ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AT UCM

We believe that all life is interconnected. From the forest to the sea to humanity itself, each thread of being is woven into a single fabric of existence. We embrace nature’s beauty and are in awe of its power. We care for our environment so that it may sustain life for generations to come, an especially important responsibility because those who are most impacted by environmental destruction are often those with the least power. Creating a sustainable way of life is central to our view of a just and compassionate world.

To further these ideals, we participate in the following actions:

Delivering Community Power – Emerging from COVID-19 with a Green Economy
Delivered during the April 26, 2020 online Sunday Service by Susan Berry

Good morning everyone.

I am happy to be able to talk to you about climate action as a member of Mississauga Climate Action.
Happy because It is a wonderful terrible time
A time of possibility and promise amid the terrible devastation of COVID-19 and the real-time impacts climate change
And that possibility inspires me, as much as the devastation causes me fear.  And I want to act and I want to be effective in making the changes we need to thrive past these difficult times.

For my children and yours, and their, and for the birds and the bees, the oceans and the seas.  I want to be part of the great human project to set ourselves on a better path.

Out of the ashes they say – and I agree, let’s pull our economy out of the ashes of the COVID-19 shut down and put it on a trajectory that will mitigate/ adapt to climate change.

Other agree with me, which is why this past week instead of propping up the oil and gas industry with unfocused billions, the federal government has stipulated such funds are to be used to cap off old oil wells.

It is still making me angry that the millionaires and billionaire who left the mess are getting off, and we the taxpayers are not only involuntarily conscripted to fund the clean up, but we are also being forced to fund the oil patch expansion with investments in pipelines to take our oil to the US and China.

Well, it is frankly time to say enough is enough, and to give our federal government some direction as to how we could use our collective assets to address many of our collective problems.

Right now has Trudeau named three cabinet ministers who have long standing service on the environment to develop an economic stimulus plan to restart the economy as it aims to accelerate the country’s transition to green once the COVID-19 crisis is over….

  1. Steven Guilbeault
  2. Catherine McKenna
  3. Jonathan Wilkinson

The plan will prioritize the use of clean energy in an effort to reduce Canadians’ dependence on fossil fuels. In summary, projects which contribute to reducing Canada’s GHGs will be prioritized.

That is exciting.

And if you are wondering if there is a plan for Canada to adapt and adopt a project that would not only make Canada a green tech leader while also addressing other systemic problems in our society, I commend to you the Canada Postal Workers Union proposal called Delivering Community Power (www.deliveringcommunitypower.ca)  and invite you to join me in bringing the plan to our government’s immediate attention.

This plan, which is being discussed at federal levels, would have the government transform the Canadian auto industry by rolling out electric vehicles with the largest fleet in Canada, turning post-offices into energy efficient outlets and allowing people to buy in to EVs and solar panels at the same time.   Canada Post can become a model business providing “silver services”,  keep people safe in their homes (by delivering groceries, medicines and doing check ins on vulnerable people.

There are ways the plan will benefit first nations and remote communities and low-income people.  You can learn more on their website.

So this week, I encourage you to take a few minutes to learn more about this plan, and to write to your elected officials and tell them that you believe a more prosperous, equitable and green Canadian economy is possible and within our grasp.  The plans are there.  All we have to do is try it together.

 

The Power of One

Gay Nemeth
April 1, 2020

A graphic passed across my computer screen the other day.  A bunch of pink lines1.  They showed how the corona virus spreads.  One person spreads it to three others, then they spread it to three others and on…

It was a video.
It then proceeded to show what happened when one person took action to stop it’s spread.  The effect was profound.

This brought home, for me –  The power of one.

Sometimes it feels like you are spinning your wheels, you are without traction, without effect.  We can’t always see the effects of our actions…
But we, each of us, walk in this world, and create our own unique footprint wherever we go.
We are, each of us, always transforming the world.

We are at a point in time like no other.  Ahead we face further travesty as carbon emissions continue to warm the planet, as plastic replaces fish in the oceans, as species are going extinct at a disturbing rate.  And all, caused by our own (mis)doings.

This corona virus is our wake up call.

It’s not a gentle rub on your back coaxing you out of your slumbers, but a ringing!, jaRring!, klaxon meant to bring you quickly to full consciousness.

The similarities between this corona virus story and the climate change story are eerie.  (It’s like a message from the earth… a dress rehearsal before the big show!)

Both are global in scope.
Both are democratic (no one escapes the effects.)
Both require us to act now for an result in the future.
Both will reveal whether these actions are effective by showing no change. (or little)
Both will cause more suffering for the already disadvantaged.
Both exhibit positive feedback loops2.

Both require collaborative action to solve.
Yet, both are influenced by the power of one.

This COVID19 crisis is our pivot point.

The whole of human society has embedded the use of fossil fuels to drive all that we do.  The use of this source of power is the very thing that is creating the climate crisis.
The momentum, and the weight, and the deep roots of this system, is daunting.
How do we stop it?
How do we change direction?
Where do we begin?

