In 2009 St James United Church formed a “Social Justice Committee”. After multiple exploratory meetings we’ve developed a mandate to solidify our focus. The group communicates primarily by email and telephone, with infrequent meetings for event planning. We welcome new members and input from the congregation.
Our approach will be to “think globally and act locally”. We want to educate ourselves about topics of world concern and inform the congregation of our findings. We encourage everyone to act individually on these issues. As a committee, we will act collaboratively on those matters that seem particularly relevant to our community.
Our mandate includes, but is not limited to:
1) connecting with other social justice agencies and participating in related activities within our community (including attending meetings and events either as individuals or as representatives of St James; creating formal and informal liaisons with other organizations; and reporting information gathered to both the committee and the congregation)
2) communicating about social justice issues and events to the committee and the congregation (including educating ourselves about these issues and presenting that information in a relevant manner; publicizing dates, times and descriptions of events we can attend; preparing articles for our Church website, newsletter and bulletins; and updating the congregation during services)
3) planning and carrying out social justice projects (including organizing congregational or community events with speakers; taking part in awareness campaigns; beginning fundraising drives – either alone or in conjunction with other organizations and related events; and working with other congregational groups such as the Sunday School.)
Our exploration of social justice issues shows us that they can be broken down into the following six general categories: poverty, environment, equality, peace, health, and education. The committee has decided to concentrate on one area at a time. Our first focus will be poverty issues, specifically food, housing and transportation concerns in our community. However, we will also highlight environmental issues by holding an interfaith event in conjunction with Earth Day in April.
We look forward to updating you about our work in this area and hope
that you will consider contributing your ideas and thoughts to this initiative
10 Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth
1. Pay attention to water. Turn off water while brushing teeth. Got a leaky toilet? You might be wasting 200 gallons of water a day. Drink tap water instead of bottled water. Think about what you pour down your drains. Use non-toxic cleaning products. Maintain your septic tank.
2. Leave your car at home. Combine errands, it will save gas and time. Walk, ride a bike to work, school and anywhere you can. Reduce greenhouse gases while burning calories and improving your health.
3. Maintain your car and drive smart. Under-inflated tires decrease fuel economy by up to three percent and lead to increased pollution and higher greenhouse gas emissions. Drive smarter. Slow down — driving 100km/hr hour instead of 120 will save you gas.
4. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse. If choosing between two products, pick the one with the least packaging. Reduce paper use and recycle always. Dispose of hazardous waste properly.
5. Compost. Compost makes a great natural fertilizer and is easier than you think.
6. Make your home more energy efficient (and save money). Clean air filters so your system doesn’t work overtime. Insulate. Get a programmable thermostat. If you’re shopping for new appliances or electronics, look for ENERGY STAR products and ENERGUIDE ratings. Wash clothes in cold water. Use the clothesline instead of a dryer.
7. Change your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) last 10 times longer than a standard bulb and use at least two-thirds less energy.
8.Turn off lights when you’re not in the room and unplug things when you’re not using them. Stop putting electrical appliances on standby. Even when your electrical appliances are on standby, they do consume energy.
9. Stop using plastic. There is no reason to use plastic bags when there are environment friendly options. Take your bag every time you go shopping and do not ask for plastic bags.
10. Choose local and organic foods that are in season, and support local food producers. Eat less meat. Eat sustainable seafood.