by George Bond, a parishioner at St. George’s, New Orleans, and member of the Environmental Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana
“God so loved the world that he gave his only son …” is not a pious platitude or a simple religious refrain. It is a declaration of God’s purpose and mission in the world from the beginning to this very day. “God so loved the world.” That’s not just about us who are human. It’s about the whole of God’s grand and glorious Creation.
The Most Reverend Michael Curry
Thanks to the Diocese of California, the Episcopal Church has a carbon tracker all can use. Sustainislandhome.org is a site linked to wenew.net, which is open to all faiths.
What does the tracker do and how hard/easy is it to sign up? As to the difficulty, the hardest part is adding your utility data. In New Orleans, it can be obtained by logging into your Entergy New Orleans account and looking at past usage. Then you decide on which tasks you will do, ranging from turning off lights to solar power and as you complete the task savings are calculated by the program.
Bishop Thompson has endorsed Sustain Island Home as he wrote: “One of the greatest transformations humanity has the potential to experience will be the move from the lifestyle of the industrial period to lives of sustainability. By making better choices in our own households, we not only make a substantive, measurable difference in addressing the climate crisis but we align our lives with Jesus’ mission. One tool that has recently been developed to help Episcopalians lead a more sustainable life is the web-based tool, Sustain Island Home(sustainislandhome.org).
Rebecca and I invite you to join us and explore this new platform which will help you assess your carbon footprint and take action to reduce it.”
So far, the data of total nationwide saved energy tallies:
- 658 Households participating
- $50,164 dollars saved
- 264 tons CO2 reduced/year
- 1355 Actions completed
- 29,494 KWH saved
- 7,379 gallons gas saved
- 1,564 therms saved (a unit of heat equivalent to 100,000 Btu or 1.055 × 108 joules)
- 131,757 gallons water saved
This shows that individually we can do little but united we can achieve a lot more!
Once you log on, you are assigned to the community of your parish. I am part of the St. George’s Community. So far there are 6 of us out of the 17 members in our Diocese. There is also the opportunity to pair up with select friends so you can run a friendly competition to outperform others.
The program also compares me to the US in general, New Orleans specifically, China, India and the European Union (EU). I am doing far better than the US, a little better than New Orleans, and I have some to go to meet the EU. The goal they have set for me, presuming I do everything is less than half of my current usage. I have a ways to go but the main factor would be for me to go solar. I hope to do in the near future.
Sustain Island Home gives you a broad listing of activities as I have noted above. One is installing a rain barrel and Green Light New Orleans has them to offer. I first got the basic one which has flowers. Wanting one with a nautical flavor I found that by paying twice as much I could work with an artist for my design. I have one with Portland Head Light and CGC SPAR turning into Portland harbor. My wife used to go to the lighthouse to see us both leaving and returning home. I have put in double-paned windows and replaced one door, one with a screen so in mild weather, I can open the windows and door. These are only two of their listed activities.
I have become more involved in environmental issues since moving to New Orleans. I read about Chesapeake Bay islands flooding but not the extreme land loss we experience here. I have planted marsh grasses for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and I want to plant trees and bag oyster shells for them as well. I have taken an airboat tour of the Caernarvon Diversion with a scientist from the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. The Environmental Commission of the Diocese of Louisiana works closely with Restore the Mississippi River Delta who is a conduit for all the potential ways to help preserve our area.
I invite you, as does Bishop Thompson, to log on and sign up.