Then along comes this itty, bitty corona virus.  Like Muskrat of the Indigenous Creation Story3, it is showing us what can be accomplished.
Over just a couple of months, we have seen the dramatic reduction of carbon emissions4.

This virus is giving us the opportunity to reset how we interact with the non human world.
This virus is giving us the vision we need to restore balance in our relationship with our Mother Earth – the source of all life.

We are living in an exciting, powerful time.  A time like no other.

While this virus has deeply affected our economic system, as it’s danger recedes, (and it will), we will have a choice to make – to re-establish the old way of interaction or to make a course correction.

Quite literally, if we are not setting bold, new goals and policies right now – today – in April 2020 –  we will not make the changes we need to avert the worst of this climate crisis.  And you probably know the litany5 of bad effects by now.
This is our moment to create the world anew.

I predict a period of innovation, of creativity and entrepreneurship.  I predict a time of collaboration.  I see a world where each of us gifts the world with that which brings us individual joy.
It is a time for reflection; it is a time for imagination; it is a time for deep love and caring; it is a time for humour and comraderie.  It is a time for active hope.

And it is a time for us all to come awake; to follow our bliss; to bring our best to the world, and mindfully exert our own unique power of one.

(I need you!)

P.S.  Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.

Margaret Meade 

——————————————————————————————————–

Pop up links

 pink lines

 

Posted by Gay Nemeth on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

  1. Positive feedback loops

Positive Feedback Loop

positive feedback loop occurs in nature when the product of a reaction leads to an increase in that reaction.

  1. the climate crisis – (so many to choose from!) As the arctic heats up, permafrost melts, releasing more greenhouse gases causing more warming.
  2. the corona virus – as more people are infected, the medical system becomes overwhelmed resulting in more casualties in other medical cases.
  1. Muskrat of the Indigenous Creation Story

Note:  In the Indigenous culture of oral tradition, stories are the receptacles of knowledge.  They have a history and provenance which speaks to their truth.

“This is the song Keewaydinoquay taught me to sing, as a way of showing respect, before I told a story that I suspect was an Aadizookaan – a story that is considered a cognizant being and that knows when it is being told.

Hey oh way
I tell a story,
A story from the Ancient Ones
Hey oh way
I place Asemaa [tobacco] for their spirits
Hey oh way
I tell a story.
Listen!  And Learn!
Stories are alive, and they go where they wish”

from “Plants Have So Much To Give Us, All We Have To Do is Ask”, by Mary Siisip Geniusz; 2015

———————————————————————-

The Creation of Turtle Island

The world was covered in water.  There was a log floating on the water and all the animals were holding on to it.  The birds flew high to see if they could see land. The animals remembered being told by their grandfathers that there was Earth at the bottom of the water.

Wolf, being the biggest, decided to go to the bottom to gather the sediment there.  He did not make it.  He returned empty handed.

Beaver tried to go to the bottom, but he could not make it.

All of the animals took their turn and tried  to go to the bottom to gather the sediment.

The smallest of them all was Muskrat.  It was his turn, so he went down.  He pushed himself right to the bottom.  He gathered up some soil from the bottom and he started to head back up.

Wolf was concerned about Muskrat because he had been down too long. He went looking for him.  He found Muskrat floating in the water.  He retrieved him and brought him to the surface. Muskrat had drowned, but in his paws that were tucked to his chest, was the soil from the bottom.

Wolf took that soil from Muskrat and put it on the back of Turtle who sat on the log, and from there the great land was created.

The smallest and the weakest was the brightest of them all, and today, we walk upon Turtle Island.

That is the creation of North America.

By the teaching of the grandfathers.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

I first heard this story, as told above. Muskrat – the least of the creatures – was the most important person in this telling.   The lesson I took away, was to realize you might be surprised to know who will muster their resources and come from behind to win the day.

(The power of one!)

I have since learned that this is a part of a greater Creation Story.  And in it, there are many other lessons to discover.  It’s fun to listen to the various tellings, to see the variations, and note where the emphasis is placed, and to find all the wisdom buried within.

GN

(Here is the telling of the story by an Algonquin elder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u88mfQIhTig)

or here https://www.questformeaning.org/family-quest/sky-woman-falls-earth/ (Onondaga)

or here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qV5sGEneGCM (Haudenosaunee)

  1. dramatic reduction of carbon emissions

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/climate/coronavirus-pollution.html?smid=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR3g0VZU5w99ZGg1Ya1Ako45Ji5k4T5R66GA95CBrBWDIdOkAkxOF-KYZF8

5. litany

Some noteworthy effects of a changing climate;

ever warmer weather
droughts
floods
extreme weather events (hurricanes, tornados, etc)
food shortages
resource wars
rising water levels
acidification of the oceans
increased incidence of infectious diseases(!) (ie. Zika virus, dengue fever, malaria, Lyme disease)

And more!
Coming soon!

