Environmental Stewardship

The Environmental Stewardship Work Area helps us become responsible stewards of God's creation, and care for humankind. We

  • Provide environmental education
  • Encourage individual and corporate green living habits
  • Help the church take steps to make our facilities more energy efficient and earth friendly
  • Provide avenues for environmental social action

Alternative Modes of Transportation to Minimize Your Carbon Footprint

Mass Transit
Whenever possible use mass transit, especially when commuting to work. In the suburbs Metrarail offers railroad service to downtown Chicago. Their website is www.metrarail.com. The schedules are posted on their website. When you arrive in Chicago use the RTA bus service. Their website is www.RTAChicago.com. For suburban bus service Pacebus provides a variety of bus services. They offer a vanpool program, paratransit service, a fixed route bus system, and a vanpool incentive program. For more information, go to www.pacebus.com. Mass transportation is good for the environment and it helps save money.

Benefits of Walking and Bicycling
Studies have found that walking and bicycling helps reduce your carbon footprint. Walking and bicycling produces no pollution, and helps make the roads safer. In congested areas cyclists and pedestrians breathe less fumes than drivers. Walking and bicycling also help reduce your waistline.

Benefits of Carpooling
Studies have found that carpooling helps reduce carbon dioxide. Taking your car off the road one day a week will help keep the air clean and remove congestion from the roads. Combine car trips instead of making separate trips throughout the day, combine errands to help reduce your carbon footprint. When possible, park in a central location and do all your errands. Also, be sure to bring reusable shopping bags when doing your errands.

A Little Conservation Goes a Long Way

What is Water Efficiency?

Water efficiency is the smart use of our water resources through water-saving technologies and simple steps we can all take around the house. Using water efficiently will help ensure reliable water supplies today and for future generations.

Save Water, Save Money

The average household spends over $700 per year on its water and sewer bill. By making just a few simple changes to use water more efficiently, you could save about $200 per year. Also, when we use water more efficiently, we reduce the need for costly investments in water treatment and delivery systems.

Drops to Watts: Save Water, Save Energy

It takes a considerable amount of energy to deliver and treat the water you use every day. For example, letting your faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours.

Heating water for bathing, shaving, cooking, and cleaning also requires a lot of energy. Homes with electric water heaters, for example, spend one-quarter of their electric bill just to heat water.

With climate change concerns, pervasive droughts, and high energy prices across the country, nearly everyone is looking for ways to conserve resources and cut costs. The good news is that by using a little "water sense" we can all save water, energy, and money.

The preceding information is a direct citation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Wastewater Management. Read more on the EPA website.

Here are three simple and effective ways you can make a difference:

1. Do full loads of laundry and dish washing.  Use cold water wash/ rinse for laundry (90% of the energy in doing laundry goes to heating water and only 10% to powering the machine).

2. Limit the length and temperature of showers (a family of 4 limiting shower time under 5 minutes can reduce 1,000 lb/ yr. CO2.

3. Turn down hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees or medium temperature setting.

Together, we can all make a difference!
 

Battery Recycling - Where Can You Recycle and What Must You Recycle?

Battery Recycling    
Improperly disposed batteries may produce the following potential problems or hazards: pollute lakes and streams as the metals vaporize into the air when burned, contribute hazardous heavy metals that infiltrate our water supply, expose the environment and water to lead and acid, contain strong corrosive acids, cause burns or danger to eyes and skin.  All of these are a high cost to individuals and society.

An excellent website that gives recycling information for all types of batteries and many other recyclable items is http://earth911.com/. Not only does this website provide information on specific products, it provides locations near your home where you can take your recyclable items. 

Each of us can make a difference and collectively we can change the world for the better. 

Alkaline Batteries
Mercury has been the major concern with alkaline batteries, but in 1996 Federal law changed for regular alkaline batteries requiring that they contain no mercury.  IL EPA apparently agrees that alkaline batteries are not very toxic, because they do not contain mercury.  Most people, including disposal companies, assume that after 16 years the mercury batteries have worked their way out of the system and it is okay to put them trash.  However, it is still much better to recycle these single-use, alkaline batteries.  In 2010 battery manufacturers, Rayovac, Panasonic, Duracell and Energizer committed to a nationwide program aimed at improving the recycling of household batteries.  Together, these four companies launched the non-profit Corporation for Battery Recycling (CBR) that has studied how to improve the recycling of batteries in the United States so that it is both environmentally sound and cost-effective.  Although some places no longer collect these single-use, alkaline batteries, local Walgreens Drug stores and the COM2 Recycling Solutions Collection Center, 87 W 61st St., Westmont, IL 60559 [(630) 434-1250] still collect and recycle these batteries as well as many other batteries.

