Climate And Environmental Justice
The vital question guiding our climate and environmental justice work ~
“As people of faith, how do we protect, restore, and rightly share God’s creation?”
Our work falls broadly into four areas, all interconnected.
- Education – learning opportunities, speakers, and hands-on activities
- Advocacy – actions supporting environmental issues and policies
- Carbon reduction & sustainability – for Plymouth facilities and individual members
- Spirituality – honoring and care for the earth as a spiritual practice
We welcome new ideas and new faces! If you want to join our group or attend one of our monthly zoom meetings or simply be added to our email list, please send us an email at CEJ.plymouth (a) gmail.com.
Co-chairs – Jan Neville janeville (a) comcast.net
Dave Homans david.homans (a) gmail.com
Announcing the Green Fund, a new initiative at Plymouth that benefits the Plymouth campus, our members, our local community, and the Earth. Stewardship, Climate & Environmental Justice, and Building and Grounds committees are working together to establish this voluntary carbon offset program. The Green Fund is modeled after conventional carbon offset /credit programs that people contribute to, but with several important and local benefits. Plymouth members will be asked to make voluntary additional gifts to the Green Fund based on their self-calculated carbon footprint. These donations will be held in a separate account to fund sustainable and carbon-reducing projects on the Plymouth Campus or in our community.
Green Fund projects will be chosen based on criteria such as reduction of carbon emissions, sustainability, “budget relieving” to Plymouth over the life of the project, and support of local contractors with equitable employment practices. We plan for the Green Fund to be an annual spring campaign with a green project announced near Earth Day in April every year.
In addition to the multiple benefits to Plymouth and our local community, here are other reasons to support the Green Fund:
- Learning: By better understanding your personal carbon footprint, you can be more effective in making choices that reduce your personal CO2 emissions.
- Motivation: Investing your own money in the Green Fund increases the likelihood that you will also make other personal climate-friendly actions.
- Tax-deductible contribution: Unlike other Carbon offset programs, contributions to the Green Fund are fully tax-deductible. You will receive an annual contribution statement from Plymouth.
- Membership growth: The Green Fund demonstrates to our community and prospective members our mission and values and would be an asset to attracting new members.
- Purposes of the church: reducing Plymouth’s carbon footprint supports “living out our values and furthering environmental justice” as stated in the purposes.
Perhaps someday, we will have the will to recognize the true social and environmental cost of CO2 by imposing a carbon tax. Until then, we have to demonstrate our stated values to the community and actively reduce our carbon emissions and support living sustainably rather than just talk about it. Please join us to voluntarily support the Green Fund for Plymouth.
You can give to the Green Fund on Plymouth’s website, choose Green Fund in the giving drop-down menu. If you have questions, send an email to the Climate and Environmental Justice committee at CEJ.plymouth (a) gmail.com
How much should I contribute? Just like your annual pledge, there is no absolute correct amount. To get a ballpark estimate, we suggest that you do the following.
- Estimate your annual household CO2 emissions. (see how to do that below)
- Consider a donation of $8 to $15 per ton of CO2 emissions, based on your ability to support. (Actually even $15 per ton is at the low end of most estimates of the true cost to society of CO2 emissions)
Estimating your annual household CO2 emissions: To get a rough idea of your household CO2 emissions
- Use the chart and descriptors below to find a household that resembles yours
- Calculate your own carbon footprint using your own actual household information and this calculator: Nature Conservancy
|Household||Miles||Household||Donation / Yr.|
|# people||Residence||Income||Cars||Flown||CO2 (tons)||$8 – $15 / ton|
|2||House||≥ $ 120,000||2||8,000||58||465-870|
|4||House||≥ $ 120,000||2||–||58||465-870|
|4||House||≥ $ 120,000||2||16,000||65||520-975|
|4||House + Cabin||≥ $ 120,000||2||16,000||69||550-1035|
NOTE: if you only eat red meat a few times a month, subtract 2 tons. If you are vegetarian, subtract 4 tons.
ACTIONS WE CAN TAKE TO SAVE OUR PLANET
Electrify everything you can
· Appliances: Use electric, rather than gas appliances in our homes (cooking, hot water, drying clothes, etc.)
· Cars: Replace our fossil fuel-powered automobiles with electric vehicles
· Heating: Purchase a heat pump for your home
Reduce Your Consumption of Fossil Fuels
· Turn your thermostat down 1 or 2 degrees – it makes a real difference!
· Walk, or bike, don’t drive.
· When flying, book economy, nonstop flights (and try to fly less often)
Obtain Your electricity from renewable energy sources
· Wind subscriptions through Excel: https://mn.my.xcelenergy.com/s/renewable/windsource
· Put the SUN back in Earth Sunday: join a solar garden: https://mn.my.xcelenergy.com/s/renewable/solar-rewards-community
· Install Residential Solar Panels https://mn.my.xcelenergy.com/s/renewable/solar-rewards
Support appropriate carbon pricing
Support groups like Citizen’s Climate Lobby and their proposal to place a fee on Carbon, then equitably return the money to the people, so poor people end up paying less, richer people end up paying more.
Reduce Deforestation, and plant trees
· Don’t buy products coming from deforested areas: see www.ucsusa.org/resources/whats-driving-deforestation
· Plant trees. And remember that most trees don’t sequester significant CO2 until 20-40 years from now. So combine this action with other actions that have greater short term impact.
