Environmental Stewardship

In 2015 Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si-On Care of Our Common Home.  In it he stated:

I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all….As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation.” All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” Laudato Si 14

We offer the following opportunities to join the community in caring for our common home, specifically the environment here in Frederick.
Click the topics below for more information.

“We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us. This allows us to respond to the charge that Judaeo-Christian thinking, on the basis of the Genesis account which grants man ‘dominion’ over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by painting him as domineering and destructive by nature. This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church. Although it is true that we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures…..This responsibility for God’s earth means that human beings, endowed with intelligence, must respect the laws of nature and the delicate equilibria existing between the creatures of this world, for ‘he commanded and they were created, and he established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds and he set a law which cannot pass away’ (Ps 148:5b-6).” Laudato Si 66-67

We invite you to increase your knowledge regarding work we each must consider addressing the environmental challenges we are undergoing.

Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home: https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

Climate Emergency Mobilization Work Group reports: https://www.mobilizefrederick.org/

Toolbox of information  https://www.mobilizefrederick.org/toolbox

Quick tips

Quick Tips are published each week in the bulletin under Social Justice.  This section will be updated with the new ones.  In the meantime please see the bulletin website to review recent Quick Tips

1.  Single-Use plastics

a.  Why should we cut back on our use of single-use plastics?

  • Only certain plastic containers can be recycled (bottles, tubs, jars, and jugs), the rest goes to a landfill.
  • Plastic breaking down in landfills add to the greenhouse gasses
  • Plastic containers that end up in waterways break down into microplastics which fish consume
  • Birds and fish starve from mistaking discarded plastic for food
  • Plastic bags jam up the recycling sorting machines if they get in the recycling material

b.  Here are tips on how to be good stewards of our resources even at a restaurant:

  • Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy bag since many restaurants use styrofoam.
  • Be sure to request restaurants not pack utensils in your take-out box.
  • Bring your own straw or drink from the glass.

c.  Pack lunches in a way that sustains the health of the family and the environment:

  • Use reusable containers and bags. Wax paper or recyclable foil wrap are sustainable options
  • Choose fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single-serving containers.
  • Find out the persons’ preferred foods that are also full of nutritious calories. This assures healthy fuel for learning/work the rest of the day.

d.  Ideas for reducing single-use plastic in your life:

  • Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.
  • Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy bag since many restaurants use styrofoam.
  • Be sure to request restaurants not to pack utensils in your take-out box.
  • If you shop at a farmers market they can refill it for you.
  • Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single-serving cups.

2.  Reduce Greenhouse Gasses

  •   Purchase locally-grown food. This decreases fossil fuels used for transportation and supports the local farmers. Walk to a farmers’ market or join a community-supported agriculture group: LocalHarvest.org, or sign up to receive rescued produce weekly: HungryHarvest.net
  •   Buildings are responsible for 40% of climate pollution. We must move away from burning fossil fuels to power our lives.  Turn down your thermostat by at least 1 degree. In cold weather aim for 68 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night.  Buy a programable thermostat if you can.

3.  Recycling ideas

a.  Trick and Treat!! There are going to be a lot of candy wrappers in some of our homes this weekend! Here are a couple of tricks for keeping those treat wrappers out of the landfill:

  • Order a Zero Waste Box from Terracycle ($130) and send them back to be recycled
  • Collect them and take them yourself to the Common Market recycle bin (7th St or Route 85 store)
  • Get started on Christmas gifts by recycling them into jewelry, bags, decoupage projects, and more. Come to the Social Justice table next weekend to see some examples!

