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Building Partnerships with the Faith Community: A Resource Guide for Environmental Groups


Building Partnerships with the Faith Community: A Resource Guide for Environmental Groups …

Building Partnerships with the Faith Community: A Resource Guide for Environmental Groups

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  • 1. T H E B I O D I V E R S I T Y P R O J E C TBuilding Partnershipswith the Faith Community:A Resource Guide forEnvironmental GroupsUpdated and expanded versionof the Spirituality Outreach Guide:An Outreach Guide forEnvironmental Groups toFaith-Based OrganizationsThe Biodiversity Project214 N. Henry Street, Suite 201Madison, Wisconsin 53703(608) 250-9876(608) 257-3513
  • 2. T H E B I O D I V E R S I T Y P R O J E C TThe Biodiversity Project is a unique public education strategy project. Wework through informal partnerships of nonprofit organizations, and draw onthe expertise and integrate the perspectives about biodiversity from science,education, ethics, advocacy, and communication groups. After starting as a spe-cial initiative of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity (a grantmaker’s affinity group) in 1995, we made the transition to an independentorganization at the beginning of 2000.Our shared vision is a society that appreciates and celebrates the grand diversi-ty of life on earth in all its richness and life-giving connections. We see a timewhen people view biodiversity as a valued part of their lives and dwell withrespect, harmony, and appreciation for the Earth and all its inhabitants. We seea time when our institutions and cultures reflect a commitment to protecting,restoring, and nourishing the ecological integrity of Earth.Our mission is to advocate for biodiversity through designing and implement-ing innovative communication strategies that build and motivate a broad con-stituency to protect biodiversity.Our work is focused on three strategies:• Develop the strategy and resources to implement an integrated outreachcampaign on biodiversity, working in partnership with many organizationsand institutions.• Develop the strategies and resources to reach new audiences beyond theenvironmental “choir.”• Integrate biodiversity messages into ongoing outreach campaigns in the fieldon issues related to biodiversity.
  • 3. T H E B I O D I V E R S I T Y P R O J E C TBuilding Partnershipswith the Faith Community:A Resource Guide forEnvironmental GroupsUpdated and expanded versionof the Spirituality Outreach Guide:An Outreach Guide forEnvironmental Groups toFaith-Based OrganizationsWritten for The Biodiversity Projectby Suellen Lowry and Rabbi Daniel SwartzRevisions by Marian Farrior and Suellen LowryCoordinator: Marian FarriorCopy Editor: Cassandra CarmichaelResearch Assistant: Beverly Fowler, O.P.The Biodiversity Project214 N. Henry Street, Suite 201Madison, Wisconsin 53703(608) 250-9876(608) 257-3513 faxproject@biodiverse.orgwww.biodiversityproject.orgPrinted on recycled paperMadison, Wisconsin, November 1999Revised May 2001
  • 4. The Biodiversity Suellen Lowry and Rabbi Daniel Swartz, Lead Writers Project wishes to • Suellen Lowry has developed programs of partnership between secular environmentalist thank the following groups and members of religious and other communities, termed Allied Voices programs, individuals and for the Endangered Species Coalition and Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund. She also organizations for their is active with the Christian Environmental Council and the Society of Friendsvaluable contributions (Quakers). Suellen can be reached at (707) 826-1948, this outreach guide: • Rabbi Swartz is the Executive Director for the Children’s Health and Environment Network and can be reached at He was the former head of the Washington, D.C. office of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment and has worked with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Marian Farrior, Coordinator Marian Farrior is a Program Coordinator for The Biodiversity Product and serves on the Biodiversity Education Network steering committee. She can be reached at (608) 250-9876, Cassandra Carmichael, Copy Editor Cassandra Carmichael is the Director of Faith-Based Programs for the Center for the New American Dream ( She can be contacted at Beverly Fowler, O.P., Research Assistant Beverly Fowler is Dominican Sister, an educator, and a former church liturgist. She can be reached at (608) 834-9544. And thanks to our text reviewers and contributors: Peter Bakken, Au Sable Institute Reverend Clare Butterfield, Interreligious Sustainability Project, Center for Neighborhood Technology Brian Cole, The Sabbath Project Elizabeth Dyson and Paul Leistra, North American Coalition for Christianity and Ecology Joe Heimlich, Ohio State University Extension Office Peter Illyn, Target Earth Mark Jacobs, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life Thea Levkovitz, The Wilderness Society and Partnership for Religion and the Environment William Meadows, The Wilderness Society Pat Pearson, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance Carol Saunders, Brookfield Zoo Robert Schildgen, Sierra Magazine Terry Tempest Williams Mary Evelyn Tucker, Forum on World Religions and Ecology Reverend Nancy Wright, Earth Ministry Building Partnerships with the Faith Community: A Resource Guide for Environmental Groups is made possible by a grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation.
  • 5. Table of ContentsPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9I. The Value of Partnerships Between the Environmental and the Religious Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 A. The Religious Presence Has Always Been There . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 B. The Unique Dimension of the Religious Message on Biodiversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 C. Policy Makers Are Inclined to Listen to the Religious Community Voice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 D. The General Public Cares about Religion —And Links Religion with the Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14II. Outreach Approaches and Tone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 A. Services the Environmental Community Can Offer . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 B. Tone in Outreach to Members of the Religious Community . . . . . . 19 C. Finding Religious Community Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24III. Types of Activities for Partnerships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 A. Meeting with Policy Makers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 B. Media Outreach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 C. Long-Term Dialogues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 D. Reaching Others in the Religious Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 E. Place-Based Projects and Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 F. Issue Initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 G. Lifestyle Education Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 H. Theological Explorations and Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38IV. Introduction to Aspects of the U.S. Organized Religious Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 A. Diversity of the U.S. Spiritual Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 B. Profiles of Faith-Based Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
  • 6. V. Theological and Historical Roots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 A. Conservation Within the Jewish Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 B. Conservation Within the Christian Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72VI. Hebrew and Christian Scripture Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75VII. Excerpts from Additional Religious Traditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79Outreach Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 I. Ten Hot Topics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 II. Summary of Some Key “How To” Points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
  • 7. P R E F A C EAbout This Resource GuideThis guide was designed to help environmental leaders open dialogues andbuild bridges with the faith community. Why? Because we believe that thesetwo communities can learn from each other and ultimately strengthen thehuman response to the ecological crises of our modern world.Lasting social change is often the result of a moral imperative, and the religiousinstitutions in our society play a critical role in shaping that which our societyconsiders right and wrong, ethical and unethical.In recent years there has been a wellspring of new activity between the envi-ronmental movement and the faith community, from churchyard habitatprograms to interfaith community working groups. Given the number of newprograms and publications that have flourished in the past few years, weexpect these partnerships to continue to grow in response to environmentalcrises and inner callings. For some, these relationships are a new kind ofactivism, for others, an extension of their practice of a deeply held faith.Respect for biodiversity— a.k.a. the fullness of Creation—is deeply interwoveninto the spiritual texts and practices across many faith traditions. This guideis an effort to share the growing wealth of resources in the field in order tohelp interested individuals and organizations learn from (and build upon) theexperiences of complementary activity.Each of us comes to this dialogue from a different perspective; each bringssomething from our unique experience. Collectively, we are finding newsources of inspiration, affirmation, positive change and an earnest explorationof why we are moved to care for the living Earth and its inhabitants. There isjoy and power in this work, and we wish you well in your endeavors.Jane ElderExecutive Director, The Biodiversity ProjectBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 7
  • 8. I N T R O D U C T I O N A word of clarification about the use of the term “secular environ-Building Partnerships mental groups”: The United States is a deeply and broadlywith the Faith Community: religious nation. In most environmentalA Resource Guide for groups, whether national or local, and whether focusing onEnvironmental Groups biodiversity or addressing a numberIn the following manual, we seek to provide guidance for activists in the secular of environmentalenvironmental community on how to communicate and form partnerships issues, some memberswith colleagues in the religious community. Given the diversity of religious will be committed members of identifiedcommunities in the U.S. and their substantive conservation work, this is not religious communities.and should not be treated as a definitive guide. We hope, however, that it will Others will be deeplyprovide useful background about some portions of the U.S. religious community spiritual, although theyand present helpful suggestions for secular environmental groups. are not presently affili- ated with any particu-We also ask for a generous spirit and tolerance concerning semantics. When lar spiritual tradition.discussing important, complex matters like connections with spiritual motiva- Still others will truly betions and groups, language has its drawbacks. We cannot always use everyone’s “secular,” which alsopreferred term. For example, some people prefer the word “spiritual,” while means civil, worldly,others like the words “religious” or “faith-based.” These words are not com- temporal, or material.pletely interchangeable, but the concepts they represent overlap (please see We call such groupsGlossary for definitions of terms). To address this, we have used all these terms. “secular” not becauseIn addition, for the sake of clarity, we have, at times, used the term “secular,” we mean to imply that their membership isbut this is not meant to imply that individuals who work with secular groups entirely secular butare not also deeply spiritual or religious (please see sidebar on this page). rather to distinguish them from the spiritu-The first four chapters of the Guide cover the “why,” “how,” and “who.” They ally-based organiza-discuss the importance of partnerships between secular and religious conserva- tions and communities,tionists. They include suggestions for tone and perspective as secular environ- environmental andmental organizations work with their faith-based community colleagues, examples otherwise, that areof projects on which they may wish to collaborate, and ways to locate religious the subject of thiscommunity individuals with whom to work. In addition, it provides specific back- guide. We hope thatground about some U.S. religious denominations and organizations, including as “secular” groupscontact and resource information. The last three chapters provide some historical engage in outreachbackground and context. They include brief historical overviews, some Bible to spiritually basedquotes, and quotes from other religions to round out the picture of the immense communities and organizations, they willrichness of the interface between faith and the environment. Throughout this come to realize moreGuide, the focus is on outreach and partnership with Jewish and Christian and more how they tooreligious communities because these faith traditions are dominant in the U.S., are spiritually based.but we hope it will lead to work with other spiritual traditions too. We alsohope this will be a journey of fulfilling experiences and friendships.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 9
  • 9. C H A P T E R O N EI. The Value of Partnerships Between the Environmental andthe Religious CommunityThere are many reasons for people who care about conservation from secularand religious perspectives to work together. In part, these include the naturaloverlap that has always existed between the secular and spiritual environmentalworlds, the importance of the religious voice to policy makers and the generalpublic, and the long history of social action in the religious community. Harvardprofessor Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone: America’s DecliningSocial Capitalism, has noted, “Religious affiliation is by far the most commonassociational membership among Americans. Indeed, by many measuresAmerica continues to be (even more than in Tocqueville’s time) an astonishingly‘churched’ society.”1A. The Religious Presence Has Always Been ThereSpiritual and faith-based reasons to protect the environment have always had a During his thousand-powerful presence in the environmental movement. Reflections on religious mile hike to thereasons to care about conservation have provided inspiration, sustenance, and Gulf of Mexico,joy in the long struggle to protect the earth. John Muir wrote During his thousand-mile hike to the Gulf of Mexico, John Muir wrote about animals heabout animals he encountered as “beautiful in the eyes of God . . . part of God’s encountered asfamily, unfallen, undepraved, and cared for with the same species of tenderness “beautiful in theas is bestowed on angels in heaven or saints on earth.”2 Prior to Muir, Henry eyes of God . . . part of God’s family,David Thoreau called the ancient forests of Mt. Katahdin “a specimen of what unfallen, undepraved,God saw fit to make this world.”3 These and other founders of today’s environ- and cared for withmental movement were motivated and counseled by their own spiritual convic- the same species oftions as they focused on the beauty, awe, and protection of God’s creation. tenderness as is The presence of the religious voice and spiritual motivation for individuals bestowed on angelswho care about conservation and biodiversity go back much farther. Thomas in heaven or saintsAquinas wrote in the thirteenth century: “God brought things into being in on earth.”order that His goodness might be communicated to creatures and be represent-ed by them. And because His goodness could not be adequately represented byone creature alone, He produced many and diverse creatures, that what waswanting to one in the representation of the divine goodness might be suppliedby another—and hence the whole universe together participates in the divinegoodness more perfectly, and represents it better, than any single creature what-ever.”4 For centuries, we have been inspired by the words of St. Francis ofAssisi, as he reminds us to treat animals with kindness: “Not to hurt ourhumble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. Wehave a higher mission—to be of service to them wherever they require it.”5 St.Francis was preceded by St. Hildegard of Bingen, who gives us beautiful imagesfor God’s love of the world: “As the Creator loves His creation, so creationBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 11 Chapter I: Value of Partnerships
  • 10. God is the foundation loves the Creator. Creation, of course, was fashioned to be adorned, to befor everything. gifted with the love of the Creator, and the entire world has been embraced by this kiss.”6 There are many others, including the authors of Sefer Ha-Hinukh, aThis God undertakes,God gives such that seventh century Jewish guide to moral living, who wrote that “God’s desire isnothing that is for the endurance of God’s species . . . for under the watchful care of the Onenecessary for life who lives and endures forever . . . it (every species) will find enduring existenceis lacking. through God.”7 Moreover, long before these spiritual guides were speaking and writing,Now humankind Hebrew and Christian scriptures in the Bible imposed a responsibility uponneeds a body that humans to care for creation. One of the first commandments in the Bible is toat all times honors care for the Garden of Eden, “to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). The Bibleand praises God. teaches that creation belongs to God: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it”This body is supported (Psalm 24:1) and “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land orin every way of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30).through the earth. These Scriptures also note that nature is a place to recognize God: “The God who made the world and everything in it . . . does not live in shrines made byThus the earth glorifies human hands” (Acts 17:24). “For what can be known about God is plain tothe power of God. them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the worldHildegard of Bingen 13 His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly per- ceived in the things that have been made” (see Romans 1: 19-20). In whispers and shouts, the world’s spiritual traditions speak to the impor- tance of conservation. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama writes that “all beings seem beautiful to us, beautiful birds, beautiful beasts,”8 and Buddhist hermits regard “unspoiled nature . . . as the most favourable environment for spiritual progress and true happiness.”9 The Qur’an notes that “The herbs and the trees adore [Him].”10 Hinduism’s foremost ethical principle is Ahimsa, or noninjury: “Ahimsa is not causing pain to any living being at any time through the actions of one’s mind, speech or body.”11 This idea has been a basis of the Chipko Andolan in India, where villagers have stopped destruction of their natural resources by hugging trees to prevent logging. And Navajo teachers counselWhen religious that “We the five-fingered beings are related to the four-legged, the wingedleaders explain that beings, the spiritual beings, Father Sky, Mother Earth, and nature. We are allspecies diversity relatives. We cannot leave our relatives behind.”12should be preservedbecause “God saw B. The Unique Dimensions of the Religious Message on Biodiversityall that God hadmade, and behold it One of the most lasting—and perhaps most significant—contributions thewas very good,” the religious community can make to biodiversity lies in its core teachings: thediscussion moves unique message it can proclaim about biodiversity. This message has sometimesaway from utilitarian transformed not just the particulars but the entire tone of the debate.calculations. For example, when religious leaders explain that species diversity should be preserved because “God saw all that God had made, and behold it was very good,” the discussion moves away from utilitarian calculations. While such considerations have their place, discussing biodiversity purely on utilitarian grounds sometimes leads to debates about the “usefulness” of a given species, which in turn can lead to “loggers vs. owls” conversations.Chapter I: 12 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectValue of Partnerships
  • 11. Similarly, describing the Endangered Species Act as a “Noah’s Ark” helps us Religious leadersunderstand that our relationship with the rest of the natural world is ancient. can help articulateEcology is not some modern fad that will fade away in a few years; it is part visions of society thatof an ancient tradition, a new word that describes very old relationships. provide powerful, More fundamentally, religious leaders can help articulate visions of society persuasive alternatives to the hyper-indi-and government’s role in that society in a manner that reaches well beyond vidualistic, anti-established environmental groups. Whether it is Catholic teachings about the government messagesimportance of the common good, Evangelical writings on how God’s owner- of environmentalship of all takes precedence over “property rights,” Protestant declarations of opponents.solidarity with the least powerful in society, or Jewish traditions about ourcommon responsibility to and for each other, these visions provide powerful,persuasive alternatives to the hyper-individualistic, anti-government messagesof environmental opponents. When we help religious leaders and groupsspread these messages (or sometimes help them realize just how importantand powerful such messages can be), we help build a stronger public com-mitment to biodiversity.C. Policy Makers Are Inclined to Listen to the Religious Community VoiceThe spiritual voice is important to the protection of the environment not onlybecause it is and always has been one of the key rationales for why we careabout conservation. It also is important because the religious communityaffects overall societal values, which in turn impact public policy and the O Lord, How manifoldelection of policy makers. are your works! In the Therefore, when policy makers hear the conservation message from a religious wisdom you haveperspective, they not only are moved by the spiritual tone, but also realize that made them all; thereligious community members have the potential to motivate a larger commu- earth is full of yournity in support of environmental protections. In addition, many policy makers creatures.were taught at an early age to respect religious messages and messengers,inclining them to be receptive to conservation rationales from a spiritual Psalm 104:24standpoint. When policy makers hear a conservation message from a religiouscommunity messenger, a wedge is driven in the stereotype some policy makershave about people who care about the environment, and driving a wedge instereotypes can be the first step in getting someone to listen. This powerfulcombination of religion and conservation makes the spiritual community oneof the most effective advocates for environmental protection. In recent years, the organized religious community’s effectiveness in askingpolicy makers to consider the importance of biodiversity has been witnessed anumber of times: for example, in the mid 1990s, when legislation was intro-duced to rewrite and seriously weaken the Endangered Species Act, and whenattempts were made to extend a rider that placed a moratorium on the listingof endangered species. Christian and Jewish leaders and constituents wroteletters and met with members of Congress expressing concern about theseefforts. The Evangelical Environmental Network held a packed press conference,and the National Council of Churches devoted an Earth Day mailing, whichwent to thousands of congregations, to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 13 Chapter I: Value of Partnerships
  • 12. We must ask our- moratorium on listing was not renewed; and the anti-ESA rewrites have notselves as Americans, been passed. While it is impossible in any complex legislative battle exactly to“Can we really survive pinpoint the items that made the difference, it is instructive to watch the directthe worship of our reactions of members of Congress to various actions. When the religious com-own destructive- munity letters were delivered to the Hill, senators stood up the next day andness?” We do not read them during debate. When a member of Congress asked that pro-ESAexist in isolation. Our religious community letters be inserted in the hearing record of the Housesense of communityand compassionate Resources Committee, Chairman Young, sponsor of an anti-ESA bill, becameintelligence must be flustered and tried to prevent this normally routine action. (This was so unusualextended to all life that the Washington Post wrote a brief story about it.)forms, plants, animals, Similarly, in the years 1999 and 2000, letters to the Clinton-Gore Administrationrocks, rivers, and signed by over 2000 religious community leaders and activists urged adoptionhuman beings. This is of a strong policy to protect roadless areas in national forests. The first suchthe story of our past group letter was instrumental in gaining attention of the White House Chief ofand it will be the story Staff, an important step in the process toward an effective roadless rule. Inof our future. addition, religious community representatives testified at many of the 600 hearings held across the country pertaining to the roadless policy and submittedTerry Tempest letters during public comments periods on the rule. In its last days in office,Williams 14 the Clinton-Gore Administration issued a strong roadless policy. These and other instances are indications that policy makers pay close attention to communications from the religious community.Sixty-seven percent D. The General Public Cares About Religion—And Links Religionof the general public with the Environmentpolled believed thatbiodiversity should In the United States, 40-45 percent of the public consistently reports attendancebe protected because at religious services in any given week.15 According to polling and focus group“nature is God’s cre- data compiled by Lake Sosin Snell and Associates for the Biodiversity Projectation and humans Spirituality Working Group, 95 percent of American voters believe in God.should respect God’s Most of these voters are Protestant and Catholic Christians, with 40 percentwork.” These beliefs identifying themselves as born-again or Evangelical Christians. Also accordingprovide a powerful to this data, people in the United States appear to be fairly evenly divided overmotivation for envi- whether religious and spiritual values should influence politics.16ronmental concern A variety of faith-based beliefs among members of the public provide a pow-and action. erful motivation for environmental concern and action. In a 1996 Biodiversity Poll conducted by the research firm Belden & Russonello, 67 percent of the general public polled said they believed that biodiversity should be protected because “nature is God’s creation and humans should respect God’s work.”17 A recent multinational study “showed that people with more literal beliefs in the Bible tended to have . . . environmental concerns . . . rooted in the effects that this degradation will have for humans.”18 Similarly, polls and focus groups indicate that the most widespread values that underlie attitudes on the environ- ment are the responsibility to save the planet for future generations and the desire to have families live in a healthy, pleasing environment. These values are at least implicitly spiritual. In addition, nature’s explicit connection to God is an important value for many, though some see religion as a private association not concerned with the environment.Chapter I: 14 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectValue of Partnerships
  • 13. Messengers from spiritual communities can influence the public in a more A Prayer forbasic way. Explicitly linking conservation with religion can awaken new interest Awarenessin the environment among some members of the public, as they put the twotogether for the first time. In addition, like policy makers, some members of the Today we know of thegeneral public at times have narrow stereotypes of the kinds of people who energy that moves all things:care about conservation. The presence of religious community spokespersonscan debunk this stereotype, perhaps making these members of the public more The oneness ofreceptive to the conservation message. existence, The diversity and uniqueness of every moment of creation, Every shape and form, The attraction, the alurement, The fascination that all things have for one another, Humbled by our knowledge, Chastened by surprising revelations, With awe and reverence we come before the mystery of life. Rev. Daniel Martin 19Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 15 Chapter I: Value of Partnerships
  • 14. C H A P T E R T W OII. Outreach Approaches and ToneIf you are part of the environmental community, remember that it is entirelyappropriate for you to work with the religious community. Several items,including the spiritual grounding of some of the founders of today’s secularenvironmental movement, show that there always has been a connectionbetween the two—that in many instances there has been a great deal of overlapas people motivated in whole or part by spiritual concerns have helped buildsecular environmental groups.Secular and religious environmentalists can help each other, combining theinspiration and power of the religious voice with the ecological expertise andresources often found in secular groups. This is a significant partnership thatcan make a difference.A. Services the Environmental Community Can OfferWhen approaching religious groups, clearly show what you and others in thesecular environmental community can offer in this relationship—not only In part, secularsolid information about important subjects, but exciting possibilities to make environmentala difference on critical issues. Relate anecdotes about how environmental groups can offeractivities have brought new energy, excitement, and people, especially young the religiouspeople, to other congregations engaged in caring for creation. The more you community:can offer, the more likely it is that religious leaders and groups will want to • Additional excitingwork closely with you. Here are five things that you and others in the secular possibilities toconservation community can offer religious groups: make a difference on critical issues1. Information through outreachYou and others in secular environmental groups can provide substantial, activities;well-documented information that members of the religious community canuse to inform themselves. These data will help faith community conservation • Substantial, well-activists answer questions and defend their own positions in favor of protecting documented, andbiodiversity. You have a great deal of scientific and economic data that show accurate ecologicalthe trends in biodiversity and why biodiversity is important. This information and economicalso demonstrates that conservation in general and the protection of biodiversity information; andare not harmful to the economy and are necessary for long-term economic • Assistance aswell-being. If this information, with footnotes, can be compiled succinctly and religious groupsgiven to spiritual community activists, it can aid their efforts considerably. reach out to policyFor example of ways to impart information, members of Aldersgate United makers and theMethodist Church in Tustin, CA, have sponsored educational programs, media.including a potluck dinner discussion on global warming, facilitated by ascientist from the Union of Concerned Scientist, and an Earth Watch columnis included in the congregation’s newsletter. 20Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 17 Chapter II: Outreach Approaches and Tone
  • 15. 2. Assistance and Staffing You and others in environmental groups can offer to assist religious community members when they decide to take action. For example, if faith community individuals have a message to deliver to policy makers, you can help arrange the meeting with policy makers, gather ecological and economic information useful for the meeting, and perhaps attend in partnership with the religious community persons. Similarly, if religious community activists wish to do out- reach to other members of their congregation, you can help compile fact sheets that may be useful and even help find speakers if appropriate. Essentially, you are helping to staff the activities of your religious partners. 3. Trainings When appropriate, you and others in secular environmental organizations can provide, or help with, a variety of activism trainings for religious groups, such as media and message trainings, and information about the legislative process. Or the trainings can be on ecological activities, such as habitat restoration, community gardening, energy audits, green buildings, watershed assessments, simple living, etcetera. Allied Voices has conducted trainings for the Endangered Species Coalition on how to partner with religious conservation activists on biodiversity issues; for more information about these trainings, contact Suellen Lowry at (707) 826-1948, or 4. Education You and other secular environmentalists can offer your substantial ecological and economic information for use in religious community educational settings. Don’t underestimate the value of helping to provide interesting topics for sermons or religious school classes. If you have readily available materials that focus on the ecological and economic reasons to care about conservation, religious institutions (from seminaries and religious colleges to pre-K-12 schools, camps, and day care centers) may be willing to integrate environmental education into their curriculum. This ecological and economic information can be coupled with spiritual information, such as Bible study guides, to create a fully rounded curriculum. For example, Holladay United Church of Christ, Holladay, UT, engages creative worship services to draw attention to issues such as biodiversity. An Earth Day service features a congregation elder playing the role of St. Francis, while animals from the local zoo receive blessings in the sanctuary; prayers and Bible verses focus on the interdependence of all life. Children are introduced to injured local creatures, brought in by the Utah Wildlife Rehabilitation Association, and learn about their lifestyles and healing processes. Ongoing education and systematic attention to energy consumption round out Holladay’s environmental programs.21 5. Church and State Guidelines Tax status and church/state issues are often raised by religious leaders who are relatively new to social justice activism. Many denominations publish very clear guidelines on activism, tax status, and church/state concerns for their congrega-Chapter II: 18 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectOutreach Approachesand Tone
  • 16. tions. Though you should not give legal advice to religious groups, you andother secular environmentalists can point out that speaking on environmentalissues in no way threatens the tax status of religious groups. The main activityreligious leaders must avoid is the endorsement of candidates for politicaloffice. Similarly, as long as they do not try to establish a religious test for apolitical office, speaking about how their religious values relate to modernpolicy questions does not intrude on church/state separation. The organization Tone in outreach:Americans United for Separation of Church and State has a succinct guideabout religious groups, political activity, and the IRS. You can view it at • Keep in mind the spiritual pres- ence has alwaysB. Tone in Outreach to Members of the Religious Community been part of the larger conservationAs you reach out to your colleagues in the religious community, it is important keep a few key facts and principles in mind, some of which also apply toother types of organizing, and some that pertain to the religious community • When makingonly. And it is important to avoid mistakes that have at times needlessly separated choices aboutthe two worlds. outreach efforts, make those that will strengthen the1. Sincere Respect for Potential Religious Community Partners relationship, and ifa. It is crucial that you and other people with secular environmental groups necessary, chooseremember that you do not own environmentalism, and that the spiritual presence maintaining posi-has always been part of the larger conservation movement. It is inaccurate and tive relationshipsinsulting to treat religious community members as if they are new to caring completing short-about conservation or are somehow “non-traditional” voices in the conservation term “We’re so glad you’re [finally] getting involved” is a misguided statement.“We’re so glad to be partnering together more” is great. • Treat every individ- ual as a VIP.b. Make choices that will strengthen your relationship with the religiouscommunity. Choose maintaining positive relationships over completing short- • Avoid discussionsterm tasks, if necessary. This guiding principle is instrumental to building a that compare values of humanspartnership with members of the religious community. In the long run, this versus flora andnetwork must exist for the environmental movement to prevail. The key is fauna.finding many people with whom to partner in your work to protect the earth;and no single action is worth jeopardizing these relationships. Therefore, always • Have a sincerethink long term, taking the time to build lasting partnerships and dialogue. respect for religiousOnce these partnerships are built, do not jeopardize them. beliefs and people motivated by them.c. Approach everyone as a potential, highly-regarded partner, not as someonewho’s just useful. It works best to treat every individual in the religious com- • Be careful not tomunity as a VIP, as indeed they all are. In addition, since partnerships are a write off peopletwo-way street, be open to learning from and listening to your religious coun- because of religious,terparts. Ask experts from the religious community sincerely for their opinions class, or educationand guidance. Also, if you are approaching someone in the religious community differences.about engaging in a particular project, take time to explain the context orgenesis of this project, while being open to guidance.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 19 Chapter II: Outreach Approaches and Tone
