Easter Sunday through Pentecost
March 31st –May 19th
The Great 50 Days of Easter
Things you can do to tend God’s Creation
Pray, Learn, Work and Act
in engaged earth care
Help the UCC plant more than 100,000 trees
at home and in Kenya and around the world. Help the UCC write
more than 100,000 advocacy letters on environmental concerns
to elected officials and
“Jesus’ appearance changed the world. His disciples were being asked: speak truth to power, love your enemies, but most of all love God and your neighbor. This was a new way of being in relationship. Today’s seemingly ‘impossible appearance’ is that humans are changing the climate. This calls for a new way of being in the world, to relate differently to each other and to nature. There are great glimmers of hope on the horizon.”
The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, president and founder, Interfaith Power & Light
DAY 1 Easter!
In the Great 50 Days of Easter this year, we invite you to prayerfully consider what you might do to heal the earth and protect the future. Make a faith promise to do what you can to build a sustainable and healthy future for generations to come. Write it down. Use the time card and keep a record of your actions this Eastertide.
DAY 2 April 1st Monday
Remove one light bulb from your home. Live without it for the rest of Eastertide. This will decrease energy use and be a reminder of the need to act. Make a point of turning off lights when you leave a room, or that you don’t really need to have on. This simple act could save 55 lbs of CO2 emissions a year.
DAY 3 April 2nd Tuesday
Address your “standby” habits. Unplug mobile phone chargers and any unused appliances. Put frequently idle appliances on a power strip for easy on and off. 8% of electricity consumed at home is from “vampire” appliances that we aren’t even using (source: http://www.climatecare.org).
DAY 4 April 3rd Wednesday
Arrange to get a home energy audit from your local utility company. Find out how you can save resources and money by making small, inexpensive improvements to your home. Find out more from NSTAR and Energy Star.
DAY 5 April 4th Thursday
Momentum is growing for a strategy that allows people to take the issue of climate change into their own hands — by divesting from fossil fuel companies. Already, the California Teachers’ Pension Fund, the state of Vermont, the city of Seattle, and students at 252 universities nationwide are working on institutional divestment campaigns that will speed that transition. It’s an ethical decision we all can make. To get started, you can find resources for institutional divesting at fossilfree.org, and resources for individual clean-energy investing at greenamerica.org/fossilfree.
Day 6 April 5th Friday
Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load, and skip the energy-intensive drying cycle by choosing the “air-dry” option. Or, just stop the machine once the water has drained and leave the door open overnight. Make this a habit. Say a prayer for the earth each time you engage this activity.
Day 7 April 6th Saturday
Consider the carbon impact of having a fire in your fireplace. Think about adding a fireplace fan, insert, or high-efficiency wood or pellet stove. Clean your chimney at least once a year.
From Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years…
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts...
Day 8 April 7th Sunday Worship with Sue Owings
Focus on Kenya and the work of the Green Belt Movement.
Pray for people living in poverty and affected by climate change. Think prayerfully about how we are depleting our resources at an unsustainable rate. Reflect on the fact that the richest 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the world’s resources, and those who contribute least to the causes suffer most from the effects of climate change.
DAY 9 April 8th Monday
Notice what food you throw away this week. See if you can reduce it by a third. Eat leftovers and shop more carefully using a list and planning your meals. The amount of food thrown away by an average household adds the equivalent CO2 emissions of 1-5 cars.
DAY 10 April 9th Tuesday
If you have taken a big step by signing up -- please take one more small step and tell your friends and neighbors about Curbside Compost.
DAY 11 April 10th Wednesday
Save energy in the kitchen. Cook food in a microwave, which uses 50-70% less energy than a conventional oven. When you need to cook in a pan on the stove, use a lid to preserve heat, which will also cook your food faster. Cook double portions and refrigerate or freeze extra n portions for later reheating
DAY 12 April 11th Thursday
Reuse and recycle waste, and compost food waste to reduce the rubbish destined for landfill sites. If you don’t have one, consider buying or making a composter. The average US household produces about 4.5 pounds of solid waste per day. Landfill sites are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, with every pound of solid waste generating 2 pounds of greenhouse gases. Composting is methane-free. For information about composting and buying composters, see http://www.composting101.com/.
