Johannesburg Anglican Environmental Initiative Notes from a JAEI Eco-congregations meeting held at St Michael’s, Weltevreden Park, 27 September 2008 The following parishes were represented: St Francis, Parkview St Luke‟s, Orchards St Michael‟s, Weltevreden Park St Mark‟s, North Riding Ruimsig St Thomas‟s, Linden Apology: St Martin‟s, Rosebank (written report was presented) Summary of lessons learned We need to protect ourselves from over-eager work, thereby burning ourselves out and overwhelming parishioners, but we note that people are generally receptive and enthusiastic and we don‟t need to be apologetic about our efforts. The JAEI „route map‟ document is useful to guide a coherent approach to becoming and sustaining an eco-congregation Eco-audit – it seems the middle road between a fully democratic audit and a technocratic one where one or a small number of people do it is most effective. Hence breaking the audit into logical chunks, appointing leaders per section and asking knowledgeable people to work with that leader. An overall audit coordinator can then pull it together. A review of the audit booklet to make it easier to use and to place it more within an overall eco-congregation context and „journey‟ would be useful. The audit is a springboard for more detailed planning and projects, so it is better to get it done without agonising too much (quick and dirty). We all feel the need to extend the eco-congregation work into the lives of parishioners to bring about wider lifestyle change. We need to think this through carefully. Experiences gained with this are eagerly awaited at the next report-back meeting. Support and experiences from other eco-congregations as well as internet and printed resources are valuable in assisting newer eco- congregations, so we need to improve this support role where we can. This is mainly a JAEI function. Nature contains many cultural metaphors that might be recived very differently by different people, and we need to be sensitive to this. St Michaels will circulate some of thir work on this. Notice of dates St Martin‟s is hosting a water-wise picnic event at Emmarentia Dam on Saturday 8 November. Details will be sent out closer to the time. Next meeting: Saturday 31 January at St Martin‟s Rosebank, 9-12. REPORTS St Francis Have been busy with a range of activities, some outings, which are enjoyed by parishioners, we have followed the Season of Creation during September and used the resource book provided for this, we are close to completing our audit. Lessons learned – the full democratic route of involving a large number of people in the audit foundered so we appointed section leaders and they worked with selected (knowledgeable) people to complete the audit. The group results were compiled onto spreadsheet by the audit coordinator. The next stage of the process which will mainly be planning activities suggested by the audit will follow. We are looking at ways of involving more parishioners in becoming more environmentally active. Part of this is a planned Eco- footprint exercise (from an exercise in the Season of Creation book) to try to achieve this. Noted that the Season of Creation resource is very useful. St Luke’s We followed the route map document and found it very helpful. Recently had our Eco-congregation launch Sunday (3 eco-services that Sunday, also Sunday school and youth). Handed out a response card and got a good response – people are wanting to participate. This gives a gateway to contact people. Lessons learned - there is a strong sense of energy that we need to work carefully with – how do we harness this energy in ways that sustain effort and don‟t lead to burn out or others feeling intimidated? Our rector at first maybe saw the eco-thing as an interest group in the corner, but he now sees new connections between environmental matters and other aspects of parish life and worship. Our presentation used a lot of input from others like St Francis and St Michael‟s. The eco-breakfasts also are useful inputs. This points to the value of sharing meetings such as today‟s. Comment: We need to make more use of the JAEI website as a central point for such material. St Michael’s Adopted a multi-pronged approach, audit underway but feedback is very slow, (booklet is ambiguous and ambitious), two eco-services held so far, there is a weekly green tip in pew leaflet, we developed an environmental policy that is presently under review by council, we followed Seasons of Creation during September, the parish website now includes environmental material. Lessons learned – All this activity has been received by parishioners – it now needs to be settled in and grown. We also feel the need to extend environment into the lives of parishioners. Our eco-services went well, and were supported by council and clergy. Our eco-board needs tweaking, Spring festival used recycling as a focus, but people can‟t read „plastic‟, „tins‟ etc and dumped stuff in the wrong bins. So don‟t assume anything. There is openness from council and clergy, but we need to be cautious and not proceed too aggressively. We need to make people more aware of how they already contribute and encourage that. Next year we plan to incorporate environmental theme into Sunday School more. Nature arouses deep feeling for some cultures and we had to revise liturgy to avoid offence. St Michael‟s will