Rev. Roberta Rominger and her Congregational Church on Mercer Island members are passionate about protecting the Earth. It’s a major part of their faith.
“We’re responsible for this beautiful planet we’ve been entrusted with, so we should just do everything humanly possible to preserve it for future generations,” said Rominger as she proudly glanced around at masked-up people gathering for the church’s inaugural Earth Day Fair on April 22.
The three-hour free evening event took place in the church’s parking lot on Island Crest Way and included booths providing environmental information from local environmental groups Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Interfaith Power and Light, Sustainable Mercer Island and more.
At one booth, Girl Scouts in Troop 678 discussed wearing reusable masks versus the disposable kind that are contributing to the world’s water pollution, according to a recent Ocean Conservancy report. In another section of the event, salad grow bags dotted a table and were available to each attendee along with instructions and seeds on how to grow their own salads.
Scout Sofia Loop displayed a type of reusable mask they were teaching people how to make that featured a bandana and two rubber bands.
Another critical message the scouts brought to the forefront was “teaching kids how to reuse, reduce and recycle and the importance of just taking care of our Earth,” Loop said.
Assistant scout master for Troop 678, Andy Zaborski, said they’re embracing the awareness of environmental conservation through recycling, preventing pollution and more.
“Just letting little treasures that we find remain there so that others can also find it. (It’s) just part of leaving no trace — an outdoor ethics code,” he said.
Ellie Gittelman, a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, praised the church for endorsing the group’s preferred policy, which is displayed in a bill in Congress for carbon fee and dividend to help people afford the transition to clean energy, she said.
“Educating people that there is a way to do it that actually is good for the economy,” she said about the bill.
Rominger said the church planned to present an Earth Day Fair last year at this time, but the initial stages of the pandemic prevented them from holding such a gathering.
“Our church has been interested in environmental things for a long time now,” she said, adding that its first big initiative was having Sun Path Electric install solar panels on the church.
Pre-pandemic, the church held monthly community events that featured films, guest speakers and a question-and-answer gathering about recycling. Many people were drawn to those events, and on a sunny April 22, Rominger welcomed them back into the in-person fold for a while to celebrate their surroundings on Earth Day.