DAY 13 April 12th Friday
Avoid buying products that have lots of packaging. About a third of the waste we generate is from packaging to get items to our homes. Choose loose products and buy refillable containers when possible (food co-ops and health food stores usually offer these options.)
DAY 14 April 13th Saturday
Dry your clothes on a clothes line or rack instead of in an electric drier. Electric driers use up to 10% of residential electricity in the United States. The average household can save more than $100 a year by forgoing the electric clothes dryer and using a clothesline. Clothes dried in the fresh air smell better, too! Some say that you can soften your towels and prevent them from drying stiff on the line by adding a ½ cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
From Vision by Wendell Berry
If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it...
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides...
The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling light.
DAY 15 April 14th Sunday Worship with Bill Finnerty
Sign one of the letters provided at a table after church in the fellowship hall or write your own advocacy letter about an environmental issue. Tell Sen. Galbraith, Sen. White,, US Senators Leahy or Sanders or US Representative Welsh how you feel and what you’re doing for the environment. Urge them to create and implement strong national and international laws to stop climate chaos. See the church information table for resources or go to http://www.ucc.org/earth/advocacy.html.
DAY 16 April 15th Monday
Take a shower instead of a bath, and try to limit your shower to less than 5 minutes. If you already shower, consider taking a “shipboard shower” – turn the water on only to wet and rinse. Look into getting a more efficient shower with a “low-flow” showerhead. An average bath uses 40-60 gallons of water; an average shower 17 gallons; a military shower less than 5 gallons.
DAY 17 April 16th Tuesday
Your hot water heater represents about 20-30% of the carbon emissions of your home, the biggest user of energy in your house. Consider setting your hot water thermostat to 120 degrees F. Insulate your hot water tank with an insulation jacket if available for your system. Arrange for your boiler to be serviced so it runs more efficiently. When you next replace your boiler, get a condensing boiler – to use less fuel and save 32% on fuel bills.
DAY 18 April17th Wednesday
Show reverence for life and for the Earth today by obeying the speed limit when driving. Every 10 mph in speed reduces fuel economy by 4 mpg, and increases the risk of getting into an accident.
DAY 19 April 18th – Thursday
The Guilford Conservation Commission meets the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 pm at the Town Offices. Members of the public are welcome. This might be the day to see what’s going on in your community or plan to attend Brattleboro Conservation Commission meeting the 4th Tuesday of the month at 5:15 PM in the Hanna Cosman Room of the Library. Or just take some time to check out their websites to know what local issues are.
DAY 20 April 19th Friday
Reduce water usage in your home by fixing leaky faucets, which can waste up to 50 gallons a day. Turn the tap off and on during shaving, washing hands and brushing teeth. (You can save a gallon of water while washing hands, 9 ½ gallons brushing teeth, and up to 19 while shaving by turning the water on and off.) Only flush the toilet when absolutely necessary. Most toilets use about 1½ to 2 gallons of water every time you flush. You can reduce this by placing a milk jug filled with water inside the tank. If you need to replace your toilet, buy an energy efficient model that uses less than two gallons of water and consider purchasing a dual flush toilet.
DAY 21st April 20th Saturday
Purchase more Mindfully today.
Print, cut out, and tape together a “Wallet Buddy” where your credit card can remind you of questions to ask yourself before buying:
Thirst by Mary Oliver
Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your mercy, a little more time. Love for the earth and love for you are having such a long conversation in my heart. Who knows what will finally happen or where I will be sent, yet already I have given a great many things away, expecting to be told to pack nothing, except the prayers which, with this thirst, I am slowly learning.
DAY 22nd April 21st Special Earth Sabbath. (Lise leading worship. Join this worship service with Rev. Pam Lucas visiting and hear about what our Conference is doing together for Mission 4-1 Earth.
DAY 23 April 22nd Monday
Don’t eat any meat today, and see if you can cut down on the amount of meat you eat each week. Meat production has a large carbon footprint, with 2.2 pounds of beef producing the equivalent amount of CO2 as an average European car driving 155 miles. It takes 2500 gallons of water and many pounds of grain to make one pound of beef for your table. It’s been estimated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by 20%, it would be the equivalent of all Americans switching from a standard sedan to a Prius.
