I recently learned about GreenFaith.org, Interfaith Partners for the Environment, and found many themes resonating with the content of Cultivating Bridges. In addition to offering environmental statements from multiple denominations, GreenFaith also has useful resources on Stewardship, Spirit, and Justice. Modeling behavior is a powerful form of activism, and the resources on this page, http://greenfaith.org/resource-center/stewardship, show simple steps a religious institution — no matter how big or how small — can take to both improve their bottom line and generate ripple effects as individual members adopt sustainable practices in their own homes and work places. Collective and collaborative organizations are invaluable in spreading the message that small changes when done by many, create a deep, positive impact in strengthening our communities and building bridges towards a more compassionate future.
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The relationship between faith and green is one that confuses me. To my way of understanding, if our planet and all it contains is God’s gift and creation, doesn’t it follow that all of our love, compassion, wisdom, and stewardship should be directed toward nourishing and caring for it? It seems like there is a lot of space to broaden the positive connection between faith, planet, and people. Imagine the power of the faith community harnessed to nourish the planet that was gifted to us.
PS My husband works on lighting retrofits and has helped several local churches (all denominations) change over to energy-efficient lighting in recent months. On top the better light and lower impact, putting long-lasting lamps in those high ceilings and chandeliers is popular with the building maintenance folks.
I would be interested to learn whether embracing environmental stewardship has led to increased enrollment for smaller congregations. Does environmental stewardship and justice resonate more with younger members than older members? This is a great topic and I’m happy to see that GreenFaith.org has taken an interfaith based approach.
You might want to check out Earth Ministry as well: http://earthministry.org/about. I’m a bit biased because I’ve had the pleasure of working with their director before and think she’d be a great person to interview on this topic 🙂 The faith community played a large role this past year in advocating for the transition to a clean energy economy in WA State.