b.  Recycle your Christmas Cards

  • Turn them into gift tags
  • Make gift boxes out of them using tape or the sewing machine to join the sides
  • Cut the front off and fit it to a blank card (made of recycled paper), then write your note inside
  • Make mini-puzzles out of cards with great pictures
  • Write recipes to share on the back of non-embossed card fronts
  • Remove bows and beads and put the cards and their envelopes in the paper recycling bin

c.  Electronics recycling

  • Much of the current e-waste generated in rich, developed countries end up in developing countries where it often poisons people and the environment. Less affluent people and areas of the world get stepped on. While there is an international treaty known as the Basel Convention to prevent this, the United States has not ratified that agreement and has almost no policies or laws in place to prevent e-waste from being routinely shipped off-shore. Even in Europe where such exports are banned, there is far too much illegal traffic in e-waste with enforcement lacking. (https://e-stewards.org/find-a-recycler/)

d.  Scrap metal recycling

  • Recycle your old lawnmower, metal file cabinet, AC unit, dehumidifier, and small appliances.
  • How? The Knights of Columbus Metal and Middletown Ministerium Recycling Program. This group breaks down the objects and recycles them for cash.
  • Large or heavy items? Contact Bill Traube for large-item pick-ups: 240-457-3953.
  • Drop off site: Holy Family Catholic Church in Middletown on all Sundays from 6:30 am-12:30 pm, except on Easter Sundays.  Proceeds go to Mission of Mercy, Rescue Mission, and others.

4.  Sustainable gift-giving

a.  Fast Fashion: inexpensive clothing of the latest trends produced inexpensively.

  • Fast Fashion factories are often sweatshops using child labor and human trafficking practices to fill positions. The factories are usually in developing countries where labor laws are almost non-existent allowing unjust treatment of laborers.
  • Textiles for Fast Fashion are usually produced from fossil fuels (polyester, acrylic, rayon).  Textile dyes are toxic and are the 2nd leading cause of water pollution after agriculture.
  • An internet search for “Fast Fashion brands” will give you a list of retailers.

b.  Ideas for minimizing the environmental impact of wrapping those Christmas Gifts:

  • Reuse gift bags and brown paper bags
  • Wrap in old newspaper and bright ribbons
  • Recycle a box, redesign it with paint, markers, or trinkets like old jewelry
  • A scarf, towel, or other fabric gift and ribbons to wrap the surprise inside
  • When giving food items wrap them in a reusable grocery bag
  • Reuse a jar, place the gift and some bright tissue inside

c.  With a little effort and imagination, we can reduce the environmental impact of the Christmas season. Here are some earth sustainable gift ideas:

  • Shop from SKD’s Alternative Giving Catalog
  • Local artisan shops are sources for gifts that add less to greenhouse gasses because of transportation
  • Give naturally powered toys (Kites, push toys, blocks, bikes)
  • Avoid giving clothing to adults unless they are in need of some item(s). (Textile mills produce 1/5 of the world’s industrial water pollution and more than 80% of clothing ends up in landfills)
  • Give experiential gifts (tickets to a show or museum for example)

5.  Reduce Food Waste

a.  Reduce food waste at home!

  • Plan your meals, then make your shopping list. Many of our grocery store purchases are unplanned. You’ll be saving money, time, and the environment
  • Perk up wilted veggies in a bowl of ice water
  • Freeze foods that go bad too quick like:
    • fresh veggies that are getting old and used in smoothies or soups later
    • milk when it’s getting old and thaw it to use in cooking
    • sliced bread then thaw a piece of toast a piece to use

b.  Know your labels:

  • BEST IF USED BY describes quality “where the product may not taste or perform as expected but is safe to consume”. Best If Used By dates usually refer to the best quality and are not safety dates. Even if the date expires during home storage, a product should be safe, wholesome and of good quality — if handled properly and kept at 40 °F or below.  (USDA.gov July 2019)
  • USE BY applies to “the few products that are highly perishable and/or have food safety concern over time.” Infant formula, milk and meat are the only foods with regulated expiration dates.

c.  Before you do your Thanksgiving meal shopping here are some tips for decreasing food waste:

  • Plan your meal
  • Write your shopping list while looking at the recipes so you can buy the right amount
  • Shop in your kitchen first so you don’t buy unnecessarily
  • Befriend your freezer and visit it often. Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time
  • Prepare and freeze meals ahead

d.  In 2018 the EPA estimates:

  • About 11.1 % of US households were food insecure
  • At least 63 million tons of wasted food was generated, and about 40% of that came from households
  • Reduce your food waste by planning well and eating leftovers. Consider composting what’s left at home or get table scraps picked up: CompostCrew.com, VeteranCompost.com, KeyCompost.com
  • Purchase locally-grown food. This decreases fossil fuels used for transportation and supports the local farmers.  Walk to a farmers’ market or join a community-supported agriculture group: LocalHarvest.org, or sign up to receive rescued produce weekly: HungryHarvest.net

e.  Got Leftovers?

  • Storing leftovers in a clear glass container helps ensure you don’t forget the food.
  • Declare CORN (Clean Out Refrigerator Night) dinner to use up leftovers that have accumulated in the fridge.
  • Make homemade stock by using the carcass or meat bones and vegetable leftovers
  • Donate leftovers to the Frederick Rescue mission, for questions about donating food items check the Rescue Mission website

6.  Composting

a.  Why?

  • It reduces the amount of material going to landfills where it would produce the greenhouse gas methane. Municipal waste is composed of 13% yard wastes, 12% food waste, and 34% paper, most of which can be composted (U.S. EPA, Office of Solid Waste 2005).
  • Compost is a valuable and free soil amendment that saves gardeners the money used to buy alternatives, such as peat moss, fertilizer, or vermiculite. It improves soil tilth (physical condition of the soil), aeration (reducing compaction, improving root growth and water penetration), water-holding capacity (important during droughts), and contains a wide range of plant nutrients. Most soils benefit from regular additions of compost.

b.  Start composting!! Yard waste, all vegetable-type food scraps plus eggshells can be composted!

  • Compost is a valuable soil amendment. It improves the condition of tilled soil, aeration, water-holding capacity, and contains a wide range of plant nutrients. Most soils benefit from regular additions of compost.
  • Food is landfilled more than any other material in the US. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30 percent of what Americans throw away each year. (Frederick County Md Solid Waste website, 2021)

For more information go online to: https://www.frederickcountymd.gov/3730/Composting-at-Home

c.  How to compost:

  • Choose a space about 3 ft x 3 ft at least 2 ft from any structure
  • Buy a prefabricated bin or build your own
  • Collect non-animal food scraps (eggshells can be included), newspaper and non-coated paper products, and yard waste including grass clippings, leaves, & small branches
  • Layer 2 parts brown (dead leaves, branches, paper) to 1 part green (food scraps, grass clippings). Brown is carbon-rich; green is nitrogen-rich.
  • Turn the pile over every few weeks with a shovel or pitchfork and add water if the pile is dry. Following this recipe provides compost ready to use in about 2 months

Reference:  Frederickcountymd.gov/3730/composting-at-home

Battery Recycling 

These are the types of batteries we can accept:

A, AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-volt dry batteries

Watch and other button-type batteries

Mercury, nickle, cadmium, magnesium, nickle-metal hybrid, alkaline, iron, zinc carbon, silver

NO LITHIUM OR RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES AT THIS TIME

Questions about battery recycling contact Carol Gill 240-446-5863.

Adopt-A-Road

When: 4th Saturday of April, June, August and October at 10 am, (Rain Date the next day at 1 pm)

Where: Meet at Monocacy Middle School, we will pick up both sides of Opossumtown Pike from there to Thomas Johnson Drive.

Sign-up: Use the signup links below (Signupgenius and City of Frederick).  You must fill out the City of Frederick waiver to join us.

The City of Frederick’s Adopt-A-Road Program (Program) provides a way for community groups to show their City pride and help keep our roads litter free. Keeping our roadways clear of litter also improves the health of our waterways. The City of Frederick’s Adopt-A-Road Program began in Fall 2020.

