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Rooted Growing Branching

Solar Panel Fund


Once the church solar panels had paid for themselves, the church decided that any future net revenue from the panels would be put into a fund.  That fund could be used for special projects, typically with a green orientation.  Projects must be applied for by congregants each year, and are approved by the congregation (after initial review by council to ensure completeness and applicability).

Funding Categories

This is a prioritized list of possible purposes for fund projects.

  1. Solar panels long term maintenance including engineering studies and parts replacement. These expenses will have priority.
  2. “Green” projects such as tree planting that improve the environment and that counter global warming.
  3. Energy-saving projects at the church such as more efficient lighting, more insulation, water-saving measures, etc.
  4. Other initiatives in keeping with ESMC’s vision of radical hospitality.
  5. Public events such as guest speakers on the environment or a peace and justice topic.
  6. Congregants can act as applicants/advocates for projects/programs with similar charitable purposes as ESMC.

Current Proposal Summaries for 2023

Trees for Woolwich (T4W)

Two years ago T4W embarked on a multi-year project called the Elmira Nature Reserve, a 67 acre site of degraded land. We wish to support them for a third year, believing that solutions for the climate crisis are not short term. We believe that planting trees is one of the best ways to mitigate against climate change. We have looked into other local tree-planting endeavours and feel that T4W sets a very high bar with its strong community ownership, use of many, many volunteers, and past record.

We plan to organize/encourage an ESMC trip to the Nature Reserve in the summer of 2023.

Trees for Zimbabwe (T4Z)

Score seeks to empower women and men to respond and adapt to the adverse effects of climate  change by engaging in tree planting and promoting a number of  clean energy sources such as

  • solar power for electricity in schools, health clinics and farms;
  • fuel efficient stoves
  • bio-digesters to turn methane gas from animal manure into household gas for cooking or lights

Score addresses gender and energy issues in a holistic fashion, encouraging collective engagement and collaboration.

It is anticipated that through this project, the community will experience

  • Increased access to clean energy for lighting, charging and cooking
  • Increased safety, economic and social empowerment of women as a result of clean energy access
  • Increased awareness of climate change and environmental issues
  • Strengthening of rural women’s voices on climate change mitigation and adaptation

Support of this project will address a number of factors related to climate change and adaptation.

  • Tree planting will achieve decreased soil erosion, shelter for grazing animals, improved soil quality and in some cases, income generation.
  • Solar panels will provide access to clean energy, allow students at boarding schools to study after dark, and allow women to attend health clinics, having better medical outcomes.
  • Fuel-efficient stoves will reduce labour for women and children in gathering firewood, reduce deforestation, promote food security and reduce indoor pollution due to smoke.

Past Projects

This section holds project write-ups and final project reports for 2022 and onwards.  (Earlier project documentation may be incomplete)

2022 Projects:

Trees for Woolwich

We have received an impact report on how our $3000.00 donation (along with other donations) to Trees for Woolwich’s Elmira Nature Reserve was used in 2022.

  • 1905 indigenous trees were planted
  • Over the next 40 years these trees will capture 950 tonnes of carbon
  • Active watering resulted in a 90% survival rate trees
  • 15 acres of invasive trees were cleared and biodiversity increased
  • Overall, all donations were matched by approximately 1800 hours of volunteer time

2022 Annual Report

2021 Projects:

Faith Fedge

This project was initiated in January 2020 during a discussion with several other congregants about the interest in establishing some more pollinator-friendly shrubs and trees along the grass stretch by the retaining wall along Dunbar, adjacent to, but not encroaching the sidewalk right-of-way.

A contact with Divest Waterloo was established and we requested to be part of their Faith Food Forests initiative. Divest Waterloo is a local chapter of Faith and the Common Good, a registered charity based in Toronto, Ontario. Extenuating circumstances during the  year put the project on hold.  It was rekindled in 2021, resulting in a workshop and a Faith Fedge planting in June, one of 8 local projects.

Final Report

Trees for Woolwich

Trees are well known to capture carbon dioxide as well as provide other environmental benefits.  Trees for Woolwich’s 2020 Newsletter provides a powerful example of the long-term benefits of tree planting.

The trees planted in 2020 alone will capture 450 tonnes of carbon dioxide, divert 2.9 million litres
of storm water, and absorb 4.4 tonnes of pollutants from the air over the next 40 years.  If we look
at the 80 year time frame the numbers are exponentially better.  …  Climate Action Waterloo
Region has calculated the carbon output of Woolwich Township operations in 2017 at 1864.7
tonnes/year.  80 years from now this year’s planting alone will have sequestered 86% of the
current annual carbon footprint of the township operations. … We are in this for the long haul …
(and) other carbon reduction strategies are needed, we can’t rely on trees alone.

Trees for Woolwich has been operating since 2011, and is ongoing, with a strong volunteer base.  This was proposed as year 1 of a 2 year sponsorship.

Among the highlights  from their 2020 Annual report is:
– 33,000 trees planted since 2011; 633 in 2020 (reduced number due to Covid restrictions)
– Reforestation project begun on 6 acres of land which will preserve native species, several of
which are becoming extremely rare due to urban development and agricultural pressures
– Tree nursery which raises seedlings for annual plantings
– Seedlings in the classroom to be tended by students (Covid-19 allowing), or by “Foster parents”
– Educating homeowners re: pruning and watering trees

Final Report

Haiti agroforestry

The Haitian people live in dire and abject poverty for the most part.  The land has been almost totally deforested and has essentially become barren and desert like.  With MCC’s partnership these many year witht he Haitian Konbit Reforestation project people, with over one million trees planted, the land in this area has been tranformed back to arable land with flowing streams and lots of birds and animals returning.  This improves living conditions and food security.  They hope to replicate this program elsewhere in Haiti.  The funding was to maintain seven tree nurseries running under local management in the Artibonite region.

Final Report

2020 and earlier Projects:

This was before the current guidelines for the fund.  Funds were used for a variety of things, mostly Peace & Justice oriented, including sending Newcomers to Canada to summer camp.


Applying for Funding

Congregants can apply using the information available in the members section of the website.