Spring Celebration

SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL TO WORSHIP IN THE SPRING


 

Travel sustainably.  Although some people use a sustainable travel mode all the time, we have designed a Spring celebration to highlight the behavior.  Different congregations may put on a celebration individually, but by coordinating our efforts we can show that many of us consider sustainable travel a moral issue that is good for our health, economy and the environment. We encourage congregations in Wisconsin to join us.  The celebration involves a special, optional state-wide friendly competition between congregations to record the highest proportion of all trips to worship that use a car-limited transit mode during a weekend or day in the Spring. Top congregations receive modest acknowledgment (for the last couple years that has been a small plaque). Your involvement can be simple.

Spring is a pleasant time of year and a good time to celebrate Sustainable Travel TO Worship. So choose a day or weekend in the Spring to tally the proportion of congregants who come to worship via a mode of sustainable travel, and join us in the friendly competition. It is friendly in part because no one HAS to compete, and we use the honor system. The goal is to promote the idea that sustainable travel honors Creation, where sustainable travel involves anything other than driving alone such as ride sharing, bicycling, walking or riding the bus.

Different modes may be more reasonable in different settings. In some places where the only reasonable mode is the automobile, it is possible to car pool. Other places have weekend bus service. The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Walks encourage bicycling and walking. It is ironic that otherwise, the very act of coming to worship can have a cumulatively harmful impact on Creation.

Trying to use a sustainable travel mode often highlights the difficulty of doing so since many people find that their bicycles need a tune-up after the winter, many places have inadequate facilities for bicycle parking, and pedestrian access from other than a car parking lot may not exist. Knowledge of good walking or bicycle routes that avoid traffic or hills can be critical. It is important to identify gaps if they are to be filled or circumvented. It is also possible to spend part of an Earth Day or Education Day recognition by sharing walking or bicycle tips, focusing on bicycle maintenance, or finding out more about bicycle parking. Often, your local pedestrian organization or bicycle shop will be happy to assist when asked.

The celebration occurs on one day or weekend in the Spring but which one is determined by the congregation. Some people choose a day or weekend around Earth Day. Others choose a day or weekend directly preceding or following Bike to Work Week. Still others have another day they wish to organize around.  In fact, a congregation can hold the event more than once but needs only report the highest score. That provides some insurance against the possibility that any one day gets rained out or has some other unfavorable attribute.

Hybrids count PARTIALLY. Hybrids are more fuel-efficient than ordinary cars, but still require costly roads and parking facilities. (Car pooling with a hybrid would be ideal.) Neither mopeds nor motorcycles count at all as even the best ones pollute more than an automobile.  Children and adults, visitors and friends all count fully. There is no need to distinguish between people. Carpooling occurs when people who would not normally share rides, share rides anyway.  For instance, family members or neighbors can carpool if instead of a usual two, they use only one car. Car pooling can also be the "norm" if people have already made the conscious choice to share rides.  There is no intention to penalize people who have already adopted a good lifestyle.   It is up to them to say what the situation is.

For more information or to participate, email Susan De Vos at atwfus@tds.net or phone (608) 265-9057 during the day. Participation requires providing the name of your congregation, a contact person, and an email address.  A postal address is required if you wish to receive printed versions of any of the attached documents below.

You can download and print out the attached documents:

  • a possible poster in MS Word here
  • 1/2 page flyer for congregations in PDF here
  • 1/2 page flyer for individuals in PDF here
  • tally instructions in ASCII here
  • tally instructions in RTF format good for MS Word and WordPerfect here
  • a tally sheet in Excel here

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