 

 

In February 2020 we received the good news from Karen Brammer at the Unitarian Universalist Association. The letter reads in part; “Your work has earned the title of Accredited Green Sanctuary!  Even more importantly, we see that your leadership has been creative and dedicated, and a positive influence in the lives of your congregants, neighbors and larger community in which you live. With your various projects and campaigns, you have contributed in a meaningful way to the health of the water and your regional eco-systems.”

Congratulations to all for our hard work over the past year to deeper our ecological understanding. We have participated in workshops on food waste and bottled water, learned about recycling while drumming, played an ecological footprint game, sent petitions and delegations to the City of Mississauga and the Region of Peel about banning single use water bottles on municipal sites, sold green goods through the green marketplace, set up a green canoe planter, replaced water faucets in the bathrooms, increased shade plantings on the south side of the building and more. We explored water issues in our Multi Age services, celebrated the renewal of life with the spring ceremony, and spent an evening in eco-contemplation. Each week we had a Greening Suggestion in the Shining Chalice. Finally we held a Reconciliation in the Watershed workshop, working with the KAIROS organization to explore water issues in the context of reconciliation with indigenous people. It was a busy year! I know that the Green Sanctuary work helped all of us be more aware of how our choices impact the planet.

We have accomplished a great deal, truly working on our mission to act for an equitable, sustainable world. Thank you everyone, this was a group effort. I extend an especial gratitude to the Green Sanctuary Team, who worked hard to create and coordinate this work: Joan Ashdown, Pamela Smith- Loeters, Carole Berry, Cathy Tafler, Susan Berry, Michael Wheeler, and Melissa Weale.

In the spring we will host a special evening celebrating our Green Sanctuary designation. Look for details later this month.

Rev. Fiona

We regularly hold workshops.

Check out our Calendar

The Green Sanctuary program provides a path for congregational study, reflection, and action in response to environmental challenges, worshiping and acting – grounded in justice and Unitarian values. Our community has a long tradition of working for equality, inclusion, peace and justice.  Our aspiration is to transform of ourselves, our congregation, and the world around us into a place of greater compassion and justice.

The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga seek to increase building sustainability, improve congregational practices, and create relationships within the wider community. In order to understand our environmental impact as institution and individuals, we create projects in four focus areas:

  • Environmental Justice
    Environmental Justice acknowledges that marginalized communities are often hit first and hardest by environmental crisis. Congregations shift from providing charity to working in solidarity with communities most affected by climate change.
  • Worship and Celebration 
    As we work together towards a cleaner, more just and sustainable world, worship enables us to stay connected to each other and to celebrate the work we have accomplished.
  • Religious Education 
    Religious Education shapes more than minds. It shapes the attitudes and practices of children, families and the entire adult congregation while inspiring us to keep working toward our goal of sustainable practices.
  • Sustainable Living
    Sustainable living requires us to treat the world more gently by using fewer resources and being mindful of the choices we make.

We regularly hold workshops.

Check out our Calendar

We have been busy implementing our Green Sanctuary Action Plan this winter and spring, with the hopes that we will have our official Green Sanctuary designation later this year.  To be a Green Sanctuary means we take our mission to act for an equitable, sustainable world seriously, working to reduce our ecological impact.

Taking into consideration our recent Truth and Reconciliation work, our connections with the Credit Valley Conservation Authority and Faith and the Common Good, the GS Task Force spent several meetings considering eco-justice needs, both locally and nationally.  When the Canadian Unitarian Council made the decision to focus on water as the 2019-20 national social justice issue, the Green Sanctuary Task Force decided a focus on water issues would be the best use of our connections, interests and resources.

Our previous work on water issues includes:

  • Purchase of water carafes for church and renters’ use.
  • Being a plastic water bottle free zone, affirming that choice in 2013.
  • Installing a Rain Garden with the support of the Credit Valley Conservation Authority in 2016.
  • Installation 10 years ago of a bio-filter septic system for all water use in buildings.
  • Creation of a berm and swale beside parking lot to promote healthy water return to the earth, in 2012.
  • No pesticide use.

This spring, we have several projects on the go, from Pamela`s weekly green tips in the Shining Chalice to a canoe garden coming later in the spring to advocating for a bottled water ban at the City of Mississauga to the Reconciliation in the Watershed weekend at the end of April (see side bar).  We are also having a Spring Ceremony on March 25th, and an Eco-Spirituality evening on May 29th.

As individuals, each of us is invited to find ways we can change our behaviour in small ways that have a big impact, and as a community we are working on improving our energy efficiency. We already have a naturalized landscape with native plants, using no chemicals.

Your help is needed to make our Green Sanctuary work a success! We need people to promote the Nestle boycott and the water bottle ban.

We need volunteers for the Reconciliation in the Watershed. We need you to play the Carbon Footprint game, attend after service workshops, and engage with the themes.

You can reach out the task force through greensanctuary@uucm.ca.

PowerPoint presentation on a Water Bottle Ban policy at the City of Mississauga Environmental Action Committee.

Watch the PowerPoint Presentation here.

Play the ‘Carbon Footprint’ Game!

