Thursday, March 31, 2011

Going Green at Laidlaw

Friday, March 25, 2011

Speed Greening: Greening Sacred Spaces 101

 By Charlene Mohammed-Volunteer
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to speed-date? There is no time to waste in the speed-dating world and if you don't like someone, you just have move on. This can be fun, but it can be psychologically conflicting to just move on to another person. On Sunday March 13th, Environment Hamilton and Greening Sacred Spaces managed to take all of the good parts of speed-dating and threw it all into a beautiful gathering with speakers from six organizations that told us what they're doing to “green-up” places of worship around Hamilton. The speakers each had their own booth, in which people who attended could visit and hear about their project implementations.  There was a time-limit to visit each booth and a special Tibetan bell would ring when it was time to move on to the next speaker. As well, there was only enough time to visit the three booths that really took your fancy, so there was no time to beat around the bush with this form of speed-dating! This was a great way to learn because with the limited amount of time, each speaker could only share the truly important parts of their projects while being able to maintain the listener's attention. This was a very personal form of presenting because there would be a very small group of people gathered around a speaker in each “round”.
      To start the day, we had the good fortune of having a heart-opening prayer, along with a short video that expressed what a few churches in Hamilton are doing to be greener. This video focussed on the idea of implementing solar electric technologies. Then when the speed-greening began, it was possible to hear more on energy efficiency and energy audits with Will Klassen from Green Venture. If one felt that one needed to “date” some more with the topic of energy saving in mind, one could have moved down to Graham Flint, an electrical engineer and entrepreneur, who spoke about renewable energy Technologies.
      If you then felt that you were all “energized-out” and were starting to get hungry, you could then try to date Loretta Jaunzarins, pastor of the Grace Lutheran Church, and Kevin McLeod, pastor of Faith Lutheran. They would try to win your heart with their Good Food Box Program, in which they were very successful at doing. The project provides nutritious and primarily local (except for the exotic fruit and veggies that can't be grown in our precious cold climate) fruit and vegetables to Hamiltonians for a very low cost. There is a wide variety of fruit and vegetables provided in the food boxes, so it is very easy to find your liking and to get a colourful assortment of nutrients! This is a great way to promote eating well and locally!
      You could then have the honour of speed-greening with Sue Carson, a member of the St. James Anglican church. If you were lucky, she would have talked to you about starting a green team or eco-group at your place of worship. This would be very special because her church is actually receiving the greening sacred spaces award this year!
      Last, but certainly not least, you could then speed green with Jim Sweetman from the waste reduction task force in Hamilton, in which you would have heard about the fantastic idea of implementing green bins in faith spaces.
      It was a beautiful day filled with joy and valuable knowledge. We all got our secret desire to speed-date out of us, but now we all have a secret desire to speed green some more! Thank you to all of the wonderful speakers that came out and shared their projects with us and thank you, Hamiltonians, for making it happen. It couldn't have been done without you! Spring is here...time for life to begin and change to be implemented. Let's make this change a green one!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Aboriginal Wisdom Speakers

Aboriginal Wisdom Speakers-March 06 2011
By Charlene Mohammed, Volunteer

Sage cleansing, indigenous chanting, and making connections with beautiful strangers. This and
much more was how fifty Hamiltonians spent their sunny Sunday afternoon last week at a gathering
with three Aboriginal speakers at the First Unitarian Church. We had the honour of hearing teachings
about sacred beliefs found within their culture, as we gathered together in a circle. Forming a circle with
face-to-face contact, which is typical in aboriginal culture, automatically gave each person a sense of
connection, openness and equality. It was an opportunity to open up our hearts and share whatever we
felt was necessary.

These teachings included learning about the four sacred medicines that coincide with the four
directions and colours of the medicine wheel, including tobacco (east), mother earth’s hair /sweet grass
(south), sage (west), and cedar (north). Each of these medicines has special healing powers and symbolic
meanings. Mind, body, spirit and emotion are what humans are made up of, in which the medicine
wheel acknowledges. If there is sickness or sadness within, there is an imbalance in one of the divisions
of the wheel. This idea applies to nature as well. In aboriginal culture, unity and equality is seen within
all of creation, as nature is our counterpart. All elements on the planet are organs of mother earth and
through these elements she responds to our actions, just as we respond to hers.

Two things were key in this teaching. The first is that love is a miracle drug that is found within
our spirits, however in order to release that miracle, we have to conquer the negativity that can
bombard our bodies from time to time. The second is that all of the answers are found within. Take a
moment and listen to your heart and you will feel the best feeling that you have ever felt in your life.
That feeling is truth.

Prior to this gathering, most of the people at this event were strangers. After this gathering,
these fifty people found an intimate connection with one another. Being drawn to the same place at the
same time was certainly not a coincidence. There was a tingling in the air after fears were released and
hearts were opened, as a sense of unity and purity was captured and contained within the circle. These
good vibrations will have to continually be released in the rest of the year at more gatherings like this
with Greening Sacred Spaces and Environment Hamilton. 2011 is time for change! Let’s work together to
make it happen Hamilton!

Natural Cleaning Products

By Sally Mandani-Volunteer

On Tuesday, March 1, 2011, Greening Sacred Spaces went up the mountain in Hamilton,

Ontario to Regina Mundi Roman Catholic Church to advocate toxic free cleaning products. These

cleaning products were not harmful to the environment or to the individual using them. Two

volunteers, Leanne and Sally helped Beatrice from Environment Hamilton: Greening Sacred Spaces,

inform and educate the members of Regina Mundi on the history of cleaning products, and the harmful

chemicals that can be found in most of them. Beatrice and her volunteers put together a soft scrub and

an all purpose cleaner using a few natural and safe ingredients. Everyone was encouraged to take

samples home along with instructions on how to make them. The members were very interested, and

would include some personal tips they had on ways to reduce toxins in everyday cleaning. The group,

which consisted of all women, were extremely helpful and enjoyable to be with. We shared many

laughs, tips and opinions on safe ingredients to use around the home to save the environment, our

health, and our pockets.

All purpose cleaner:

Mix ½ cup of vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda, and 2 liters of water all together in a bucket. Easy as

1-2-3! Buy plastic bottles to store the remaining cleaner for future use.

Weatherproofing Party

 February 15th 2011
Dave Braden shared about how to make your faith home more energy efficient-do it yourself style.
Melrose United Church In Hamilton