Rechargeable batteries
All rechargeable batteries are considered toxic.  They contain mercury, lead, lithium, silver, cadmium and other metals that are hazardous to the environment and humans.  All of these should be disposed through recycling channels to minimize the effect on the environment and humans.  Local Walgreens Drug stores and the COM2 Recycling Solutions Collection Center mentioned in the preceding paragraph collect and recycle these batteries. 

Lead Acid Batteries - Automotive and Non-automotive
Nearly 99 million wet-cell, lead-acid car batteries are manufactured each year.  A typical lead-acid battery contains 60 to 80 percent recycled lead and plastic.  It is vital that we recycle these batteries so that the hazardous lead does not enter the environment.  Home Depot, Advance Auto Parts, O'Reilly Auto Parts and other auto parts stores collect and recycle these batteries.  
With the increase in hybrid vehicles, Toyota has started hybrid battery recycling program.  While traditional vehicles use lead-acid batteries, hybrid cars typically also incorporate a separate nickel metal hydride or Lithium-ion  battery to generate electric power.

In addition to the website http://earth911.com/, the below websites provide excellent information on battery recycling, including types of batteries that are not mentioned in this article. 
(1) http://www.batteryrecycling.com/
(2) http://www.batteryrecycling.com/battery+recycling+process
(3) http://www.batteriesplus.com/t-metro-chicago.aspx?its=googleadwords&campaign=chicago&adgroup=services&keyword=battery%20recycling
(4) http://www.call2recycle.org/
(5) http://illinoispoisoncenter.org/ipc_media/pdf/RecyclingHP.pdf

Going Green with Your Vehicle - Are You Ready?

Environmental StewardshipIf you are like many, the idea of going green with your vehicle is appealing, but the challenge of understanding the technologies and picking out the right vehicle feels a bit overwhelming. You may be asking:

  • What is the difference between an electric vehicle and a hybrid?
  • What happens to the battery at the end of it's life?
  • What is the true lifecycle cost of these vehicles and will I really save any money in the long run?
  • What is my true environmental impact if I choose one of these vehicles?

If you would like to hear the answers to these questions, please join us on Wednesday, September 26 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 213, where Ken Poindexter, church member and retired 40+ year employee at Electro-Motive Diesel/GM will lead a discussion about green vehicle technologies.

This program follows earlier Environmental Stewardship programs on choosing an alternative electricity provider, installing renewable energy systems and practical ways to reduce energy consumption in your home.

Location: 
Room 213
Date: 
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 7:00pm

Environmental Studies at DGFUMC and at Home

The Environmental Stewardship Work Area at DGFUMC took responsibility for an area on the church's grounds over the past year to maintain its landscaping and vegetation.  This area (south of the main parking lot between the main entrance and exit) is visible to everyone from Maple Street and is seen as everyone enters/exits the main parking lot from Maple.  Over the past year our group has planted more than a dozen Choral Bells, put down mulch, and ensured those pesky weeds don't overtake the tulips, bushes, or other plants.   

One new endeavor our group has undertaken is studying the effects of different weed prevention methods.  In a small area, about 6' x 18' surrounded by grass, we've put down commercial weed matting and wet newspaper, both covered with mulch, to study the potential varying effects of each type of weed prevention method.  Also, what study would be complete without a control?  To allow for an unbiased estimate in the difference in treatment effects we've put an area with nothing but mulch on the dirt in between the weed matting and newspaper prevention methods.  Over this summer our group members will rotate every two weeks to monitor the area to observe and report which areas had the most/least amount of weeds.  From there we'll continue remove the weeds and in the end will report back to the church with a method that may be more effective and worth implementing in other areas around the church.  

Studies like this are simple, thought provoking, great for the summer, and encourage children to spend their time outdoors.  Parents can discuss what they think will "win" with their children and track the progress together.  Children can relate what they may be learning at school with their own home.  Consider such studies as this, making compost, making a small biodome, or tracking the growth of different seeds that you plant together.  A great book with over 90 environmentally friendly activities to encourage the understanding and appreciation of the earth and other living things is Earthways: Simple Environmental Activities for Young Children (Carol Petrash, July/1992).  By setting up such environmental projects together you'll be helping the environment, spending time outdoors, and opening doors of thought and communication.

