Climate Action Team, 3/15/2020

Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (BUUF)

Climate Action Team (CAT)

Sunday, March 15, 2020 –

Via Zoom teleconferencing


NOTES (Tom von Alten’s notes)

A. Sign In/Chalice Lighting/Reading/Introductions 

Attendees:  Eileen Geddings, Blanca Gerard, Rob Ham, Bob Huntley, Betsy Johnson, Dennis Rockwood, Sharon Rockwood, Jane Rohling, Scott Smith, Tom van Alten

B.  Plans for April 22 – May 24: “33 days for Earth,” tentative title. Outline of events, with dates all TBD

1. Climate Reality Project  (Originated w/Al Gore) – Ty Benoit is trained presenter

        a.  1:30-2h presentation,
        b.  needs A/V.
        c.  3 potential dates she gave – May 6, 13, 20
        d. Sharon will be contact for this event.

2. Enroads – global climate solutions calculator – presented by CCL Boise Chapter volunteers – “A/V heavy.”  May be difficult to do online (only).
a.  CCL is trying out Zoom too, so we may be able to leverage what they come up with.

        b/  Betsy will be the contact for this event.

        –Tom’s Note:  Lots of resources being discussed in other UU congregations. The UUA Websters list started a detailed tech conversation more than a week ago. One of the most recent items there, regarding events that are or can be mostly (or entirely) “broadcast,” as opposed to interactive, from Larry Stritof, Manager of App Development in the UUA’s Information Technology Services: “Zoom and other video conferencing apps prioritize real time conversations. This comes with a cost usually in the form of poor video quality.

Congregations who don’t need real time interaction should consider live streaming instead (YouTube/Vimeo). You’ll be able to deliver a high quality video and constituents could tune in to watch without installing an app and could easily watch on their TV apps/Roku.</quote>

I watched the Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel’s shabbat service Friday evening, which had Rabbi Dan Fink alone on a fixed camera, talking, chanting, singing, streamed via YouTube. It was perfectly adequate quality on our rock-bottom, 1.5 Mb/s DSL. Zoom either doesn’t work (my win7 desktop, Samsung Galaxy S7) or works minimally (Win10 laptop) on our WiFi. Using the phone and cell network, BUUF’s first service was much lower quality via Zoom, and the musical elements were decidedly sub-par. I did find this CAT meeting worked well enough for me, via cell… and that between those two events (and testing on Saturday), the phone says I used more than 0.6GB. May be a usage issue for me this month, but “we can always buy more.”

3. Movie – Eagle and the Condor – 90 min.

        a.  Viewing at BUUF? That’s what we’re thinking.
b.  Sharon will follow up with UUMFE about possible streaming. They are talking with film producers. 

        c.  BUUF Racial Justice will partner and asks that date not conflict with their scheduled programs – first week of the month.  Their dates are in flux, too. Everything is in flux!
d.  Sharon will be the contact for this event.

4. Orange Bag Program – a Boise City rep giving a 90? min. presentation
a.  Catherine – April 27 or 30 possible dates. (

        b.  Eileen will be the contact for this event. 
c.  Blanca mentioned a recent Idaho Statesman article says this program is “on hold”; Renewology is
waiting for equipment that was supposed to be coming from China.  Maybe that’s less than a whole program then, but as noted, we learn from successes as well as failure.

5. Zero waste Institute
a.  Blanca and Jane attended program at Osher Institute, presenter said she would be happy to talk to an interfaith org. Can get name, etc. Jane noted that she’d do it free, but if we have a budget to
offer, she could use the income of an honorarium.

Tom’s Note: I looked it up in the Osher catalog: Zero Waste: Sustainability, Stuff, and the Quest for a Habitable Tomorrow;data=02%7C01%7C%7C1865726330824c0fad1808d7c9edb9f8%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637199895165885772&amp;sdata=JFEzJrBcEbxj61sUmk%2Bb3iyywoDSL0Tben3nl%2FKhmpQ%3D&amp;reserved=0
  Zero Waste is a movement to promote a sustainable local and global  future through the conscientious utilization of resources. Zero Waste  draws upon science, consumer economics, psychology, and more to  increase awareness of the impact of throw-away consumerism on people and the places where we live and love. This course will promote a  better understanding of the far-reaching environmental and social  consequences of human economic activity, explain how to make informed  consumer choices, and offer achievable strategies to enjoy the  benefits of a lower-impact lifestyle.  Presenters: Jillien Eijckelhof, founder and director,
    Zero Waste Boise Institute, and Dr. Patty Costello, board member,
    Zero Waste Boise Institute and City of Boise Curb It Pro volunteer

b.  Eileen mentions the “clubhouse” in her neighborhood, she could reserve “but no AV.” Not as attractive a general venue to BUUFers, perhaps. Tom suggested a digital projector and a hot spot could meet A/V needs?

        c.  Jane and Blance will be contact for this event.

