Federal Election Kit 2015

An Election is a key opportunity to evaluate political issues through the lens of faith.

2015 Election Kit/The United Church of Canada


And Who is my neighbour?

Phrases from the Bible you’ve heard all your life can strike you in disconcerting new ways when you set eyes for the first time on the “Holy Land” as it is today. Take, for example, the Jericho Road: the way Isaiah urged the exiles to take from Babylon back to Jerusalem, the road Jesus took on Palm Sunday, the route of the Good Samaritan . . . After participating in a Keep Hope Alive olive harvest trip, Polly Coote imagines how a present-day crowd might riff on Jesus’ parable.

Dr. Coote is an Associate Professor of Greek and Associate Dean (retired) at the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, California. In the fall of 2014, she and six others joined an international team organized by the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the YMCA and YWCA in East Jerusalem, to assist Palestinian farmers with the annual olive harvest in an on-going gesture of support and solidarity against Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Here is the video she made from that experience:

And Who is My Neighbour, Reflections on a Palestinian Journey


Getting Kids Involved

I’m a big fan of getting kids involved in energy conservation. As parents, grandparents, teachers, and friends, aside from our role modelling, sometimes we need to actively show the children in our lives the reasons for our actions. Besides getting our kids outside to learn to love the world we are trying to protect, they need to be able to see the impact of what they can do.

For most of us – big kids as well as small – it can be hard to picture the impact of changes we make. So what if I leave the tap, the TV, the lights on? How big a deal is that? Well, it’s time for some visual impact.

Next time you are doing a task that involves running water, put the plug in the sink before you start. Do your task then look at how much water is in the sink. I tested this out at home recently and did some math. If I was to leave the tap running when I brush my teeth (I don’t!), I would waste 11 litres of water each time I brush my teeth.   11 litres is one of those big ice cream pails that ice cream parlors have. Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. Other tasks that use water include washing dishes, rinsing vegetables, showering etc.   When the sink starts to fill up, it gives them a very solid impression of how much water they wasted.

How about garbage? A nice visual for that one is to hang a grocery bag from your belt for a day, and any garbage you generate in the day, you put into the bag. At the end of the day look at what is in your bag. Could it have been recycled or composted? Did you need to make that piece of garbage at all? This is a good starting point for talking to your children about the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Note that Reduce is first and the most valuable R.

Energy is harder to visualize. But I have two suggestions.

1. SES has a watt meter you can borrow. You plug it into the wall, then plug something into it. For example a lamp, TV, computer etc. First set it to read Watts (power) and look at how many watts are consumed when the item is turned on vs when it’s turned off.

Then set it to read kWh (energy). Leave it for a day or two and do things the way you normally do in your house, then read how many kWh you have used in that day or two. Then for the next day or two, be very vigilant about turning off the item when you aren’t using it. (Or maybe by changing behavior so you play games instead of watching TV.) Again read how many kWh you used in that time. Compare the two numbers and see how different they are.

For very young children, you may want to stack blocks or pour water or something to represent the value of those numbers.

If you are interested in borrowing this watt meter, contact the SES office.

2. Have a family “turn it off” jar. It’s like a “swear jar”. If someone forgets to turn off the light, TV, computer etc., they pay a fine into the jar. Periodically sit down as a family and decide what to do with the money. I suggest using it to improve the energy efficiency of your home – maybe buy LED lights. Or maybe donate it to an environmental charity. I know a worthy one if you need a suggestion. Wink wink.

When we can visualize the impact we as individuals can make, it’s easier to see the importance of changing our habits. Regardless how old or young we are.

Angie 220 photo