"How can you buy or
sell the sky?
The land? The idea is
strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of
the water, how you buy them? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people."
the words attributed to Chief Seattle in 1855. Imagine if we all thought
that way. As we have clearly been destroying the environment, it seems we
need a change in thinking or we will just continue what we've been doing.
Catholic theologian Teilhard de Chardin said "the fate of mankind, as well as
religion, depends upon the emergence of a new faith in the future."
The way we need to start
thinking is stated by the beloved Pope John Paul II: "Faced with the
widespread destruction of the environment, people everywhere are coming to
understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in
the past... a new ecological awareness is beginning to emerge which rather
than being downplayed, ought to be encouraged to develop into concrete
programs and initiatives."
The idea that we are responsible
for caring for the Earth is beginning to take hold in religions around the
world. Evangelical Christians are increasingly seeing that we are required to
care for God's creation.
Evangelical Environmental Network
offers guidance and prepared sermons for congregations. Earth Ministry has a
Greening Congregations Handbook
practical level, congregations are beginning to set the example by making
Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) program.
This program helps congregations with things like switching to lower energy
use. Churches like
Christ Episcopal Church in Teaneck, NJ
Community in Madison, WI
have installed solar panels on
The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)
serves the Jewish community as a resource for ideas. They
have a program on
Buddhism is the idea of engaged Buddhism, that Buddhists should be actively
working on social issues.
Earth Sangha reflects the Buddhist
view that we have a responsibility to maintain the environment. At a practical
level, they practice meditation and plant trees to work to restore the area's
former environmental stability.
There is something
incomplete unless we incorporate a reverence for the environment into
our individual and congregational lives. But once we do, that void is
replaced with a sense that we are, finally, on track.
When shopping for tea, please consider
looking for products that are listed as Fair Trade Certified. You
can look for local and online retailers at