First Parish in Framingham

24 Vernon St
Framingham, MA 01701

tel: 508-872-3111

Climate Action March New York City September 2014

Community Garden Solar Panels on Parish House

Climate Action Team


A group of environmentally concerned congregation members are working to lessen the effects of climate change on our planet. The current 400 ppm level of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has not been seen since the middle of the Pliocene epoch 4 million years ago when sea levels were 60 feet higher than today. Severe storms, drought, floods, fires and extremes weather are already occurring on our planet.  The time for action is now!

The Climate Action Team is working in a variety of ways to reduce the environmental impact of First Parish and also educating and involving members to do the same with their individual homes and activities.  Most individuals are also working with the wider community on local and national and environmental issues.  We ask anyone who wishes to protect the environment and address our climate issues to join our group.


    1.      Obtained the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) designation as a Green Sanctuary Church in May 2010.  This was the culmination of a five year effort to audit our campus sustainability practices, develop twelve sustainability goals, and initiate actions to meet these goals. This program is in keeping with the UUA 7th principal of respecting the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

    2.      Under this effort, a campus recycling program was initiated, energy efficient lighting was installed, and other important sustainability practices were adopted.

    3.      Instrumental in the installation of 84 high efficiency solar panels on the roof of our Parish House in April 2013. The panels produce a peak power of 27 Kw and reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from our campus by 375 tons per year.   The panels produce electricity approximately equivalent to the use of electric power by our Parish House and Meeting House.

    4.      Instrumental in the installation of four 97.5 % efficient gas furnaces in our Parish House in August 2014 replacing four 55 year old inefficient furnaces. The anticipated energy savings in gas and electricity is $ 4,000 per year.

    5.      Supported the effort that led to the Town of Framingham becoming designated as a Green Community by the State Energy and Environmental Division.  The Town received a $400,000 grant from the State and is now carrying out actions to meet five designated energy conservation measures.

    6.      Nine members marched in the September 28, 2014 New York City Climate March highlighting the need for tougher international regulations on climate change. 400,000 people from all over the world participated making it the largest climate demonstration to date.

    7.      Held environmental forums, showed films on climate change, made climate change presentations and supported ministerial sermons on sustainability themes.

    8.      Initiated a community garden on First Parish grounds in spring of 2014.  Installed deer fencing, and designated twelve plots. Members enjoyed growing a variety of vegetables.

    9.      Conducted a tour of E.L. Harvey recycling center. 12 members attended.

Current and Future Plans

    1.      Collaborating with 350.MA to support State legislation for a tax on carbon and divestiture of State investment funds from fossil fuel companies.

    2.      Collaborating with Transition Framingham to support their efforts to create a more sustainable community.

    3.      Annually clear Memorial and Nutting trails through the woods behind Parish House.

    4.      Initiate efforts to install energy efficient furnaces in our Meeting House.

    5.      Regularly attend Earth Day activities on the Framingham Green.

    6.      Initiate a 2nd NSTAR lighting audit of our buildings and install additional energy efficient lighting.

    7.      Work with new communities in Framingham to educate them on sustainability practices.

    8.      Continue holding environmental forums, making climate change presentations, and supporting sermons on sustainability.

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Photographs by Damianos Photography