SPIRITUAL CARE

For Our Earth Home

Unity Earth Care is a ministry at USCW with a twofold purpose:

  • to help out fellow congregants, to inform and inspire you to take positive ecological actions in your everyday lives.
  • To be a force for positive change in our church, to identify and champion ways to implement environmental “best practices” within all aspects of our church operations.
Unity Earth Care

Unity Earth Care Team

October 18 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every month that begins at 11:00 am on day Third of the month, repeating indefinitely

View Event Calendar

Unity EarthCare recognizes the sacredness of creation and provides the bridge to loving care for creation as a foundation for everyday living on Earth. Unity EarthCare is a spiritual social action program of Unity Worldwide Ministries.  unity EarthCare at USCW is certified by the Worldwide International team. Unity EarthCare is run by a dedicated team of volunteers.  Our activities include:

  • Teaching the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

  • Running a recycling center

  • Publishing a “Tip of the month”

  • Presenting an annual Earth Day service

  • Showing earth care related, motivational films

  • And much more…

Unity Spiritual Center of Woodstock proudly declares our spiritual connection with our Earth home and all of creation.

This Covenant is a tangible affirmation of our sacred commitment to an ecological foundation that informs our organizational and personal actions. Our commitment is grounded in the Unity movement’s five principles; our Center’s vision, mission and core values; and the long philosophy of spiritual devotion for nature that started with Unity cofounders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore.

Our commitment is further grounded in the Biblical call for humankind to be eternally responsible stewards of creation, and in the imperatives to use all twelve powers in taking positive actions today so that there may be future generations.

We envision a world in which everything has intrinsic value and where all beings are assured a secure and meaningful life that is ecologically responsible and sustainable. We create this world through the fullest engagement of our souls, minds and bodies.

We declare our covenant with God to walk upon the Earth for the greatest good of all creation.

As a service to congregants, we accept the following materials in the denoted containers for recycling

  • Giant batteries: Any type of battery
  • Giant shoe: Any type of shoe, boot or sandal; not limited to just “gym shoes”
  • Fabric unit with pull-out drawers: Audio/Visual media; each drawer is labeled for audio CDs, DVDs, audio cassettes and VHS video cassettes
  • Green bin: Inkjet Cartridges (but no toner cartridges)

Note: Inkjet cartridges are sent to the Planet Green program, a fundraiser for Unity Spiritual Center of Woodstock. Planet Green formerly also accepted a number of types of small electronic items, but no longer does. We can no longer accept those for recycling.

Additionally, there are blue recycling bins in our building. A large one is in the Fellowship area, just to the left of the coffee serving table. It’s next to a trash can; please carefully put only accepted materials in the recycling bin and all else in the trash.

The following materials are appropriate for the blue bins for the City of Woodstock recycling curbside program contracted through MDC Environmental Services, Inc.:

Plastics

  • Recyclable plastic products are identifiable by the three-arrow triangle surrounding a number and the plastic type abbreviation.
  • Look for these: #1 PETE, #2 HDPE, #3 PVC or Vinyl, #4 LDPE, #5 PP
  • Some examples: Peanut butter jars, ketchup/salad dressing bottles, yogurt tubs and milk jugs.

Other Food Containers

  • Glass jars and bottles (without the lids)
  • Aluminum and Steel Containers
  • Some examples: Aluminum cans, steel cans (most canned foods), foil and pie plates.
  • Also: Tetra packs (juice boxes) and milk/juice cartons

Paper and Cardboard

  • Paper: Some examples include printer and other plain paper, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, slick advertisements, envelopes (including windowed)
  • Cardboard: Some examples include frozen food boxes, paperboard carrying boxes for soda and beer, cereal and other dry food boxes, notepad backs, paper towels and toilet paper cores, and corrugated boxes flattened into pieces that are no larger than 2×2 feet (no food contamination allowed).
Unity Worldwide Ministries Earth Care
McHenry County Green Guide

Tip of the Month

Unity EarthCare gives you a Tip of the Month, tangible small actions you can take to green up your personal life.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

September, 2020

What NOT to put into your compost?

  • This is the third in a series of composting tips.
    • July, 2020, we encouraged you to start composting (if you weren’t already), and dove into knowing what composting is and general ways to do it.
    • August, 2020, we focused on what organic items are the best to put into your outdoor compost bin or pile.
    • This month, we help you optimize your composting success with some tips on what kinds of organic waste you should consider disposing of other than by adding to your compost bin.
  • If your municipality includes a yard waste pickup service, whether through large paper bags or a designated container, please take advantage of that for the “hard to compost” items listed below. They will take the contents to a large-scale “industrial” compost facility which can go far beyond what we can accomplish in our households.

