Earth Care for Every Day: Interfaith Devotion to Environmental Viability
Apr 01, 2014 04:53PM
● By Lisa Mariene
According to the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, a growing number of interfaith organizations—Interfaith Power & Light, Earth Care, Alliance of Religions and Conservation, Caretakers of God’s Creation and others—are devoting their efforts to environmental causes, including conservation, biodiversity, ecological justice and stewardship.
Pluralism, which embraces diversity and practices tolerance, is based on dialogue and energetically engaging in the seeking of understanding across lines of difference. For example, in 30 states 10,000 congregations have joined the Regeneration Project's Interfaith Power and Light campaign, which the Reverend Canon Sally Bingham, an Episcopal priest, launched in 1998 to help fight global warming. Bingham preaches energy conservation to people of all faiths to deepen their connection between ecology and religion. Member churches commit to educating their parishioners, which serve as examples to other members of their communities.
Locally, churches such as Unity of Fort Myers are repeating what many other faith groups are doing nationally. “We adopted an Earth Care covenant in October,” says Minister Jim Rosemergy, who quotes from the document. “Our consciousness reveals that all of creation is connected as one. As a people of faith, we commit to a renewed reverence for life and respect for the interdependent web of all existence. The Earth blesses us with nourishment, water, minerals, fresh air, fire and beauty. When we remember this, we become mindful in our attitudes and actions. We declare our covenant with God to walk upon the Earth lightly for the greatest good of all creation.” The church also recently conducted an energy audit. “We’ll do whatever we need to comply,” advises Rosemergy.
Reading lists suggesting books—The Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of Science and God, Developing Ecological Consciousness: Paths To A Sustainable World, and numerous others—in addition to published articles, are also an important aspect of education on websites of participating faith groups and organizations. At local centers such as the Anahata Holistic Healing & Spiritual Center, The Lazy Environmentalist, by Josh Dorphin, Paper or Plastic, by Daniel Imhoff, and An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, are regularly available.
Lecturers such as international speaker Christine Driessen, a Christian Science practitioner and teacher and co-author of Harvard University’s Soul of Medicine, travel the U.S. to educate individuals in how a system of prayer-based healing can be used by anyone of any faith for the daily health of one’s self, others and the environment. “In Christian Science, our main focus is on Genesis I, the very beginning of the Bible, which is the foundation of Earth Day,” says Driessen. “God sustains life. You and I can prove this as we see everything from a spiritual basis.”