Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

A Pledge to Live More Sustainably

Church Members Commit to Reducing Their Personal Carbon Footprint

George Plumb is pictured on the left along with a helper, Dan Jones, while one of the church members signs the pledge.

By George Plumb

Carbon emissions keep on rising! What we need now is for humanity to change their lifestyles, so that we live more sustainably and less consumptively.

The Unitarian Church of Montpelier is the first church in Vermont to offer its members and friends an opportunity to sign a pledge with major items to reduce their carbon emissions. Approximately thirty people signed the pledge and, as a result, a group is forming to discuss how people are living up to the pledge and further actions that people can take to address climate change.

The pledge states:

Out of “Respect for the Interdependent Web of Existence of Which We Are a Part,” (Unitarian Universalist Seventh Principle), other spiritual groundings, and a deep concern for all life on Earth; I pledge to do all I can to reduce my contribution to global warming and the Sixth Great Extinction

I PLEDGE to do the best I can to live a sustainable and simple lifestyle, to the extent possible, given my financial situation and family support. This includes:

  • Limit the use of petroleum-fueled vehicles and equipment,
  • Drive the most fuel-efficient personal vehicle possible with thoughtful consideration of a hybrid or solar powered car,
  • Use renewable energy to heat and light housing,
  • Insulate housing to the best extent possible,
  • Minimize the size of lawns and the use of lawn chemicals,
  • Maximize use of local food and minimize eating of meat,
  • Minimize purchases in general and non-durable goods in particular,
  • Minimize waste by rethinking, reducing, reusing, and composting as much as possible,
  • Minimize recreational travel, particularly flying on a jet plane or taking a cruise only once every few years if at all or buy carbon credits to offset the effects, and
  • Promote population reduction by replacing myself only once or not at all (if applicable) and supporting my children, grandchildren, and all relatives and friends if they decide to have one or no children.

There are two excellent books about our personal greenhouse gas emissions. One is How Bad Are Bananas?–The Carbon Footprint of Everything written by Mike Berner-Lee in 2010 and published by Greystone Books. The other is The Burning Question-We Can’t Burn Half the World’s Oil, Coal, and Gas. So how do we Quit? It was written by Mike Berner-Lee and Duncan Clark with a foreword by Bill McKibben. It was published in 2013 by Greystone Books.

Of course there are numerous web sites that also detail our carbon-emissions sources.

The pledge was developed by eighty-one year old George Plumb who has witnessed much environmental destruction over the course of his life, been a long-time environmental activist, and has lived up to most of the pledge including having traveled in a jet plane only once in his life for recreational purposes. He has voluntarily delivered the Green Energy Times in Central Vermont for several years in his Nissan Leaf. Dan Jones (see photo) heads up the Net Zero Montpelier organization, Vicky Viens, another member of the church, also helped to develop the pledge.

Other churches and spiritual organizations are encouraged to offer their members and friends a similar opportunity to sign a pledge. For more information, contact George Plumb at 802.883.2313. His email is:

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