circulate this information. Comment: Move the eco-movement out of „activism‟ to become the norm in society. (This links to involving more people in becoming environmentally active). Plans for sunrise services at Kloofendal. St Mark’s (with St Thomas’s and Ruimsig) Still low key, working through the early stages, building on a groundswell but not activated yet. Environmental issues are mentioned in the pew leaflet and some people do react, but nothing formal yet. Also have an eco-board near the tea table, but we are working from the bottom up, laying foundations. At the last parish planning meeting interest was expressed in doing a grassland walk on our large piece of unspoilt ground, which acts as a nature reservoir in an urban area. Comment: There are many ways of becoming an eco- congregation in the formal sense, and this slow build-up is valid and interesting. St Martin’s (based on an emailed report) St Martin‟s has been environmentally active for longer then the Eco- congregations project has existed, which is why there is a lot to report on and much to learn. PLAN 1 We started out in the beginning of 2007 trying to focus on a number of initiatives – i.e. planting of trees, an eco-audit, recycling, public awareness through talks and movies, presenting on energy solutions, etc. Successes & lessons learnt: Initial eco-audit completed General awareness evenings held and were well-attended: Initial awareness worked well. Entertainment flavour was successful. Parishioners would like outings to continue. Topics perhaps too broad (i.e. information overload)? We soon realised that we are too small a committee to focus on all these mixed initiatives. Suggestion to have focused themes. PLAN 2 We picked 4 main themes for a year, 1 per quarter (see table): Recycling Energy Waste Organic farming Water Waste For each theme, we intended doing the following: Themed service, e.g. Environmental Day (June) and Harvest Festival (3rd quarter of the year). Produce DVD, pamphlet, an outing, notices and books for each theme. To arrange an outing per theme if appropriate. Theme Timing Deliverables Budget Recycling Jan – Mar Call Resolution Recycling to query Recycling service management of service. Printing Bring bins out on Sundays. Laminating Print posters referring to bins. DVDs Arrange outing to Resolution Transport Recycling site. Catering Create DVD for church service and Tubie fluorescent tube library. pulveriser Create booklet of tips. Energy waste Apr – Jun Find speaker (from Eskom, Sasol, Printing etc). Laminating Print posters for notice board. DVDs Create DVD for church service and Transport library. Catering Create booklet of tips and suppliers of energy saving products. Organic farming Jul – Sep Implement veggie tunnel & wormery Printing at St Martins (for soup kitchen). Laminating Outing to organic farming market or DVDs farming site. Transport Print posters. Catering Create DVD for church service and Veggie tunnel (R3000) library. Wormery (R3000) Create booklet explaining organic farming. Sell Wizzard Worms DIY units Water wise Oct – Dec Find speaker (from DEAT, SRK, etc). Printing Outing to water works? Laminating Print posters. DVDs Create DVD for church service and Transport library. Catering Create booklet providing water wise Tap aerators, mulch, rain tips and sources of water wise products. tanks. Sell water wise products at church. Rain tank (R4000) Implement a rain tank at St Martins. Investigate Successes & lessons learnt: Initial eco-audit completed General awareness evenings held and were well-attended. Initial Eco-Congregation memo submitted to Parish Council Recycling exhibition stand after 2 church services (also displaying low- energy devices) - Resolution Recycling invited to attend Dry-waste recycling programme implemented at St Martins Number of parishioners signed up to dry-waste recycling programme in their own homes. Successful Energy Expo held. Green Guide developed in conjunction with The IQ Business Group. 920 Green Guides sold (out of 1000 copies printed) Need to spread out events / initiatives – 2 themes per year instead of 4. Initiatives should potentially remain within the St Martin‟s community / church. Provide more tips for individuals for their homes and businesses (firstly focusing on recycling). Personally involve congregation members. Recycling service is unreliable – investigate why. Proposal to attempt cleanup project again. Rotate notice board “duty” on a month or quarterly basis. As a result of all the comments above, we have decided to focus on 2 themes per year – the first being Energy, which was a great success, and the next one being Water Wise. We have yet to complete a proper Recycling or Organic Farming initiative – we need to re-visit these. Jonathan recently gave the sermon at a service, and he eluded to their being a planned water wise function coming up. We‟ve had a request to hold this in conjunction with our Patronal Festival, on the 2nd Sunday of November. We‟re going to host a “water wise” picnic at Emmarentia Dam, open to all parishes. Families are invited to bring their own picnics and picnic blankets, as well as their kids and hounds. We‟re arranging a water expert from SRK to present a talk, and will be arranging some games for the youngsters. All details should be bedded down tomorrow and we will then forward these on to all the parishes.