DAY 24 April 23rd Tuesday
Save paper today. Don’t print unless you need to and when you do, print double-sided onto recycled paper. Use paper, tissue and toilet paper and wood that is recycled or has been accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council. This ensures it has come from responsibly managed sustainable forests or confirms that it is recycled.
DAY 25 April 24th Wednesday
Defrost your freezer to reduce ice buildup and maintain efficiency. Allowing space for air to circulate will also help it run more efficiently. Place jugs of water in your fridge to help retain cold temperatures and scrub down the coils on the back of your fridge for higher efficiency.
DAY 26 April 25th Thursday
Reduce your use of household cleaning products, soaps, shampoos, hair care products and other items which contain chemicals. Replace them with products which are biodegradable. Carcinogenic chemicals in deodorants, soaps, shampoos, and body sprays persist in the environment, build up in the food chain and return to haunt us long after they’ve gone down the drain. To learn about eco-friendly products, see www.originalmoxie.com; http://www.greenlisted.org/personal-care.htm, and http://www.greenlisted.org/cleaning-products.htm
DAY 27 April 26th Friday: Arbor Day.
Make a plan to plant a tree at home or in Guilford. More information to follow.
DAY 28 April 27th Saturday
Buy food that’s being grown or produced locally, using local farms and local farmers’ markets where possible. All around us, farms are being lost because farmers can’t undersell big agribusiness. “Buying local,” even when it costs a little more means a healthier product that supports our whole community. Bonus: Grow some of your own food.
The Trees Are Down by Charlotte Mew
- and he cried with a loud voice:
Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees -
They are cutting down the great plane-trees
at the end of the gardens.
For days there has been the grate of the saw,
the swish of the branches as they fall,
The crash of the trunks, the rustle of trodden leaves,
With the 'Whoops' and the 'Whoa', the loud common talk,
the loud common laughs of the men, above it all…
It is not for a moment the Spring is unmade to-day;
These were great trees, it was in them from root to stem:
When the men with the 'Whoops' and the 'Whoas' have carted the whole of the whispering loveliness away
Half the Spring, for me, will have gone with them.
It is going now, and my heart has been struck
with the hearts of the planes;
Half my life it has beat with these, in the sun, in the rains,
In the March wind, the May breeze,
In the great gales that came over to them across the roofs from the great seas.
There was only a quiet rain when they were dying;
They must have heard the sparrows flying,
And the small creeping creatures in the earth where they were lying -
But I, all day, I heard an angel crying:
'Hurt not the trees.'
DAY 29 April 28th Sunday
Read Genesis 1:1-2:3 and reflect on the goodness, beauty and power of creation. Offer gratitude for the creation and sustenance of the earth and for everything that is good on earth. Take a walk after church and notice what’s beautiful around you. Wear comfortable shoes to church.
DAY 30 April 29th Monday
Clean or replace air filters as recommended. Replacing a dirty furnace filter can save 15% of the energy used.
DAY 31 April 30th Tuesday
As you plan your garden, plan an extra row for the hungry and donate that produce to the Guilford Food Pantry, Brattleboro Drop-in Center Foodbank or the Summer Lunch Program.
DAY 32 May 1st Wednesday
Have a truly “Green” lawn and garden by avoiding use of nitrates and phosphates from fertilizers that pollute the water table, leading to algae blooms that choke the oxygen from ponds and lakes. Visit the National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns website for more information. Or go to the National Wildlife Federation website to find out how to create a Certified Wildlife Habitat Lawn http://www.nwf.org/how-to-help/garden-for-wildlife/create-a-habitat.
DAY 33 May 2nd Thursday
Make a plan to host or attend a Home Energy Party to encourage residents to improve the efficiency of their homes. Based upon the Tupperware Party model, homeowners who have recently completed comprehensive energy retrofits invite their neighbors and friends to their homes to share their experiences. The energy contractor who performed the work is also invited to attend and explain the energy audit and retrofit process.
DAY 34 May 3rd Friday
Camp out for a Common Cause to support the work of Morningside Shelter AND the Brattleboro Area Drop-In Center! by camping overnight to raise funds and awareness to support both agencies working to alleviate homelessness in the greater-Brattleboro area. Ask your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to support you in raising $100 to fight homelessness in our community. Then come pitch a tent on the Town Common in Brattleboro on Friday, May 3rd, enjoy music and activities, and wake up to a Community Pancake Breakfast in the morning!
