National Faith Commuter Challenge, June 2-11: Interfaith ‘get to worship without your car.’

Did you FCC_Logo_square_smallknow that transportation comprises 40% of an average faith community’s carbon footprint?1 Transportation is the second largest source of Canada’s GHG emissions.2 That’s why traveling green is one of the most important ways we can be stewards of our planet.

This spring, Faith & the Common Good is working to make the faith sector a part of the nationwide Commuter Challenge that takes place in June, and coincides with National Environment Week. Faith communities will be encouraged to reduce the ecological footprint of commuting to their centres of worship.

Between June 2-11, people of all faiths are invited to pick a day and travel to worship on foot, by bike, or by public transit and carpooling. Participating faith groups will have a chance to win special recognition and take part in a nation-wide friendly, climate-action challenge.

On that day, participants will be able to log in to track their trips to worship and also see their GHG emission reduction, calorie consumption, distance, and fuel cost savings. They’ll be able to check out which faith communities and cities have the highest percentage of participating travelers.

“We wanted to design a climate action program that would be fun and easy to participate in for congregations across the country.” says Executive Director, Lucy Cummings. “The website lets you see how leaving your car at home can save money, burn calories, and contribute to a healthy environment.  When our diverse faith communities come together to fulfill their sacred calling to care for Creation like this, the impact can be powerful.”

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Go that extra mile!

Individuals can register their faith group and themselves and log commuter distances through a new Faith Section of the Commuter Challenge website. Details can be found here: greeningsacredspaces.net/what-we-do/commuter-challenge/

Not only will participating faith communities be reducing emissions and contributing to cleaner air while getting some fun exercise in, they’ll also be joining a network of other sustainable transportation supporters and fostering new friendships and connections.

In addition, during the Faith Commuter Challenge, why not encourage further activities in support of sustainable transportation such as:

  • Launching a ride-share program or a “ride the bus together” program
  • Hosting a bicycle tune-up station, distributing bike maps
  • A special blessing ceremony, prayers or acknowledgement of all the ways people are working to reduce their carbon footprint
  • A neighbourhood bike ride before or after a worship service

The Faith Commuter Challenge is supported by Auto Recyclers of Canada’s Grants in Gear, with local support teams in Halifax, NS, Hamilton, ON, Sudbury, ON, Calgary, AB, Vancouver, BC, and more.

TRANSPORTATION FACTS

1. Transportation comprises 40% of an average faith community’s carbon footprint. (Source: United Church of Canada National Carbon Reduction Report 2016 greeningsacredspaces.net/set-your-house-in-order-the-case-for-a-national-carbon-reduction-program-for-ucc-faith-buildings/)

2. In 2015, the transportation sector was the second largest source of GHG emissions, accounting for 24% of total national emissions. Emissions from passenger vehicles alone accounted for almost 13% of total national emissions. (Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada: Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Canadian Economic Sector ec.gc.ca/indicateurs-indicators/default.asp?lang=en&n=F60DB708-1)

3. It takes 130 trees to produce the amount of oxygen needed to combat the climate-changing greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted from one car each year. (Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency: Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator)

BACKGROUND

The Commuter Challenge is a Canada-wide program that has been running in workplaces for a number of years to encourage employees to leave their cars at home and celebrate active and sustainable modes of transportation for one week, coinciding with Canadian Environment Week.

This year, Faith & the Common Good has partnered with the Commuter Challenge team to introduce the Faith Commuter Challenge. Faith & the Common is a national charity which supports diverse faith and spiritual communities contribute to greener, healthier, more resilient neighborhoods. Faith & the Common Good thanks the Automotive Recyclers of Canada’s Grants in Gear program for funding this initiative.

CONTACTS

Project Coordinator:  Lisa Seiler network@faithcommongood.org 1-866-231-1877 x105

Vancouver:  Laurel Dykstra salalandcedar@vancouver.anglican.ca

Kootenay District:  Greg Powell greg.a.powell@gmail.com

Calgary:  Wendell Koning wkoning@telus.net

Sudbury:  Rebecca Danard Rebecca.danard@rethinkgreen.ca 705-674-1685

Hamilton:  Juby Lee jlee@environmenthamilton.org 905-549-0900

Halifax:  Emma Norton efficiency@ecologyaction.ca 902-442-0199