The Green Corner
On this page, we present the Green Corner articles which have appeared in the Sunday Parish Bulletin.
Agriculture and Food Waste
Conventional agriculture uses large amounts of energy and water while contributing more to the greenhouse effect than transportation. We need both to eat and we can make intelligent, responsible choices that minimize our environmental impact. Perhaps the easiest of these is to avoid food waste: in the USA, 30-40% of food supply is wasted, more than 20 pounds of food per person per month (FAO).
Consumers can reduce food waste (and save money): don't overbuy, plan meals to use up what you have in the refrigerator, have a leftover night once a week, use up excess ripe fruits and veggies in smoothies, soups, casseroles, & stir-fries. For more suggestions visit: www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home
Once in landfills, food breaks down to produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.
Fermer La Porte, S'il Vous Plaît
With the colder weather, please make sure the doors to our churches are closed to keep the heat in, and the cold out. When the heaters are "ON", please help us keep the church doors closed to conserve energy and reduce the resulting CO2 emissions.
A new Union of Concerned Scientists UCS study, Cream of the Crop: The Economic Benefits of Organic Dairy Farms, reveals that public investment in organic dairy farmers would pay off in multiple ways. In addition to producing a healthier product and safeguarding the environment, organic dairy farms generate greater economic opportunity and more jobs in rural communities compared with conventional dairies. But current agriculture policy favors big polluting CAFOs (confined animal feed operations) over organic dairy farms. And because Congress has failed to act on the now-overdue 2012 Farm Bill—the 5-year legislative package that shapes U.S. agriculture—the limited programs that currently help organic dairy farmers are at risk.
We can change this, but we need quick action. Tell Congress: pass a Farm Bill—one that calls for investments in organic dairies and other healthy-food farmers—NOW.
Supporting the Benefits of Organic Dairies
A new Union of Concerned Scientists UCS study, Cream of the Crop: The Economic Benefits of Organic Dairy Farms, reveals that public investment in organic dairy farmers would pay off in multiple ways. In addition to producing a healthier product and safeguarding the environment, organic dairy farms generate greater economic opportunity and more jobs in rural communities compared with conventional dairies.
But current agriculture policy favors big polluting CAFOs (confined animal feed operations) over organic dairy farms. And because Congress has failed to act on the now-overdue 2012 Farm Bill—the 5-year legislative package that shapes U.S. agriculture—the limited programs that currently help organic dairy farmers are at risk.
We can change this, but we need quick action. Tell Congress: pass a Farm Bill—one that calls for investments in organic dairies and other healthy-food farmers—NOW.
Thanks to the support of our parishioners, the FreeCycle event at our annual picnic in Sept was a huge success. It was a win-win-win situation: some parishioners regained storage room around the house, others brought home treasures without paying a penny and we prevented a whole lot of stuff from being taken to the land fill! The Zero Waste Block Leader program of the our city has learned of our event and is now trying to duplicate it in various neighborhoods in Palo Alto. The Green Committee is really proud to help our parish set such good examples for our community. If you are interested to join in our efforts to help preserve God's gift of creation, please email Katia Reaves at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bike Palo Alto!
Sunday, October 7 at 1:00 to 4:00 PM
Discover local routes. Start at El Carmelo Elementary located at 3024 Bryant Street.
Free event. Routes for all levels, information on safe biking, bicycle maintenance, bike maps, free snacks and raffle, family friendly.
Sponsored by Palo Alto Neighborhoods Green Teams along with city and business partners.
How much standby power do your electronics use? How much are they really costing you? Find out by signing up for a FREE energy-saving HouseCall!
Green@Home HouseCalls are offered by Acterra, a non-profit organization, and can save renters and homeowners $50 to $150 per year and reduce CO2 emissions!
During a HouseCall, trained volunteers work with residents in their homes to perform a home energy assessment and install basic energy-saving upgrades. Upgrades include compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), a retractable clothesline, low–flow water devices, and weatherstripping.
