Going Green – It’s Easier Than You Think

Post a Comment » Written on April 22nd, 2008     
Filed under: News
CALEDONIA, MI (April 22, 2008) – Ken Soper’s aversion to doing lawn work has helped him become more eco-friendly.

Like many other people, Ken used Google Earth to see what his house looked like from space. What he saw embarrassed him. “My yard was the only one in the neighborhood that was brown,” he says. “All the others were green.”

In response, he decided to replant most of his yard with no-mow grass. “You don’t have to fertilize it and you hardly have to mow it. It requires little water.”

He planted the remaining 2,000 square feet with prairie grass and wildflowers. It’s brought back more wildlife, including butterflies, he says.

Ken is one of the many members of Evangelical Covenant churches as well as affiliated organizations who are taking deliberate steps to live in a way that is environmentally sound.

Ken has long advocated green practices. “I’ve been harping on this stuff for 25 years,” he says. “God expects us to be stewards.” He became aware of that call during his days at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he read Christian author Tom Sine.

Redeemer Covenant Church, where Ken and his wife, Gail, attend, has become more conscious of its responsibility to caring for the environment. For example, the church provides members the opportunity to drop off their old cell phones, ink cartridges and batteries.

Following church meals, Gail makes sure to bring home any paper products and aluminum foil used for cooking, so that she can include it with the family’s other recyclables, which can be many.

Sometimes the family has had 12 tubs to be picked up at the end of the driveway, says Gail. Much of the material is from leftover newspapers and plastic from the newspaper route they service.

The youth group at Kerman Covenant Church in Kerman, California, is learning that even small actions can make a positive ecological and economic difference.

Stacy Greeley wrote on the Covenant’s Youth Worker Update website that concern over the extensive use of Styrofoam cups in the church led to a new project. Leaders developed the idea of buying smaller-size coffee mugs and then letting the youth decorate them.

“Each student had his or her own cup,” Greeley wrote. “They will use these cups throughout the time that they are in our youth ministry program, and then take them with them when they graduate.”

North Park University also is taking steps to become more eco-friendly. The ninth annual Axelson Center Symposium for Nonprofit Management has grown larger, but also greener over past years.

“We are trying to set an example,” says Christa Beall, the center’s assistant director.

Setting that example includes using tote bags made from recycled materials and which are biodegradable. Re-usable plastic bottles made from recycled plastic have replaced single-use containers. Promotional materials also are more eco-friendly, using recycled paper and vegetable oil-based ink.

“We just want to be as environmentally conscious as possible,” Beall says. “It’s amazing how easy it is.”

The symposium is slated for May 13-14 on the North Park campus. Attendees wanting to learn more about making their organizations more eco-friendly can participate in the workshop “How green is your nonprofit?”

See the Evangelical Covenant Church stewardship website for more resources on how churches can be even more eco-friendly. The website contains news articles, ideas and the 2007 Resolution on Creation Care.

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