40 for the Earth – 2022

Updated: Mar 28

All of us in the First Church congregation are encouraged to take on a commitment–hopefully more than one–to benefit the environment and slow climate change during 40 days starting this month and ending April 22 (Earth Day).

At Sunday services, people will get cut-out leaves to bring home and jot down their initiatives. The April 24 services will be a celebration of Earth Day and of the “40 for the Earth” project.

Here is a large list of possible actions. Perhaps you can think of others. Just think what we can accomplish together!

Every Day Actions

  • Take a reusable cup for coffee or tea instead of using paper or styrofoam cups

  • Ask not to get plastic straws at restaurants and coffee places

  • Carry a permanent water bottle and generally avoid plastic bottles

  • Pay attention to turning off lights, computers, and plug strips at home and in buildings like First Church

  • Use sturdy cloth grocery bags when shopping AND re-use plastic bags you’re stuck with at home

  • Start car-pooling with friends or colleagues to and from work

  • Turn the heat down a degree or two and wear an extra layer of clothing if needed

  • Plan ahead to reduce food waste in food selection, meal preparation, and storage of leftovers

  • Increase the plant elements of your diet, and decrease the meat or even give up beef

  • Say thanks for nature and the earth (for guidance see www.ournatureconnection.com)

  • Carry reusable silverware and cutlery when eating out

Once Or Twice A Week Actions

  • Set a weekly allowance for miles driven (also called a “driving budget”)

  • Take public transportation instead of a car to work or functions

  • Walk or bicycle to church on Sundays

  • Eat meatless (also called a plant-based or “flexitarian” diet)

  • Eat and shop more locally — locally-grown, locally-bought (e.g., local food coop options and opportunities)

  • Start composting at home or through Belmont’s (or your town’s) program

  • Convert all lightbulbs to be energy efficient, such as LEDs

  • Use a clothesline instead of a dryer

  • Check out conservation and park areas such as Habitat and Rock Meadow/Beaver Brook to deepen family and friends’ connections with the outdoor environment

  • Select one of the excellent YouTube videos, podcasts, documentaries, or books to share and discuss with your children (e.g., google “films on climate crisis” or see our suggested books below)

  • Share personal stories about nature with your family or community

One-Time But Bigger Actions

  • Calculate your household’s carbon footprint AND start to take actions toward reduction (see www.Nature.org) as one very effective example, or How Bad Are Bananas? on the Resources list below)

  • Schedule a free MassSAVE energy-efficiency audit and/or MassSAVE insulation for your house (1-866-527-SAVE) or through Belmont Light

  • Go to Belmont Light “Energy Solutions” or call 617-993-2800 for rebates for proper disposal of old electrical appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners

  • Visit the website of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch (www.seafoodwatch.org) and learn how to make more sustainable seafood choices, also about the many threats to ocean life

  • Consider rooftop solar panels (see BelmontGoesSolar.org) and/or a solar water heater (see www.neshw.com)

  • Shift to 100% renewable electricity through what’s called community aggregation (e.g. Belmont Light’s Green Choice Program)

  • Consider getting a heat pump (see wepowr.com/heatsmartbelmont) or at least installing a programmable thermostat

  • Plant trees and/or shrubs, and consider replacing your lawn in order to soak up carbon and use less water

  • Look into personal divestment from fossil fuel stocks, as FCB did two years ago

  • Plan how to fly less or at least how to do carbon offsets for flights (www.JetSet.com)

  • Consider buying an electric car with federal and state rebates totaling up to $10,000

  • Consult the five friendly suggestions from FCB Green for books to read and share with family during the 40 days (see Climate Change Resources below or our flyer with synopses)

Climate Change Resources For Adopting Changes And Understanding The Big Picture

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. Hawken, P. (Ed.). 2017

The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep. DeMocker, M. 2018

How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything. Berners-Lee, M. 2011

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. Wallace-Wells, D. 2019

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Thaler, R. & Sunstein, C. 2008