By Nathan Detweiler
“Climate change is the biggest challenge that we face. Because of climate change we are forced to relocate within three decades,” Esau Sinnok said during a recent phone interview about Shishmaref. Esau was born and raised in this village in Alaska. He has recently become an outspoken advocate for Shishmaref and environmental conservation. [read more]
Why conserve water:
- Fresh water is a precious and scarce commodity in the world.
- Develop the habit of rationing water, because sustainable lifestyle requires it.
- Reduce carbon emissions by using less hot water.
- Lower energy use at water facilities plants.
- Protect the local watershed from polluted runoff.
- Save money for other ministries.
Efficiency, Conservation, and Protection.
- Efficiency refers to products put in place to save energy and be Earth-friendly.
- Conservation refers to human actions to save energy and be Earth-friendly.
- Protection refers to human actions to protect Earth from degrading products and processes.
- Purchase Energy Star appliances. www.energystar.gov.
- Put low flow aerators on faucets in kitchen, bathrooms, and wash stations.
- Install low-flush toilets. Or use toilet balloons in older toilets to reduce water use.
- Check faucets (+outside) and toilets regularly for leaks and runs. Repair immediately.
- Install push-button faucets in bathrooms.
- Set hot water temperature at moderate rate (around 140 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Install on-demand water heating system.
- Put blanket (at least 3 inches) around standard water heater.
- Do not let faucet run.
- Run dish washer only when full. Wash small loads by hand.
- Rinse dishes for the dishwasher in a bowl rather than under running water.
- Store drinking water in refrigerator. Do not let the faucet run until the water is cool.
- Avoid bottled water. Use safe water bottle to be refilled with tap water.
- “Bring your own” safe reusable water bottle to be filled for use outside the home.
- Avoid use of disposal. It uses a lot of water. Compost food scraps.
- Wash cars by hand (sponge and bucket) rather than in carwashes.
- Use rain barrels to collect rain to water plants.
- Native grasses require less watering. Avoid watering lawn at all.
- Set the mower high to preserve moisture in the soil.
- Mow less often and leave the grass clippings on the grass as compost.
- Plant trees to provide shade that preserves moisture in the soil.
- Plant drought resistant shrubs and flowers.
- Use watering can rather than hose for plants and flowers. Avoid sprinklers.
- If you water at all, do so early in the morning or in the evenings.
- Put bird baths to provide water for birds, when and where it is safe for standing water.
Protect the Environment:
- Do not put toxic items down the drain: cleansers, bleach, detergents, and so on.
- Do not put grease, fat, or cooking oil down the drain.
- Make grease balls with nuts and raisin to hang for birds to feed on.
- Avoid use of pesticides or herbicides or weed killers. These will run off into the water shed and pollute local waterways.
- Plant a rain garden containing special plants with deep roots that absorb water so it does not runoff from roofs into the watershed or water ways.
- Get the family on board.
- Put up reminder signs: Attend to water leaks. Do not let faucet run. Run dishwasher when full.
Advocacy and Public Witness:
- Restore degraded water habitats such as local streams and lakes.
- Promote the preservation of wetlands.
- Learn about water problems around the globe.
- Advocate for policies and laws to slow global warming.
- Oppose practices of extraction for oil, gas, or minerals that threaten water resources.
What can you do?
AFFIRM: Personally, with your church council, or entire synod, review our ELCA’s 1993 call to action and commit to engaging in steps to live into that calling. Sign and submit the Covenant with Creation to be part of our accountability and celebration network.
ACT TOGETHER: Reach out to all church members and share the ideas listed specifically for the area/committee they already work on: Action Plan Ideas. Goals without specific people and dates may remain elusive. Use this form and our ELCA network to help make a path.
Use the online version of the Organizing Kit to the right or download the pdf here: Congregational Self-Organizing Kit
NOTE: We often make updates in the resources and connections. Please refer back online often and let us know if you have any suggestions!