By Lynne Nittler

The EarthCare Group of Davis Friends Meeting met in Nan Rowan’s cozy living room to discuss whether to become a partner of the Cool Davis Coalition. They began with a few minutes of silent meditation to center their thoughts and dispel the busyness of the day, and reminded themselves that much as we worry about our imperiled world, we must also make time each day to revel in its beauty and bounty.

Friends take time to deliberate each commitment they make, and this decision was important to them. The Davis Friends Meeting is a small, liberal congregation with about 35 members and twenty attenders. While their first purpose is to provide accessible and appropriate worship space and opportunity for community, the second is to encourage putting their principles into practice, including care for the earth.

 to encourage putting their principles into practice, including care for the earth.

Cool Davis asks that partners be committed to the Cool Davis mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate, and the EarthCare Group convinced the whole congregation to become a partner. The members of the Meetinghouse have already made significant efforts to lower their carbon footprint in the three categories Cool Davis has identified in its Cool Home Campaign.

Their accomplishments are impressive. In terms of the energy efficiency of their meetinghouse, they have added ceiling insulation, removed a tree to let in more outside light and installed the following: a point of service hot water heater with a timer, independent heating and cooling on programmed timers for the two main rooms, ceiling fans, low energy lighting, double pane windows with clear glazing and effective window shades.

In terms of consumption, they have paid special attention to water conservation with low-flow toilets, most grounds covered in wood chips or native plants, low or close-to-zero water use landscape in the west garden, turf removal in favor of bark mulch on north, a low-flow, uniform sprinkler system with timer, irrigation of the one children’s grass area via programmed timer, awareness of appliance water use, and efficient dish washing procedures.

The Friends are conscientious consumers.

The Friends are conscientious consumers. They separate garbage, compostables, recyclables and paper. All their dishes and implements come from their homes or second-hand stores, and they enjoy cloth napkins and dish towels. They purchase post-consumer recycled toilet paper and half-sized paper towels for the restrooms, avoid antibacterial hand-soaps, serve fair trade coffee (taking the leftovers home), select local food when possible, and utilize their space for meetings, other organizations, and the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter.

Transportation is the final area under examination for their carbon footprint. Again the Friends are exemplary as they encourage biking with their new and improved bike racks. The interfaith First Sunday Travel-Lite competition drew a positive response, and many who drive own hybrid cars and try to batch errands.

The EarthCare Group noted that the decision-making process calls for unity, a process which often takes time before moving forward with an action as a group, so they are especially pleased to recount the above recent accomplishments which took a good while to implement. They have a few more steps in mind as well.

Several Davis Friends already belong to Cool Davis as individuals, have volunteered at Cool Davis events, and have taken advantage of the check lists and information fairs. Now they look forward to continuing and expanding this involvement as a partner, and Cool Davis is ever so happy to welcome them to the growing number of engaged partners.