Support Ukrainian Refugees & Reduce Reliance on Fossil Fuels

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Background

Russian oil and gas sales are funding a dangerous and damaging war in Ukraine, causing millions to flee for their lives and the total destruction of population centers and critical infrastructure.

Aside from the energy consumed by flows of millions of refugees and eventual massive reconstruction efforts, the intense use of fossil fuels in war is a big problem itself. Russia has attempted to force other countries to acquiesce by threatening to cut off oil and gas shipments, as they have done successfully in the past. Global energy supplies are tightening, spurring more drilling & fracking, pipeline and infrastructure construction, and tapping of reserves. The costs will be borne by all of us!

All of this means that a significant number of people are now in dire need, and that fossil fuel use and emissions are iikely to spike. In addition, we will have lost a critical opportunity to shift investment from fossil fuels to clean energy systems.

What Can We Do ?!?

USNF is sponsoring a one-month campaign to both support Ukrainian refugees and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

For those willing and able to join in, you can respond in a number of ways:

1) Make a donation in support of Ukrainian refugees.

2) Find a way to reduce your reliance on fossil fuel - lessening demand and making us all more resilient.

3) Encourage others to join in!

Not everyone is in a position to donate or make changes in their lives requiring additional time, effort, or expense.  Many of us are already doing what we can to avoid using fossil fuels, but the best way to inspire others to join in this effort is to demonstrate that we ourselves are also stepping up.  For those willing to try and reduce fossil fuel use, the point is to find something that you are not already doing but think you can take on, and learn by trying to stick with it for a month. Maybe you can make a permant change, but even if not you will be more mindful of what it takes to do so.  As the costs and consequences of fossil fuel use become more dire, the less we rely on them in our daily routines, the easier it will be for us all to do without.

The Ask:

Please tell us how you can participate using this form

Thank-you!

 Added Incentive to Reduce or Donate

Some members of our congregation will donate a certain amount for each person committing to reduce fossil fuel use. At the end of this one-month campaign, we will count up the number of people who have made a commitment, and use that number to multiply these donation amounts.

This can be a win-win for the future of Ukraine and our Climate!

 Some Possible Ways to Reduce Fossil Fuel Use

  First: some things to keep in mind:

  • You probably already know most of these, and you certainly know best what it will take to make changes. This is your decision to find a way you can reduce, and try to stick with it.
  • While USNF is sponsoring this one-month campaign, we know it will take long-term effort to make a difference.  The point is to understand your dependence on fossil fuels, and move towards breaking free!
  • The list below is nowhere near comprehensive - it is meant to spur our thinking and action.  If you have suggestions please let us know and we can include them.

 Transportation: Note: this is a hard one… often requiring flexibility on time/schedule. Do what you can, and plan ahead.

  • reduce gasoline use by walking, carpooling, using public transit, or a bike.
  • reduce speeds when driving - particularly on the highway.
  • buy locally made products when possible, reducing fossil-fuel used for shipping (e.g. Amazon).

FoodThe options here are endless... 

  • locally-grown (in-season) vegetables & fruits support local workers and businesses as well as reducing embedded energy in our food.  Can you go without exotic produce from far away?
  • Factory-raised meat, poultry, and pork comes with significant health risks, and is energy-intensive.  Seek out local farm-raised sources, and turn to other protein sources sometimes.

Electricity: Note that on average about half of electricity delivered in MA comes from fracked gas. Also note that while EVs use electricity instead of fossil fuel, the electricity may come from fossil-fuels.

  • Check your monthly electric use on your bill (usage history) and see if you can reduce by 10% what you used in the same month last year, perhaps by employing measures below or others.
  • Adjust thermostats down (just a degree or two makes a difference) in heating season, up in cooling season. If you know how to do so safely you may also be adjust your hot-water-heater temp down if it is higher than 120F.
  • Switch out older bulbs for newer LEDs (they work better these days!)
  • Use a drying rack instead of a dryer when feasible.

PlasticNote that plastic is mostly oil, and Russia’s largest oil importer is China, where a majority of our consumer and manufactured goods come from. Plastic waste is accumulating everywhere, including our bodies. Recycling isn’t the solution (often isn’t happening) - we need businesses to use eco-friendly packaging instead.

  • Encourage your grocery and other stores to transition away from plastic packaging - tell them you will be making choices based on this.
  • Reuse plastic bags, and bring your own bag to the store (keep one handy).
  • Seek alternatives to beverages and other products in plastic containers.  Educate others on plastic-free product options.

If you can reduce your reliance on fossil fuels via any of these measures or others, terrific! We know that collaboration and collective effort will make a difference, so if you can help by asking others you know to consider making commitments to reduce fossil fuel use - all the better!