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Become a Net-Zero advocate

Posted: January 2 2024 at 08:26 AM
Author: Richard Alton, NIC Net Zero Team

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The United Methodist interagency commitment to just and equitable net-zero emissions is the most systematic, comprehensive, global emission reduction effort in the  denomination’s history. This commitment, established in 2021, seeks to ensure that the ministries of the present support the flourishing of God’s creation in the future.  

The Northern Illinois Conference established a Net-Zero Task Force to take bold steps and move our congregations to net-zero emissions. Reducing our carbon footprint to net-zero means that we will strive to balance the amount of greenhouse gases we emit with an equivalent amount removed from the atmosphere. This includes energy conservation, renewable energy adoption, waste reduction, and sustainable practices.

As a faith community, Northern Illinois Conference can bring about significant change and each congregation can join in this important endeavor.  

Advocates help churches 

The Net-Zero Task Force invites congregations to name a net-zero advocate (or advocates). The advocates would work with the congregation’s trustees and members to adopt sustainable practices.   

The conference task force will provide advocates with a “List of Sustainable Actions for Congregations to Implement” to begin their work. The first step is to invite a task-force member to lead a presentation on “Leaping to Net-Zero,” which introduces steps a congregation can take.  

The task force will also offer resources and assistance to congregational advocates, including but not limited to webinars; suggestions for forming a Green Team and/or arranging an energy audit; connecting with other congregations making similar efforts; finding ways to help the congregation make the leap to solar, geothermal or other green energy sources; and recommending curricula and presentation materials to support these efforts.   

The congregational advocate will:   

  • Stay in communication with the NIC Net-Zero Team and Net-Zero Advocates from other congregations to share tips, knowledge, and encouragement.  
  • Report to the church and to the conference Net-Zero Team on the congregation’s progress and the amount of energy usage the church reduced and how much money it saved.  

To become a part of the Net Zero Advocate Network, email Richard Alton at

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