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Eco-Justice Team - January 2023

Happy New Year! We hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas, with your sustainable decorating, wrapping, and gifts. Our sanctuary was less decorated than in previous years, with wonderful results. We were more able to concentrate on the banners, the Advent paraments, the Advent wreath and candles, and the beautiful time of waiting.

As we enter 2023, we can continue to live a conscious life, respecting all of God’s creation. A new year is often the time we consider making improvements in our lives, of changing things for the better. There are certainly many ways to do so. Our efforts to tread lightly on the planet often revolve around how we commute, what we eat and where we set our thermostats, all of which are useful and important. But the way we furnish our homes has a surprising effect, as well. The National Wildlife Federation reports that furniture manufacturers are the third largest consumers of wood, behind the construction and paper industries. The EPA estimates that Americans disposed of about 12 million tons of furniture in 2018, of which about 80% ends up in a landfill, up from 2.15 million tons in 1960. Some ideas to consider? Repurpose your old furniture. A table could work as a desk; a stool could become a nightstand. Wooden furniture can be refinished or painted, and upholstered furniture can be reupholstered or covered. Metal items can be placed outdoors for a weathered, vintage look. If you need more, buy vintage or antique furniture. Much of it is better-made than newer items, and often has built-in character. If you decide to buy new, look for companies that make things that last. Do your homework when considering materials. Experts recommend fast-growing trees, as well as plants such as bamboo, cane, rattan, reed and seagrass. Avoid slow-growing trees like Brazilian mahogany, Canadian white cedar, cherry, maple and oak, which take decades to mature. Look into wool, recycled polyester and Ultrasuede for fabrics, and linseed oil or beeswax for furniture finishes. Pay attention to the presence of toxic chemicals. With some research and thought, you can have a safe, beautiful home!

“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things.” Rainier Maria Wilke


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