Everyone is invited to join us to cut Carbon at Home. Almost 40% of each person’s carbon foot print comes from their home. Participating in activities to reduce your home carbon emissions is a great way to reduce all of our Carbon Footprints. Many are already taking actions to reduce their carbon footprints. The game visibly celebrates what we are doing, and encourages new and renewed efforts, big and small to reduce our own carbon footprints. It is a symbol of our commitment to live by our 7th principle, Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

UCM focuses on activities to reduce our use of energy. Televisions, radios, computers, clocks, computers, and game consoles consume power even when they are turned off!

Tip for the week: Unplugging
A large majority of the energy that powers our homes comes from fossil fuels, so unplugging (as in taking a break from electronic devices) reduces your energy demand and carbon emissions.

Watch out for those vampires! (No, not the blood-sucking kind) The vampire effect is the electricity consumed by your devices when they are plugged in but not in use. So, unplug those devices to reduce your energy use!

Yet another reason to stop those vampires: the average home is infested with 20 vampires, which not only hurts the environment, but adds around $200 to your energy bill according to Cornell University.

If going around to unplug every device is too tedious, don’t fear! Use power strips to unplug multiple devices at the same time. Smart power strips, work to reduce your power usage by shutting down power to products that go into standby mode. Doing so may save you some serious cash. Statistics vary, but experts say standby power consumption in an average home ranges from 5 percent to 10 percent of your household energy consumption. It can also account for about 1 percent of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions [source: Lawrence Berkley Nation Laboratory]. Unplugging is a great break for your mental health and for our environmental health.

Tip of the Week: Saving Electricity Doing the Laundry
This week we look at the amount of water and electricity we use doing the laundry. When you use your washing machine, make bigger loads or dial back the size to use less water and hydro. If your washing machine doesn’t allow you to choose the load size, try talking to your plumber about a more energy efficient option.
Combine loads. For new dark clothes it’s good to wash them on cold without light colours once, but after that, trust your gut. Use cold water instead of the power of heating, and hang dry to save on the electricity Your clothes will be fresher for it. Imagine the possibilities with that extra money, and just as soft clothing.

Tip of the Week: Heating and Cooling your home
Since heating and cooling your home is responsible for nearly half of your energy bill and a big chunk of your carbon footprint, you can take small steps to reduce your “footprint” and your bills. It is a win-win situation. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Change your air filters regularly. Clogged filters restrict airflow, which forces your HVAC system to work harder to meet the indoor load requirements.
  • Check your thermostats (programmable and WiFi) to confirm that they are not over heating or cooling when you are not home. In addition, try adjusting your thermostat just 2 degrees from what makes you comfortable. Two degrees down in winter; two degrees up in summer. You’ll hardly notice the difference…but you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by 2000 lbs. per year!

Check that your home is properly sealed so that warm or cool air stays indoors.

Tip of the Week: Replace Incandescent Bulbs
Replace incandescent bulbs with LED lighting LED lamps and tubes not only consume a fraction of the energy consumed by incandescent bulbs, they have the double benefit of lasting almost for- ever and containing no mercury. By doing nothing except installing LEDs in the home, it is possible to reduce your carbon footprint by a whopping 6 tons per year.

Tip of the Week: Reduce – Simplify
Did you know? Over 40% of the North American carbon footprint is directly tied to making, moving, and disposing of all the things we use – and throw away – every day. The good news is that this big number presents a big opportunity. Everything we consume – from a can of soda to a sheet of paper – requires energy for its manufacture, transportation and disposal. This energy is usually produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal or gasoline, and burning fossil fuels means that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. Every person, every age, and every home can lower carbon pollution. Some of these activities save money, some cost money but each reduces carbon footprint. When we cut down on the Stuff We Buy we conserve natural resources, landfill space, energy, and protect the environment.

REDUCE – SIMPLIFY. The best way to manage waste is to not produce it. Shop carefully and consider these guidelines.

Tip of the Week: Reuse
Reusing materials prevents pollution caused by reducing the need to harvest new raw materials and the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators

  • Buy in bulk. Larger, economy-size products and concentrated forms use less packaging and often cost less. Bring your containers.
  • Avoid over-packaged goods; they are difficult to recycle and are costlier.
  • Avoid disposable goods, such as paper plates, cups, napkins, razors, and lighters. Throwaways contribute to the problem, and cost more because they must be replaced again and again.
  • Use cloth napkins and rags to replace paper towels. If you absolutely need to use disposable plates etc. purchase compostable products https://www.greenmunch.ca/sugarcane-plate-round-10-inch/
  • Replace plastic wrap with reusable beeswax food-wrap
  • Buy used. You can find everything from clothes to building materials at specialized reuse centers and consignment shops. Often, used items are less expensive and just as good as new.
  • Borrow, rent or share items that are used infrequently, like party decorations, tools or furniture. https://torontotoollibrary.com/
  • Donate–One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools or clothes, try selling or donating them. Not only will you be reducing waste, you’ll be helping others. Local churches, community centers, thrift stores, schools and nonprofit organizations may accept a variety of donated items, including used books, working electronics and unneeded furniture. Donating your excess craft supplies to worthy causes is the best way to give them a fresh start. Here are some helpful tips and suggestions:
  • You can give fabric, batting and thread to quilters who contribute to Quilts of Valour, an organization that makes quilts for injured canadian soldiers. https://www.quiltsofvalour.ca/
  • Contact your local women’s shelter, drop-in program or community centre to ask if they accept donations of craft supplies. some community organizations, such as Sistering, a women’s agency serving homeless, marginalized and low-income women in Toronto, use donations of yarn, spinning fibre and fabric in their employment training programs. https://sistering.org/.
  • Blankets for Canada accepts donations of yarn and fabric to help in the organization’s mission to provide blankets – and comfort – to people in need. https://blankets4canada.ca/