Organizations which you can support that plant trees:
Nature Conservancy www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/plant-a-billion/
Change Your Diet:
· Calculate your Meat footprint: https://www.omnicalculator.com/ecology/meat-footprint
· Avoid beef (cattle produce methane which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2)
· Go meatless 2-3 days a week
Plastics: Reduce, recycle, reuse.
On our current course, emissions from plastics will reach 17% of the global carbon budget by 2050. Calculate your own plastic footprint: https://www.omnicalculator.com/ecology/plastic-footprint
· Recycle those plastics which your recycler accepts, and only those plastics. See the Hennepin county green disposal webpage for further info. https://www.hennepin.us/green-disposal-guide/items
· Learn about and avoid WISHCYCLING (the harmful practice of throwing non-recyclable objects into recycling containers, hoping something good will happen). These create hazards to the people who actually do our recycling, and make recycling operations unprofitable, ultimately shutting some of them down.
· Shop intelligently – avoid products packaged in plastics, particularly in non-recyclable plastics. If you can’t figure out if packaging is recyclable, talk to the manager of the store where you shop, and tell them why you want to know. Buy nonpackaged items, in bulk, using reusable cloth bags to hold your purchases.
· Find an appropriate drop off recycling location for your plastic bags – don’t put them in the recycling – they really foul up recycling operations. Most grocery stores have plastic bag drop off bins.
· Concrete – 8% of global CO2 emissions come from cement. – Try to avoid building with concrete
Learn More: check out Project Drawdown https://www.drawdown.org/ and Speed and Scale https://speedandscale.com/home/ to better understand what actions can make the most difference.
Start a Conversation:
· Talk WITH your friends and family, neighbors, classmates. Make sure to listen as well; people don’t like simply being told what to think or do. “You can tell people amazing things IF you have FIRST listened to them”. (MN born Pulitzer prize winning journalist Tom Friedman). Talk about what you are doing.
· Write letters to the editor of your hometown newspaper
· Offer to make a presentation at school, church, social group
· Play the Greenhouse game with family, friends, schoolmates: https://www.greenhousegame.com/
Work With Your Elected Officials:
· Write (email or snail mail) or call your members of congress
· Support the political campaigns of persons who advocate necessary steps to reduce climate change,
· If you can vote, Vote for climate-friendly candidates and referendums!
· Participate in caucuses and public meetings
· Lobby your city/county to join others in declaring a climate emergency or setting net zero goals.
Join and / or Support a Climate Action Group
· Carbon 180: https://carbon180.org/ a new NGO that champions carbon removal solutions through science and innovation, working to build a prosperous, carbon-conscious economy that removes more carbon from the atmosphere than we emit
· Citizen’s Climate Lobby. CitizensClimateLobby.org Advocates a carbon fee and dividend strategy (one favored by most economists, and adopted by a number of countries worldwide) as a powerful, market based tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Very savvy at lobbying government. Strong bipartisan focus.
· Climate Generation https://www.climategen.org/ Founded by polar explorer, Will Steger, based on his powerful eyewitness to climate change from over 50 years exploring the polar regions and his determination to engage people in the issue and solutions. Has a strong focus on younger people.
· Climate Reality Project https://www.climaterealityproject.org/ Involved in education and advocacy related to climate change. Originally founded by Al Gore. Among its activities, The Climate Reality Project hosts an annual event called 24 Hours of Reality.
· Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light MNIPL.org Partners with faith communities to address the climate crisis. Empowers individuals and communities across the state to take action that is authentic, effective, and energizing in their context. Strong focus on environmental Justice.
· MN350 MN350.org A Minnesota movement to end the pollution damaging our climate, speed the transition to clean energy, and create a just and healthy future for all.
· MN Renewable Energy Society MNrenewables.org MRES is a chapter of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), and acts as a catalyst, equitably advancing a sustainable low-carbon society and a renewable energy economy through education, leadership and example.
· Nature Conservancy https://www.nature.org/en-us/ Working globally to create a world where people and nature can thrive. With a million members, a diverse staff and over 400 scientists, It is one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations, working in 76 countries around the world.
· Sunrise Movement https://www.sunrisemovement.org/ A youth oriented, inclusive, activist movement to stop climate change and create good-paying jobs in the process. Key focus on Environmental justice.
Earth Day Letters
CEJ MAKING A DIFFERENCE AT PLYMOUTH –
Plymouth members have been working to help make Plymouth a more sustainable community for over 15 years. In addition to providing education and connection, here are a few ways we’ve made a difference – we hope you will join us in this work CEJ.plymouth (a) gmail.com
- Renewable electric energy via wind and solar
- Divestment from fossil fuels
- Created the Green Fund
- Earth Sunday established as an annual event
- Named Interfaith Power & Light Climate Justice Congregation
- Started recycling program at Plymouth
- Established Plymouth’s rain garden
- Initiated energy audits
- Political advocacy, marches & rallies
- Numerous educational events and Sustainable Living Fairs
Climate and Environmental Justice (CEJ) Speaker Meetings Second Monday of the month 6-7 pm – Open to All
Oct 10, 6-7 pm – How does the Inflation Reduction Act impact you? Plymouth’s Climate and Environmental Justice team is hosting a live Zoom presentation by Jo Olson of Fresh Energy. The topic: “The IRA and You: Consumers, Decarbonization, and the IRA”. Space is limited. To register (and/or for additional details), visit: