Resources for the Washington DC area




Treating the Earth as Sacred





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Get involved with one of these DC area groups!

Chesapeake Climate Action Network

EcoStewards Alliance

Earth Sangha



"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."

These are 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 available.

At a practical level, congregations are beginning to set the example by making their churches environmentally friendly.  The Regeneration Project has an 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 and Madison Christian Community in Madison, WI have installed solar panels on their buildings.

The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) serves the Jewish community as a resource for ideas. They have a program on Greening Synagogues.

Within Buddhism is the idea of engaged Buddhism, that Buddhists should be actively working on social issues. Locally, 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.







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(photo credit TransFair USA)


2002 - 2005 David Walls. All rights reserved.