How the Program Works:
City of Frederick approved our parish to adopt a mile of Opossumtown Pike from Frederick Community College to Thomas Johnson Drive. We are responsible for cleaning at least 4 times a year. Adults and youths 12-17 years old are allowed to participate. However, for safety reasons, children under the age of 12 are not permitted to participate in roadside litter clean-up events. The City of Frederick provides us with safety vests, trash bags, and first aid kit. The City also will place signs recognizing your organization at both ends of the adopted roadside.

To sign up go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B084BA8AD2BA1F58-opossumtown

Once signed up you need to sign the waiver for the City of Frederick https://www.cityoffrederickmd.gov/FormCenter/Sustainability-36/AdoptARoad-Program-Application-Participa-127

For more information contact Jen Roberts 703-856-0020 or Trish Bodine 301-606-5942.

Decreasing Green House Gasses

These resources can assist you with information and actions to take to decrease your production of greenhouse gasses. Decreasing our individual production of greenhouse gasses is vital to maintaining the climate.  If we don’t all come together and do this, the climate changes predicted will come to reality.  As stewards of our environment not only for ourselves but future generations it is our moral duty to inform ourselves and act on the changes we can make in a timely manner.

https://frederickgreenchallenge.org/ The Green Homes Challenge guides, rewards, and recognizes households for saving energy, adopting green lifestyle practices, and using renewable energy.

https://energy.maryland.gov/pages/facts/empower.aspx Maryland Energy Administration’s mission is to promote affordable, reliable and cleaner energy that benefit all Marylanders. Their programs and policies help lower energy bills, support business energy upgrades, support a cleaner environment and promote energy independence for Maryland.

https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/ Environmental Protection Agency Carbon Footprint Calculator estimates your carbon footprint in three areas: home energy, transportation and waste. Many of our daily activities – such as using electricity, driving a car, or disposing of waste – cause greenhouse gas emissions. Together these emissions make up a household’s carbon footprint.

Community Empowerment

https://catholicclimatecovenant.org/ Catholic Climate Covenant inspires and equips people and institutions to care for creation and care for the poor. They offer guidance to the U.S. Church’s response to climate change by educating, giving public witness, and offering resources

https://frederick.forestryboard.org/home  The Frederick County Forestry Board promotes conservation, stewardship, and sustainable use of our forest resources, urban landscapes, and other natural areas. They have many resources to educate us on trees and the ecosystems that support them.

https://www.interfaithchesapeake.org/ Interfaith of the Chesapeake works in two ways: by raising awareness of the power that people of faith have to restore clean water and environmental justice, and by offering hands-on assistance helping congregations plan, pay for, and install healing projects for their communities such as rain gardens, tree plantings, native plantings, and more.

https://ipldmv.org/  Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA) offers education and people to support you in various ways to go green at home and in your faith community through their programs and resources.

https://mdehr.org/amendment/ Maryland Environmental Human Rights Amendment advocacy group is seeking to create an amendment in the Declaration of Rights of Maryland’s state constitution that protects our right to a healthy environment. Along the way, they work with partners to support policies, bills, and initiatives that flesh out the three goals this amendment is designed to achieve: environmental health; public health; environmental justice.

https://www.macsfrederick.org/  Multifaith Alliance of Climate Stewards  act locally on our moral duty to future generations by protecting the earth and its inhabitants from harmful impacts of climate change.  In some traditions, this is known as Creation Care. This group supports green teams like our Environmental Stewardship Team by offering resources and mentorship.

Recycling

 

https://frederickcountymd.gov/1764/Recycling-InformationFrederick County Recycling program Go to this website for all questions regarding recycling including what can be recycled and your home’s pick-up schedule.

https://www.cityoffrederickmd.gov/239/Recycling  City of Frederick Recycling program. Although this website refers you back to the county website for most information it offers information on bulk trash pick-ups and yard waste disposal for city residents.