DAY 35 May 4th Saturday Green Up/Clean Up Day
Help clean up the roads of Guilford or the gardens of the church: Meet at the church or the Grange at 9 a.m. to get a bag and a map.
For the fruit of all creation,
thanks be to God.
gifts bestowed on every nation,
thanks be to God.
For the plowing, sowing, reaping,
silent growth while we are sleeping,
future needs in earth's safekeeping,
thanks be to God.
In the just reward of labor,
God's will is done.
In the help we give our neighbor,
God's will is done.
In our worldwide task of caring
for the hungry and despairing,
in the harvests we are sharing,
God's will is done.
For the harvests of the Spirit,
thanks be to God.
For the good we all inherit,
thanks be to God.
For the wonders that astound us,
for the truths that still confound us,
most of all that love has found us,
thanks be to God.
DAY 36 May 5th Sunday
Find the most environmentally friendly way to get to church today. Walk, bike, or carpool. Pray for those already being affected by climate change through floods, droughts and changes to harvest patterns.
DAY 37 May 6th Monday
Keep your highway driving speed between 55 and 60 mph today. For most vehicles, 55 mph is the most fuel efficient highway speed and will save you up to 20-30% in fuel costs compared to driving at 75 mph. Automobile emissions are one of the leading causes of greenhouse gases. Don’t idle your car at traffic lights and drive-up windows. If you have to stop for more than 10 seconds, you will save gas and reduce greenhouse emissions by turning off your engine.
DAY 38 May 7th Tuesday
Check your tire pressure (psi) monthly. Proper pressure can save 250 pounds of CO2 and $850 a year.
DAY 39 May 8th Wednesday
Consider sharing a car, or arranging for carpooling.
Save on gas. Spare the environment and reduce your carbon offset. Spend time with a friend or neighbor. Share lifts with friends or try to do all your errands at one time. Each mile driven produces about 2 pounds of pollutants in the air.
DAY 40 May 9th Thursday
Double up journeys: do shopping on your way home from work, school or somewhere else you have to go today. Learning to reduce the amount of miles we travel is one of the most effective ways we can reduce our carbon footprint.
DAY 41 May 10th Friday
Say no to bottled water and drink tap water. Buy a refillable washable bottle to use instead. More than 150 billion liters of bottled water are sold worldwide every year. This contributes significantly to landfill and transport emissions. To eliminate undesirable chemicals and additives in your drinking water, purchase a low cost filtering system.
DAY 42 May 11th - Saturday
Turn off all electronic devices you safely can and unplug them for awhile. Turn your cell phone off. Sit in silence. Contemplate Jesus’ life and teachings, and consider the implications this has for the day to day choices you make which affect the environment and climate change. Think of what being a follower of Jesus means with regard to your responsibilities in your home, your church, your community and the world.
A Native American Prayer
O' Great Spirit,
Who's voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life, life to all the world, hear me!
I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every rock and leaf.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy which is myself.
Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
So, when life fades as the falling sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.
DAY 43 May 12th Sunday—Mother’s Day
Environmental Health and Maternal Health by Kavitha Pramod for the Sierra Club
ThisMother’s Day, take a minute to recognize important environmental issues affecting the well-being of mothers and their children in this country and around the world… It is well-known that pesticides and other chemicals make their way into many products that we eat, drink, and use in our homes. In the United States, a 2012 study was conducted to take a closer look at a common insecticide used to treat fruits and vegetables. “Chlorpyrifos” is a pesticide that is often applied to products in order to kill insects. In this study, exposure of pregnant mothers to this chemical was linked to changes in the brains of small children. The side effects of pesticides bring to light the need for local and organic produce. We can also advocate for women who work in agricultural settings by supporting organizations such as Project HOPE and Project LEAF.
DAY 44 May 13th Monday
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY ORGANIC LAWN: From the Organic Consumers’ Organization: There's no need to water more than an inch per week. Over-watering is unhealthy for lawns and invites lawn disease. Water early in the morning to avoid excessive evaporation from midday sun. Taller grass has deeper roots, causing the plants to need less watering. Set mower height to 3 inches and cut grass when it reaches 4.5 inches. Sharpen mower blades. Dull blades harm grass blades, inviting disease. Return grass clippings to the lawn.
