EARTH CARE TEAM
This is a group of members at OPC who have a passion for celebrating God’s grace and glory in creation and recognize God’s call to cherish, protect and restore this earth. We operate as an extension of the Missions Team.
We are answering the PC(USA) “Call to Restore the Creation”. We strive to “till and keep” the garden in Genesis 2:15. We focus on this mission and attempt to be faithful stewards. We recognize that “the least of these” in God’s creation often are affected soonest and most seriously when the environment is degraded. We are accountable in the sense of bearing responsibility for our impact on the Earth.
We (and OPC Session) affirm the PC(USA) Earth Care Pledge to integrate environmental practices and thinking into all facets of its church life. We use the PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation Audit as a guideline for selecting projects and activities in four fields - worship, education, facilities, and outreach.
We worked together with Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church on fossil fuel divestment presentations to Blackhawk Presbytery in the February and April 2016 presbytery meetings. Blackhawk Presbytery approved the resolution calling for PC(USA) fossil fuel disinvestment. Carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change. Several members of the Earth Care Team have also been active members of Citizens' Climate Lobby, a non-profit group lobbying for Congress to pass legislation with a carbon fee and dividend policy to greatly reduce carbon emissions.
The Earth Care Team with the help of Scout Troop 31 developed our Monarch Waystation garden near the manse. This beautiful all-native perennials garden has indeed attracted many Monarch Butterflies as well as other pollinators. It adds a marvelous natural dimension to our church's property.
We also adopted the butterfly garden near the church's backdoor. Our goal is to gradually transition this garden into an all-native polinator garden.
We worked with OPC's House and Grounds Committee to get the lighting in the sanctuary upgraded to energy-saving LED lighting with support from ComEd's Energy Efficiency Program.
The Earth Care Team has provided Styrofoam® collecting at church for several years. Food service and packaging foam with the PS6 recycle designation is collected and taken to Dart Container Corporation's foam recycling center (open 24/7) at 310 Evergreen Drive, North Aurora, IL. Twice per year, we have been holding a Styrofoam® recycle event for the community, usually the 1st Sat. in January after New Year's and the 2nd Sat. in July.
We have also been collecting plastic lids and medicine bottles (not allowed in normal plastic recycling). These 'small plastics' are recycled into plastic park benches.
We have been collecting discarded Christmas lights and extension cords for recycling in January each year. We take them to Holiday Light Recycle in Downers Grove, IL.
The Earth Care Team continues to organize OPC's Adopt-a-Highway liter pickups along the roadsides of the 1.2-mile stretch of IL-25 between US-34 and Boulder Hill Pass.
We have also supported The Conservation Foundation's Fox River Cleanup in August each year. In this event, volunteers walk the river edge (in boots) picking up liter from Violet Patch Park down to Hudson's Crossing Park in Oswego.
NETWORKING WITH OTHER CHURCHES
Along with the Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, we have formed the Earth Care Network of Blackhawk Presbytery. We have shared information about our churches’ earth care efforts and worked together on fossil fuel divestment presentations to Blackhawk Presbytery in the February and April 2016 presbytery meeting. As stewards of God’s earth, our congregations’ Earth Care Teams complete activities and projects in the fields of worship, education, facilities, and outreach. We encourage all congregations to consider becoming an Earth Care Congregation and join us in earth care advocacy projects.