 

  • Please consider putting these items into the yard waste bag or container:
    • Walnuts, including walnut shells (This may seem counter-intuitive, but walnuts contain a chemical that keeps them from composting at the household level. This is overcome by the high heat of industrial composting.)
    • Other hard materials: 
      • Most other nut shells, e.g. almond and pistachio shells. Peanut shells surprisingly also don’t compost well – unless you manually grind them down to small pieces.
      • Pits from stone fruits, e.g. peaches and nectarines. But go ahead and throw cherry pits and stems into your home compost.
      • “Woody” materials, such as twigs, branches, wood mulch and the like.

Surprise: You CAN compost corn cobs! Within a few weeks, they get soft enough to crush!

  • Watch out for these nonorganic items that should go into your trash, NOT into compost:
    • Those little labels on grocery store produce. 
    • Stones, rocks and pebbles.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

May, 2020

Garden!

May is an ideal time to start a garden or to work on an existing one. At the time of this monthly Tip, the Corona virus COVID-19 pandemic is keeping us close to home. And gardening is a significant environmental action to do at home.

  • Growing vegetables, culinary herbs and even fruit can help later this summer to healthfully feed yourself.
    • As of May 1, 2020, the state of Illinois is allowing garden shops and plant nurseries to reopen as essential businesses.
    • Of course, continue to observe social distancing, wear a face mask and take all other appropriate precautions while shopping.
  • Most of us have a back yard where you can start a small garden area.
    • If you’ve never gardened before, start small.
    • Especially if you have a sunny area, buy a couple of tomato plants. They grow almost despite our caring for them. A small seedling will produce a four-foot tall plant in just three or so months, so be sure to have a tomato cage or stakes available.
    • Cucumbers also grow well, starting small and then fanning out to own their territory and produce healthy, delicious cucumbers about the same time as the tomatoes are ready.
    • Two herbs to consider are basil and chives. Basil is a good companion plant to tomatoes, but make sure you plant it a distance away so the mature tomato plant doesn’t shade it.
    • Chives are perennial. Plant them once and you’ll be snipping fresh chives for years! Great for salads, baked potato toppings and much more.
  • Of course, the above “beginner” tips are not necessary for veteran gardeners. With more time to attend to your early garden, though, perhaps this year you can try something new – an exotic sweet pepper, for examples.
  • Flowers and fruit trees are also significant garden plants.
  • Even condo or apartment dwellers without outdoor space can grow herbs or cherry tomatoes on a sunny windowsill.

Reduce travel by using computer applications

At the time of this monthly Tip, the Corona virus COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped human interaction by forcing many to use technology for distance meetings, education, religious and spiritual events, social interaction and more.

While the pandemic is tragic, the use of technology can help even in “normal” times. 

  • Almost all forms of travel burn fossil fuels, which are harmful to human and environmental health as well as contributing to climate change.
    • “Travel” in the context of this trip includes short and long distances through driving, flying and even using public transportation.
    • Driving to work, school, meetings, shopping, church, play, events, friends, family are travel.
    • Commuting to work, particularly, has a major environmental impact.
  • Fortunately, technology has brought us alternatives.
    • Even with landline telephones, you can take part in audio conference calls.
      • Anyone can set up an account at freeconferencecall.com
    • Facetime is an easy way to both see and converse with family or friends who all have Apple devices (iPhones, iPads).
    • Skype is a universal free app for video and audio calls.
    • Facebook Live can broadcast an event to anyone with a Facebook account.
    • Zoom is being used at USCW to facilitate meetups. Use the “gallery” view to see everyone!
    • There are many other computer apps of varying pricing, quality, availability, etc.
      • These include Google Zoom, GoToMeeting, Webex and many others.
      • Larger employers have access to enterprise software to facilitate working from home or anywhere.
  • However, human contact is still vital and no technology can – or should – replace all travel to see one another! Going to church, family get-togethers, recreational travel and more will always be with us.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

March, 2020

Treat your hair to shampoo bars and conditioner bars

  • We’re accustomed to buying shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles.
    • But as you stroll through a drug store, you’ll notice that the hair care aisle is a depository of plastic bottles – shampoos, conditioners and sprays.
    • And these bottles are petroleum products, with millions of barrels of oil used annually in production.
    • The refining of the product releases greenhouse gases, the major cause of climate change.
    • Less than 20% of plastic bottles get recycled. More than 80% leach from landfills or harm ocean wildlife.
  • Shampoo (and conditioner) bars eliminate the need for plastic bottles in these product categories.
    • This is by far the number one reason to make the switch to shampoo bars and conditioner bars. These little “pucks” don’t require packaging, so they are much better for the environment than their bottled counterparts.
    • Shampoo bars are more concentrated than traditional shampoos and conditioners, so you can use less per application and they will last longer.
  • More reasons to use bars:
    • Shampoo bars and conditioner bars are great to travel with as you don’t have to worry about any potential for spillage or liquid restrictions. The bars are perfect for carry on as not only are they small and lightweight, they are TSA approved, which means you don’t have to plan your packing around liquid hair care products!
    • Shampoo bars and conditioner bars are great for saving space. Being much smaller and more lightweight than their bottled counterparts relative to the number of washings you can get from the same amount of product, shampoo bars and conditioner bars help you save space.
    • The overall carbon footprint is less with shampoo bars and conditioner bars. Roughly ten to fifteen transport trucks of liquid shampoo would be needed for one transport truck of solid shampoo bars to get the same number of washes! Another way to help alleviate climate change.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

