develop enthusiasm, organize a team meeting, share information, and select actions. Even once formed, keep encouraging congregation members to join in and grow the team’s size. Getting green is fun. It feels good to take care of the planet ! More on how to form a Green Team

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2. Education Program for Sustainable Practices

The Green Team meetings provide a comfortable forum where the members learn about environmental issues, socialize, and exchange ideas while increasing their awareness of their own environmental impacts. The idea is to learn, connect and get everyone involved with Path of Sustainability. Actions will grow beyond the faith-based organization to their whole family or household, friends, and work colleagues. Sharing information about sustainability is as easy as creating an educational poster for the bulletin board.

Here are some sources for green guides and information.

A simple video explanation of carbon pollution, carbon dioxide and global warming. Watch Video.

What is My Personal Ecological Footprint on the Planet? Ever wondered how much ìnatureî your lifestyle requires? Youíre about to find out. The Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates the amount of land and ocean area required to sustain your consumption patterns and absorb your wastes on an annual basis. After answering 27 easy questions you will be able to compare your Ecological Footprint to others and learn how to reduce your impact on the Earth. Read more…

Energy – electricity, gas, gasoline, coal, nuclear – is what makes the air conditioner hum and the wheels go round. Do you know what energy source provides the most renewable energy in the United States? Hint: it is NOT wind. Answers and more at The Energy Quiz brought to you by The US Energy Information Administration. This a quick 20 question (with answers) quiz is about energy and where it all comes from, how we use it, and also provides insightful statistics. Read more...

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3. Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit

The Calculator Tool
Set a congregation work day for efficiency retrofitting — replace incandescent light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, upgrade insulation in the ceiling, attic and other areas. Seal drafts around doors and windows. changeout of cleaning chemicals. When it’s time for replacement, commit to installing efficient windows

Encourage carpooling and bicycling to service as a means of reducing the metric tonnes of CO2 emitted that day. Ask for environmentally non-toxic cleaning fluids for your house of worship, encourage the minister to discuss Earth stewardship, creation care, and environmental responsibility in sermons and lessons, bring groups to see demonstrations of solar panel installations. Gather your electricity and gas bills for the previous year. Use The Calculator Tool to enter the numbers from the bills, which will create the graphs to show monthly rise or fall in energy use and give guidance on next steps.

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4. Use The Calculator Tool to Select and Schedule Actions

What you will need to use The Calculator Tool:

  • Electric and/or gas bills
  • Vehicle miles driven in a week

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5. Members Pledge to Follow the Path of Sustainability

Each member of your house of worship can become a part of the effort to create a more sustainable, less wasteful campus. Only through individual effort is a sweeping change possible. Make a statement about your dedication to environmental stewardship, creation care, sustainability, by taking the pledge. The members can check what on the list will be do-able for each. Here is a sample checklist of suggestions for your pledge.

Energy and Greenhouse Gases
Set the sleep mode on my computer and monitor
Turn off lights when I don’t need them
Unplug chargers or use power strips with one/off buttons
Use CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps)
Wash clothes in cold or warm water
Adjust thermostats in my home
Walk, bike, or take mass transit
Take the stairs
Use a fan instead of an air conditioner

Do away with disposables
Be thrifty
Reuse, refill, or repair
Reduce use of plastic and toxics

Choose local and seasonal produce
Buy organic
Eat less meat, seafood, and water-intensive crops

Check out tips from Water Wise Santa Barbara

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