Visit www.acterra.org/housecalls to sign up for this free service. Or call 650.962.9876, ext. 380.
THE FUTURE IS HERE...AND IT'S HOT!
How will climate change affect your food, water and energy supply?
How will it impact the health of your family?
Will you, your children, your parents, your community be able to adapt?
How do we create a resilient local economy and community?
It's time for solutions, time for action
Climate Crisis and Solutions
Who: Gary Latshaw, PhD - Climate Reality Project
What: Presentation, Q&A, Networking with local organizations to take action
When: Friday, September 14, 2012, 7:30 PM
Where: Elizabeth Seton School Auditorium, 1095 Channing Avenue, Palo Alto
Free Open to the Public
Why: We must empower ourselves to act now.
Dr. Latshaw, a retired physicist, received his PhD in physics from Stanford University. In this Climate Reality Project presentation, he will explain the rationale of the science behind the crisis, describe potential local and national impacts, and offer solutions which must be implemented soon for the benefit of future generations. Come learn what you can do and how to take action.
The presentation will last approximately one hour, to be followed by a Q&A period. There will be an opportunity to meet with organizations with ideas and projects to mitigate global warming. Light refreshments will be served. Ample parking on the campus grounds.
Sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center of Palo Alto
Acterra, Catholic Diocese of San Jose, Catholic Community at Stanford, Chamber of Commerce-Palo Alto, Citizens' Climate Lobby, Collective Roots - East Palo Alto, Community Environmental Action Partnership-Palo Alto, Common Ground Organic Garden Supply and Education Center, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (Palo Alto), St. Thomas Aquinas Parish (Palo Alto), Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Transition Palo Alto
The following sources and labels are good examples to inform your purchasing decisions:
According to Consumers Union, the best eco-labels are those with meaningful, consistent, and independently verified standards for environmental protection and/or social justice.
ENERGY STAR—Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy label used on energy-efficient products in more than 60 categories (including computers, dishwashers, even new homes); products often cost more than their conventional counterparts but consume up to 65 percent less electricity.
WATERSENSE (http://www.epa.gov/watersense)—Government label applied to plumbing fixtures (including toilets, showerheads, faucets) that use at least 20 percent less water than standard models without sacrificing performance.
EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool)—Bronze, silver, or gold certification given by the Green Electronics Council to computers and monitors based on energy efficiency, use of nontoxic and/or recycled materials, and packaging; all EPEAT-certified products meet Energy Star requirements.
GREEN SEAL—Certification awarded by Green Seal recognizes sustainability in more than 300 product and service categories (ranging from lightbulbs and household cleaners to windows and hotels).
GREEN-E—Label bestowed by the Center for Resource Solutions on “green power” programs, carbon offsets, and renewable energy certificates (RECs) that make meaningful contributions to clean energy development and lowering global warming emissions.
FSC—Verification by the Forest Stewardship Council that wood and wood products (including furniture) have come from sustainably managed forests that protect biodiversity, ecosystems, and workers.
USDA ORGANIC—Department of Agriculture seal for produce and grains grown from non-genetically modified seed and without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and meat or dairy products derived from animals raised on organic feed and not given antibiotics. Processed foods bearing the seal must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients to say “organic” on packaging, and at least 70 percent to say “made with organic ingredients.”
The STA Green Committee
The Union of Concerned Scientists invites you to meet the co-author of our new book, Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living, which challenges you to lower your global warming emissions by 20 percent this year—and gives you all the information you need to succeed. From how you heat your home, to how you get around, to what you eat and buy—Cooler Smarter shows how to combat global warming in your daily life.
Meet: David Friedman, co-author and deputy director, Clean Vehicles Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
When: Tuesday, May 22, 7:30 p.m.
Where: World Centric, 2121 Staunton Court, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Carbon Free Palo Alto
Community Environmental Action Partnership (CEAP)
Palo Alto Green Energy
Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter
In the last 2 years (2010 & 2011) we have reduced the carbon emissions of our parish buildings by 90,405 pounds! This is the result of a number of measures being taken including keeping doors and windows closed when the heaters are on, monitoring thermostats, replacing light fixtures with more energy efficient ones, turning off lights when not needed, etc. A big THANK YOU! to everyone who has helped. This year we continue to look for ways for further reductions.
