St. Max Kolbe Sustainability Council Action and Implementation: What’s in the Works
Hosted Meditative Nature Hikes
Contemplative walks are an invitation to be in the quiet presence of God in nature. Along the way, we pause to savor the words of scripture and of wise saints and mystics who connected with God in the aliveness of creation. Pope Francis invites us all to consider some elements of integral ecology: “Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are a part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it.” (Laudato Si #139)
Keep Our Waters Clean
Salty Waters Harm Aquatic Life
Wise use of road salt and deicers creates a win-win situation that protects our waterways and vegetation, reduces expense, and ensures safe walkways. St. Max Kolbe Parish has been reducing road salt and deicer use over the past two winters. Maintenance and snow removal staff decreased deicer salt by 56% last winter. This year the staff has done additional training on deicer reduction and is implementing new application techniques. These new application guidelines prevent sodium chloride, sand, and other deicers from washing directly into the Crow River while maintaining safe walkways.
Fertilizers Contribute to Unhealthy Waters
One of the most harmful threats to our waterways is high levels of phosphorus. High levels of phosphorus contribute to algae blooms in lakes and reduce available oxygen for aquatic life. Extreme cases of oxygen reduction can cause fish and other aquatic life to die. Phosphorus is one of the main ingredients in lawn fertilizer. The other main ingredient in lawn fertilizer is nitrogen. Nitrogen is also causing water quality problems in Minnesota’s lakes and streams, as well as creating the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, approximately 10% of wells recently tested in Minnesota have unhealthy levels of nitrate, often from fertilizers. St. Max Kolbe parish is working to reduce fertilizer use on the grounds while maintaining a lush, green lawn.
Recycling and Organics
The St. Max Sustainability Council is working with Randy’s Sanitation to develop a recycling and organics program. Randy’s Sanitation Organics Recycling program turns food scraps and food-soiled paper products into nutrient-rich compost in a matter of months.
About 40% of total U.S. energy consumption is used to power residential and commercial buildings, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. The St. Max Sustainability Council is in the process of conducting an energy audit on St. Max Kolbe parish buildings. EnerChange is assisting with the audit and can offer its services at no charge. This nonprofit energy consultant can help save energy and money by advising and helping to implement energy programs for qualifying commercial buildings.