Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Arwen and Iselie Green TeamArwen Spicer and her daughter, Iselie, are the newest members of Kairos Milwaukie United Church of Christ’s Green Team, which has been working toward sustainability for a decade.

Arwen says she participates in the Green Team because of its goals: “We work toward a circular economy – one that’s sustainable for the environment and has minimal waste.” Arwen is a long-time environmental steward; her doctoral dissertation in English was on ecology in utopian science fiction and teaches and writes about workable utopias. Arwen says being on the Green Team allows her to give something back and get to know people better. “I’m also really glad to do this with my daughter,” Arwen stresses.

The Green Team has lively discussions of how they can advocate for a sustainable environment and social justice. They’ve created a healthier church building and grounds, including designing and creating two bee pollinator gardens (thanks to a grant from Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon) and free recycling of Styrofoam and #6 plastics – two of the hardest-to-reclaim materials. On one Sunday, the Green Team took three carloads and two truckloads of recycling to Agilyx in Tigard.

The Green Team also hosts speakers. Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba recently discussed the city’s climate change plan. Iselie, a student at Stephenson Elementary School, wrote a thank you letter to Mayor Gamba from the team. “Being involved with the Green Team is a great opportunity for her,” Arwen says.