All Souls’ cares deeply about the world we live in and the ways that we can reduce our impact on the environment. Together we have worked diligently to become a community that is always learning and educating ourselves on how best to steward our Earth. Our history in Environmental Justice work is long, and we are just getting started! See some of the highlights below.
Green Sanctuary Certification
We were awarded Green Sanctuary Certification from the UUA in 2021. This was a long process that was a collaborative effort between many different volunteers, staff members, and community partners.
The Green Sanctuary Program is a UUA program that encourages congregations to practice the UUA’s Seventh Principle: respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. The program is a means by which congregations can work toward focusing on the theological, spiritual and ethical aspects of human activities that affect the health and sustainability of the living earth. Each participating congregation completes at least 12 projects in four focus areas:
- Worship and Celebration
- Religious Education
- Environmental Justice
- Sustainable Living
An accredited Green Sanctuary Congregation is one that:
- Has received official recognition for completing the Green Sanctuary Program.
- Lives out its commitment to the Earth by creating sustainable lifestyles for its members as individuals and as a faith community.
- Is committed towards creating a religious community that has a fundamental, bottom-line, commitment to living in harmony with the Earth.
– Adapted from UUA.org website.
Our extensive application detailing our journey and on-going work can be viewed below.
Net Carbon Zero
All Souls takes the UUA Seventh Principle to heart and expresses it through a strong environmental ethic. As the climate crisis unfolds more quickly than we imagined just a few years ago, it is urgent that we put that ethic into practice. In the fall of 2019, the All Souls Board appointed a new “Net Zero Carbon” project team to develop a plan that will reach Interfaith Power & Light’s “Paris Pledge” goals: i.e., committing to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050.
What is Carbon Neutrality and How Do We Get There?
A very brief definition of Carbon Neutrality is: reducing our emissions of carbon as close to zero as we can, and taking actions to compensate for those we can’t eliminate. Adding the two together “nets” zero carbon added to the atmosphere – hence the name of our project, Net Zero Carbon. The point of Carbon Neutrality is to reduce the greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere which are causing Global Warming and Climate Change.
The Net Zero Carbon team held two brainstorming sessions to identify actions All Souls could take to reduce or offset its emissions of greenhouse gases. Below are some of the suggestions for potential actions:
- Conserve energy. Energy efficiency will not only reduce our carbon footprint, it will also save money on our utility bills. (There likely will be capital costs associated with some conservation projects).
stopping air leakage thru windows insulating ceilings
continuing to install LED lighting & motion sensors
installing more efficient appliances
heating and cooling people not rooms (We’ll have to change our behavior a bit, but it costs $0.)
- Increase Use of Renewable Energy
adding solar panels to our facility
participating in a community solar project (State law needs to change to allow this.) installing solar water heating
heating with something other than gas
- Promote Green Transportation. driving electric and hybrid vehicles riding the bus
travel less – e.g. hold televideo meetings via Zoom running a church van and carpooling
4) Buy less energy generated by fossil fuels.
Influencing Indianapolis Power & Light to supply us with electricity generated from renewable sources, as well as our Solar Panels
5) Offset Those Carbon Emissions we Cannot Eliminate
- planting trees (Trees consume and store carbon dioxide.)
- divesting investments from fossil fuel companies (Invest in ESG funds instead.)
To read the full All Souls Proposal for Climate action click here