Green Sanctuary Committee

Green Sanctuary status was awarded to First Parish Brewster Unitarian Universalist on February 8, 2014. We are in the process of broadening the committee’s scope to include Environmental Justice as well as the three other cornerstones of the UUA’s Green Sanctuary Program: sustainable living, worship and celebration, and religious education.

This year, our primary focus will be to educate – and re-educate – the congregation and its various committees and boards about Green Sanctuary principles – with the goal of having these principles integrated into our day-to-day FPBUU experiences. We will also be establishing and building connections with other UU congregations on the Cape as well as UUA programs such as UU Mass Action and Commit 2 Respond, working collaboratively to expand the Green Sanctuary Program beyond the walls of our Meeting House.

Major Cape Cod Organizations working on Environmental Issues

Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC)   Excellent website -APCC is a nonprofit environmental watchdog agency that has been in existence since 1968. Its mission is simply stated, “to preserve, protect and enhance the natural resources of Cape Cod.” APCC works for the adoption of laws, policies, and programs that protect and enhance Cape Cod’s natural resources and quality of life. Major programs involve:  climate change, water quality, critical habitat and infrastructure, and native plant protection. APCC initiated a program to reduce the use of pesticides across Cape Cod and actively promotes native landscapes. Andrew Gottlieb has recently been appointed as new director. APCC is a founding member of Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative (CCCCC).  Check out the coming events section-lots of interesting topics!

Cape Cod Climate Change  CCCCC is a new organization that was created this year. Its purpose is “to unite the varied expertise and experience of Cape Cod’s organizations to address climate change.” Membership is composed of organizations on the Cape and Islands who have committed themselves to reducing their carbon footprint or are assisting other organizations to do so. The website is a work in progress but has an interesting section with articles from a variety of publications concerning climate change. Current info on upcoming talks and movies relevant to the topic is also given.  On the education page, there is an inspiring list of documentaries focusing on youth actions on climate change.

Cape Cod Cooperative Extension– is another really informative website whose mission is quite varied and deals with a number of environmental issues. Cape Cod Extension  (CCCE) is the educational department of the Barnstable County.

Some of its major tasks are:

  • help protect our water supply and drinking water through public awareness of hazardous waste management. The 15 towns under the extension have a schedule of collections of hazardous waste throughout the year.
  • provide information on tick-borne diseases with specifics on tick testing, removal, and repellents.
  • master gardeners’ program offers training and certification.
  • horticultural clinic conducts diagnostic services and finds answers to any gardening questions about vegetation, foliage, and pests. Also provides soil testing for gardeners.
  • current info on gypsy moths.

Events page list current gardening workshops and classes. Programs are conducted in Barnstable County in cooperation with staff of UMASS and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Center for Coastal Studies was originally started in 1976 by three concerned scientists in Provincetown and has grown to an impressive, well-known organization. Main departments include: Humpback and Right Whale Research, Entanglement Response, Water Quality Monitoring Program, Marine Debris and Plastic Program, Marine Fisheries Response and Seal Research. In the past we have had members of our church volunteering as water quality monitors. Coastal Studies is one of the co-founders of the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative (CCCCC) and an active member.

GreenCAPE –grassroots organization established in 1998 to identify brands of commonly used pesticides and reduce unnecessary use through adoption of safe alternatives. Goal is to make the public more aware of issues with pesticides and other chemicals that are a danger to our health and water supply.  Web page is informative and well organized. Organization works on such issues as NSTAR/Eversource spraying, contaminants of growing concern, invasive species, lawn and garden care and even candidates’ positions on environmental concerns. Lawn and garden section has an extensive listing of information on organic lawn care, plants that grow well on Cape Cod and are not invasive, and resources about where to purchase them. Event section updates current activities, workshops, and films that are relevant to the topic.  GreenCAPE often co-sponsors with an organization/organizations to put on an event.  Sue Phelan is the director.

350 Mass Action  In 2012, climate activists started a grassroots climate change network in MA-it was an offshoot of started by Bill McKibben.  With thousands of active members in the state, 350 Mass is pushing lawmakers to take leadership in 5 key areas: stop the pipeline tax, make utilities purchase more renewables, put a price on carbon pollution, expand solar energy, and fix gas leaks. Website list current bill’s name and number of 350 Mass priority legislation. Local meetings held on Thursday evenings in Hyannis.

Protect Our Cape Cod Aquifer (POCCA) POOCA was founded in July 2013 in response to growing concerns about water quality on Cape Cod. All Cape towns share the same water table and many of the Cape’s watersheds are located in more than one town. This makes issues with wastewater and drinking water, a Cape-wide concern not a town-by-town one.  POCCA was formed to help disseminate information and help inform the public about growing problems and possible solutions regarding our water management.  The site gives current information on spraying by Eversource, including legal concerns and spraying schedule. There is also a section that focuses on what we can do now-from action alerts to creating our own eco-friendly alternatives- even recipes for cleaning products!

Sustainable CAPE-Center for Agricultural Preservation and Education, Sustainable CAPE’s mission is to celebrate local food while teaching about our bodies, community and the environment. The intention is to show a direct link between healthy, local food and health and wellness. One particularly innovative pilot program is in conjunction with doctors from Emerald Physicians.  Physicians write prescriptions for fruit and vegetables for patients who are at risk for chronic disease, and then they can exchange them at the farmers’ market for fresh fruits and vegetables.  The organization also sponsors the Farmers’ Market Coalition, Farmers in Schools, which is involved in schools from Provincetown to Brewster, Truro Community Garden, and Truro Educational Farmers Market.

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