  • 17. d. Religious community members may be wary about you and others from secular environmental groups because they are concerned that you privately “look down on” or denigrate religious beliefs. Avoid discussions about com- paring the values of humans versus plants, animals, etc. Conservationists from secular organizations who work with faith communities must have a sincere respect for a wide array of religious beliefs and the people who are motivated by them. Be careful not to write off people because of religious, class, or education differences. 2. Some Internal Concerns of Clergy and Lay Members a. Religious community members are busy on a great variety of issues. Clergy typically deal with the needs of congregants, a more than full-time job by itself, as well as manage buildings, direct schools, lead services, and then try to carveInternal concerns: out time to work on a wide array of social justice concerns, one of which might be conservation. No church or synagogue focuses entirely on environ-• Be scrupulous mental issues, and it is the rare clergy person who has been told by congregants about respecting that they joined that church or synagogue because of its environmental work. the time constraints The clergy person or lay activist may not have previously given much thought of your spiritual to environmental concerns, especially biodiversity. In addition, religious com- partners. munity conservation activists often try to make a difference on a multitude of environmental issues, so they are spread very thin.• Think about people’s personal Therefore, be scrupulous about respecting the time constraints of your and broader needs. religious partners. Don’t overwhelm them initially either with reams of back- ground information or with huge demands on their time. Approach them• Understand the about time-limited, specific tasks that really make a difference, and don’t ask current pressures them to drop everything for time-consuming involvement in a last-minute with which congre- effort. Once you have successfully worked together, you may be able to move gational leaders are on to more complicated aspects of biodiversity and/or more long-term, time- coping, including intensive projects. Along these same lines, you can perform a substantial service diminishing numbers for your spiritual community partners by gathering accurate ecological and other in some cases. background information for them and offering to help in other appropriate ways.• Show the diversity b. In working with individuals, think about their personal and broader needs. of your leadership Help people involved in projects get to know each other, not just show up for to religious activists. an event. Use tactics that appeal to public stature, such as arranging face-to- face meetings with members of Congress and other policy makers. Also, in some spiritual communities, there is a great deal of interest in interfaith and interracial efforts. If your activity offers this, it is a big attraction. Finally, understand that the faith community individuals with whom you are working may have ongoing relationships with the labor and business communities. c. It is important to understand the current pressures with which clergy and congregational leaders are coping. Some denominations are dealing with dimin- ishing numbers and congregations seceding from the national denomination due to theological and policy differences. Furthermore, in some places there is a movement among individuals to discourage dollars from congregations goingChapter II: 20 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectOutreach Approachesand Tone
  • 18. to the national denominational structure, because they view the national How to engagestructures as too progressive. in dialogue:d. Many spiritual communities have long-standing commitments to diversity • Step back and askin their own leadership, reflecting the great diversity within their pews. Such yourself, “What would I be thinkinggroups are particularly sensitive to criticisms of the environmental movement if I had never beforeas an elitist concern held by upper-class white males. Be sure to show the considered doingdiversity of your leadership to religious activists—and if your group and its anything pertainingleadership are not diverse, you might think about asking for help from religious to biodiversityleaders to increase your diversity. issues?”3. Communication—How to Engage in Dialogue • Make sure the tonea. When you call or meet with someone in the religious community for the first is not, “you’d betime, step back and ask yourself, “What would I be thinking if I had never useful to me,” butbefore considered doing anything pertaining to biodiversity issues?” or “What “maybe we canwould I be thinking if I had never before seriously considered working with a partner on this tosecular environmental group on biodiversity issues?” accomplish some- People work together best when they have established personal connection thing.”and understanding. Therefore, share a little about yourself—who you are, why • Avoid strident-you care, and what sustains you. If you are calling about a particular project, sounding a little about its genesis and why it makes sense to spend time on it. Do not “put down” Make sure the tone is not, “you’d be useful to me,” but “maybe we can your opponents aspartner on this to accomplish something we both care about.” people. In the first few seconds of the call, ask if the person has time to talk. If not,schedule another time to call. • Reach out to lay members of theb. When you work with religious community members, avoid strident-sounding religious communitytones. Unfortunately, like the spiritual community, the secular conservation as well as labors under stereotypes at times, and one of these is that thesecular environmental movement is “wild eyed” and too radical. Stridentsounding tones, while necessary and appropriate in some places, can be troublingto people who may be considering a partnership with their secular groupcolleagues. Even words like “attack” can be troublesome—so, for example, it’soften better to say members of Congress are “seriously undermining” environ-mental protections, rather than “attacking” the protections. After drafting a letter,action alert, fact sheet, and so on, that will be shared with faith communityindividuals, read it one last time for any words that they may perceive as beinga little sharp, and change them; the power of the piece will not be diminished,and it will be accepted much more readily if it is worded carefully.c. Deliver your message without appearing to be “putting down” your opponentsas people, and avoid criticism of individuals who are not taking pro-conservationstands. Especially in the present political climate, it is easy to fall into habits ofdemonizing one’s political opponents. Direct your passion for biodiversity atthe issue itself and not at the person who may stand in the way of environ-mental goals. Some spiritual traditions believe “that of God” is in all persons;Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 21 Chapter II: Outreach Approaches and Tone
  • 19. many are guided by various versions of the admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves. In addition, in a given congregation, one may find business leaders as well as environmentalists, property rights activists as well as biodiversity activists. If religious leaders feel that they can’t speak about environmental issues without directly attacking members of their own congregation, they may avoid the subject altogether. Give spiritual leaders the tools they need to express concern about environ- mental issues without ignoring legitimate questions about the consequences of environmental regulations. Once trust has been established, religious leaders may help bring other sectors to the table ready to work with the conservation community. In other cases, a trusting relationship may enable a religious leader to condemn practices by congregants that need condemning. d. Do not seek to communicate only with clergy. Influential religious community activists on conservation issues are often lay members of their spiritual affilia- tion. Clergy are ordained persons within a religious group, such as ministers or rabbis; lay persons are the non-clergy, non-ordained individuals. Lay persons can have quite senior roles in their denominations. 4. Communication—What to Talk About and Avoid Discussing a. In reaching out to members of the religious community, make a connection with issues on which the individuals are already working. Many clergy and religious community activists have worked for years on social justice issues. In the 1960s, many sectors of the religious community focused a great deal of energy on desegregation and racial justice, the War on Poverty, and Vietnam. Faith communities began focusing more on current environmental public policies in the 1970s, and this involvement has been growing. But the struggle for justice in other important areas goes on and needs to be respected. Make connections between social justice and biodiversity wherever possible. Make the connection between the needs of poor people and conservation. For example, legislation about cleaning up brown fields connects the issues of toxics, poverty, jobs, and ecological health of a community. Community gardens address concerns about food equity and access to fresh produce, employment opportunities for low-income neighborhoods, and green space in inner cities. Almost all denominations have national, regional, or local newspapers or newsletters (e.g., most Episcopal and Catholic dioceses have newspapers). Get copies of a few for a feeling about current issues important to them. Also, denominations and some congregations now have web pages, which contain a great deal of information; the web pages usually can be found by doing a search using the denomination’s name (see also the Profiles of Faith-Based Organizations section). In addition, most newspapers have religious pages that appear every Saturday; begin reading these pages. b. There is an image that environmentalists care about trees and critters but not people; when you talk with faith community individuals, use your message to dispel this misconception. While not couching everything in utilitarian terms,Chapter II: 22 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectOutreach Approachesand Tone
  • 20. explain how conservation is important to people, especially making clear What to say:how poor and oppressed people are affected by the environment aroundthem. Make both arguments: biodiversity is important because it supports • Make a connectionand sustains people (through ecosystem services); and biodiversity is important with issues onbecause species are inherently valuable as part of God’s creation. Biodiversity which individuals already are working,helps humanity understand ourselves better in a broader context, and can showing the rela-nurture our values. In other words, biodiversity is important to today’s families tionship betweenand future generations, and biodiversity should be protected because nature is biodiversity andGod’s handiwork. social justice.c. Many in the religious community consider conservation a justice issue, • Emphasize thebecause it is just to protect all of creation and because safeguarding the envi- many reasonsronment is key to economic justice for workers and families throughout the biodiversity isworld. In much of the religious community, the term “environmental justice” important,pertains to all conservation, justice for all of God’s creation; it does not pertain including species’only to environmental racism. The term “eco-justice” was coined in the mid- inherent value1970s, based on looking at the intersection of ecological and economic issues and biodiversity’sand working on them together. importance to people.d. Make sure your message sticks to the topic of conservation; just because you • Limit your messageand an individual agree on conservation does not mean you will agree on other to conservationissues. When talking about the position stands of members of Congress, for issues only; justexample, it is sometimes easy to begin praising or criticizing them for their because you and anpositions on non-environmental issues. Unless you have developed a true friend- individual agree onship with the religious community members, you are on dangerous ground conservation doesbecause you cannot assume they will be comfortable with your opinions on not mean you willthese other issues. Usually the faith community individuals are gracious enough agree on otherto ignore these tangential comments, but you can’t count on this generosity. issues.e. Stress that the involvement of a spiritual voice in conservation issues often • Stress that themakes a big difference. Use examples and anecdotes. involvement of the spiritual voice often makes a bigf. When you approach religious groups, be sure you don’t bring more than agenda with you. Resist the urge to discuss your own religious issues—anything from questions about God to old baggage from a mean religiousschoolteacher. While at least some of these questions might be appropriateonce a trusting relationship is built, they often can block the building of thatrelationship if they become too prominent too early on, especially when theytake on negative tones, denouncing religion as patriarchy or the like.Approach religious groups with an open mind, a significant commitment tolistening, and only one item on the agenda—building a working relationshipon environmental concerns.g. Do not invoke scripture or theology unless you have a theological backgroundor you are speaking from your own personal experience and religious tradition.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 23 Chapter II: Outreach Approaches and Tone
  • 21. h. You may run across an argument either (as sometimes raised by secular envi- ronmentalists) blaming religious communities for environmental destruction or (as sometimes raised by members of some religious communities) denigrating environmental concerns, based on their interpretation of Genesis 1:28: “And God blessed them and God said to them, ‘be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’” This is not as hard to respond to as it might first appear. Christian environmentalists often point out that their “dominion” is sup- posed to be modeled after the dominion of Jesus, who came to serve those over whom He had dominion and for whom He gave His very life. So we, according to this view, should serve the rest of the planet, giving from our lives to ensure its health. Jewish environmentalists point to the traditional Jewish understand- ing of this passage, which notes that Adam and Eve, for example, are not allowed to eat meat and are, just a few sentences later (Genesis 2:15) com- manded to serve and protect the earth. Thus, according to this tradition, “dominion” is not to be understood as domination. Rather it is a recognition that humans do indeed have the power to greatly affect the world aroundThere’s a temptation them—and that therefore careful, caring stewardship is even more want to geteveryone on board. i. Be aware that some people and organizations are critical of the partnershipInstead, spend your between religious and environmental groups. To learn more about some ofenergy where it ismost fruitful, finding these organizations and their positions, see the following websites: Actiona few who are Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty at; Interfaithalready inclined to Council for Environmental Stewardship at; and Nationalpartner with you. Center for Policy Analysis at 5. Work with Individuals, One Step at a Time Don’t get discouraged. At times, it may take days to find one person in the religious community who will work with you, but you will find someone, and then the activity of that one individual will make a difference. There’s a temptation to want to get everyone on board. Instead, spend your energy where it is most fruitful, finding a few who are already inclined to partner with you. Then, when appropriate, see if these people in the religious community can give you guidance and help in recruiting others. For example, once you have a good working relationship with one member of the clergy, he or she can be extremely useful in making contacts with other area clergy, as clergy are often more responsive to calls from colleagues than from secular groups. C. Finding Religious Community Partners 1. Religious Community Partners within Secular Groups Many members of environmental organizations also are active in faith com- munities. They are quite capable of, and may be interested in, speaking from a religious perspective to policy makers and the media. They just need to be asked. Therefore, think about your membership, perhaps even conduct anChapter II: 24 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectOutreach Approachesand Tone
  • 22. informal survey, to determine if any of your members would be interested in Learn about thebeing active from their spiritual perspective. One of the advantages of finding issues important toan existing religious community voice within your organization is that these denominations andindividuals already are comfortable with you and your focus. In addition, your other religiousown religious community members can be helpful in reaching out to others in groups through the following:the faith community. Similarly, if you or others in your organization are active in your own faith • Religious com-community, this also can be a great source of additional religious conservation munity magazines,voices and activities. You can work within your own congregation, by starting newspapers, anda study group, a church property habitat restoration project, an energy audit or newsletters;green building survey, and so on. An excellent resource for how to get startedin your own congregation is Earth Ministry’s Creation Awareness and Care in • Denominational orYour Congregation, available through; the website Web organizational webof Creation also has great ideas and resources at pages; and2. Finding People Within Denominations and Organizations • Reading theMost denomination have a structure with national and regional offices. To find Saturday religiousa partner in the religious community, it is often best to call the denomination’s page in city news-local or regional office (e.g., the synod, conference, diocese, or presbytery papers.offices, which are all based on geographic divisions). See the Profiles of Faith-Based Organizations section for more information. You can take one or more of the following steps to find these denominationalregional or local offices:a. Call any local individual church within the denomination on which you arefocusing. Look in the phone book yellow pages under “churches” to locate thenames and phone numbers of individual churches. When you call, ask thechurch receptionist for the phone number of the denomination’s local orregional administrative office. (It helps to use the specific name for the type ofadministrative office, such as synod, presbytery, or diocese office.)b. Check the phone book for major cities in your area, or call directory assis-tance for these cities. Look both in the business pages and under “churches” inthe yellow pages.c. Look up the denomination on the web (see Profiles of Faith-BasedOrganizations for some website addresses). Denominational websites some-times include phone numbers for regional offices within the denomination;they also have a wealth of additional information. If you don’t have a specificweb address, search using the denominational or organizational name. Goodwebsites to search are also the: • Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life,; • Evangelical Environmental Network,; • Forum on Religion and Ecology,; • National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Eco-Justice Working Group,;Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 25 Chapter II: Outreach Approaches and Tone
  • 23. Find religious • National Religious Partnership for the Environment,;community partners: • U.S. Catholic Conference Environmental Justice Program,; and• Within your own • Web of Creation, organization;• Through checking Once you have located a denomination’s regional office, consider taking the the yellow pages of following steps: the phone book; a. Explain to the staff person in the denominational office who you are and• Through web why you are looking for someone in the denomination. searches (A good place to start is the b. Ask if the regional office staff person can give you names and phone num- Web of Creation bers of clergy or lay members in the denomination who have an interest in website at www.webofcre- environmental justice, eco-justice, earth stewardship, earthkeeping, or “caring, the for creation” issues. Religious community activists who are not clergy can be National Religious quite effective, so don’t ask just for clergy names. Partnership for the Environment c. If the staff people in the denomination’s regional office do not have names website at of people interested in conservation, ask if the denomination has a local or, regional social justice committee and if you can have the names and phone or the National numbers of this committee’s leaders. There also are some national conservation Council of offices within the religious community you may wish to call; they are mentioned Churches in the overview of specific denominations. website at; 3. Denomination-Related Schools• Through calling Denominations also have affiliations with various colleges, universities, and denominational seminaries (as well as elementary and secondary schools for many denomina- regional offices; tions). Religion department and science department professors and students at such institutions can be great activists. You also can find faith community• In social justice people in religious studies departments at secular colleges and universities. You and conservation probably are aware of colleges with religious affiliations in your area. You may groups within denominations; find other such colleges by researching denominations on the web or asking a denomination’s regional office. Also see the Web of Creation website at• At colleges and universities affiliated with 4. Conservation and Social Justice Organizations within Denominations denominations; In the 1980s and 1990s, several groups that focus on environmental issues,• Through interfaith often expressed as “caring for God’s creation,” formed within denominations and ecumenical and religious communities (e.g., Presbyterians for Restoring Creation, groups. Environmental Justice Coordinators within the United Methodist Church, and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life). In addition, for many years there have been denominational groups that work on social justice issues; these tend to have experience in public policy advocacy. Individuals in denominational local/regional offices may know about leaders and activists in these groups who could have an interest in working with you.Chapter II: 26 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectOutreach Approachesand Tone
  • 24. Ask for names of people who are active with the denomination’s environmental The greatest beauty isjustice/stewardship and social justice organizations. organic wholeness, the wholeness of life5. Ecumenical and Interfaith Groups and thing, the divineMost communities have ecumenical and interfaith groups, and many commu- beauty of the universe. Love that, not mannities have groups of clergy who get together regularly. Once you are working apart from that.with individual members of the religious community, ask about these ecumenicaland interfaith groups and the possibility of connecting with them. The Robinson Jeffers22National Council of Churches at is a good website to checkfor interfaith initiatives on a national scale. Among our shared beliefs are an intrinsic value of nature, a respect for all life and a commitment to inter- generational obliga- tions. We strive for a healthy environment and understand the global connectedness and interrelatedness of healthy natural and healthy human com- munities. We believe in the power of knowl- edge and information to change the world and in democratic governance, guided by the principles of jus- tice, fairness and mutual respect. We are motivated by a love of place and the beauty of the natural world. From the Green Group Mission StatementBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 27 Chapter II: Outreach Approaches and Tone
  • 25. C H A P T E R T H R E EIII. Types of Activities for PartnershipsThe partnership between secular and faith community environmentalists can When you contacttake many valuable, varied forms, depending on the situation. The following religious communitydiscusses just a few such activities that are taking place throughout the U.S. individuals about attending meetingsA. Meeting with Policy Makers with policy makers, you are offeringAs noted above, policy makers are often disposed to listen to the spiritual com- to partner with religious communitymunity voice. Such communication is most effective when it occurs in a face-to- individuals on aface meeting with the policy maker. No matter how technologically sophisticat- relatively risk-free,ed we become, nothing replaces direct conversations, especially when the topic time-limited task.concerns spiritual matters. When you contact individuals in the religious community about attending It is a good ideameetings with policy makers, you are offering to partner on a relatively risk- to end the meetingfree, time-limited task. It is relatively risk free because these are private, small between policymeetings not held in the public eye, and time limited because the initial project makers, environ-only involves reading a little background information and attending one local mental, and religiousmeeting. members with It should be clear that the faith community meeting participants are only suggestions forbeing asked to share their existing areas of expertise at the meeting. how to continueFurthermore, they do not have to be theologians to speak out; their personal the dialogue.message about why they care from a spiritual standpoint is powerful. All these factors, plus genuine excitement over the possibility of influencingpolicy makers, often result in religious community individuals generouslyagreeing to attend such meetings. When religious com- You and others in secular environmental groups can facilitate policy maker munity individualsmeetings by doing the time-consuming, non-glamorous work of communicating meet with theirwith policy makers to schedule the meetings. In addition, you can provide policy makers, youpeople attending the meetings with useful ecological and economic background and others in secularinformation. It can be very helpful for environmentalists familiar with public environmentalpolicy to attend these meetings, to provide policy information, and to answer groups can providequestions. Once you have worked on one policy-maker meeting together, a a number of crucialrelationship between you and a religious community individual often has been services. Forformed, and other activities may flow from this. example, you can help schedule Such meetings can also begin or deepen relationships between policy makers meetings, provideand people from their local spiritual community who care about conservation. ecological andThus, it is a good idea to end the meeting with suggestions for how to continue economic back-the dialogue. For example, invite the policy maker to attend a coffee at a local ground informationcongregation, visit a local green area being protected by a religious group, and and policy analyses,so on. and perhaps attend An Allied Voices project conducted under the auspices of Earthjustice Legal the meetings.Defense Fund is an example of meetings taking place between policy makers,Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 29 Chapter III: Types of Activities
  • 26. faith-based members, scientists, and environmental policy experts. Since the spring of 1997, Allied Voices has facilitated over 130 meetings between members of Congress and two or three constituents from their religious, scientific, and secular environmental communities. These meetings occurred in the congressional home state and district offices. In several places, people have reported having very powerful and successful meetings. Since the mid-1990s, Allied Voices has also initiated partnership projects between religious organi- zations and the Endangered Species Coalition. For more information about how these programs were developed, contact Suellen Lowry, (707) 826-1948, B. Media Outreach 1. Be Careful Media events can be excellent tools to communicate the spiritual reasons for caring about the environment. However, be careful when encouraging religious conservationists to use the media. By their very nature, media activities are notBe careful whenencouraging religious private. There have been instances of religious community individuals beingconservationists to targeted for criticism when they’ve taken a pro-conservation public media work. Also, reporters can be a cynical, tough audience. Therefore, never push reli-By their very nature, gious community individuals to be media spokespersons unless they are quitemedia activities are comfortable with this role.not private. 2. Specific Media ActivitiesAlmost all religious Religious community environmentalists who are comfortable speaking to thecommunities have media can pursue a number of activities, such as write letters to the editor andpublications, oftenat the regional join op ed campaigns, or sponsor an event or conference, such as Earth Day.or national levels, You can help by researching newspapers’ requirements for letters to the editorwhich may be or op eds (e.g., recommended length, fax number of journalist to whom thewilling to publish item should be sent, other information the paper may require, and whether it’sarticles. necessary to do a follow-up call to an op ed page editor). You can also help gather background information, collect sample drafts of letters, or help organize and staff an event. When considering the types of media professionals to contact with a reli- gious community message, don’t neglect religious page reporters, editors, and columnists. For most newspapers, the religious page is published on Saturdays. 3. Religious Community Publications Almost all religious communities have publications, often at the regional and national levels. These publications may be willing to publish articles and op eds or columns written by people who care about conservation from a spiritual standpoint. Once you have a relationship with religious community members who care about conservation, you may wish to ask them about this possibility. Again, you may be able to help by gathering background information for articles. Also, sometimes a meeting with a policy maker can be enough of a story for publication in local and regional religious media, especially if a pictureChapter III: 30 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectTypes of Activities
  • 27. is taken; of course, all this must be cleared ahead of time with everyone Religious communityinvolved. members who are communicating with4. Influencing Messages the Religious Community May Deliver policy makers or theReligious community members who are communicating with policy makers or media should only be asked to speakthe media should only be asked to speak from their own areas of expertise. The from their ownspiritual message is deep, complicated, and powerful. It is fully sufficient to areas of expertise.stand by itself as a statement about the importance of conservation. It is alsosufficient rationale for the support of strong public policies that protect the Do not tell religiousearth. Unless they wish to do so, religious community members should not be community indi-asked to deliver policy analyses. Also, individuals speaking from a religious viduals what theirperspective almost always will be speaking as individuals, not for their faith religious communitytradition as a whole. However, it may be helpful for them to share resolutions message shouldand other statements formulated by their denominations’ governing bodies and contain.leaders. Do not tell religious community members what their religious communitymessage should contain. You can, however, talk about times you have wit-nessed a spiritual message being delivered to policy makers and the media,and how you perceive the message was received. In addition, you can assuremembers of the religious community that they do not have to be theologiansto speak out; their personal message about why they care from a spiritualstandpoint is powerful and has the potential to motivate others. Some members of the general public see religion as a private association thatis not concerned with the environment, and they may be alienated by a mediamessage with a religious focus. Be sensitive to the fact that understanding theaudience for spiritual messages about conservation is important.C. Long-Term DialoguesWhen you facilitate conversations and dialogue between your environmentalgroup and religious groups, you help develop an understanding of each other’sperspectives and concerns. Such understanding also meets personal needs as Long-term conver-people gain friends and acquaintances through their work and mission. They sations lead to analso meet personal needs as people gain friends and acquaintances through their understanding of eachwork and mission. Many times these dialogues develop into projects and events. other’s perspectives A great resource to get the dialogue started is the Union of Concerned and concerns. InScientists’ video and discussion guide Keeping the Earth: Religious and Scientific addition, they meetPerspectives on the Environment. It is available through Union of Concerned personal needs forScientists, (617) 547-5552, Another way to initiate dialogue is connecting withfor individuals to share their stories about their sacred or special places, a others aroundprocess the Wilderness Society calls “Stories of the Land;” see their website at spiritual beliefs, or ecological issues. Examples of organizations who engage in long-term dialogues:Formed in 1997 in the Pacific Northwest, the Partnership for Religion and theEnvironment (PRAE) started as a regional organization composed of multi-Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 31 Chapter III: Types of Activities