How is energy used in homes?
41% space heating
26% Lighting and other appliances
20% Water heating
8% Air conditioning
30% of home energy is wasted through lack of insulation as well as appliances & lights left ON without use.
Source: Catholic Green Initiative of Santa Clara County
March 17, 2012
How many Earths do we need? Find out in the website www.myfootprint.org which has 27 questions to determine how one's practices impact the Earth. At the end of the quiz you will know how many Earths we would need if everyone on the planet lived the same lifestyle. It also includes actions to reduce our carbon footprint.
December 26, 2011
Go vegetarian two or three days a week. The livestock industry is a huge greenhouse emitter, and you will be healthier for it. (http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/everyday- cooking/vegetarian/Main/aspxetarian/Main/aspx)
Source: DSJ Catholic Green Initiate
October 2, 2011
Join in for an afternoon of fun and learn how easy it is to bike in Palo Alto! Bike Palo Alto! 2011 will be on Sunday October 9, 1-4 pm. Start at El Carmelo School (Bryant & Loma Verde) for bike safety info, helmet fitting, bike registration and bike safety checks and maintenance. Then choose one of our highlighted routes and take a fun ride with free treats along the way including ice cream at Baskin Robbins and fruit at Mollie Stone’s & Whole Foods.
October 2, 2011
Bike Palo Alto! is a free, family friendly event, no pre-registration necessary. Just bring your bike & helmet and be ready to lower your carbon footprint and have some fun! Event highlights:
For more info go to: www.pagreenteams.org
April 3, 2011
LAST YEAR OUR CO2 ADMISSIONS TOOK A DIVE!
Our Green and Building and Maintenance Committees set a goal in 2010 to
reduce our parish CO2 emissions by 5%. We over-achieved and scored a
12.5% reduction! The task was already in progress, but Chuck Tully
and our maintenance staff gave a big nudge to the work of installing
more compact fluorescent light fixtures, LED "EXIT" signs, motion
detectors and timers. We controlled our thermostats better and closed
church doors during the winter. In detail: Electricity -19.6%, Gas
-7.9%, Water -11.1% [CO2 emissions from water usage are negligible;
gas is the biggee.]
Our reduction efforts continue, but reductions will be harder to come
by, now that we've picked the low-hanging fruit. This year we're
looking at pre-set thermostat controls and timers, insulation,
double-paned windows, weather-stripping and caulking. Our Building &
Maintenance Committee keeps energy-saving on its agenda. (We hope
you're doing the same at home.)
February 20, 2011
One way to reduce our carbon footprint is to eat less meat all yearlong - not just during Lent.
Production and consumption of meat worldwide has more than tripled since 1961 and could double from now until 2050 as standards of living increase and the population doubles. As a result, vast swaths of forest are being cleared for pastures, robbing the planet of trees, which absorb carbon dioxide. Cattle and sheep also release vast amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. A recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations produced startling findings: The animals' burps, the nitrous oxide gases from their decomposing manure and other factors, including the energy needed to store and transport meat, were responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions - more than the entire transportation sector.
Source: NY Times
February 13, 2011
At this 4-month anniversary of the launch of our Zero Waste Is Possible campaign, the Green Team would like to remind all parishioners that we can reduce the amount of waste being taken to the landfills by just taking an extra second in deciding where to discard their leftover food or empty cups. Please review the flier attached at the end of this bulletin for a quick guide to the 3-bin system already setup at each church site. Organizers for social functions are welcome to go to the pastoral center to pick up the 100% compostable supplies we are providing on behalf of the parish. These include hot and cold cups, plates, bowls, utensils, stirrers, napkins and trash bin liners. For questions, please contact Laura Chiu at email@example.com
January 30, 2011
The Endangered Species Coalition (conservation, sporting and community groups) issued a dire warning: Unless we change the way we manage water and fuel our cars and heat our homes, the Sierra Nevada and Delta will become hostile to already-dwindling wildlife and fish. Also the Hawaiian Islands, Southwest desert, Arctic sea ice and shallow-water coral reefs. The No. 1 threat is to the Arctic (polar bears, seals, walruses and sea ducks)./ Then coral reefs, followed by Hawaii, the deserts, the Delta, the Sierra Nevada, the Snake River basin, greater Yellowstone, the Gulf Coast flatlands and wetlands and the Everglades.
