Highlands United Growing Greener

Purpose: to faithfully steward God’s creation; to understand, clarify, and act on our role in faithful stewardship of God’s world

Goals:

  • to encourage and facilitate environment and climate change awareness and responsibility among Highlands United Church’s congregation and its local community
  • to provide the congregation and community opportunities for dialogue, education and action, as a church and as individuals
  • to take concrete actions within Highlands United Church and encourage the congregation and community through example
  • to investigate how we at Highlands can reduce our “carbon footprint”, and encourage others to dialogue and make commitments where possible

To get involved: contact Jon Carrodus through the church office. Our group usually meets about once a month, Sundays after worship for potluck lunch.

Here’s an overview of the Greening work that HUGG is and has been involved in at Highlands:

Congregational education on environmental issues: HUGG  frequently puts event announcements and information pieces in our weekly Highlights newsletter, and from time to time arranges speakers, films and displays on topics of climate and environmental interest. We encourage and promote improvements to our building’s environmental footprint.

Recycling: HUGG has introduced and continues to improve the way we deal with waste at Highlands. We’ve established recycling stations with more clear signage, moved away from single-use plastic items, and have worked on educating both the congregation and our rental groups to responsible use and disposal of resources.

2015: HUGG organized a march across Lions Gate to join with the Vancouver Global Climate March on the eve of the Paris Summit. our march involved 120 people from the North Shore, Tsleil-Waututh nation, and Sunshine Coast. See articles here and here.

2016: HUGG initiated an Energy Study of our building, which highlighted the need to upgrade our sanctuary lighting to LED and adjust the controls for our heating system.

2017: The 10-year “Godspace” project of replacing most of our leaky windows with double glazing was completed, reducing our carbon footprint and improving comfort.

2017: LED lighting: educational displays for the congregation in April. Replacement of the sanctuary lights from incandescent to LED before Christmas. In pendant and flood lighting, 140 bulbs changed, for a reduction of 11,464 Watts of power! Electrical energy use dropped by 9760 kWh over the next year, for a cost saving of $1672. Estimated less than four years to pay back the investment.

2018: HUGG’s “Give It Up for the Earth”  campaign during Lent: People pledged to make a sacrifice to help the environment or the climate. This and other Highlands greening efforts were highlighted in the Neighbours of Edgemont magazine.

We distributed information on climate change as a justice issue, carbon footprints and how to reduce them, and suggested readings. Also we organized a speaker series, “Fighting Climate Change” with Charlene Aleck, Christine Boyle and Tzeporah Berman (who unfortunately had to cancel at last minute because of illness).


2018-19: HUGG introduced the Drawdown Project to Highlands, presenting the first Drawdown workshops in western Canada. Three Introduction to Drawdown seminars were presented in 2018; another two in early 2019; then in March-April, a four-week Drawdown – Getting into Action course presented twice. These seven events drew 105 participants, and spawned other Drawdown events elsewhere on the North Shore and beyond. They also resulted in several new teams tackling particular issues, such as reducing food waste on the North Shore.