Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions

This Holiday Season ……

By: Jo Doumbia

During this season of gratitude, and in the spirit of stewardship emphasized in our faith, let us reflect on the urgency to address climate change. As our responsibility to care for creation aligns with our religious convictions, let’s then continue considering how our actions impact the environment, and let us strive to be mindful stewards working together to protect the planet for future generations.

Together, we can make a difference in every community. Imagine native plants flourishing in all congregations and neighborhood yards, providing essential habitats for wildlife; faith communities learning and acting upon the value and importance of trees by preserving, maintaining and planting new ones; diverting stormwater runoff into rain and vegetable gardens; all fostering a deeper connection between people and nature.

As another year of great challenge comes to an end, many of us are feeling a sense of renewed urgency in creating a world that is peaceful and safe for everyone. We learned about wildfires raging in Virginia and parts of the state being under air quality alert, after the driest autumn in over one hundred years. This being just one way that climate destabilization is already being felt in Virginia.

Based on the fact that Americans produce 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year, let’s find ways to avoid becoming part of the problem!  What about then looking to sustainably decorate, gift, and celebrate this holiday season – all while saving yourself money and reducing waste production. FACS invites us to consider the following:

  1. Look at what we are consuming and buying and try to choose local, sustainable options.
  2. Invest, donate and buy products from the millions of local community-driven efforts that promote biodiversity across the globe.
  3. Continue encouraging financial and political mechanisms to accelerate steps to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. As wrapping paper is not recyclable, use other types (brown paper, newspaper, comics, clothes, etc.)
  5. Use LED holiday lights which last longer and are much cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the risk of fire or burnt fingers.
  6. Make handcrafts & DIY Gifts. 
  7. Consider experiential gifts.

In closing, and after wishing you and your family a blessed Holiday Season full of Joy and family togetherness, I want to share some of FACS’s 2023 accomplishments and invite you to keep supporting us and those who have not joined yet, do so. We have engaged with several congregations and have already responses from 12 about conducting energy audits; continued our strong partnership with Fairfax County Office of Energy and Environment Coordination to transform the energy usage at the congregations to become clean and efficient; we were awarded a $200,000 grant from the Department of Energy and are providing support for our congregations to engage in the first step towards clean and efficient energy use — conducting energy audits. Furthermore, we have established the Tree of Life Community of Practice facilitating a space of learning and action to the congregations’ members  who are already part of green/sustainable teams or are interested in greening their congregations grounds and want to establish or enhance sustainable practices in their congregations.

Happy Holidays!!