Source: SF Chronicle 1/6/11
December 19, 2010 Cold-Water Washing
The average US washing machine is used more than 400 times a year. As much as 90% of the energy consumed by washing machines goes into heating the water. Save energy with the right soap as detergents suitable for cold-water washing are available.
Source: 30 Simple Energy Things You Can Do to Save the Earth; The Earth Works Group
November 14, 2010 CLOSE DEM DOORS!
During these winter months we can reduce our heating costs and CO2
emissions by keeping the heat in and the cold out in our churches if
we keep the doors closed. We'd appreciate your cooperation. We have a
goal to reduce our energy use by 5% next year. This will help.
Parish Finance, Building & Maintenance and Green Committees.
November 7, 2010 Care for God's Creation
"We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation.
Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan; it is a requirement
of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living
our faith in relationship with all of God's creation. This
environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions
that cannot be ignored."
Source: U.S. Bishops, Themes from Sharing Catholic Teachings
October 31, 2010 Proposition 23 in the Light of Catholic Teaching
The California Catholic Conference has prepared a brief summary of the text and the arguments of the proponents and opponents of the nine propositions which will appear on the ballot for California’s November 2, 2010 General Election. (See http://www.cacatholic.org/index.php/take-action/election/.) The California Bishops have not taken a position on any of the propositions, but they ask that you form your conscience by prayerfully considering Catholic teaching, and then exercise prudential judgment when casting your vote.
Bishop Stephen Blaire, the Bishop of Stockton, offers this on Proposition 23, which is a proposition designed to gut the existing global warming law, AB 32: "In 2004, the Diocese of Stockton created the Environmental Justice Project. Its first priority has been to work for clean air. The Diocese through the agency of Catholic Charities has cooperated with environmental justice organizations, public health and community groups to advocate successfully for precedent-setting legislation and environmental policies in California to reduce air pollution and improve general health. Together with others this Project helped win passage of AB 32, the 'Global Warming Solutions Act.' The bill was the first of its kind in the nation to put a cap on greenhouse gas emissions."
Bishop Blaire asks us to reflect on how our votes will affect the common good in God's garden of creation. He says: "Before casting our votes on Proposition 23, these reflections on the common good, our children’s health, and the stewardship of our land can assist us in the formation of conscience which guides our decision making. We always pray that God grant us wisdom in the exercise of our citizenship."
October 24, 2010 Pilgrimage for Creation
What are others doing in other parts of the world to highlight our duty as humans to be good stewards of our natural resources?
In early September about 50 "green" pilgrims journeyed for 5 days through Hungary, Slovakia and Austria to demonstrate their "commitment to protect creation". The pilgrimage was sponsored by the European Bishops Conferences. Clergy from the host dioceses expressed some environmental principles:
Depletion of resources: We must move from being "exploitative" and exercising "unconditional dominion."
Need for care for all creation: " . . . with all creatures we inhabit the same dwelling, a common house . . . " [We are all interlinked and dependent to maintain ecological balance for survival.]
Safeguarding creation is a universal task: " . . . concerns every[one] of good will" whose work "will bear fruits with the grace of God and is the responsibility of everyone." [Future generations depend on us to use natural resources in a sustainable manner.]
