Green Sanctuary Projects & Programs

The First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta has submitted an application to the Unitarian Universalist Association to become a candidate for official Green Sanctuary status. Regardless of that recognition, though, we have long had a commitment to the basic tenets of ecological sustainability.

UPDATE! On November 21, 2014 we received official accreditation as a Green Sanctuary. Here is a copy of the letter from the UUA.

Activites undertaken to manifest our commitment to green living can be categorized in four broad areas: Sustainable Living, Environmental Education, Environmental Justice, and Congregation and Community Involvement.  

Sustainable Living (Encompasses initiatives such as recycling, energy efficiency, and ethical eating.) 

Recycling: Recycle Bins

  • All GS activities are paid for through the sale of aluminum scrap (chiefly food and drink cans) collected weekly from congregants and others in the community. 
  • Recycling containers (sorted by type) have been placed in both buildings. This includes receptacles for batteries, used printer cartridges, and cell phones.  
  • Non-biodegradable waste is minimized through the banning of styrofoam, plastic and paper. Cellphone/battery recyclingInstead, regular dishes, glasses and utensils are used and reused. Also, “Green” cleaning supplies acquired for kitchen and other cleaning and “Green-origin” toilet tissue & paper towels have been placed in kitchen and rest rooms.

 


Energy Efficiency:
We arranged for a professional energy audit of our buildings and are working with our Buildings & Grounds Committee to:

    • Install weather-stripping, insulation, programmable thermostats, and CFL lighting in both buildings.
    • In the RE Building:
        • Build attic hatch.
        • Caulk and Air Seal (Infiltration Reduction).Testing air leakage
        • Install Attic Insulation.
        • Install Wall Insulation.
        • Install Floor Insulation R-19.
        • Replace Hot Water Tank.
        • Practice Lead Safe Weatherization.
        • Install Vapor Barrier in Basement.
  • In the main Church:
    • Caulk all windows with brown caulk to air seal. 
    • Insulate and weatherstrip attic hatch.
    • Air seal with caulk and foam board and insulate above opening where attic floor meets arch window. 

 

Ethical Eating: 

  • Workshops on gardening (organic, composting, planting, soils, hydroponics, worms, and other topics) held at FUUSM Fellowship Hall, open to the community.
  • Workshop on canning presented by two FUUSM members; open to the community.
  • Hosting dinners for the congregation using locally grown food.
  • Conducting seminars on ethical eating as part of Adult Religious Education.

 

Environmental Education

  • "Green” section added to FUUSM library in RE building.
  • “Simply Green House” constructed with recycled materials and solar panels shown to intergenerational group.
  • “Eco House” (small-scale demonstration of house constructed for sustainable energy) donated to the nursery.
  • Visit arranged for BRIDGES (religious education program for all ages) participants to home of GS Committee member who has organically farmed for 33 years and lives in a self designed highly self sustaining and eco friendly home; nature hike included.
  • Series on environmental education conducted as part of adult religious education.
  • The Chair of FUUSM’s Social Justice Committee spoke with fourth-eighth graders in the BRIDGES (religious education) Program a couple of times about hunger and what people around the world eat, about how they might exhibit green habits in their personal lives, and green clothing choices.

 

Environmental Justice

  • GS committee assumed sales of fair-trade coffee and an organic, locally processed and distributed brand most Sundays after services. Fair Trade coffee 
  • FUUSM sponsored a showing of the film, Gasland, about environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing techniques for extracting natural gas.
  • Hydrofracking Interest Group initiated to educate about the practice of horizontal hydrofracking for extracting natural gas meets in Fellowship Hall regularly; FUUSM members in leadership roles.
  • Co-sponsored a presentation of "The Last Mountain" movie about mountaintop removal coal mining with the local Quaker Friends.
  • Presented the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" about climate change.

 

Congregation and Community Involvement

SYFA Support

  • Connections established with local and regional environmental groups including Marietta YMCA (community gardening), Friends of the Lower Muskingum River, and the Ohio Environmental Council.
  • Annual participation in Marietta Earth Day with a tent focusing on various aspects of environmental issues.Booth for Earthday
  • Established large plot on Harvest of Hope Community Garden as a model of organic gardening and contribution of fresh vegetables to local food pantries. 
  • "No-till" and organic gardening workshops conducted for the community.
  • FUUSM established formal relationship with SYFA (Save Your Future Association), a project to support access to safe, potable, convenient water in north Cameroon, with leadership of FUUSM member who is former Peace Corps volunteer in that area; began fund raising for SYFA. 
  • River Trail sign"Adopt a Bikepath": Maintenance of a portion of the Marietta River Trail bikepath along the Muskingum River.