6.  “33 Tips for the Earth”, daily tips to share. April 22 – May 24.

        a.  Cathy Sandstrom, Scott Smith, Claudia, Dennis have volunteered to look up tips and send to Cathy at

        b.  Related – RE might be involved and Jane will help with contacting Gem Emerson-Paige.  Might get illustrations and tips from kids. 

        c.  Month of May the Sanctuary wall “tree” is going to be reserved for Earth Day ideas.  Jane suggests they could be posted on Facebook, could be included as an album.  Dennis notes that we surely have enough stuff for 33 tips, could be 66, with a series for youth, and one for adults.


        a.  Contact folks are going to try to get dates sorted, proposed, by April 1, (in the realm of radical uncertainty). Send all information to Betsy Johnson

        b.  Proposed “Check in” meeting on April 5 (Sunday).  Time of Zoom call TBD.  Next regular meeting is 3d Sunday, April 19.
B.  Energy Audit of BUUF requested by Rachel Strong – Feb. 27

        a.  Can we use some of those results for personal action items?
b.  Eileen notes that the audit before/after data for the HVAC economizer didn’t show much improvement from it. They were going to look at how that was configured and working.

Tom’s Note – FYI: My background is mechanical engineering, so I’m familiar with HVAC stuff, have worked in the field in a little, back when I did process and manufacturing engineering for HP. I wonder how much of the usage is Sunday services, limiting the size of the opportunity? Our manual economizing (as it were) at home obviates most or all of our need for powered A/C; the Fellowship’s unshaded south wing and multi-person office space has a much higher cooling load of course, but it seems like an economizer would produce a significant and measurable benefit.
c.  Eileen reported that the kitchen will be using more eco-friendly cleaning products; she will be reaching out to Engaging Space Task Force with some results of Energy Audit; Rachel is creating recycling tags for waste containers; Jane will connect with RE about ideas that kids can do;

        d.  Green Santuary Recertification – we need one new project.  Jane mentioned more bird nesting boxes on the property (contact Fish and Game or Audobon).

e.  Scott Smith brought up a rumor that Jay Wex had come up with a deal to install solar panels at no cost to BUUF? That would be news to me! I sent Jay an email asking if he had more info. Turns out that panels were for Jay’s home, not BUUF. But prices and financing have changed. Might be good to check again.

Tom’s note:  An unvoiced observation: Covid-19 is making large-scale changes to industrial society right now as we “Cancel everything” to try to delay the pandemic. It’s almost certainly going to cause a worldwide recession. Reduced travel, etc., is going to significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
  It’s an ill wind that blows no good, eh.
There is an opportunity, perhaps. Society will surely spin up again, we don’t know when, or who all will still be here, but most of us, probably. Can we be thinking about, designing, proposing, nudging more climate-friendly ways forward?)

C.  NOT TO FORGET – other ideas put forward at previous meetings.  Think about ways to incorporate during April 22-May 24 or later.  (never want to lose great ideas!)  Potential Activities for 50th Anniversary of Earth Day 4/22/20 through 5/24/20 includes 5 Sundays and 1 mid-week event each week for a total of 10 events

Plants and Air

Healthful indoor plants

plant trees and native plants

demo pollinator information/beekeeping

raised bed gardening


Eagle and Condor movie (90 min)

Farmers Union Canal/Boise City on water contamination

Water wise plants and landscape design

Soil/Sustainable Agriculture

Dirt to soil (preservation of topsoil)

USDA presenter on current issues in corporate agriculture in Idaho

mining issues


Zero Waster Institute

Boise City Recycling

Reduce single use plastics/extend existing plastic life before recycling (Claudia)

Climate Change

Pizza and Poster party to produce signs for rallies, action events

CCL En-Roads Policy Solutions Simulator workshop (60-90 min)

Letter Writing campaign for specific local issues

Presenter for Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project (Tyra Benoit)

Advent Calendar for Climate Change: could be digital, could include all of our scheduled events

Alternative energy processes: parabolic reflector to concentrate sunlight (Dan), residential solar panels,

Resource table with static display of various issues, brochures, sign-ups etc.


1. These items need to be confirmed and then fleshed out with a potential date, time length, format, speakers (if applicable), venue, target audience, etc. HOMEWORK – contact Betsy with additions or more information.  This will be the major topic of next month’s CAT meeting.

2. We don’t need to be limited to 10 events. We need to identify 10 events for the Earth Day Anniversary time, but we could continue to schedule events through the summer and fall to continue the awareness and interest.

* * *

  1. Scheduling:  Could be day or evening or brown bag lunch to reach different segments of fellowship.
  2. Formats:  Printed materials, bulletin board and resource table, Facebook or other media messages, presentations (CCL, Climate Reality), demonstrations, film screening, music / liturgy
  3. Locations: at BUUF or other venues i.e. Sages (meetings suspended for now) 2nd and 4th Thursday 9:30-11AM gathering, Bown Library in SE Boise, etc.
  4. Audience: CAT team members, BUUF Members and Friends, Community, plan with partner groups.

Next meetings:

April 5 Check In Zoom Call – time TBD.  Use same connection as BUUF Worship that morning.

April 19  at 12:45-2:00 via Zoom teleconferencing. Use same connection as BUUF Worship that morning.