October 17, 2010 Avoid extended idling
In some countries, when you hit a red traffic light, you must stop your engine - and there's good logic behind this requirement. Millions of gallons of gas is burned annually waiting for traffic lights. If you have a reliable vehicle, don't let your car idle for more than 30 seconds - switch it off. Around town this can save you a substantial amount of fuel over the year and not to mention a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
By the same token, starting and stopping your engine excessively can also chew through a lot of fuel and cause extra wear on ignition systems and your engine, so be discerning.
October 10, 2010 Upside of powering down
September 10, 2010 ZWIP Minus Three Weeks!
ZWIP—Zero Waste is Possible—launches in three weeks, the day of the parish picnic! We’ve been preparing you for the new recycling bins at all sites—blue for recyclables, green for compostables, and the old black/gray/beige/brown for garbage—but you’ll also be seeing something else new at the picnic:
Bagasse Plates. Biodegradable and compostable plates are made from sugarcane fiber, called bagasse. Sugarcane is not only an annually renewable resource, but it can be turned into products normally made from plastic or paper. Using bagasse also avoids the pollution that would normally happen as a result of burning sugarcane pulp after juice extraction.
Bagasse and PLA Cups. Bagasse cups are used for hot drinks and PLA cups are perfect for cold drinks. PLA is derived from corn grown in the US, and PLA cups can be used for drinks below 110 degrees F.
Compostable Utensils. These are made of a new resin that is a mixture of 70% PLA and 30% talc. They are also heat resistant up to 200 degrees F. Unlike our old plastic utensils, these utensils will compost in a commercial composting facility in 180 days.
Compostable Bags. Made from a mixture of synthetic and starch-based plastics, these bags will biodegrade in 90 days in a commercial composting facility.
None of these products from the picnic will go into a garbage bin. The food-soiled plates and cups will go with the utensils, napkins, and food scraps into GREEN compostable bins (lined with the bio bags). The items to be put into the BLUE recyclable bins will be soda cans, water bottles, aluminum trays, plastic wraps, cardboard boxes, cookie trays, salad containers, etc.
Sept. 5, 2010 Introducing . . . . . Operation ZWIP!
Did you know that our parish is paying $2,500 per month to the city just to pick up the trash from the three church sites? This is about to change. In accordance with our Christian mandate to protect God’s creation, and in response to the city’s “zero waste” campaign, St. Thomas Aquinas Parish is instituting Operation ZWIP—Zero Waste is Possible. By the date of the church picnic—October 3—we hope we can reduce our “carbon footprint” by having all sites sort their trash into Recyclables, Compostables, and Garbage. In the weeks to come, volunteers at all three sites will work to set up indoor trash sorting systems and help the parish transfer to the use of recyclable or compostable utensils, cups, and plates.
August 29, 2010 - Z.W.I.P Update: New Bins By October 3
Palo Alto has a goal of "Zero Waste" to landfills by 2021. Zero Waste goes beyond recycling by taking a whole systems approach to managing the flow of resources-not only recycling, reusing, and composting, but also fostering the use of "green" products and packaging and introducing environmentally preferable and socially equitable practices. To achieve this goal, the entire community must work together and play an active role.
St. Thomas Aquinas parish is introducing Zero Waste Is Possible (ZWIP) this summer, with the first stage to be fully implemented by the time of the Parish Picnic on October 3. At this stage, we will hopefully be using only recyclable or compostable forks, spoons, cups, and plates at all our gatherings. And at each of our sites we will have three collection bins in place by October 3:
Blue for Recyclables: paper (newspapers, magazines, old bulletins, cardboard, and paper boxes), glass (bottles and jars), plastics (bottles, bags, and film), and metal (empty cans and foil)
Green for Compostables: food scraps, yard trimmings, food-soiled paper, waxed cardboard, and dead flowers from the altars,
Black or Brown for Garbage-bagged garbage, Styrofoam.
We have been preparing all summer for the changes in our parish through bulletin articles and presentations at parish meetings. If all of us pitch in and think about what we're using and where we're disposing of it, we can begin to make ZWIP a reality at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish!
August 29, 2010 - Do You FreeCycle?
