Plenty of churches’ guilds and socieities have taken minutes of meetings in the past: so many teas, speakers, Bible studies, projects, and lists of kinds of sandwiches consumed.
From Austin, Texas, and the Environmental Guild of St. David’s (who also have a Facebook presence), the proceedings of an environmental awareness event hosted by the Guild and taking place at the (five star energy rated) home of Catherine Lee Doar, Austin Habitat for Humanity Design Coordinator:
Michele Hallahan, President and Senior Sustainability Consultant of Eco-Logic, Certification Auditor at Green Seal, and the City of Austin Office of Sustainability’s new Senior Business Process Control Consultant, presented information on toxins in the home, including cleaning products, foods, and personal care products.
Hallahan explained how most people are exposed to more pollution indoors than outdoors, especially since most urbanites spend almost all of their time indoors. She outlined the wide array of toxins and a variety of methods for lowering exposure to adults, children and pets. Common household toxins include chlorine and ammonia in cleaning products, phthalates in soft plastics, parabens in personal care products, formaldehyde in furniture, and a variety of chemicals in air fresheners, pesticides, and herbicides. Exposure to these toxins can cause or exacerbate allergies and asthma along with other serious health problems.
One simple way to improve indoor air quality as well as make your home smell fresh and clean without artificial air fresheners, Hallahan stated, is to open your windows and let your house breathe. As for switching to healthier products, she noted that merely throwing away all of the supplies currently in use might overwhelm some homeowners. Hallahan provided several recipes for cleaning supplies made from common household items such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemons. After the presentation, Doar led the group through her Bouldin Creek home, highlighting the resource-efficient and low-toxin features, such as a heat pump water heater, induction cooktop, raised-panel metal roof, and no-added-urea-formaldehyde cabinets, while Hallahan noted the least and most toxic products in the kitchen, baths, and laundry room.
In the lore of Austin, St. David’s is the downtown steeple known for having done so many things well over the years.
It’s an admittedly limited action shot of one aspect of one congregation, but that one shot reveals something relevant, timely, and helpful going on.