Friday, March 25, 2011

Speed Greening: Greening Sacred Spaces 101

 By Charlene Mohammed-Volunteer
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to speed-date? There is no time to waste in the speed-dating world and if you don't like someone, you just have move on. This can be fun, but it can be psychologically conflicting to just move on to another person. On Sunday March 13th, Environment Hamilton and Greening Sacred Spaces managed to take all of the good parts of speed-dating and threw it all into a beautiful gathering with speakers from six organizations that told us what they're doing to “green-up” places of worship around Hamilton. The speakers each had their own booth, in which people who attended could visit and hear about their project implementations.  There was a time-limit to visit each booth and a special Tibetan bell would ring when it was time to move on to the next speaker. As well, there was only enough time to visit the three booths that really took your fancy, so there was no time to beat around the bush with this form of speed-dating! This was a great way to learn because with the limited amount of time, each speaker could only share the truly important parts of their projects while being able to maintain the listener's attention. This was a very personal form of presenting because there would be a very small group of people gathered around a speaker in each “round”.
      To start the day, we had the good fortune of having a heart-opening prayer, along with a short video that expressed what a few churches in Hamilton are doing to be greener. This video focussed on the idea of implementing solar electric technologies. Then when the speed-greening began, it was possible to hear more on energy efficiency and energy audits with Will Klassen from Green Venture. If one felt that one needed to “date” some more with the topic of energy saving in mind, one could have moved down to Graham Flint, an electrical engineer and entrepreneur, who spoke about renewable energy Technologies.
      If you then felt that you were all “energized-out” and were starting to get hungry, you could then try to date Loretta Jaunzarins, pastor of the Grace Lutheran Church, and Kevin McLeod, pastor of Faith Lutheran. They would try to win your heart with their Good Food Box Program, in which they were very successful at doing. The project provides nutritious and primarily local (except for the exotic fruit and veggies that can't be grown in our precious cold climate) fruit and vegetables to Hamiltonians for a very low cost. There is a wide variety of fruit and vegetables provided in the food boxes, so it is very easy to find your liking and to get a colourful assortment of nutrients! This is a great way to promote eating well and locally!
      You could then have the honour of speed-greening with Sue Carson, a member of the St. James Anglican church. If you were lucky, she would have talked to you about starting a green team or eco-group at your place of worship. This would be very special because her church is actually receiving the greening sacred spaces award this year!
      Last, but certainly not least, you could then speed green with Jim Sweetman from the waste reduction task force in Hamilton, in which you would have heard about the fantastic idea of implementing green bins in faith spaces.
      It was a beautiful day filled with joy and valuable knowledge. We all got our secret desire to speed-date out of us, but now we all have a secret desire to speed green some more! Thank you to all of the wonderful speakers that came out and shared their projects with us and thank you, Hamiltonians, for making it happen. It couldn't have been done without you! Spring is here...time for life to begin and change to be implemented. Let's make this change a green one!

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