Home Garbage Audit

In Saskatoon, early August, we had a torrential rain storm that flooded basements. Since then we’ve had almost no rain. As I write this, hurricanes are ripping through Central America and the southern United States. Meanwhile fires rage through British Columbia, Alberta, and the western United States. This summer, unfathomable heat was killing people and crops in India, only to be followed by strong cyclones across India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Someone needs to take action on climate change.

Regular readers of my column will know that the “someone” I’m referring to is “us.” It’s you and me. I think that we all want to do our part but sometimes we just don’t know what to do. That is the point of this column. It is about things you and I can do to reduce our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. For the next several issues each column will be about how you can audit the energy or water consumption in your home (or office, or church, or…) and make some changes. To audit means to check something out to see what is happening.

You don’t often hear me talking about waste in this column (it is ENERGY Conservation Corner, after all) but waste is also an energy issue. It takes energy and water to extract resources, then manufacture, market, and transport products. When we throw out a product, we are effectively throwing out all the energy and water embodied in that product. For every kilogram of regular household waste we put in the landfill, 1.3 kilograms CO2e of greenhouse gas emissions are created.

For the first audit in this series, I thought we should start with an audit that is straightforward, and highly visible: waste it is!

Take a bag and hang it from your belt for a day (or a few days).  Each time you produce
a piece of garbage, put it in the bag on your belt. At the end of the day, look at what is in your bag, and think about what could have happened instead: Does your bag contain a disposable coffee cup, unwanted clothing, paper towel, empty containers, or spoiled food?

There are lots of variations on this activity:

  •  You can use a disposable plastic bag; or a reusable cloth one (which you wash after).
  •  You likely want to exclude bathroom garbage and messy kitchen garbage.
  •  If you are pretty good at the waste minimization thing, maybe you want to include things you would have thrown in the recycling.

I was talking to my neighbor the other day and she said, “Now that we have city recycling and compost pickup, we hardly have any garbage.” That is certainly the experience at our house.  With three adults, we produce one or two grocery bags a week of garbage.  That doesn’t include what we produce at work.

Now that you know what you are putting in your garbage, make some changes: use a reusable mug, donate unwanted clothing, use a rag, recycle containers or buy in bulk, and do better grocery planning. Then hang a bag from your belt again to see what you need to tackle next.

Hopefully, this audit, and the rest in the series, will help you make changes. If you learn something and you want to share, or if you have questions, you can always contact me at angieb@environmentalsociety.ca.

I’d love to hear about your successes!

Angie 220 photo

Angie Bugg manages energy conservation projects for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, and is an active member of McClure United Church. You can contact her at angieb@environmentalsociety.ca “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” (Psalm 24:1)

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Worship and action resources for World Food Day, Oct 16

Throughout this week in October we are invited to take action for food justice. As the harvest is gathered and as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike respectfully hunt and fish in preparation for winter, we give thanks for the beauty and the bounty of God’s Creation. Please set aside time in worship to give thanks, and to pray and take action for the millions around the world and in Canada who are hungry in the midst of plenty, or who are hungry because they are fleeing disasters and violence.

See the United Church’s national page for resources. The United Church and many of our own farmers are also partners with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, which also offers a special 2017 worship resource.   Continue reading

Speaker opportunity: Global partner stories at home

Out of Many, One: bringing home stories of global partners in Kenya, Cuba, and Palestine

Three SK Conference members have been recent guests with global partners in Cuba, Kenya, and Palestine/ Israel.  These partners, our global family, share in our mission and in our givings to Mission and Service. Throughout the fall of 2017 and winter/ spring 2018, we encourage you to invite them to share their stories in worship, workshops, and at Presbytery. Some support for their travel is available through the Conference Generosity in Mission Fund.

Get in touch with Cindy, Brenda, and Sandra to find out how your ministry can host them for worship, workshops, and more. Or contact Laura Sundberg, Global Personnel Coordinator, or Julie Graham, Education staff. In order to protect email addresses, we ask you to use the Conference Directory or contact Julie if you need help finding contact information. Email her at jgraham(at)skconf(dot)ca

Rev. Cindy Bourgeois serves Wesley United Church in Regina. On behalf of the United Church and Affirm United, in 2017 she attended an historic church gathering in Cuba for the transgender community.

Rev. Brenda Curtis serves Humboldt pastoral charge. In the spring of 2017 she participated in a clergy “Come and See” visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel.

Sandra Fowler is a licensed lay worship leader at Spirit Hills pastoral charge.  She represented SK Conference in March 2017 on the Mission and Service Pilgrimage to Kenya.