February, 2020

Use energy-efficient light bulbs

  • As incandescent light bulbs burn out, please consider replacing them with more efficient bulb types
  • Although the incandescent bulb was state of the art when Thomas Edison invented it, its time has passed for indoor and outdoor lighting – just as Edison’s bulb replaced fire-prone kerosene and gas lamps. (And incandescent lighting was brighter, too.)
  • Consider using compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LED) types of bulbs.
  • If you’re already using CFLs, consider changing to LEDs.
  • “Energy-efficient” means more monetary savings for you – consistent with the Unity values of prosperity and abundance.
    • CFLs are a 75% electricity savings cost compared with an incandescent with similar light levels.
    • CFLs last ten times more hours than incandescent.
    • LEDs can save even more electricity costs, up to about 80% savings over incandescents.
    • And LEDs can last an amazing twenty-five times more hours than incandescents.
    • CFLs and LEDs are more than worth the initial higher purchase price.
    • Incandescent bulbs cannot be recycled but CFLs and LEDs can (check the Green Guide).
  • More tips:
    • Don’t remove a perfectly good bulb just to replace with a better one – let it burn out first
    • Avoid so-called “energy-efficient” incandescent bulbs; they’re just 25% more efficient than traditional incandescents and may not last many if even any more hours.
    • Use night lights for safely walking in your house overnight.
    • Consider no lighting if you get enough natural lights through your windows.
  • Turn off the lights in rooms not being used! (Your parents were right about that.)
  • One reasonable exception for our world, security considerations may justify some extra lighting.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

January, 2020

Use pet friendly ice melter for your driveway and walkways

  • Please consider our furry friends.
    • No ice melter is totally safe for dogs, but some are better than others
    • The most common ice melting product is rock salt – sodium chloride – and this is the worst for dogs.
    • Calcium chloride, the most common alternative to rock salt, is still toxic to paws and if ingested.
    • Prolonged exposure to common ice melters can have an irritating effect on a dog’s paws.
    • Ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal irritation in minor cases.
    • In more severe cases, a dog could suffer from hypernatremia (elevated blood sodium levels) which can lead to a number of health problems, including advanced GI issues and neurologic dysfunction.
  • What to look for on the label
    • Magnesium chloride and is marginally safer.
    • Chloride-free ice melters are even better.

What else can help?

  • It is a real quandary, because winter brings ice and snow, which must be removed for human safety.
  • But dogs must go outside, so consider behavioral solutions.
  • To keep your dog from ingesting large amounts of ice melt products, keep the dog from eating snow or drinking from puddles.
  • If your dog goes on lots of walks on wet winter sidewalks, afterwards rinse and wipe off their feet, including in between the toes and around the central pad. Some companies also make dog paw wipes that are helpful with this.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

December, 2019

Light up the holidays by saving energy

This month’s ideas come from our electric utility company, Commonwealth Edison! Gone are the days when they encouraged us to waste energy. We can agree with them that we can enjoy the holiday season by saving energy. And remember – whenever we save energy, we are saving money!

Use LED lights

  • Strings of LED lights use 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and they’re cool to the touch, reducing the risk of fire hazard.
  • Holiday Hint: look for the “warm white” color for a soft, golden glow.

Set a timer

  • Setting a timer for both outdoor and indoor lights will give you one less thing to remember and ensure your lights are on at night when you’re able to enjoy them.
  • As a rule of thumb, Energy.gov recommends having holiday lights on for no more than 8 hours.

Think small

  • Wreaths, garlands, pine cones, tabletop decorations, and tapestries are all great tree alternatives that are just as festive as a large evergreen.
  • Use reflective materials like tinsel, metallic ornaments, or glitter-adorned trinkets to add some sparkle without using electricity.

In summary . . . 

  • The thought of decorating your home for the holidays should fill you with excitement.
  • A recent study found that decking the halls can make you happier and even help you get to know your neighbors better.
  • But we can get festive without using more energy.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

November, 2018

Insulate your front door

Brrrr . . . it’s getting colder outside. Let’s keep the cold outside, and stay warm inside our houses!

Did you know that your front door may be a source of heat leakage?

  • Save money on your energy bills!
  • Conserve energy . . . every little bit helps to burn fewer fossil fuels in our fragile world.

