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Going green at General Assembly

 

Presbyterians work to reduce carbon footprint in St. Louis

By Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – The 223rd General Assembly is just days away from officially opening in St. Louis. Thousands of Presbyterians will spend eight days in meetings, worship, tours and advocacy. The Office of the General Assembly (OGA), along with other agencies and vendors, will be working to reduce the carbon footprint during that time.

“We are always focused on the environmental impact we have on this world,” said Jessica Maudlin, associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns in the Presbyterian Hunger Program. “The Earth Care Congregation program has generated a lot of interest and congregations are taking more responsibility for the impact that their churches are having on the earth, so we are concerned about the way that our assemblies are impacting the environment as well.”

One of the ways that the assembly will be making a difference is in the reduction of printing, postage and materials.

“The OGA has been a great partner in working to reduce our carbon footprint. It can be hard to do that in convention spaces,” said Maudlin. “Printing G.A. registration booklets and other materials has been replaced by making the information available on the web. In addition, more participants are registering online. Confirmations, notifications and other information are sent by email.”

Maudlin says the message board feature of PC-Biz also replaces the individual mailboxes for commissioners and advisory delegates.

The convention center has implemented several sustainable practices to help the environment. Its efforts include:

  • Setting up multi-stream containers to collect waste for recycling throughout the event and exhibit hall space
  • Donating items left at the convention center to local charities
  • Collecting and donating surplus food to Operation Food Search and St. Patrick Center
  • Ensuring the use of biodegradable dishes, cups and flatware, as well as reusable china
  • Monitoring lighting, heating and cooling systems 24 hours a day to ensure spaces are air-conditioned and lit only when occupied.

Maudlin says the assembly will also offer shuttle service between the airport and downtown area during peak arrival and departure dates, and attendees are encouraged to use Metrolink or a shared ride service.

“The Green Dining Alliance (GDA) of St. Louis will offer sustainable options committed to helping the community,” she said. “The GDA works with restaurants to reduce the environmental impact through reducing, recycling and composting restaurant waste.”

The GDA operates throughout the St. Louis region. GDA restaurants can be found by clicking here.

“The Giddings-Lovejoy earth care team will also be at the Global Marketplace this year,” Maudlin said. “The team will be there all week to discuss earth care congregation options as well as other St. Louis opportunities that people can connect with.”

The 223rd General Assembly will conclude on Saturday, June 23.

The Presbyterian Hunger Program is made possible by donations to One Great Hour of Sharing.


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