Tip of the Week: Drive Wise
The way we drive can reduce emissions from our vehicles.
Follow these tips to effectively reduce emissions, drive more safely, and save money on fuel costs all at the same time:

  • Drive efficiently – go easy on the gas pedal and brakes.
  • Maintain your car – get regular tune-ups, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, and use the recommended motor oil.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Properly inflated tires will lower your gas consumption and provide a smoother drive which will reduce the need for frequent acceleration.
  • Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.

Tip of the Week: Public Transportation
Individuals can save more than $8,000 per year by taking public transportation instead of driving. Moreover, this mode can lead to substantial environmental benefits. If your commute is a 32km round trip, the switch to public transportation could lower your carbon footprint by 2177kg annually. Canadian households that produce the least amount of carbon emissions are located near a bus or rail line. The people in those households drive an average of 7081 fewer kilometres annually compared to similar households with no access to public transit.

Tip of the Week: Usage of water
The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, UCM, unitarian universalist, carbon footprint, Reusable Water Bottle, environmental workshopsReusable water bottles are a convenient and environmentally friendly solution.  In 2013, Canadians purchased 2.4 billion litres of bottled water, which equals about 68 litres per person. Switching to a reusable water bottle would surely decrease the oil used, greenhouse gasses emitted, and bottles thrown away, reducing pollution threefold. The following information was found here https://www.waterdocs.ca/water-talk/2018/4/7/facts-about-bottled-water

  • A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute – which breaks down to 20,000 plastic bottles a second – and that number will jump another 20% by 2021.
  • In Ontario alone, one billion plastic water bottles are sent to landfill every year. The Polaris Institute estimates only 14% make it to recycling facilities.
  • Bottled water is almost 2,000 times more energy intensive to produce than tap water
  • Plastic bottles can take 450 years or more to break down and decompose. Some estimates push that number closer to 1,000 years.
  • Researchers recently tested bottled water for micro plastic particles and found that 93 per cent of the water tested contained some sort of microplastic, including polypropylene, polystyrene, nylon and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).   https://orbmedia.org/stories/plus-plastic/
  • Tap water is strictly regulated by Health Canada and the provinces and territories, whereas bottled water is not.
  • It takes three times the water to make the bottle as it does to fill it
  • 3.5 litres of bottled water costs approximately 2,000 times more than the cost of a gallon of tap water

As of 2017, the global bottled water market was worth $198.5 billion, set to reach $300 billion by 2024.

Tip of the Week: Try Meatless Mondays
nitarian, Universalism, Universalist, Unitarian church, Unitarian congregation, The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, church Mississauga, congregation Mississauga, Mississauga, Oakville, Brampton, Unitarian faith, Unitarian beliefs, Unitarianism, principles, community, religious pluralism, tolerance, religious diversity, social justice, human rights, equality, spirituality, humanistic, truth, meaning, liberal, welcoming, LGBTQ, LGBTQIQ, interfaith, positive interaction, dialogue, diversity, democracy, interreligious, tolerance, equality, individual freedom, open-minded, connect, services, Sunday service, sermons, reflections, community programs, children programs, teenager programs, young adult programs, adult programs, our whole lives, hall rentals in Mississauga, chaplains, wedding, gay wedding, same sex wedding, lesbian wedding, lgbt wedding, lgbtq wedding, same sex marriage, Meat products have a larger carbon footprint per ounce than grain or vegetable products because of the inefficient transformation of plant energy to animal energy. Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water. Fortunately, there is a high correlation between foods that are good for our health and foods that are good for the climate and the environment in general! By cutting down on meat, even for 1 day a week, you can reduce your GHG emissions by a substantial amount.

How much water does it take to produce .45kg of food?
Beef = 6 992 litres
Lamb = 4 424 litres
Pork = 2 717 litres
Chicken = 1 961 litres
Eggs = 1 495 litres
Cheese = 1 422 litres
Butter = 2 517 litres
Milk = 462 litres
Almonds/Cashews = 7 302 litres

Tip of the Week: Composting
The decomposition of organics in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas that, according to the EPA, is 70 times more effective at trapping radiant heat than carbon dioxide. As a result, landfills have become the third largest source of human-caused greenhouse gases in the Canada and the US. In contrast, composting this material creates a valuable soil enhancer that replenishes depleted soils, protects against erosion, can replace synthetic fertilizers and helps retain water. Composting our organics protects air, water and soil quality.