  • 28. faith religious, environmental, and academic organizations; now there are PRAE groups on the East coast. PRAE collaborates on joint education projects, political advocacy, and religious celebrations. For more information about PRAE, contact Thea Levkovitz, The Wilderness Society, at (206) 624-6430, ext. 224, In Chicago, Illinois, the Interreligious Sustainability Project has been conven- ing interfaith community “sustainability circles.” The purpose is to provide an opportunity for learning, reflection, mutual support, and local action on issues of environmental sustainability. The long-term goal is to develop inter-circle agendas, which can enhance the sustainability of the whole region. The group published a vision statement, One Creation, One People, One Place, that was distributed to 3,700 religious congregations in the Chicago metropolitan area, and now publishes a quarterly newsletter. For more information about the project, contact Rev. Clare Butterfield, Center for Neighborhood Technology at (773) 278-4800, x.125,, The Spiritual Alliance for Earth (SAFE) is an interfaith ecological movement in the San Francisco Bay area bringing people together for religious and envi- ronmental activities. Their efforts include networking between faith-based and environmental groups, learning, celebrations, and action. For more information about SAFE, contact Bill Sadler, Spiritual Alliance for Earth is affiliated with the United Religions Initiative; see their website at D. Reaching Others in the Religious Community Many religious leaders and activists spend time reaching out to their religious community, encouraging them to make caring for God’s creation a priority. A number of religious groups are already engaged in activities concerning theYou can help religious environment, such as prayer services, greening of facilities, environmentalcommunity conser- education programs, hikes, community gardens, lectures, workshops, andvationists reach out advocacy for conservation other religious With its size and influence, and through all these and additional activities,community members. the religious community can make a big difference on environmental concerns,For example, you especially as more and more people in religious groups become active. One waycan supply fact to encourage even more conservation activism in the religious community issheets and speakers,or co-sponsor through presentations and discussions at religious community gatherings.conferences and Presentations about the importance of conservation from a religious stand-events. point, with supplemental ecological and economic information, can take place in many settings (e.g., at various congregational committee meetings). It would be inappropriate for you or others in secular groups to presume any control over these presentations, but you can have important involvement. For example, you may help prepare fact sheets, flyers, and other written information, locate additional speakers as needed, or even co-sponsor conferences and events. These are just a few of the groups that offer resources and programs for increasing ecological awareness and activities in congregations:Chapter III: 32 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectTypes of Activities
  • 29. • The Web of Creation,; • Eco-Justice Working Group of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, www.webofcreation/NCC/workgrp.html; • U.S. Catholic Conference Environmental Justice Program,; • Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life,; • Evangelical Environmental Network,; and • Earth Ministry, www.earthministry.orgall provide excellent information, resources, and ideas. In their Handbook for Creation Awareness and Care in Your Congregation,Earth Ministry lists a number of activities that religious and environmental com-munity members can initiate. These include: • Develop a mission statement that incorporates care for creation. • Create worship services, with liturgy and music that celebrate nature and creation. • Incorporate environmental materials, experiences, and projects into religious education programs. • Institute good stewardship practices on the building and grounds, such as energy conservation, food sustainability (e.g. purchase shade grown coffee, support community gardens and community supported agriculture), recy- cling and composting, water conservation, natural landscaping, and socially and environmentally responsible financial investments. • Initiate community outreach activities such as habitat restoration projects, forums for community dialogue, eco-justice projects, and environmental advocacy efforts. • Participate in denominational, ecumenical, and interfaith outreach programs and events. Beginning in the mid-1940s, the Soil and Water Conservation Districts startedworking with congregations to celebrate Soil and Water Stewardship Week.Each year a theme is selected and materials that include worship service scrip-tures, songs, sermon ideas, and activities are created for church leaders.Materials can be obtained in the state’s conservation district, or by calling theNational Association of Conservation Districts at (800) 825-5547. EarthDay is another annual event celebrated by many churches; for sermon ideas,activities, and resources, contact Earth Day Network, (260) 876-2000,, Environmental Ministries of Southern California offers Christian-orientedEarth Day materials for congregations. The director, Rev. Peter Moore-Kochlacs,has also testified on behalf of the Endangered Species Act, created aCongregation Energy Guide, and has printed an article, “Valuing Our NationalForests from a Religious, Environmental, and Economic Perspective.” Formore information, contact Rev. Peter Moore Kochlacs, EnvironmentalMinistries of Southern California, (619) 465-7951,, EarthCare, serving Chattanooga, TN, and Dalton, GA, is a Christianorganization that exists to promote creation stewardship within the Christiancommunity. It seeks to raise environmental awareness and encourage participationBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 33 Chapter III: Types of Activities
  • 30. in church and community projects through various educational and advisory programs. They hold an annual conference, house a resource library, distribute resource materials and lists on creation care and simple living, maintain a speakers bureau, and help churches establish creation care ministries. For more information, contact EarthCare at (423) 697-2560 (TN) or (706) 278-3979 (GA),, Eco-Justice Ministries works with congregations to identify and disseminate environmental justice worship, outreach, and educational programs. For more information, contact the executive director of Eco-Justice Ministries, Rev. Peter S. Sawtell, (303) 715-3873, The Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns is a program of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. Their mission is to connect, inform, and empower people, congregations, and religious institutions to work for justice, as well as care and renewal of the earth. They do this through theological education and dialogue, public policy advocacy, and community ministry. They offer workshops, have created a resource for the local sustainable food system called Celebrating Portland’s Bounty, are raising awareness about global warming and exploring green energy options, and are creating opportunities for coalition building and ecumenical dialogue about the Columbia River. For more information, contact Jenny Holmes, Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns, (503) 244-8318,, E. Place-Based Projects and Programs Place-based projects are the result of grassroots organizing by religious groups along watersheds and rivers, and in particular bioregions. Environmental organizations can offer support to these projects through speakers, informa- tion, resources, workshops, and contacts. For example, the National Wildlife Federation has provided Backyard Wildlife Habitat resources and programs for Habitat for Humanity (a parachurch organization) on environmentally sensitive landscaping; for more information, see National Wildlife Federation’s website at Some place-based projects and organizations are: The Columbia River Pastoral Letter Project in the Pacific Northwest and Canada is the result of 12 Roman Catholic bishops coming together to protect the Columbia River watershed, which they say has been irresponsibly dammed, polluted, and over fished. After consulting with scientists, environmentalists, and social leaders in the region, the bishops produced a comprehensive statement entitled “The Columbia River Watershed: Realities and Possibilities” that includes a ten-point plan to protect the watershed. The pastoral letter, “The Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good,” was distributed in 2001.They plan to produce educational aids, including a video, coffee table book, and study guide to accompany the pastoral letter in an effort to raise awareness in the region. For more information see The Minnesota Earth Sabbath Team, an ecumenical partnership of churches,Chapter III: 34 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectTypes of Activities
  • 31. strives to stimulate communities of faith to recognize care for creation through To live we must dailyworship and liturgy, education, and community relations. They produced a break the body andchecklist called “How River Friendly is Your Faith Community?” for churches shed the blood ofalong the Minnesota River in order for them to become a River Friendly Creation. When we doCongregation. For more information contact Sister Gladys Schmitz, Minnesota this lovingly, knowing- ly, skillfully, reverently,Earth Sabbath Team, (507) 389-4114. it is a sacrament. Tangier Watermen’s Stewardship for the Chesapeake is a faith-based group When we do itworking on environmental protection for the Chesapeake Bay. Tangiers greedily, clumsily,Islanders have responded favorably to Biblically-based messages about protect- ignorantly,ing the environment, and have been inspired to create stewardship initiatives destructively, it isfor the Chesapeake Bay. A video documenting their efforts has been produced, a desecration. Byand a radio program called “Preaching the Environment” can be heard at such desecration For more informa- condemn ourselves totion, contact Tangier Watermen’s Stewardship for the Chesapeake, P.O. Box spiritual and moral242, Tangier, VA, 23440. loneliness, and Members of Community Lutheran Church in Sterling, Virginia, began a others to want.Hedgerow Habitat Trail in 1994 in response to their concern to care for God’screation. The habitat restoration project includes soil and watershed protection Wendell Berry 23for the Chesapeake Bay, as well as signs from the Psalms that mark the walkingtrail and educational programs. For more information, contact CommunityLutheran Church, 21014 Whitfield Place, Sterling, VA, 20165, (703) 430-6006. The Sabbath Project (a special program of the Western North CarolinaAlliance, a coalition of environmental groups) is forming bridges between thereligious community and the environmental movement in the southernAppalachia region. The Sabbath Project works through ministry, sermons,nature walks, advocacy efforts, and an annual leadership conference to protectthe bioregion’s habitat. They are currently focusing on forest protection andclean air legislation. For more information, contact Brian Cole, The SabbathProject, (828) 771-3749, Issue InitiativesMany religious organizations and denominations are working together onspecific environmental problems. In addition, many denominations havewritten declarations on environmental issues and have drafted strategies forsolutions. These strategies include legislative actions, institutional changes,and education programs. Environmental groups can offer assistance with anyof these arenas. Examples of groups and organizations working on environmental issues: One of the largest efforts underway is a campaign to address the issueof global warming. The Eco-Justice Working Group of the National Council ofChurches, has launched an Interfaith Global Warming Network and ClimateChange Campaign They have produced a briefing paper with questions andanswers about science, public policy, and faith in relation to global warming.They also provide training for religious leaders, information and strategy pack-ets, and suggestions for taking up the cause of global warming as a religiousBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 35 Chapter III: Types of Activities
  • 32. The spiritual connec- issue in congregations and public policy. Another way to address globaltions between people warming is through energy conservation; churches can become a Nationaland land are as real Council of Churches Energy Stewardship Congregation (see their website atand as important as www.webofcreation/energystewardship/congregations to find out more about thisthe ecological rela- program) or an EPA Energy Star Congregation ( between The Episcopal Power and Light Project ( isspecies of plants and helping individuals and institutions establish energy conservation programsanimals. For thisreason, we need to and purchase “green energy” in California. Similar efforts are underway by anlook for ways in interfaith coalition called Partners for Environmental Quality in New Jersey;integrate our scientific they can be reached at (973) 635-6067. The Interfaith Coalition on Energy inunderstanding with a Philadelphia, PA, has produced excellent resources on energy conservation, onemore intuitive, spiritual called Conscientious and Economic Use of Energy by Congregations (2000);way of experiencing they can be reached at (215) 635-1122.nature. Another issue initiative underway by religious and environmental advocates is on forest protection. A large, diverse group of primarily Christian and JewishHerbert Schroeder 25 organizations and denominations has made a substantial difference in efforts to encourage drafting and implementation of a federal policy to protect roadless areas in national forests. They have met face-to-face with policy makers, testified in many field hearings, and participated heavily in generating an unprecedented number of comments on the draft roadless rule. Their large, group letters to the Administration were very helpful in encouraging strengthening of the roadless policy. Contact Suellen Lowry at (707) 826-1948 or about this effort. The World Stewardship Institute (WSI), an organization that links business, science, and faith communities together for the cultivation of environmental stewardship, is working on reforestation projects. They publish a newsletter on their collaborative efforts called EcoStewards and provide an action alert e-mail service. For more information, contact World Resources Institute at (707) 573-3160,, Affiliated with WSI, the Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation (RCFC) is a coalition of Jewish and Christian clergy and religious leaders who have called for the halt of logging of old growth forests and commercial logging on public lands. They host conferences and have also compiled religious declara- tions and statements on forest conservation. For more information, contact Fred Krueger, Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation, (707) 573-3162, Sprawl issues are being addressed by the interfaith community in Detroit, MI, by the Metropolitan Organizing Strategy for Enabling Strength (MOSES). They send speakers throughout Southeast Michigan to talk about the moral implications of sprawl. This coalition plans to lobby the state government on development and transportation issues. For more information, contact the Metropolitan Organizing Strategy for Enabling Strength at (313) 838-3190. The issue of environmental justice and environmental racism is being addressed by local initiatives and coalitions in urban and rural areas around the country. On the national level, the Eco-Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches has an Environmental Justice Covenant Program (, and many denominations have environ-Chapter III: 36 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectTypes of Activities
  • 33. mental justice coordinators. An example of one local effort is in South God, our CreatorPhiladelphia, where Reverend Tyrone Kilgoe, pastor of the New ComfortBaptist Church, Philadelphia, PA, is leading members of his congregation in the You have given usstruggle against toxic hazards. They are working with the South Philadelphia The earth,Interdenominational Fellowship of Churches to educate African American con- The sky and the seas.gregations about how toxic chemicals are devastating to the local community. Show us the wayNew Comfort works with Clean Water Action, a national environmental To care for the earth,organization. 24 Not just for today But for ages to come.G. Lifestyle Education Programs Let no plan or workMany faith-based organizations and denominations have not only produced Of ours damageresources, curricula and educations programs about environmental issues, they Or destroyare partnering with environmental organizations to educate people on how to The beauty of yourmake lifestyle changes that are more sustainable for the planet. The volunteer creation.simplicity movement is an important are that advocates for behaviors andactions people can take on behalf of the environment. Send forth your spirit To direct us, To care for the earth A selection of educational organizations and resources: And all creation. Alternative for Simple Living is a non-profit organization that started in1973 to teach people of faith how to challenge consumerism and live more Columban Fatherssimply. They publish Simple Living 101, a “toolkit” that features motivationalspeeches, workshops, events, study groups, and simplicity circles concerningvoluntary simplicity. For more information, contact Alternatives for SimpleLiving, (712) 274-8875 or (800) 821-6153,, The Center for a New American Dream helps individuals and institutionschange the way they consume to enhance quality of life and protect theenvironment. In 2001, they launched Turn the Tide, a program of nine actionsthat individuals can take in their daily lives that has a positive impact on theenvironment. As people take these actions and log on the website, thecumulative effect is tallied to chronicle the positive impact that these changescan make. For more information and other simple living ideas and resources,contact the Center for a New American Dream, (301) 891-3683,, The Household EcoTeam Workbook and Program from the Global ActionPlan is another resource faith-based communities have found to be useful. Thisworkbook encourages people to go step-by-step to reduce waste, water, andenergy, and to incorporate lifestyle changes in order to become responsiblestewards. For more information, contact Global Action Plan, (914) 679-4830,info@GlobalActionPlan, The grassroots Earth Literacy movement (based on the work of PierreTeilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, and Matthew Fox, amongothers) is an effort to live the philosophies of the “new cosmology of theUniverse Story,” also known as “creation spirituality” and “creation theology.”Earth Literacy is an interfaith, interdisciplinary, experiential curriculum, where-Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 37 Chapter III: Types of Activities
