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:

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

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/

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

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

23Feb

UCM Board Game Night

Saturday, The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga
24Feb

New Member Sunday: Longing to Belong

Sunday, The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga
24Feb

Sunday Service: Going with the Flow

Sunday, The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga
24Feb

Fellowship Lunch

Sunday, The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga
24Feb

Theme Ministry Drop in Group: Flow

Sunday, The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga
25Feb

Yoga

Monday, The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga
More events

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Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga

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