FreeCycle, PA Free, PA Link - What do these have in common? They all are resources for giving away stuff you no longer need, for getting things you do need, for borrowing or lending things you need occasionally, exchanging services - all for free. To help reduce waste, their websites, are:
August 22, 2010 - Avoid excessive short trips
Try to plan out your day so that you'll need to use the car as little as possible. Making lists before you head out on shopping expeditions can save you added trips throughout the week. Engines use more fuel when they are cold and most short trips you make will be run purely in "cold" mode. Fuel tends not to be burned efficiently which also results in more toxic/greenhouse emissions that are harmful to our environment. Short trips also create more wear and tear on your engine.
August 22, 2010 - Z.W.I.P: Fun Symbols To Learn
While we are all familiar with the symbol for recyclable materials (a triangle formed by three turning arrows), the symbol for biocompostable materials is still new to most people. It is typically a circular logo with a leaf or tree on the perimeter. Recycling works by collecting used items, sorting the materials, breaking it down into basic components and then recreating new goods. Composting, on the other hand, is the controlled decomposition of organic materials by bacteria, yeasts and fungi into healthy, fertile soil. By using as much recyclable and compostable dining ware at our parish events as possible, and then properly sorting our waste, we are minimizing the kinds of garbage that get buried in landfills, contaminate our earth for hundred to thousands of years and leach toxic substances into the groundwater.
(See symbol images at the end of the Bulletin) (ZWIP = Zero Waste Is Possible)
August 8, 2010 - Bagasse (not equal) Bag of Gas
(Bagasse is not equal to Bag of Gas) Rather, bagasse [buh-gas] is a biodegradable and compostable disposable tableware that is made from sugarcane fiber leftover after juice extraction. Normally, this residue is burned after pulping, thus creating air pollution. But this sugarcane fiber can be re-used - by being made into disposable products normally made from plastic or virgin paper. The tableware has no plastic or wax lining applied to it and can be used for both hot and cold items. It is a far superior alternative to both plastic or Styrofoam (non-biodegradable, petroleum derived, pollution causing) and paper (causing the destruction of millions of acres of forests) tableware. To learn more, please go to: www.worldcentric.org/biocompostables/bagasse
August 8, 2010 - Carbon Emissions
Do you know what are your carbon emissions for each mile you drive? How many miles you drive each year? The following are estimates based on miles per gallon car efficiencies then broken down into carbon emissions per mile. Miles per gallon/Carbon emissions per mile (pounds):
10 mpg = 1.94 lbs
15 mpg = 1.29 lbs
20 mpg = 0.97 lbs
25 mpg = 0.78 lbs
30 mpg = 0.65 lbs
35 mpg = 0.55 lbs
40 mpg = 0.48 lbs
45 mpg = 0.43 lbs
50 mpg = 0.39 lbs
55 mpg = 0.36 lbs
So if your car gets 20 miles per gallon, a 100 mile trip would have an impact of 97 pounds of CO2 emission. These figures are conservative as they don't include other car exhaust gases, some of which are also greenhouse gases; the carbon impact of oil extraction, refining and transport, the construction of the vehicle, the carbon impact of road infrastructure, etc.
August 1, 2010 - A Tale of Two Bins (Zero Waste Is Possible)
Did you know that there is a big difference between the "Yard Trimmings" bin at your house and the one at our churches? The pickup service for residences in Palo Alto accepts only lawn clippings, leaves and plant matters. However, the pickup service for all BUSINESS accounts in Palo Alto, such as our parish churches and Seton School, accepts a much wider range of compostable materials:
The "Yard Trimming" Bin will take:
Residential: Leaves, branches, flowers, lawn clippings ONLY.
Business: Leaves, branches, flowers, lawn clipping PLUS Food Scraps, e.g., fish, bones, meat, hot dogs, cakes, soiled paper plates, cups, pizza boxes, juice and milk cartons, compostable utensils made fromcorn, potatoes or sugar cane.
In other words, if we start putting the food scraps, the soiled plates and cups etc from all our parish events into the "Yard Trimmings" bin instead of the garbage bin, it can be a giant step towards our parish goal of Z.W.I.P (Zero Waste Is Possible).
