September 15, 2021

Carbon Capture Day Event 2021 at Mooney’s Bay

The changes required to reorient the world toward a sustainable future imply degrees of sacrifice, social integration, selfless action, and unity of purpose rarely achieved in human history. These qualities have reached their highest degree of development through the power of religion. Therefore, the world's religious communities have a major role to play in inspiring these qualities in their members, releasing latent capacities of the human spirit and empowering individuals to act on behalf of the planet, its peoples, and future generations.
— International Bahá’í Community

More than 30 people joined Bahá'í organizers and youth volunteers for Ottawa's fourth annual Carbon Capture Day at Mooney's Bay Wednesday August 25th. Carbon Capture Day is a Bahá'í-inspired initiative founded by Carol Gravelle, a member of the Ottawa Cluster Environment Group whose mandate is to present science-based environmental solutions within the context of Bahá’í values and to encourage people to take action. The event included several speakers who promote expanding the tree canopy, encourage building green roofs in Ottawa, help cities create and maintain greenbelts as well as increasing awareness of our responsibility to be good environmental stewards.

Gathered under the shade of a large willow tree, participants enjoyed international music and listened to short talks about environmental actions being taken by Ottawa faith groups and the University of Ottawa. Monib, a 13-year-old youth who served as honorary MC, was instrumental in introducing the speakers and crowning them for their environmental stewardship. Several families joined the gathering and took active part in environment trivia games in both English and French to win prizes such as plants, which were consistent with Carbon Capture Day’s message of greening up, as well as Bridgehead vouchers.

The University of Ottawa' Sustainability Manager Jonathan Rausseo told the gathering about a student-led initiative to create green roofs on a number of the university's buildings. Rausseo explained how the amount of concrete and asphalt that makes up the university campus in Sandy Hill intensifies heat in the summer and blocks natural water drainage. To counter these effects the university has created six green roofs on top of its buildings which now have grass, trees and flower gardens and are open for students and staff to visit. Some have tables and chairs so visitors can sit and enjoy the greenery.

Hannah Morgan from the local environmental group Greening Sacred Spaces explained how they help faith groups to do energy audits of their churches and meeting places, take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and save money by reducing their energy use. She stated that institutional buildings make up 42% of the carbon footprints of faith groups. At least 45 faith groups in Ottawa – including the Bahá'í community – have taken part in their benchmarking program, which measures energy use over several years and helps determine how to reduce those expenditures. The Ottawa Cluster Environment Group and the manager of the Bahá'í Centre on MacArthur Street have just completed a Greening Sacred Spaces do-it-yourself energy audit, which will include recommendations on how to move towards a zero-emission target for the building.

Lively music sung in many languages by local entertainer Chairman George started and ended this joyful event. Carbon Capture Day will be celebrated at Mooney's Bay in Ottawa again next year in August.

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