12 Ways to Save Energy

Finding energy efficiency improvements in your home has been shown to be the most cost-effective way to reduce our energy use and capture cost savings. At the same time, one will achieve improvement to the environment by reducing the pollution that is released when electricity is produced or fossil fuels burned. Energy costs have been and are projected to keep increasing. Jesus taught us to love your neighbor as yourself. By reducing our energy consumption we can demonstrate love to our neighbors by reducing toxic air emissions better protecting public health and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping to mitigate the climate chaos created by such emissions. In our nation alone last year we had at least a dozen severe weather events that each resulted in over a billion dollars in adverse economic impact to our nation plus the loss of many lives.

On Sunday March 11, 2012 we enjoyed a discussion on 12 easy and practical ways to reduce energy consumption in your home. James Cavallo, Principal at Kouba- Cavallo Associates and a former research economist at Argonne National Laboratory, led a discussion on how to conduct a simple energy audit of your home's energy use and how to implement simple yet meaningful measures to reduce energy consumption and realize significant savings in your energy bills. This program followed earlier Environmental Stewardship programs on choosing an alternative electricity provider and installing solar and geothermal renewable energy systems.

A copy of the presentation is available below.

12 Ways to Save Energy, Money and Protect Our Environment

Finding energy efficiency improvements in your home has been shown to be the most cost-effective way to reduce our energy use and capture cost savings. At the same time, one will achieve improvement to the environment by reducing the pollution that is released when electricity is produced or fossil fuels burned. Energy costs have been and are projected to keep increasing. Jesus taught us to love your neighbor as yourself. By reducing our energy consumption we can demonstrate love to our neighbors by reducing toxic air emissions better protecting public health and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping to mitigate the climate chaos created by such emissions. In our nation alone last year we had at least a dozen severe weather events that each resulted in over a billion dollars in adverse economic impact to our nation plus the loss of many lives.

Join us on Sunday March 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM in room 213 for a discussion on 12 easy and practical ways to reduce energy consumption in your home. James Cavallo, Principal at Kouba- Cavallo Associates and a former research economist at Argonne National Laboratory, will lead a discussion on how to conduct a simple energy audit of your homes energy use and how to implement simple yet meaningful measures to reduce energy consumption and realize significant savings in your energy bills. This program follows earlier Environmental Stewardship programs on choosing an alternative electricity provider and installing solar and geothermal renewable energy systems.

Location: 
Room 213
Date: 
Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 11:00am

Caring for Creation by Running Your Electric Meter Backwards

As Christians, we are all charged with the responsibility to care for our planet. New alternate energy technologies have an important role in helping the nation become energy independent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, as fossil fuel energy costs increase, reduce residential energy costs. Whether you design a new home or wish to improve the energy efficiency of your existing home, solar energy and other technologies are rapidly developing into cost effective sustainable energy resources. Among these technologies are solar collectors, solar hot water systems, heat storage vaults, ground source heat pumps, photovoltaic electricity and solar panels. On January 15, 2012 we learned firsthand from Michael Moats and Lois Salle about alternate energy technologies that can be used in your home now. Michael has built a home about one block from our church that uses these technologies. A link to their presentation is below. We are planning for a meeting at our church in March to talk more about ways to retrofit your existing home to make it more energy efficient. The Power of One is real. If we each do something, together we can make a real difference!

Small Electronics Recycling Fundraiser - Thank you and keep the items coming!

As you know, the Environmental Stewardship Work Area is conducting a recycling fundraiser. Thus far we have raised about $85. We are simply asking you to protect the environment by donating your used cell phones and small consumer electronics. Your used items(s) may be tax deductible and will be recycled in accordance with EPA regulations. 100% of the proceeds will help fund the First United Methodist Church's change over to more environmentally friendly and economical light fixtures and lighting.

We are currently collecting the following items: cell phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, digital video cameras, handheld game systems, MP3 players, GPS devices, and electronic book readers.

Note: Please do not include any accessories (rechargers, ear buds, etc.) with your donations.

Drop off any of the above items you would like to recycle at the Collection Bin on the table in the Church Office on the second floor.

Small Electronics Recycling Fundraiser - Thank you and keep the items coming!

As you know, the Environmental Stewardship Work Area is conducting a recycling fundraiser. Thus far we have raised about $85. We are simply asking you to protect the environment by donating your used cell phones and small consumer electronics. Your used items(s) may be tax deductible and will be recycled in accordance with EPA regulations. 100% of the proceeds will help fund the First United Methodist Church's change over to more environmentally friendly and economical light fixtures and lighting.

We are currently collecting the following items: cell phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, digital video cameras, handheld game systems, MP3 players, GPS devices, and electronic book readers.

Note: Please do not include any accessories (rechargers, ear buds, etc.) with your donations.

Drop off any of the above items you would like to recycle at the Collection Bin on the table in the Church Office on the second floor.

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