Be a part of our EverGREEN Pine Team. As people of faith we know the importance of being good stewards of the earth. So, we'd like to put together an EverGREEN Pine Team to work towards making Pine a more environmentally friendly church while being supportive of free trade and sustainable businesses.
And, if you'd like to be a part of the EverGREEN Pine Team and/or the Church and Society committee, we welcome you!
Switch to Green Household Cleaners
There's no doubt about it - we live in a chemical world.
Tens of thousands of 'cleaning' chemicals are manufactured, used and released into the environment every day. Many of these man-made chemicals have never been properly tested for their safety and many have been linked to serious health problems in humans and wildlife. Phosphates in detergents pollute rivers and streams where they can lead to an overgrowth of river plants, ultimately starving fish and other aquatic life of oxygen.
Hazardous chemicals have had a global impact - they have contaminated the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, and can be found in natural ecosystems from the tropics to once pristine polar regions. So why not switch to biodegradable, phosphate-free, non- petrochemical based household cleaners, such as Ecover or Bio D (now available in many supermarkets).
Want to crank it up a notch? If merely switching products isn't enough of a challenge, how about making your own household cleaning products. It's easier than it sounds. Some basic essential ingredients:
White vinegar: A natural disinfectant, stain remover and reduces mineral and lime deposits. You can use white wine vinegar, but white distilled vinegar is cheaper. Don't use malt vinegar - your home will end up smelling like a chippie!
Bicarbonate of Soda (aka baking soda/sodium bicarbonate): A miracle cleaner. When mixed with water it forms a slightly alkaline liquid, which cuts through grease and dirt on almost any surface. Used neat it's slightly abrasive and can be used to scrub problem stains. Vinegar and soda can be mixed together for maximum cleaning strength. (Baking powder works just as well.)
Lemons: The citric acid in lemon juice makes it perfect for bleaching, disinfecting, deodorising and cutting grease.
Olive Oil Great alternative furniture polish. Don't worry about using the extra-virgin type, the most basic will do.
Top tip: Combine your ingredients in spray bottles and shake well to dissolve.
You don't have to live in total darkness every day to make a difference. Just follow these five quick and easy tips.
Turning the lights off for Earth Hour is a great first step, but if you really want to see a difference, then make Earth Hour part of your everyday life. Simple things like turning off appliances while not in use and switching your light globes to energy efficient bulbs, will all help us reach our goal of reducing our annual emissions by 5%. Even something as simple as turning out lights when you're not in a room and switching to cleaner sources of electricity like "green power", make a big difference.
Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs to save money and reduce emissions. Lighting accounts for around 5% of household greenhouse gas emissions, and compact fluros use 75% less energy than an equivalent incandescent bulb. Although the bulbs cost more up-front, you will actually save money through the energy saved and extended life of the bulb.
Turn appliances off while not in use. Unplug any appliances like mobile phone chargers, TVs, microwaves, MP3 players, which are not being used and are on standby. In Australia, appliances on standby consume up to 10% of your electricity bill.
Turn off anything that doesn't need to be on. A good rule is to turn off anything not being used. When you leave a room or leave the house, turn off your lights or appliances like the TV or computer.
Switch to green power. This is one of the best ways you can make a difference. Contact your electricity provider today and switch to green power, a cleaner, more renewable form of energy that does not contribute to global warming. If all Australians switched to green power today, Australia's total greenhouse pollution would be cut by 30% in one year. That's the equivalent of more than 40 million cars!
Use less hot water. This is not only a good water saving tip, it saves electricity too. Spend one minute less in the shower.
Get off standby. Speak to your office manager about turning off any equipment at work that is not being used, including computer screens, photocopiers and printers, particularly when you leave at night.
Turn off lights at the end of the working day. Before you leave your place of work remember to turn off any lights in your workspace and your computer if you use one at work. Remember to unplug your mobile phone or laptop charger when it's not in use. Speak to your office manager about installing motion-sensor lighting after 5pm when most people have gone home.
Find out what's happening in your workplace. Ask about your company's emissions reduction policies and find out what's already happening. Look for ways to reduce energy use in your workplace and encourage improvements. If employers know their employees are keen to make their workplaces environmentally friendly, they'll be even more inclined to take action.
Encourage your organization to have measurable emissions reduction targets. Many Australian businesses are committing to emissions targets and have plans to be carbon neutral by a certain date. Switching to green power, reducing and offsetting energy use and travel, and incorporating this into all areas of the business are critical to this process. Does your company have a plan?