Tip of the Week: Usage of Food – Learn Label Lingo
“Sell-by” or “use-by” dates don’t always mean “toss-by.” The sell-by date is the last recommended day you should buy a product in the store, but you can eat it several days to a week after. “Use-by” is the date through which the item will be top-quality. However, “if stored properly, most foods stay fresh several days longer than the use-by date, even meat,” says Fraser. “I’ve eaten plenty of foods past the date.” Of course, if you note any off odors, textures, or colors, don’t risk it. And you never want to use baby formula past its date. (For a handy food storage guide, check out stilltasty.com.)

Tip of the Week: Usage of Food – Rethink Quantity
Shop at the deli counter or in the bulk aisle so you can buy precisely what you need. Do you never finish that full pound of turkey? Ask for five slices instead. Want pumpkin seeds for a muffin recipe? Scoop out the exact quantity from a bin instead of buying a whole package that will go rancid in your pantry.
According to a 2009 study from the Bulk Is Green Council, you can save an average of 35 percent by just buying what you need.

Tip of the Week: Usage of Food – Take Smaller Portions
Before you dish out another restaurant-sized portion at home, ask yourself if you really will finish what’s on your plate (or, for that matter, if you should). Since it’s unlikely you’ll save that piece of nibbled-on casserole, stick to smaller portions; you can always get seconds.

Tip of the Week: Usage of Food – Plan ahead
You had high hopes for that ratatouille made from scratch — but then a late night at the office foils your good intentions. “The reality is, life happens, and we want a 10-minute meal,” French says.
So before you hit the store, look at the calendar and develop a weekly menu around your schedule, flagging days you’re more likely to be able to cook. Plan three or four days to make recipes and two to eat leftovers; reserve one or two “free” days for impromptu events, like dinner with friends.

Tip of the Week: Usage of Food – Reorganize the Fridge
Keep an orderly fridge, and you won’t push ingredients to the back and forget them. “Knowing what you have is more important than you think,” Bloom says.
In addition to cleaning out the fridge once a week, keep leftovers as well as odds and ends (half-eaten onions or sweet potatoes) in sight. Bloom stores them in clear plastic containers and then places them in the front upside down, since “it’s easier to see the contents.”

Tip of the Week: Usage of Food – Watch your Trash
For one week, take note of what’s in your trash. Don’t just look at it, but analyze everything that goes in the bin or down the disposal. (If you’re really serious, you might jot down your observations in a notebook.) Then adjust your habits. If you threw away half a box of stale cereal, either buy a smaller box or store cereal in an airtight container immediately after opening. If week-old leftovers are still taking up real estate, prepare less next time or make a more conscious effort to eat the remainder (for instance, pack it in your lunch bag and leave a note reminding yourself to take it to work).
“When you pinpoint why and what you toss, you can make changes to your behavior,” says Jonathan Bloom of wastedfood.com.

In 2011 the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga (UCM) partnered with Credit Valley Conservation through the GreeninCorporate Grounds program. The goals of the UCM initiative are to:

  • Remove invasive plants
  • Naturalize with native plants
  • Reduce use of water
  • Provide habitat for birds, insects (bees, butterflies) and small mammals
  • Create natural barriers to reduce noise
  • Add a ‘rain garden” to catch and filter water run-off from the property
  • Add to the urban forest in Mississauga

Native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants have been generously planted on the major berm, in the rain garden and around the side and front of the property. The plantings have created a beautiful physical barrier around the property line, replacing views of traffic and the parking areas with a colourful screen of native trees and shrubs. These provide a home for a variety of birds which add to the beauty and tranquility of the grounds.

Habitat has been created for song and ground birds, small mammals and, most importantly, to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Monarch butterflies are found each fall sharing the New England asters with bees.

A “rain garden” or bio-retention cell in the parking lot collects runoff from the property. Plants and soil filter out pollutants so cleaner water flows into Lake Ontario, our drinking source.   This natural element offers an eye-catching view from our many windows in the Great Hall.

Funding for this initiative has come from donations from UCM members and friends, and two grants from TD Canada Trust Friends of the Environment. Donations of plant materials have come from Green Horizons David Suzuki Foundation and Credit Valley Conservation.   Canada Summer Jobs provided wage subsidies for two part-time student projects.

Volunteers are the backbone of the project. Over 60 volunteers have contributed to preparation, planting and maintenance of the Greening Initiative. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are involved and every contribution is appreciated.

For more information contact Michael Wheeler at mjtwheeler@hotmail.com

Check out our Calendar

The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga acknowledges that we are on the traditional lands of the Mississauga of the New Credit Nation.

We are walking with all who are on the journey towards truth, justice, healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples. We welcome the opportunity to learn from those who have been on this path a long time, as well as others who have joined it more recently. We believe we are part of a wider learning community.

