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EarthWorks: St. James' Ecoministry

Earth Works St James' Ecoministry

EarthWorks is the environmental ministry of St. James' Episcopal Church, located in Skaneateles, New York. Founded on the belief that we have a moral responsibility to be stewards of God's Creation, EarthWorks is dedicated to fostering ecological practices that will lessen our impact on the earth. Through prayer, discussion, education and action, members of EarthWorks seek ways to create an earth-friendly environment within their personal lives, their communities, and the world. Members serve our present and future generations by engaging in conservation, education, and habitat improvement projects. We are eager for all people who are interested in improving the environment to participate in our meetings and activities.

"Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty. Amen." BCP p. 827 

Environmental Suggestions

Savings as simple as 1,2,3:
 1 degree lower on your thermostat  (330lbs CO2 savings per year)
 2 mph slower on the highway (390 lbs of CO2 savings) 
 3 compact fluorescent bulbs (600 lbs CO2 savings)

Per year, these actions will also save you nearly $100.
Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving. Running the water for two minutes can waste three gallons of water.

Install water-saving devices in the bathroom. Faucet aerators and low-flow regulators for showerheads can reduce water output by 40 - 50%.

Reduce your risk of exposure to toxic chemicals by reading the packaging on products to find these statements: nontoxic, biodegradable, chlorine-free, phosphate-free, non-petroleum based, fragrance-free and no dyes.



Instead of running the water while cleaning, fill a bucket with water.

Buy a front-loading washing machine; save water and energy.

Wash clothes in cold water; you'll save 80% less energy compared to hot water.

Only wash full loads of laundry.

Use a dryer rack or clothes line.

Clean refrigerator gaskets regularly and vacuum the condenser coils twice a year.  Your refrigerator will operate more efficiently and use less electricity.

Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket if it is located in an unheated space.

Use your microwave - 70% less energy use than stovetop or oven.

Install dimmer switches where dimmed lighting makes sense; dimming a light by 25 % saves and equal % of energy

Switch to fluorescent bulbs in areas where extended lighting is required.

Turn off all lights when not in use.  Invest in fluorescent night-lights to illuminate halls and rooms just enough to locate switches safely.

Install ceiling fans to save money on cooling and heating and reduce energy waste.

Set central air conditioning units as high as is comfortable.  For each degree above 78, you'll save 6 to 8 % in cooling costs.

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the things itself is changed but that our power to do is increased."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Make sure your furnace is working at peak efficiency.

Apply door sweeps to the bottom of exterior doors and install weather stripping to minimize gaps and thus heat loss.

Limit the number of gifts you buy for people. Pick a single-family member's name out of a hat and give a gift only to that person.  Also suggest a gift theme of earth-friendly gifts that won't harm the environment.

Give the ultimate non-material gift for Christmas this year - your time and or talent.

Give your holiday a different meaning and focus: Start traditions that don't center around gift giving.  Activities can still center around family while providing more joy and fulfillment than a material gift.

Instead of buying wrapping paper to wrap gifts, use materials from around the house that can serve as gift-wrap.

Buy organic foods.

Seek out local farmers' markets and buy locally grown, seasonal produce to cut down on environmental costs associated with transporting produce to your community from great distances.

Eat less meat, it reduces food related land use and water pollution problems.

Purchase a water-filtration system if you're concerned about your drinking water, instead of relying on bottled water.

Buy cloth napkins and use instead of paper.

Fill a bowl with cold water when washing fruit and vegetables, instead of letting water from a faucet run over them.

Store a pitcher of bottle with water in the refrigerator instead of running the kitchen faucet until the water runs cold.

Turn the faucet on at a fraction of full volume for things like washing hands and rinsing dishes.

Reuse water leftover after common household uses to water plants instead of pouring it down the drain.

Compost scraps from your kitchen to produce rich humus for your garden.

Don't use a hose to clear dirt and leaves out of the garage or sidewalks or driveways - use a broom.

Collect rainwater for your garden.

Install a bat house to control mosquito populations effectively and naturally.  A single bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes a night.

Soak your lawn no more than once a week or every five days to encourage deep root growth, or not at all.

Plant native grasses, plants, trees and shrubs in your yard.  They are adapted to local insect species and weather, and won't require extra watering or pesticides.

Water early morning or evening when it is cooler, less evaporation.

Wash your car on your lawn not in the driveway.  The rinse water will water the lawn.

Use an electric or chimney briquette starter on charcoal, not lighter fluid.

Compost your leaves and yard trimmings.

Never throw a cell phone into the trash; recycle.

Buy a paper shredder and use it to shred non-recyclable paper and use for packing material.

Borrow or rent items if you have only a temporary or occasional need.

Say, "No thanks" to a bag if you don't really need one; use reusable cloth shopping bags.

If a reused container starts to show signs of deterioration, recycle it, find a non-food use for it, or throw it away.

If you buy bottled drinking water, save the empty bottles and refill them rather that recycling them and buying new bottles continuously. 

Share a magazine subscription with a friend and recycle issues.

Reuse cardboard boxes for shipping or moving.

Make your own cold packs from reused plastic beverage bottles.

Turn your ignition off when you will be stopped or parked for more than thirty seconds.  Idling for more that thirty seconds burns more gas that it takes to restart the engine and produces more toxic emissions.

Use the lowest-octane gas recommended for your car.

Keep your  vehicle tuned up.

"I am only one, but I am still one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something." Helen Keller

Drive slower.  For every mile per hour you drive under 65 miles per hour, you improve your car's fuel efficiency by about 2 %.  So, if you are driving 55 miles per hour, you increase your car's fuel efficiency by up to 20 % . Driving over the speed limit wastes fuel efficiency.

Check your tire pressure once a month.

Consider only the most fuel-efficient cars when buying a new car.

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology is considered environmentally preferable to the CRT and plasma technologies because LCD's consume much less energy, emit no radiation and are lighter, so environmental impacts from shipping are reduced.

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