Recycle Coach | Save Your Municipality’s Recycling Program is an app to be downloaded on your phone, with information on what can be recycled and your home’s pick-up schedule.

 

Rain Gardens 

Our church property has seven rain gardens.  A rain garden is a bowl-shaped depression designed to capture, hold, and absorb rainwater. Rain gardens slow the flow of rainwater from roofs, sidewalks, streets, parking lots, and other impervious surfaces, allowing the water to penetrate the soil. The plants then filter and hold pollutants from entering our watershed.  You are invited to join us in caring for these gems.  To volunteer contact Rosemary Allender 240-441-7547.

Sustainable Gardening/ Protecting Biodiversity

Recent research shows that current landscaping practices in our urban and suburban areas, plus farming practices are threatening the food chain as a whole.  We’ve turned over the land and destroyed the habitat of bugs and birds that pollinate our food.  We’ve planted non-native plants that are poor sources of nourishment for the local fauna and invade and bully out local flora.  As stewards of the earth, we are called to mitigate the problems we have created.  Some of the efforts we must take are to

  • stop spreading fertilizers and insecticides/herbicides
  • start choosing native plants for our yards
  • enlarge the amount of individual landscape devoted to flowers and trees instead of grass so local bugs and birds have plenty of habitat

The following resources will help you

http://www.livewellandgreen.org/ Chesapeake Ecology Center promotes sustainable landscaping practices through education and resource provision

https://choosenatives.org/location/native-nurseries   Choose Natives lists mail order and brick and mortar stores from which to reliably shop for native plants

https://www.nutsfornatives.com  Nuts for Natives is provides information about plants and gardening and provides alternatives to traditional non-native ornamental plants

https://gardenforwildlife.com/pages/shop-native-plants-by-state  National Wildlife’s Garden for Life “We think planting for wildlife should be a no-brainer. So we’ve made it simple for you to connect what you plant to the positive impact on wildlife and the planet.”

http://chesapeakenatives.org/  Chesapeake Natives  is primarily run by volunteers. They promote local ecotype plants native to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho-zWwehT_E We are ALL “Nature’s Best Hope!  Doug Tallamy, professor of Entomology at University of Delaware tells us about the immediate actions YOU can take on your property to protect earth’s biodiversity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I14KgC-WWRg Paul Tukey of @Glenstonemuseum speaks about how to manage your lawn organically and sustainably. Learn the secrets of making a beautiful, safe, and healthy lawn with less mowing, less watering, and less fertilizing

 

Gardening

Stop fertilizing your lawn

  • Nitrate pollution of private wells,
  • run off to streams eventually gets to the bay where the bottom feeders first accumulate it,
  • eventually reaching humans, Dead zones in the bay created by nitrogen fed algea bloom,
  • people and animals need to stay off of the lawn until after rain has washed the treatment into the lawn,
  • the treatments kill insects that are necessary for healthy soil and are part of the food chain for birds and small animals

What can you do instead?

  • Cut your grass 3.5 to 4 inches high and leave the clippings
    • Longer grass shades the ground covers depriving them of sunlight, slowing their growth
    • Clippings decompose and feed the soil
  • Spread compost instead of fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides
    • Feeds the turf
    • Leaves the insects alone to do their job of fertilizing and aerating
    • Allows multi-culture lawn which is more sustainable
    • Allows clover to survive a plus for the environment as it fixes nitrogen in the soil

http://www.livewellandgreen.org/

https://choosenatives.org/location/native-nurseries

https://www.nutsfornatives.comhttps://www.treetalknatives.com/

https://gardenforwildlife.com/pages/shop-native-plants-by-state

http://chesapeakenatives.org/https://homegrownnationalpark.org/

https://www.humanegardener.com/

https://www.nativeplantcenter.net/plants?s=&regions%5B%5D=piedmont

 

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