Here are some tips on weatherproofing your front door:

  • Use Weather-stripping Weather-stripping is a self-adhesive rubber or foam substance that you unroll, cut and apply to fill gaps where air can get in around the edges of your door.
  • Install New Sweeps A “sweep” is attached to the bottom of a door to reach the floor level with no gap. They are typically made from metal or vinyl, with a rubber strip at the bottom.
  • Use A Door Snake If time and funds are short, this is an effective and fun way to reduce heat loss at the bottom of your door. These are friendly “snakes,” long cloth rolls to put inside at the bottom of the door. You may have to put your snake back in its place after a family member goes in or out of the door.

These are just some ideas to get you started. Re-caulking is another alternative, as is buying a new door and door fame. And you can also use these ideas to help insulate your windows.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

October, 2019

Go outside this Autumn!

It’s that simple: Weather permitting (or maybe not), go outside and enjoy the splendor of the outdoors.

 

  • Stay close to home or not
    • Walk, run, hike or simply “be” outside enjoying the cooler temperatures as the seasons change.
    • Maybe rake some leaves, and unleash your inner child to jump into the pile of leaves! 
    • Set up your lawn chair, don a sweater or light jacket and spend some time reading, al fresco.
    • Parks are still open.

 

  • Why go outside?
    • There is the fun of it.
    • Changing routines is good for your brain, and helps keep you young.
  • The environmental case for spending time outside is to leave the monotony of the perfectly set thermostat inside the house.
    • This helps us to better appreciate the seasons.
    • And we tend to honor and keep safe, that which we appreciate.
  • Whatever you choose to do, do it outside!

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

September, 2019

Consider Used Books

  • Used books?
    • While it’s tempting to want to buy your own copy of the latest best seller, it can become expensive
    • We all benefit from the “sharing economy,” and buying books that have been read by their original owner is a good demonstration of the “Reuse” principle of the environmental triumvirate, “Reduce/Reuse/Recycle”
    • Saving forests through using less paper, using less ink . . . we all win
  • Fortunately, our friends at the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County have their annual giant used book sale event.
    • September 21 through October 6
    • At the Algonquin Township Highway Department – on Route 14 between Crystal Lake and Cary
    • Check the Defenders wbsite www.mcdef.org for details, such as hours and pricing
    • Year round, consider visiting the used book stores run by the Defenders: The Green Spot in Woodstock and the Green Read in Crystal Lake.
  • And why not donate your books that you no longer need.
    • Donate spiritually oriented books to our own Lending Library (in the Power room)
    • Gently used books may be donated to the Green Spot or Green Read
    • And another good option is to bring them on September 30 for the next USCW “Free 4 All”

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

August, 2019

Ride your bike!

We are specifically referring to bicycles, while not discouraging riding motorcycles.

  • Why ride a bicycle? 
    • It’s a fun summer activity . . .
    • It’s good exercise . . .
    • And compared with automobile trips, it’s excellent for the environment!
  • How does bicycle riding help the environment? 
    • Unlike cars, bicycles do not run on gas, and therefore do not emit and CO2 (the main greenhouse gas).
    • A solo driver in an average car releases about 1.1 pounds of CO2 per mile. Imagine multiplying by all the cars and all the miles driven!
    • Bicycles reduce traffic congestion (the fewer cars, the less congestion) and therefore avoid the CO2 produced through wasteful idling or creeping through crowded traffic.
  • Some ideas to consider:
    • If your workplace is close to home, most non-winter days are great for biking to work.
    • Ride you bike for short errands, such as a trip to the mailbox or visiting a friend.
    • And there are more and more dedicated bike lanes, to help safely separate bicycles from cars.

Keep your vehicle’s tires properly inflated

  • It’s summer and many of us will take road trips.
    • You may have heard that low tire pressure gives you lower gas mileage on your car or truck. It’s true!
    • Experts estimate that the average person who drives 12,000 miles yearly on under-inflated tires uses about 144 extra gallons of gas.
    • And remember that the Illinois gas tax just increased substantially (doubled from $0.19 to $0.38 per gallon).
  • Fortunately, there is one fairly simple action you can take to save money due to under-inflated tires
    • Periodically, check the pressure on your tires
    • And if necessary, inflate to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
    • If you don’t already own one, get a tire pressure gauge and learn how to use it.

Save more than money

  • There are negative environmental impacts from the burning of gasoline – actually from the entire process starting with petroleum extraction, refining, storage, transportation and even the process of gassing up.
    • Air and water pollution occur, harming our health.
    • Each time one gallon of gas is burned, 20 pounds of carbon dioxideis added to the atmosphere, as the carbons in the gas are released and combine with the oxygen in the air. As such, any vehicle running on soft tiresis contributing as much as 1.5 extra tons (2,880 pounds) of greenhouse gases to the environment annually. The climate crisis is already bad enough.