  • 34. by students learn how to apply this “new cosmology of the ecozoic era” by learning about ecological sustainability and how to live lightly on earth. The Earth Literacy academic programs at Saint Mary of the Woods College in Indiana and Genesis Farms in New Jersey are wonderful ways to explore wisdom traditions, religious practices, bioregionalism, and ecological lifestyle. For more information, contact Sister Mary Dolan at Saint Mary of the Woods, (812) 535-5160, and Sister Miriam McGillis at Genesis Farm, (908) 362-6735, For more information about Earth Literacy in general, contact Sue Levy, Earth Literacy Web, (510) 595-5508, info@spiri-, Prayer for Spirit in Nature is an interfaith organization that developed ten differentConservation nature trails representing the world’s major religion at Middelbury College, Vermont. Each trail features scriptural passages or poetry about how thatGiver of life and tradition relates to nature. Spirit in Nature also conducts interfaith educationall good gifts: and action workshops on topics such as bioregionalism, sustainable living,Grant us also global warming, and natural history. For more information, contact Rev. Paulwisdom to use only Bortz, Spirit in Nature, (802) 388-7244, we need; H. Theological Explorations and PracticesCourage to trust yourbounty; Many religious educational institutions and organizations are taking a look atImagination to the theory and theology of environmental ethics. In addition, many of thepreserve our world’s religions are looking at how to put environmental ethics into practiceresources; on a local and global level. Environmental organizations can support and assist these efforts.Determination todeny frivolous excess; Academic programs and organizations that are engaging in environmentalAnd inspiration to and global ethics:sustain through Theological Education to Meet the Environmental Challenge (TEMEC)temptation. began in 1992 to assist seminaries, schools of theology, college and universities in making ecological integrity and social justice a central focus of religiousPatricia Winters 26 education. They host professional development conferences, operate as a coalition of theologians and educators working on eco-justice concerns, and assist the next generation of religious leaders to get ministry training that cares for both people and the earth. For more information about TEMEC, see The Institute for Global Ethics provides workshops and curriculum to teach- ers and institutions on incorporating ethical behavior, including environmental ethics, into decision-making and action. They also analyze trends about ethics and recently produced a study called Reaching Out: Broadening College- Student Constituencies for Environmental Protection. This report is available on their website at The American Academy of Religion (AAR) hosts a Religion and Ecology Group that examines the relationship between environmental issues and religious ethics from an academic and scholarly perspective, and presents papers at their annual conference. For more information about the AAR’s Religion andChapter III: 38 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectTypes of Activities
  • 35. Ecology Group, see, or call AAR at (404) 727-2049. We join with the Earth The American Scientific Affiliation, a fellowship of Christian scientists, has and with each otherpublished dozens of articles and papers on environmental topics in their To bring new life tojournal; for more information, they can be reached at, or the, or call (978) 356-5656. In the global arena, a ten-part conference series was held at the Harvard To restore new life toCenter for the Study of World Religions in 1996-1998. These conferences, the landorganized by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, along with a team of spe- To restore the waterscialists, brought together over 800 scholars and environmental activists to To refresh the airexamine the world’s religions regarding their views of nature, ritual practices,and ethical constructs. Summary papers from this series are available in Earth We join with the EarthEthics, a newsletter from Center for Respect for Life and the Environment and with each other(CRLE); contact CRLE at (202) 778-6133,, Books To renew the forestsfrom the conferences are being published in a ten-part series from the Harvard To care for the plantsCenter of World Religions, and are available through Harvard University Press To protect theat (800) 448-2242. For information on Harvard’s Religions of the World and creaturesEcology website, see The Forum on Religion and Ecology (FORE) was formed to continue We join with the Earthresearch, education, and outreach that was initiated during the Harvard confer- and with each otherence series. FORE has held conferences on World Religions and Animals, To celebrate the seasNature Writers and the Ecological Imagination, and the Epic of Evolution andWorld Religions. It has also been conducting workshops for high school To rejoice in theteachers and participating in the greening of seminary education. It helped sunlightproduce an interreligious booklet with the United Nations Environment To sing the song ofProgramme (UNEP) called Earth and Faith: A Book for Reflection and Action the starsthat can be used in congregations for services or discussion groups. For more We join with the Earthinformation about Forum on Religion and Ecology, contact (617) 332-0337, and with each, To order To recreate the humanthe UNEP booklet Earth and Faith, contact (212) 963-8210,, The Sacred Gifts for A Living Planet is a project of World Wildlife Fund To promote justice and peace(WWF) and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation to encourage, secure,and celebrate conservation actions by the world’s major religions. This initia- To remember ourtive represents a further development of WWF’s relationship with the world’s childrenmajor religions since they gathered in Assisi, Italy, in 1986 to discuss religions’involvement in biodiversity and habitat protection. (The Assisi Declarations: We join with the EarthDeclarations on Religions and Nature (1985, 1994) is available from World and with each otherWildlife Fund.) The Sacred Gifts are conservation actions taken by the major We join together asreligions for the preservation of biodiversity, promotion of sustainable resource many and diverseuse, or reduction of pollution and wasteful exploitation of resources; the expressions of oneactions also relate to advocacy, education, health, land and assets, and media. loving mystery,For more information about the Sacred Gifts project, see World Wildlife Fund’s for the healing of thewebsite at Earth and the renewal The Earth Charter is a comprehensive document of new global ethical of all life.guidelines, completed after eight years of deliberation with more than 100,000people in 51 countries, and 25 global leaders in environment, business, politics, UN Environmental Sabbath Program 27Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 39 Chapter III: Types of Activities
  • 36. religion and education. The four general principles of the charter are: respect Earth and life in all its diversity; care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love; build democratic societies that are just, sustainable, participatory and peaceful; and secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations. The Earth Charter Campaign is underway in the United States and internationally to introduce the charter to the United Nations in 2002, 10 years after the Rio Summit. A campaign kit and more information is available through the U.S. Earth Charter Campaign website at, or through the U.S. Earth Charter Secretariat, Center for Respect for Life and the Environment at (202) 778-6133,, III: 40 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectTypes of Activities
  • 37. C H A P T E R F O U RIV. Introduction to Aspects of the U.S. Organized Religious CommunityA. Diversity of U.S. Spiritual CommunityProbably the most basic mistake in outreach to religious groups is the assumption Probably the mostthat all are the same, all agree with each other, or all have the ability to speak for basic mistake ineach other. Religious communities are as diverse as any other large community— outreach to religiousoften more so. Even within a particular denomination, there can be a great deal groups is theof difference. Yet clergy and lay individuals in various religious traditions are assumption that all are the same,finding spiritual reasons to make caring for God’s creation a priority. all agree with each If possible, take time to learn about the faith tradition and denomination of other, or all havethe person with whom you are seeking a dialogue, perhaps by doing a little the ability to speakresearch on the web, at a public library, or at the library of a local congrega- for each other. Evention. But don’t think you fully understand a belief system just by reading about within seeminglyit for a few hours. The value of such research is to gain an appreciation for the similar parts of thecultural and historical contexts of the beliefs that an individual holds. religious community, The United States is a religiously pluralistic society.28 Most people in the U.S. there can be signifi-identify themselves as Christian. However, many Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, cant differences.Hindus, American Indians, and other religious groups in the U.S. continue topractice their original spiritual traditions. For example, according to the WorldAlmanac, there are over 3.3 million members of Islam in the U.S., and over1.2 million Buddhists, a number that is rapidly growing.29 Many of thesenon-Christian groups have grown in the last 30 years, in part due to landmarkchanges in the immigration laws in 1965. In addition, the U.S. Christiancommunity has diversified; the number of different Christian denominationshas grown from 20 in the year 1800 to about 900 today.30 According to the1996 Encyclopedia of American Religions, there are over 1,500 religiousorganizations in the United States. Within individual religious traditions there is also diversity. Approach eachgroup with which you work as its own entity—recognizing that even withinseemingly similar parts of the religious community, there can be significantdifferences. Churches from the same denomination in the same town may bestrikingly different from one another. Furthermore, similar-sounding denomi-nations can have important differences. For instance, at times there are theologicaland policy differences between American Baptists and Southern Baptists,members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Reformed PresbyterianChurch, conservative and reformed Jews, Evangelical and non-EvangelicalChristians, and so on. Various Jewish and Christian faith traditions go to different sources for theirtheological bases: for Evangelicals and Protestants, the focus is on Biblicalscripture (Hebrew and Christian); for Catholics, the focus is also Biblical scriptureand church teachings; and for Jews, the focus is Hebrew scripture and theBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 41 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 38. ongoing traditions of halachah (law) and aggadah (explications/moral reasoning). Moreover, denominations work differently with regard to decision making on policies. Some are top down from the headquarters level, while others provide for individual congregational autonomy. One aspect of diversity in the religious community is the variety of approaches to evolution. Many congregations and religious leaders fully accept evolution; for others, the very term is an anathema. A number of congregations talk about “caring for God’s Creation,” but they may mean very different things by that term. Find out what is and is not acceptable for a given congregation— understanding at the same time that groups all across the evolution/creation spectrum may still be supportive of biodiversity, though for different reasons. Religious groups also have a variety of stances about abortion, birth control, and other family planning issues. While discussions of population issues and their relationship to biodiversity concerns should not be considered off limits, such discussions are sensitive and probably should wait until you have built your relationships with religious leaders. In some cases, religious leaders will want to address environmental concerns as part of a broader “pro-life” agenda, an argument that can be extremely persuasive. It is important, however, that religious leaders, rather than secular environmental groups, raise such themes. Another aspect of the diversity of religious life is the broad spectrum of reactions to interfaith coalitions. Some communities—especially the Jewish community—prefer to work in interfaith coalitions. Others, especially Evangelical churches, typically prefer to work independently. It is important to respect these differences and to encourage participation that is appropriate for a given congregation or leader. Some congregations and institutions worry that environmental groups or interfaith coalitions around environmental issues might be associated with “New Age” or “pagan” religious practices; other congregations welcome dialogue with earth-based traditions or new religions. Groups like the Evangelical Environmental Network can help you with materials that explain biblically-based reasons for “caring for creation.” Be sure not to pressure people to work publicly with any individuals or groups that might compromise their religious beliefs. B. Profiles of Faith-Based Organizations What follows is just a short listing of active faith-based groups and projects. We know there are many others, and we urge you to seek them out. For more detailed information about specific denominations, including numbers of members, demographic information, history, and beliefs, please see the organizations’ websites and the National Council of the Churches of Christ’s Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches. Two other sources for this information are the websites and Many of the denominations and organizations listed below publish a variety of conservation resources, including congregational liturgy and study guides, curriculum, information for individual actions, and items pertaining to public policy advocacy. These resources are continually evolving, so please contact theChapter IV: 42 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 39. organization for current resources. Umbrella websites that list resourcesinclude: • Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life,; • Evangelical Environmental Network,; • Forum on Religion and Ecology,; • National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Eco-Justice Working Group,; • National Religious Partnership for the Environment,; • U.S. Catholic Conference Environmental Justice Program,; and • Web of Creation, order materials, contact the organizations directly. Also, many items areavailable through the National Council of Churches’ Environmental JusticeResource List; for a copy of this free list, call their office at (800) 762-0968and ask for item number EJ 9705.1. Christian Denominations and OrganizationsAmerican Baptist ChurchAmerican Baptist ChurchNational MinistriesP.O. Box 851Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851(800) ABC-3USA ext. resource Ecology is one of the American Baptist Church National Ministries pro-grams. The General Board passed a “Resolution on Individual Lifestyle forPersonal Responsibility” in 1990. They have also produced a brochure on eco-logical lifestyle resources called Planet Earth: 8 Loving Ways to Care for It, abook entitled The Best Preaching on Earth: Sermons on Caring for Creation(by Stan LeQuire, 1996), a handbook on stream restoration called LivingWaters: How to Save Your Local Stream, and a Bible study curriculum calledOur Only Home, Planet Earth (1990).Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 43 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 40. The American Baptist Church is divided into 35 regions within the U.S., with congregations in each region. Call local American Baptist churches for the phone number of the local regional ABC office. When talking with the regional office, ask for names of people who are “environmental justice coordinators” or involved in efforts related to “caring for God’s creation.” American Baptist clergy use the title “doctor” or “reverend” or “reverend doctor.” Our task is nothing less than to join God in preserving, renewing and fulfilling the creation. It is to relate to nature in ways that sustain life on the planet, provide for the essential material and physical needs of all humankind, and increase justice and well-being for all life in a peaceful world. American Baptist Policy Statement on Ecology (1989) Catholic Church National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference Office of Social Development & World Peace Walt Grazer 3211 Fourth Street, NE Washington, DC 20017-1194 (202) 541-3160 Portion of website pertaining to conservation: For resource information and ordering: (800) 235-8722 Other Catholic programs: National Catholic Rural Life Conference Bob Gronski 4625 Beaver Avenue Des Moines, IA 50310 (515) 270-2634 Catholic Conservation Center The U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC) is one of the key organizations of the Catholic Church, and is a member of National Religious Partnership for the Environment. The USCC has policy in some, though not all, areas pertaining to conservation. The further the environmental issue gets away from a social justice question, the more difficult the stretch. Catholic colleges have for many years had courses about philosophy and the environment, and many CatholicChapter IV: 44 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 41. retreat centers are hosting ecology programs and incorporating sustainableagriculture and forestry practices (see Resources section). The NationalCatholic Rural Life Conference, over 75 years old, has a wonderful 1972 state-ment on the environment, and currently has a sustainability program. The Catholic Church has numerous resources, including Renewing the Faceof the Earth: A Resource for Parishes (1994), another parish resource kit enti-tled Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All Creation (1995), and Let theEarth Bless the Lord: God’s Creation and Our Responsibility: A CatholicApproach to the Environment (1996) which contains eleven criteria forbecoming a “St. Francis Model Parish.” The Catholic community is very diverse. There are over 60 million peopleactive in the U.S. Catholic community. Thirty percent are Hispanic, and massis celebrated every day in 50 different languages. There are both institutionaland lay levels of authority within the U.S. Catholic Church. They carry on aparallel effort. The institutional layers of authority include Bishops, CatholicConference Directors, diocese personnel, and individual clergy. There are 180 U.S. Catholic dioceses; look for them in the phone book inmajor cities in the state. Within the diocese, ask for the Catholic Charitiesdirector or the social action or social concerns director. Also, the local socialaction director can contact the U.S. Catholic Conference D.C. office for namesof local people who’ve shown an interest in environmental issues (by takingsuch steps as ordering materials from the U.S. Catholic Conference or attendinga conference). The other major institutional player is the state CatholicConference director; these individuals are legislative and public policy focused.These directors work for the Bishops and have direct access to them. Theyoften are located in state capitols. Finally, every diocese has parishes (individualchurches). Call priests and ask if they know of people who may be interested.Don’t be put off if the priest is very busy; many are overworked. Catholicclergy use the title “father.” Use the term “Catholic community” when askingCatholic leaders to help you find people with an interest in your work. I should like to address directly my brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church, in order to remind them of their serious obligation to care for all of creation. The commitment of believers to a healthy environment for everyone stems directly from their belief in God the Creator, from their recognition of the effects of original and personal sin, and from the certainty of having been redeemed by Christ. Respect for life and for the dignity of the human person extends also to the rest of creation, which is called to join man in praising God. (cf. Ps 148:96) In 1979, I proclaimed Saint Francis of Assisi as the heavenly Patron of those who promote ecology...He offers Christians an example of genuine and deep respect for the integrity of creation. As a friend of the poor who was loved by God’s creatures, Saint Francis invited all of creation — animals, plants, natural forces, even Brother Sun and Sister Moon — to give honour and praise to the Lord. The poor man of Assisi gives us striking witness that when we are at peace with God we are better able to devote ourselves to building up that peace with all creation which is inseparable from peace among all peoples. The Ecological Crisis, A Common Responsibility, Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 1 January 1990.