Some of our past events include participating in the Kairos Blanket exercise,   and learning about the intergenerational impacts of colonialism from Darren Thomas ,  a member of the Seneca Nation and university professor.

There are a number of exciting programs on reconciliation.

Check out our Calendar

On June 20 several members of UCM attended the River Run 2019: Walk with Grassy Narrows for Mercury Justice!

There is an urgent need to focus attention on the crisis of mercury poisoning facing the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation.  They are living with the devastating and ongoing consequences of 50 years of mercury contamination of their water supply, water that should be sustaining them.

40 members of Grassy Narrows First Nation made the 1,700 km trip from their home to Toronto.  The demonstration began at Queen’s Park.  After several inspiring speeches, the protesters marched to the Department of Indigenous Services Canada on Bay Street, carrying a blue banner representing the Wabigoon-English river system that has been poisoned by mercury dumped by a paper mill.

We heard from the children of Grassy Narrows, from their grandparents, from First Nations leaders and from other groups such as Amnesty International.  Chief Rudy Turtle declared “We’re here to ask both governments to keep supporting our endeavour to deal with this mercury problem”.  The people of Grassy Narrows First Nation demanded that the federal government immediately provide the money required to build the Mercury Home and Treatment Centre that has been promised to them.  They also insisted  that every one in Grassy Narrows be compensated.  They request that the money be put in a trust to protect it from any changes in government.

Throughout the event, I sipped clean fresh water; water that was provided by the organizers of the event in large jugs so I could refill my bottle.  This irony was not lost on me.  I can with ease find safe water to drink; the residents of Grassy Narrows cannot.

While the relative lack of news coverage of the event was disappointing, there was a large, diverse group of people who attended and marched with enthusiasm.  We blocked traffic.  We chanted and cheered.  I was expecting some blowback from drivers who were inconvenienced by the march.  That may have happened, but I didn’t see it.  I saw drivers honking, waving and giving us a thumb’s up.  That was encouraging.  I hope that the necessary action will be taken quickly.  You can add your voice to the many calling for action by signing this petition.

https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/deliver-immediate-and-comprehensive-mercury-justice-for-the-people-of-grassy-narrows

#GrassyNarrows

Judy Benger

Chair, Social Justice Action Committee

Check out our Calendar

The Power of One

Gay Nemeth
April 1, 2020

A graphic passed across my computer screen the other day.  A bunch of pink lines1.  They showed how the corona virus spreads.  One person spreads it to three others, then they spread it to three others and on…

It was a video.
It then proceeded to show what happened when one person took action to stop it’s spread.  The effect was profound.

This brought home, for me –  The power of one.

Sometimes it feels like you are spinning your wheels, you are without traction, without effect.  We can’t always see the effects of our actions…
But we, each of us, walk in this world, and create our own unique footprint wherever we go.
We are, each of us, always transforming the world.

We are at a point in time like no other.  Ahead we face further travesty as carbon emissions continue to warm the planet, as plastic replaces fish in the oceans, as species are going extinct at a disturbing rate.  And all, caused by our own (mis)doings.

This corona virus is our wake up call.

It’s not a gentle rub on your back coaxing you out of your slumbers, but a ringing!, jaRring!, klaxon meant to bring you quickly to full consciousness.

The similarities between this corona virus story and the climate change story are eerie.  (It’s like a message from the earth… a dress rehearsal before the big show!)

Both are global in scope.
Both are democratic (no one escapes the effects.)
Both require us to act now for an result in the future.
Both will reveal whether these actions are effective by showing no change. (or little)
Both will cause more suffering for the already disadvantaged.
Both exhibit positive feedback loops2.

Both require collaborative action to solve.
Yet, both are influenced by the power of one.

This COVID19 crisis is our pivot point.

The whole of human society has embedded the use of fossil fuels to drive all that we do.  The use of this source of power is the very thing that is creating the climate crisis.
The momentum, and the weight, and the deep roots of this system, is daunting.
How do we stop it?
How do we change direction?
Where do we begin?

Then along comes this itty, bitty corona virus.  Like Muskrat of the Indigenous Creation Story3, it is showing us what can be accomplished.
Over just a couple of months, we have seen the dramatic reduction of carbon emissions4.

This virus is giving us the opportunity to reset how we interact with the non human world.
This virus is giving us the vision we need to restore balance in our relationship with our Mother Earth – the source of all life.

We are living in an exciting, powerful time.  A time like no other.

While this virus has deeply affected our economic system, as it’s danger recedes, (and it will), we will have a choice to make – to re-establish the old way of interaction or to make a course correction.

Quite literally, if we are not setting bold, new goals and policies right now – today – in April 2020 –  we will not make the changes we need to avert the worst of this climate crisis.  And you probably know the litany5 of bad effects by now.
This is our moment to create the world anew.

I predict a period of innovation, of creativity and entrepreneurship.  I predict a time of collaboration.  I see a world where each of us gifts the world with that which brings us individual joy.
It is a time for reflection; it is a time for imagination; it is a time for deep love and caring; it is a time for humour and comraderie.  It is a time for active hope.

