Written by Connie Larkman
To continue the one-church creation care initiative launched by Mission 4/1 Earth, the United Church of Christ is encouraging General Synod attendees to recognize the environmental impact of their travel to southern California in late June and to take responsibility for it.
"While we celebrate the gathering of more than 2,000 United Church of Christ brothers and sisters in Long Beach this summer, we recognize that there is an environmental cost of that travel," said W. Mark Clark, General Synod administrator. "We are encouraging attendees to calculate and take personal responsibility for the carbon emissions resulting from their attendance at Synod, by offsetting that cost to the climate with a donation to the UCC Outdoor Ministry Association (OMA) to be used for earth care."
The strictly voluntary donation idea was suggested by the OMA board and implemented in collaboration with the national setting of the UCC, which has created a page where Synod attendees can calculate their carbon footprint as a result of traveling to Long Beach, and make a modest donation ($10 or $15 per ton of carbon emissions) to offset it.
All donations to the UCC OMA board-designated fund will be used in projects that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. OMA sites with eligible projects will apply for funds and be required to report how they used the money to prevent the generation of greenhouse gases or remove them from the atmosphere.
These designated carbon offset projects may include restoring forests, planting trees, increasing the energy efficiency of camp buildings and transportation at OMA sites, combating erosion, and supporting natural water filtering. Projects that are intended to increase awareness about environmental stewardship would also qualify.
"We believe it (environmental advocacy) is an important precedent practice for UCC members to actively engage in within our daily lives and "whenever two or more are gathered in My name,'" said OMA board member Anne Hughes, "and we want to make it easier for everyone to tread lightly on our earth as faithful stewards."
Check out the Synod carbon footprint calculator.