August 1, 2010 - Pope links environmental ecology and human ecology
Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, wrote: "The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. In so doing, she must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone. She must above all protect mankind from self-destruction. There is need for what might be called a human ecology . . . the deterioration of nature is in fact closely connected to the culture that shapes human coexistence: when human ecology is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits . . . The book of nature is one and indivisible: it takes in not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations: in a word, integral human development. Our duties toward the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person . . ."
July 25, 2010 - Natural Funeral and Burial
Among the ways we can help care for creation is to be buried in a simple, natural way. Live simple; die simple. This minimizes our impact on the environment. Our San Jose Catholic Cemeteries do not now offer this option, but have started researching what must be done to provide it. Green burial includes: no embalming, which means less chemical volume; direct placement into the earth (body in a shroud, blanket or quilt); biodegradable coffins; cremated remains in biodegradable containers.
This note is based on articles in The Valley Catholic (6/22/10) and FSPA* Perspectives (Spring 2010).
*Older parishioners will recall that the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration served in our parish in our early days.
For more information consult www.greenburials.org
For Church position (Chicago archdiocese) consult www.greenburialcouncil).org
July 11, 2010 Vampire Power
"Some devices simply take power to run internal circuits or memory while others waste energy by continuously trying to recharge devices that have already been fully charged. Just about everything plugged into your home and office draws power from the wall. Think about it, even if you always turn off your gadgets when you're not using them, most electronics don't actually turn all the way off! The typical American home has 40* products that are constantly drawing power and 10% of all electricity is wasted on Vampire Power. Vampire Power sucks away 10 billion dollars** annually in the U.S. alone." The website shown below has an informative short video put out by iGo about vampire power. Source: www.vampirepowersucks.com www.vampirepowersucks.com
July 11, 2010 Meat Consumption
Production and consumption of meat worldwide has more than tripled since 1961 and could double from now until 2050 as standards of living increase and the population doubles.
As a result, vast swaths of forest are being cleared for pastures, robbing the planet of trees, which absorb carbon dioxide. Cattle and sheep also release vast amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. A recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations produced startling findings: The animals' burps, the nitrous oxide gases from their decomposing manure and other factors, including the energy needed to store and transport meat, were responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions - more than the entire transportation sector. Source (NY Times)
June 27, 2010 - Barron Park Green Tour
June 27, 2010; 1:00 to 5:00 pm.
Visit Barron Park homes incorporating solar and other green design features and gardens showcasing organic vegetables, native plants, and chickens. Four different talks on getting started gardening included in the free tour. Start at Bol Park for tour maps and exhibits. (Located at corner of Matadero Ave and Laguna Ave.)
June 9, 2010 - Green Beatitudes
1. Blessed are they who hang their laundry to dry in the warm sun, for they shall have fresh smelling clothes and a lower power bill.
2. Blessed are they who walk or bike to church, for they will not struggle with parking or pollute.
3. Blessed are they who compost, for they shall have far less garbage.
4. Blessed are they who drink from a refillable bottle and shun bottled water, for they are saving the Earth.
5. Blessed are they who pull weeds by hand, for they will not poison the Earth with herbicide.
6. Blessed are they who pick snails early in the morning, for they will have perfect plants without employing harmful chemicals.
7. Blessed are they who collect rainwater from down spouts for their plants for they will conserve precious water.
8. Blessed are they who dry their laundry near the heater indoor for their laundry will be dry and the atmosphere stay comfortably moist.
9. Blessed are they who eat less meat for they will reduce their carbon footprint.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be a cleaner, more sustainable world for everyone.
We invite parishioners to submit their Green Beatitudes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 30, 2010 - Where rubber meets the road
More than 290 million scrap tires are generated in the United States annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. When it's time for new tires, make sure you take your old ones to a center or company that recycles them. You can purchase shoes, bags, doormats and trash cans made from recycled rubber.