DAY 45 May 14th Tuesday
Only use your washing machine when you have a full load, and run it on cold whenever possible. Run at maximum spin to reduce drying times and avoid using a tumble drier. A typical washing machine uses 90% of its energy to heat the water. Generally, cold water gets your clothes just as clean and saves about 2 pounds of CO2 per load.
DAY 46 May 15th Wednesday
End junk mail that wastes resources. Stop unwanted catalogs (CatalogChoice.org), credit card offers (1-888-5-OPTOUT), and other junk mail (DMAchoice.org.) You can even hire someone to do this for you for $35 (and buy a carbon offset in the process) at 41pounds.org. Junk mail wastes an incredible amount of natural resources and contributes to global warming. 41Pounds covers your entire household for five years, saving... Time — No credit card offers to shred or unwanted catalogs; Trees — Keep 100+ million trees in forests, cooling the planet; Water — Protect 28 billion gallons of clean water; Climate — Junk mail produces more C02 than 9 million cars; Planet — 41Pounds donates to your favorite charity when you sign up.
DAY 47 May 16th Thursday
Put on a sweater and turn down your thermostat to 65°- 68° when people are home and active and 58°-600 at night as well as when no one is home. Home heating and air-conditioning are responsible for a large portion of our carbon footprint.
DAY 48 May 17th Friday
Replace the light bulb you if you really need, but replace it with a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), which can save 150 lbs. of carbon dioxide a year.
DAY 49 May 18th Saturday
Come to the African Dinner at the church in support of Tree Planting in our sister village In Kaiguchu , Kenya. Enjoy the fruits of the earth in the company of community and see what the tree planting dollars will do for the children and elders. Dinner is served from 5:30 to 7 p.m. More information to follow.
Day 50 May 19th Pentecost!
Review the actions you’ve taken to make a difference this Eastertide. Make a list of those you plan to keep doing. Add up the hours you have given to environmental action, advocacy or education. Fill out time card to hand in on Sunday. Reflect on what else you can do on an ongoing basis. Give thanks to God the wonder of creation and pray that God may sustain you in your continuing effort to be a steward of God’s creation and future generations.
We will be known by the tracks we leave behind.
-- Dakota Proverb
How do we count our earth care hours?
There is no wrong way to count your hours. We are all at different points in our journey towards green living and the steps you take along the path, no matter how big or small, are important. Our ultimate goal is to work together to collectively transform the way we live our lives by becoming more intentional about our impact on, and connection to, the earth. Any efforts toward that end are valuable and should be counted. There are a variety of ways to engage, but whatever you do must feel authentic to you. If you are just beginning to explore the impact of your life on the health of our planet, simply taking some time to pray and study may be what you need to do to get started. If you're already living an earth friendly lifestyle, now may be the time to add a new discipline to help you stretch beyond greening your own life, and move in to making changes to your community or church through a new program or advocacy. If you're a real pro, you may be able to achieve a full day of earth care by dedicating your personal habits, transportation, food choices, thoughts, and prayers to protecting the earth!
So take a look at your day. If you are doing something new to protect the environment, like changing light bulbs, walking to work, or shopping at your local farm stand, count those hours. If you are making time in your day to learn more about living an earth friendly lifestyle through research, prayer, or reflection; count that time spent exploring this new area of learning. Be sure to recognize the new habits, both physical and spiritual, that you are incorporating into your life. They will add up and together our efforts will represent transformed lives and a healthier planet
This 50 Days of Action is like the game of “telephone.”
Thank you to all who helped bring this to this incarnation. UCC Mission4/1Earth; the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Initiative; Guilford Community Church UCC; The Massachusetts Conference of the UCC; Tearfund; The Environmental Outreach Committee of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC; Washington Interfaith Power & Light; United Church of Chapel Hill; Rock Spring Congregational UCC; Alternatives for Simple Living; CLR(NSW) Social Justice Committee; Buzzle.com; Arbor Day; VT Home Energy Challenge; The Guilford Conservation Commission; Transition Guilford;; Elly Majonen and Green Up Day; and many others.
This booklet printed on 100% recycled paper.