And it is a time for us all to come awake; to follow our bliss; to bring our best to the world, and mindfully exert our own unique power of one.

(I need you!)

P.S.  Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.

Margaret Meade 

——————————————————————————————————–

Pop up links

 pink lines

 

Posted by Gay Nemeth on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

  1. Positive feedback loops

Positive Feedback Loop

positive feedback loop occurs in nature when the product of a reaction leads to an increase in that reaction.

  1. the climate crisis – (so many to choose from!) As the arctic heats up, permafrost melts, releasing more greenhouse gases causing more warming.
  2. the corona virus – as more people are infected, the medical system becomes overwhelmed resulting in more casualties in other medical cases.
  1. Muskrat of the Indigenous Creation Story

Note:  In the Indigenous culture of oral tradition, stories are the receptacles of knowledge.  They have a history and provenance which speaks to their truth.

“This is the song Keewaydinoquay taught me to sing, as a way of showing respect, before I told a story that I suspect was an Aadizookaan – a story that is considered a cognizant being and that knows when it is being told.

Hey oh way
I tell a story,
A story from the Ancient Ones
Hey oh way
I place Asemaa [tobacco] for their spirits
Hey oh way
I tell a story.
Listen!  And Learn!
Stories are alive, and they go where they wish”

from “Plants Have So Much To Give Us, All We Have To Do is Ask”, by Mary Siisip Geniusz; 2015

———————————————————————-

The Creation of Turtle Island

The world was covered in water.  There was a log floating on the water and all the animals were holding on to it.  The birds flew high to see if they could see land. The animals remembered being told by their grandfathers that there was Earth at the bottom of the water.

Wolf, being the biggest, decided to go to the bottom to gather the sediment there.  He did not make it.  He returned empty handed.

Beaver tried to go to the bottom, but he could not make it.

All of the animals took their turn and tried  to go to the bottom to gather the sediment.

The smallest of them all was Muskrat.  It was his turn, so he went down.  He pushed himself right to the bottom.  He gathered up some soil from the bottom and he started to head back up.

Wolf was concerned about Muskrat because he had been down too long. He went looking for him.  He found Muskrat floating in the water.  He retrieved him and brought him to the surface. Muskrat had drowned, but in his paws that were tucked to his chest, was the soil from the bottom.

Wolf took that soil from Muskrat and put it on the back of Turtle who sat on the log, and from there the great land was created.

The smallest and the weakest was the brightest of them all, and today, we walk upon Turtle Island.

That is the creation of North America.

By the teaching of the grandfathers.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

I first heard this story, as told above. Muskrat – the least of the creatures – was the most important person in this telling.   The lesson I took away, was to realize you might be surprised to know who will muster their resources and come from behind to win the day.

(The power of one!)

I have since learned that this is a part of a greater Creation Story.  And in it, there are many other lessons to discover.  It’s fun to listen to the various tellings, to see the variations, and note where the emphasis is placed, and to find all the wisdom buried within.

GN

(Here is the telling of the story by an Algonquin elder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u88mfQIhTig)

or here https://www.questformeaning.org/family-quest/sky-woman-falls-earth/ (Onondaga)

or here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qV5sGEneGCM (Haudenosaunee)

  1. dramatic reduction of carbon emissions

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/climate/coronavirus-pollution.html?smid=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR3g0VZU5w99ZGg1Ya1Ako45Ji5k4T5R66GA95CBrBWDIdOkAkxOF-KYZF8

5. litany

Some noteworthy effects of a changing climate;

ever warmer weather
droughts
floods
extreme weather events (hurricanes, tornados, etc)
food shortages
resource wars
rising water levels
acidification of the oceans
increased incidence of infectious diseases(!) (ie. Zika virus, dengue fever, malaria, Lyme disease)

And more!
Coming soon!

 

TESTIMONIALS

  • UCM is a diverse and multicultural community of individuals ‘who are guided by compassion, reason and love on an individual search for truth and meaning’. “we collaboratively try to make sense of the world around us”

    David Armani
  • For Marc, Unitarian Universalism aligned much more closely with his views on life than the Catholicism of his youth, and gave him a community of people with whom to struggle with how to act justly in the world.

    Marc Xuereb
  • I love the great variety of people and opinions that can be found at UCM. I love that it's a safe space to engage in dialogue about things you might steer away from other places...

    Kristen

 

 

Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

COMING EVENTS

23Oct

Online Event: Mindfulness Friday

Friday, Online
24Oct

Online Event: Fall Focus for Committee Chairs

Saturday, Online
25Oct

Online Service: Keeping Faith

Sunday, Online
28Oct

Online Event: Hearth Light

Wednesday, Online
29Oct

Online Event: Orientation to UCM

Thursday, Online
More events

JOIN US!


Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga

84 South Service Road
Mississauga, ON
L5G 2R9
905-278-5622
info@uucm.ca