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 45 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 42. The lay groups are much freer to take positions than the U.S. Catholic Conference, and much work gets done in the lay groups, such as Pax Christi (headquartered in Erie, PA) and the National Council Conference of Catholic Women. On the other hand, when someone speaks with the authority of the institution, that carries a great deal of weight, in part because Bishops and others in the institutional hierarchy often have a relationship with members of Congress. Church of the Brethern Church of the Brethern David Radcliff Shantilal Bhagat 1451 Dundee Avenue Elgin, IL 60120 (800) 323-8039 ext. 227 Portion of the website devoted to creation care: The Church of the Brethren is divided geographically into 23 regional districts and congregations within these districts. At the national level, the Brethren Witness office coordinates efforts in the areas of peace and justice, care for creation, legislative advocacy, and hunger relief. The Brethren Witness office also has a wide range of care of creation resources available for indi- vidual and congregational use, including their 1995 newsletter focusing on biodiversity called Between the Flood and the Rainbow. Why should Christians care about the environment? Simply because we learn in Genesis that God has prom- ised to fulfill all of creation, not just humanity, and has made humans the stewards of it. More importantly, God sent Christ into the very midst of creation to be ‘God with us’ and to fulfill the promise to save humankind and nature. Creation: Called to Care, Statement of the Church of the Brethren 1991 Annual Conference. Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science) The First Church of Christ, Scientist 175 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115 (800) 288-70990 Other Christian Science resources: Exploring Practical Spirituality www.spirituality.comChapter IV: 46 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 43. Christian Science Recent articles from The Christian Science Journal (July 2000) entitled“Spiritual Activism and the Environment” and “Ecology and Spirituality”illustrate a Christian Science approach to issues such as pollution and loss ofbiodiversity through prayer and incorporating spiritual principles in the waywe live our lives.31 The Christian Science Monitor is a Pulitzer Prize winningindependent daily newspaper with an international circulation. Its coverage ofenvironmental issues has won consistent praise from environmental groups,because stories are typically well researched, thoughtful, and often presented in aglobal context. Its editorials have supported protection for Alaskan wilderness,and strong environmental protection laws. Its editorial stance has been describedin environmental circles as “morally conservative and socially progressive.” Each local church within Churches of Christ, Scientist is a democraticallygoverned branch of The Mother Church. Churches of Christ, Scientist, do nothave ordained clergy. Instead, services are conducted by two Readers who areelected from and by members of the local church. A volunteer clerk usuallyhandles church administration and correspondence, and the clerk is probablythe best first point of contact for outreach to invite participation in interfaithevents or community activities. Also, Christian Science Reading Rooms arebookstores open to the public, and they have a variety of resources that may behelpful for environmental leaders. “Arctic regions, sunny tropics, giant hills, winged winds, mighty billows, verdant vales, festive flowers and glorious heavens, —all point to Mind, the spiritual intelligence they reflect. The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity... Suns and planets teach grand lessons. The stars make the night beautiful, and the leaflet turns naturally toward the light.” “Some lessons from nature,” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker EddyChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints47 East South Temple StreetSalt Lake City, UT 84150(801) According to a report on the environmental positions of the thirty largestChristian denominations in the U.S., the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-daySaints (LDS) is identified as taking a policy of “inaction.” This is in keepingwith their largely insular approach to community affairs outside its own mem-bership. However, members within the LDS faith are taking a more progressivestand as demonstrated by an anthology called New Genesis—A MormonBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 47 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 44. Reader on Land and Community. This anthology contains over forty essays written by Mormons in good standing, about how the natural world has enhanced their spirituality, and how the LDS faith promotes wise stewardship. It should also be noted that within the discourses of Brigham Young there are many gems of ecological thought and wise words on the value of sustainable community. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is governed by the offices of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who speak for the church and are considered to be church prophets. Clergy leaders are called bishops. Here is declared the Creator of all that is good and beautiful. I have looked at majestic mountains rising against a blue sky and thought of Jesus, the creator of heaven and earth. I have stood on a spit of sand in the Pacific and watched the dawn rise like thunder—a ball of gold surrounded by clouds of pink and white and purple—and thought of Jesus, the Word by whom all things named …What then shall you do with Jesus that is called Christ? This earth is his creation. When we make it ugly we offend him. President Gordon B. Hinkley, Current Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward. Doctrine and Covenants 136:37 Episcopal Church The Episcopal Church Center Martha Gardner Jack Winder 815 Second Avenue New York, NY 10017 (212) 867-8400 (800) 334-7626 Portion of website dedicated to environmental stewardship: Other Episcopal programs: Episcopal Power and Light Rev. Sally Bingham c/o Grace Cathedral 1100 California Street San Francisco, CA 94108 www.theregenerationproject.orgChapter IV: 48 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 45. Episcopal Diocese of MinnesotaMinnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship CommissionHoly Trinity ChurchBox 65Elk River, MN The Episcopal Church is governed by the General Convention (a legislativebody composed of a House of Bishops and House of Deputies that meets everythree years). The Executive Council implements policies and programs adoptedby the General Convention. The Committee on Peace, Justice & Integrity ofCreation reports to the Executive Council, as part of the Peace & JusticeMinistry. There is also an Episcopal Public Policy Network and an EpiscopalEnvironmental Coalition. The Episcopal Power and Light Project has beeninstrumental in converting churches to “green energy” and supporting energyefficient practices. The Minnesota Episcopal Environment StewardshipCommission provides a forum for reflection and discussion of ecological concern.The church publishes two environmental curriculum: Love They Neighbor:Parish Resources for Faithfulness in Creation (1991), available from the Dioceseof Washington, (202) 537-6546; and One God, One Family, One Earth:Responding to the Gifts of God’s Creation, available from (800) 903-5544. There are about 100 Episcopal dioceses around the country, usually head-quartered in major metropolitan areas. Within each diocese are congregations.Call the diocese and ask if it has an environmental committee; or for the nameof people who work on social justice issues. The clergy for Episcopal diocesesare rectors or priests and usually use the title of “father” or “reverend.” This Conference: “(a) reaffirms humans are both co-partners with the rest of Creation and living bridges between heaven and earth, with responsibility to make personal and corporate sacrifices for the good of all Creation;” (b) recognizes that the loss of natural habitats is a direct cause of genocide amongst millions of indigenous peoples and is causing the extinction of thousands of plant and animal species. Unbridled capital- ism, selfishness, and greed cannot be allowed to pollute, exploit, and destroy what remains of the earth’s indigenous habitats; “(c) prays in the Spirit of Jesus Christ for widespread conversion and spiritual renewal in order that human beings will be restored to a relationship of harmony with the rest of Creation.” Resolution of Episcopal Bishops at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, London.Evangelical ChristiansEvangelical Environment NetworkRev. Jim Ball680 I Street, SWWashington, DC 20024(202) 554-1955(800) 650-6600www.creationcare.orgBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 49 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 46. Evangelicals do not necessarily belong to any particular denomination. Evangelical Christians can be found within various Christian denominations (e.g., Presbyterians, Lutherans, Foursquare, Assembly of God, Southern Baptist); or many attend churches that are not affiliated with a denomination (e.g., Cornerstone, Gospel Outreach). As is typical of all faiths and denomina- tions, there is a great deal of variety among Evangelicals.32 Evangelical Christians can be at various places along the political spectrum. Some come from a Pentecostal (also known as “speaking-in-tongues”) or charismatic tradi- tion, but many do not. Another type of religious organization (not necessarily Evangelical) is the parachurch.33 Since many Protestant churches are smaller, non-denominational, independent or less organized than mainline denominations, special interest groups have been created to serve specific populations or to champion specific causes. Since World War II, these groups have been called parachurch groups. They often work along side churches to give members an opportunity to be involved in projects such as house building (Habitat for Humanity), sustainable development (World Vision), medical service (NW Medical Teams) and youth outreach (Young Life), service projects (Target Earth) or environmental activism (Christians for Environmental Stewardship). Parachurch groups are usually membership-based with strong fundraising programs. In one way, they compete with local churches for members’ time, money, and energy. While this can cause some tension between church and parachurch organizations, most realize that individual churches do not have the capacity to duplicate the important work these organizations provide. Church-based environmental stewardship activists can sometimes be identified through the leadership and membership of sympathetic parachurch groups. The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) is made up of both individ- ual members and evangelical organizations who work with EEN to implement creation-care projects appropriate to their ministries. The Evangelical Environmental Network is active on endangered species, old growth forest protection, clean air, and takings issues. The Evangelical Environmental Network is a member of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. They also produce a number of resources including: Creation Care magazine (formerly known as Green Cross); booklets such as Biblical and Scientific Perspectives on Species Protection and Assessing the Ark: A Christian Perspective on Non-Human Creatures and the Endangered Species Act; a starter kit for churches called Let the Earth be Glad; an idea packet called Your Church Outdoors; and a book called The Best Preaching on Earth: Sermons on Caring for Creation (1996). Other Evangelical environmental organizations: Christian Environmental Council The Christian Environmental Council (CEC) is an evangelically-focused group of leaders committed to serving the church and society in all matters concerningChapter IV: 50 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 47. the care of creation; they are also dedicated to promoting a biblical approach toenvironmental issues. The council provides a forum to discuss mutual concerns,a structure to facilitate joint action, and a platform to express common views.The Christian Environmental Council has strong resolutions and policy state-ments on endangered species, “takings,” forests, and global climate change.Target EarthGordon Aeschliman990 Buttonwood Street, 6th floorPhiladelphia, PA 19123(215) Target Earth is a national movement of individuals, churches, college fellow-ships, and Christian ministries motivated by the biblical call to be faithfulstewards of everything God created—to love our neighbors as ourselves andto care for the earth. Their ministry is to serve the poor as well as work onenvironmental restoration projects and protect endangered ecosystems here andabroad. They build alliances with environmental organizations, and provideservice projects, conservation programs, and academic programs. They alsopublish a magazine called Target Earth: Serving the Earth, Serving the Poor.Christians for Environmental StewardshipPeter IllynP.O. Box 877La Center, WA 98629(360) Christians for Environmental Stewardship is to committed to love, serve, andprotect all Gods creation. Their members live out the Biblical mandate to“speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8).Christians for Environmental Stewardship conduct campus programs, outreachprograms, and speaker tours; they also attend Christian rock concerts to reachChristian youth about environmental issues.Au Sable InstitutePeter Bakken, Cal DeWittAu Sable InstituteOutreach Office731 State StreetMadison, WI 53703(608) 255-0950outreach@ausable.orgwww.ausable.orgBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 51 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 48. Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies focuses on Christian environ- mental stewardship. They provide academic programs for colleges and universities, environmental education programs for children, and information services for churches and denominations. They are a source of many resources, including: a creation awareness packet called Your Church as a Creation Awareness Center, a curriculum called Let Them Praise: Developing an Environmental Education Program that Honors the Creator (1998); books entitled Evangelicals and the Environment: Theological Foundations for Christian Environmental Stewardship (1993), Earth-Wise:A Biblical Response to Environmental Issues (1994), Ecology, Justice and Christian Faith: A Critical Guide to the Literature (1995); Caring for Creation: Responsible Stewardship of Gods Handiwork (1998), and Evocations of Grace: Writings on Ecology, Theology, and Ethics (2000); and a video and study guide called Faithful Earthkeeping: The Church As A Creation Awareness Center (1997). As followers of Jesus Christ, committed to the full authority of the Scriptures, and aware of the ways we have degraded creation, we believe that biblical faith is essential to the solution of our ecological problems…Thus we call on all those who are committed to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to affirm the following principles of Biblical faith, and to seek ways to living out these principles in our personal lives, our churches, and society. An Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation, Evangelical Environmental Network Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Hunger Education and Environmental Stewardship 8765 W. Higgins Road Chicago, IL 60631-4190 (800) 638-3522 ext. 2708 For resource information and ordering ELCA Distribution Services (800) 328-4648 Other Evangelical Lutheran Church contacts: Lutheran Office for Government Affairs Within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Division for Church in Society, the Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods (LENS) was formed in 1997, which has developed into the Environmental Stewardship and Hunger Education network with activists around the country. This program provides educational resources and technical assistance to congregations and organiza- tions interested in earthkeeping and social justice. The Evangelical LutheranChapter IV: 52 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 49. Church of America (ELCA) has developed numerous social statements andresources on the environment, including a study booklet called Caring forCreation: Vision, Hope, and Justice (1991), curriculum entitled Care for theEarth: An Environmental Resource Manual for Church Leaders (1994), avideo and study guide called Faithful Earthkeeping: The Church as a CreationAwareness Center (1997), and a churchyard habitat manual called EarthkeepngMinistries: A New Vision for Congregations (1999). Evangelical LutheranChurch of America also has resources on urban gardening and resourceefficiency for churches. The Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs has awebsite that contains environmental position papers and information on howto start an advocacy group. Lutherans are organized into synods, which are composed of congregations;call regional synods and ask for people who care about eco-justice, environ-mental stewardship, or earthkeeping issues. Lutheran clergy usually use the title“pastor,” even though their official, written title is “reverend.” Against the threat of desolation, God comes as Savior of the world. God loves the world, to the point of experiencing the evil and death brought by sin. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, God does not save us FROM the world, but saves us AND the world...Life in Christ gives us the vision and confidence to follow our vocation on behalf of all creation...God does not just heal a creation wounded by human sin; God perfects that creation. Although nature itself has not sinned or “fallen,” it looks forward to a final fulfillment. Once again: creation hopes for liberation (Rom 8:18-25); “all things” are reconciled to God through the cross (Col 1:15-20). To say that Christ died for forests and fish as well as for human beings is admittedly rather surprising. The idea does not startle us so much when we remember our dependent and interdependent relationships. We are fully human only with our environment. Since we are saved, there must be a sense in which the environment is saved as well. Christian hope is not for human destiny only. The Creator of all things is also the Redeemer of all things. Basis for Our Caring, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1993)MennoniteMennonite Environmental Task Force722 Main Street, P.O. Box 347Newton, KS 67114(316) Central Committee21 South 12th Street, P.O. Box 500Akron, PA 17501(717) In 1989, a Stewardship of the Earth Resolution on Environment and FaithIssues was adopted by the Mennonite Church Assembly and the GeneralBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 53 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 50. Conference Mennonite Church Triennial Session. Shortly thereafter, the Mennonite Environmental Task Force (ETF) was created. In addition, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), has existed since the 1920s and is the relief, development and service arm of the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches in Canada and the U.S. Both the ETF and MCC have environmental stewardship resources, including including a guide for simple living called In the Spirit of Enough, Christianity and the Environment: A Collection of Writings, and a video series with leader’s guide called Whole People, Whole Earth (1992). Leaders within the church go by titles of “pastor,” “deacon,” or “elder.” Therefore be it resolves that: In our individual, work, and family life we seek to become more caring about our impact on the environment, and seek to educate ourselves and act upon our best knowledge of ways to conserve the resources we use. Stewardship for the Earth, Resolution on the Environment and Faith Issues, Joint Environmental Task Force of the General Conference Mennonite Church (1989) Orthodox Churches Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 8-10 East 79th Street New York, NY 10021 212-570-3500 Orthodox Church in America Education and Community Life Ministries P.O. Box 675 Syosett, NY 11791 (516) 922-0550 Other Orthodox contacts: Ecumenical Patriarchate Bartholomew I Portion of the website dedicated to the environment: Green Orthopraxy: Orthodox Christians Concerned with Creation P.O. Box 7238 Cumberland, RI 02864 There are many different Orthodox churches, each of which is independent; however, all acknowledge the honorary primacy of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Two orthodox churches in the U.S. are the Greek Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America; there are several additionalChapter IV: 54 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 51. Orthodox churches in the U.S. (see Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople, has declared September 1to be the Day of Protection of the Environment. He has established manyenvironmental programs and worship services for the environment. TheOrthodox Church in America has produced two environmental resources: astudy unit called The Earth is the Lord’s: Caring for God’s Creation, and theOrthodoxy and Ecology Resource Book (1995). The Orthodox Church inAmerica is organized into regional synods, whose leaders are either archbishopsor bishops. The clerical offices in the Orthodox Church in America are bishop,priest (or presbyter), and deacon. We paternally urge on the one hand all the faithful in the world to admonish themselves and their children to respect and protect the environment, and on the other hand all those who are entrusted with the responsibility of governing the nations to act without delay taking all necessary measures for the protection and preservation of the natural environment. Message of His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios on the Day of the Protection of the Environment (1989)Presbyterian ChurchPresbyterian Church (U.S.A.)Bill Somplatsky-Jarman100 Witherspoon Street, Room 3069Louisville, KY 40202(502) 569-5809(888) 728-7228www.pcusa.orgPresbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington OfficeDouglas GraceAssociate for Domestic Issues (includes ecology and environment)110 Maryland Avenue, NEWashington, DC 2002(202) 543-1126Presbyterian Resource Services(800) 524-2612Other Presbyterian contacts:Presbyterians for Restoring CreationBill KnoxP.O. Box 70170Louisville, KY Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 55 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 52. Christian Environmental Studies Center Montreat College 310 Gaither Circle Montreat, NC 28757 (828) 669-8012 Presbyterians for Restoring Creation, a network of people who work on environmental issues (called Restoring Creation Enablers), was established in 1990. The Christian Environmental Studies Center of Montreat College, a liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, provides support for collaborative efforts between scientists and the Christian community, such as conference activities, course and workshop development, curriculum develop- ment, information services, and communications between organizations. The Presbyterian Church has a large number of environmental resources, including: the reports Keeping and Healing the Creation (1989) and Restoring Creation For Ecology and Justice (1990); a two volume resource guide called Healing and Defending God’s Creation: Hands On! Practical Ideas for Congregations (1991, 1993); a special edition of the journal Church and Society called For the Beauty of the Earth: Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice (1996); a curriculum called For God So Loves the World: Peacemaking and the Care of God’s Creation (1997); and a video and curriculum on stew- ardship practices entitled Cherishing God’s Creation (1998). The national Presbyterian body is called the General Assembly Council. Presbyterians are organized into synods, which usually cover several states and are composed of several presbyteries; presbyteries are made up of congrega- tions. Call the synod or presbytery offices and ask about people who are interested in peacemaking, environmental justice, or eco-justice issues. Also, ask about individuals who are active Restoring Creation Enablers. Presbyterian clergy often use the title “reverend.” The church’s concern for the environment goes beyond human self-interest and prudence because Christians see the environment as God’s creation, to which we humans also belong. “God’s works in creation are too wonderful, too ancient, too beautiful, too good to be desecrated,” the 202nd General Assembly (1990) declared. But the creation already cries out from abuse. “Restoring creation is God’s own work in our time, in which God comes both to judge and to restore...The Creator-Redeemer calls faithful people to become engaged with God in keeping and healing the creation...The love of neighbor, particularly ‘the least’ of Christ’s brothers and sisters, requires action to stop the poisoning, the erosion, the wastefulness that are causing suffering and death.” General Assembly Guidance on the Environment, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1990)Chapter IV: 56 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 53. Quakers (Society of Friends)Friends Committee on Unity with Nature (FCUN)Ruth Swennerfelt179 N. Prospect StreetBurlington, VT 05401(802) 658-0308fcun@fcun.orgwww.fcun.orgOther Quaker contacts:EarthLight: The Magazine of Spiritual EcologyUnity with Nature Committee of the Pacific Yearly MeetingLauren de Boer, editor111 Fairmount AvenueOakland, CA 94611(510) The Friends Committee on Unity with Nature has published a number ofpamphlets and several resources: Becoming a Friend to the Creation: EarthcareLeaven for Friends and Friends’ Meetings (1994); Caring for Creation:Reflections on the Biblical Basis of Earthcare (1999); Walking Gently on theEarth: An Earthcare Checklist (1992); Befriending Creation, a bimonthlynewsletter; and EarthLight: The Magazine of Spiritual Ecology. The QuakerEco-Witness project was formed in 2000 to promote U.S. government andcorporate policies that help to restore and protect Earth’s biological integrity. Quakers are divided into yearly meetings, which generally are multistateregional divisions. Within yearly meetings, Quaker congregations are knownas monthly meetings. Unprogrammed Quakers do not have ministers, buteach has a clerk of the monthly meetings, who is a good person to contact. Inaddition, many monthly meetings have peace and social concerns committees,and some have conservation contacts. Friends churches are programmedmeetings with ministers. Our concern is . . .to live in harmony with biological and physical systems, and to work to create social systems that can enable us to do that. It includes a sense of connectedness and an understanding of the utter dependence of human society within the intricate web of life; a passion for environmental justice and ecological ethics; an understanding of dynamic natural balances and processes; and a recognition of the limits to growth due to finite resources. Our concern . . . recognizes our responsibility to future generations, to care for Earth as our own home and the home of all that dwell herein. We seek a relationship between human beings and the Earth that is mutually enhancing. Ecological Sustainability as a Witness, Friends Committee on Unity with Nature (1998)Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 57 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 54. Reformed Church in America Reformed Church in America Rev. John Paarlberg 475 Riverside Drive, Room 122 New York, NY 10015 (212) 970-3020 (800) 722-9977 In response to a major report sent the General Synod, Care for the Earth: Theology and Practice (1982), the Reformed Church in America passed resolu- tions concerning agriculture, clean air, groundwater protection, and nuclear waste in 1982. Resolutions concerning biodiversity, deforestation, and global warming were passed in 1994. The Office of Social Witness has produced study resources on genetic engineering, health and the environment, land use, and climate change. Caring for creation coordinators, located in regional synods, lead workshops, write articles for newsletters, establish natural habitat gardens on church properties, visit elected officials, and conduct local field trips. The Reformed Church national organization is the general synod. There are eight regional synods, which are composed of congregations. Call the national office and ask for names of people who are “caring for creation coordinators” in the regional synod. Clergy for the church are deacons, elders, and pastors; the latter go by the title “reverend.” Caring for God’s creation is the origin human vocation. Humankind was placed in the garden “to till it and keep it” (Gen.2:15). That we have been less than faithful in this calling is painfully apparent. The threat of climate change, species extinction, destruction and degradation of habitat, and pollution of land, air, and water are today not only local problems bur global threats of unprecedented proportions. In the twenty-first century caring for and defending God’s creation has became an important part of the church’s witness. Report of the Office of Social Witness, Minutes of the General Synod (2000), Reformed Church in America Unitarian Universalist Association Unitarian Universalist Association 25 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02108 (617) 742-2100 Other Unitarian contacts: Seventh Principle Project www.uuassp.orgChapter IV: 58 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 55. The Circle of The seventh principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) callsfor “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are apart.” The General Assembly of the UUA has produced a number of resolu-tions concerning the earth. In 1991, The Seventh Principle Project started as aforum for discussion on how to put this principle into practice at both theorganizational and individual level. In 2000, they launched the GreenSanctuary program and handbook, which addresses: energy and environmentalaudits of church buildings; procurement and recycling practices; partnershipswith environmental justice organizations; incorporation of environmentalcurriculum into religious education; and ways to incorporate the environmentinto worship services. The UUA Church has already created a number of socialjustice and environmental resources, including the curriculum Caring for OurPlanet Earth (1990), Honoring Our Mother Earth: Experiences in NativeAmerican Spirituality, and Roots of the Soul: Living Environmental Values. Each congregation is affiliated with one of 23 districts, and the GeneralAssembly meets yearly. Each congregation operates and is governed independ-ently. Clergy within the church are ministers who go by the title “reverend.” Because the seven principles of the [Unitarian Universalist Association] connect the values of democracy, personal growth, and social justice to a recognition of the interdependent web of all existence;. . .THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the [UUA] urges its member congregations, affiliate organizations, and individual Unitarian Universalists to increase their efforts to: 1. Protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats; 2. Advocate for clean air, both indoors and outdoors, and clean water; 3. Promote the protection of public lands and water resources, and the responsible stewardship of private lands; 4. Support and practice energy and water conservation and the use of renewable sources of energy; 5. Use and advocate the use of public transportation and other environmentally sound alternatives; 6. Reduce the waste of resources in our homes, congregations, and communities by recycling, using recycled products, and reducing consumption; 7. Educate ourselves and our congregations on the need for these efforts and how best to undertake them; and 8. Increase government support for environmental protection and energy conservation programs. General Resolution Adopted at the 1997 Unitarian Universalist Association General AssemblyUnited Church of ChristUnited Church of Christ (UCC)700 Prospect AvenueCleveland, Ohio 44115(216) 736-2100www.ucc.orgBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 59 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 56. United Church of Christ Justice and Peace Ministry Rev. Adora Iris Lee 110 Maryland Ave. NE Washington, DC 20002 (202) 543-1517 Network for Environmental and Economic Responsibility For resources information and ordering: (800) 325-7061 The United Church of Christ (UCC) addresses environmental issues through its Justice and Peace Ministry and through the UCC Network for Environmental and Economic Responsibility (NEER). Both have produced environmental justice resources, including a curriculum entitled The Outdoors: The Earth as Teacher, A Basic Resource Packet. The United Church of Christ national organization is the general synod. Below the general synod, the UCC is composed of conferences. Conferences are made up of associations, and associations are composed of congregations. To find the nearest UCC conference or association office, call a local UCC Church or the national UCC office. To find environmental justice network members, call the UCC Washington, DC office or contact NEER. Clergy in the UCC are often called “reverends.” We seek to cultivate attitudes of sacred convenanting among peoples and between humanity and the non- human creation. We call upon all members of the United Church of Christ to display courageous leadership in: modeling ecologically responsible lifestyles; developing a communal spirituality able to connect persons creatively to the one, good creation of God; and advocating for economic and technological change so that our earth has a green and sustainable future of just peace for all. Network for Environmental and Economic Responsibility, United Church of Christ United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church Jaydee Hanson Virginia Gill 100 Maryland Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002 (202) 488-5650 (800) 251-8140 Portion of website pertaining to Ministry of God’s Creation: IV: 60 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 57. The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) is one of four internationalgeneral program boards of The United Methodist Church. Within the GBCS arefive areas of ministry, including Ministry of God’s Creation. This very active officehas an environmental justice network and has produced a number of conservationresources, including Faithful Witness: Environmental Justice, Hope for the Earth: AHandbook for Christian Environmental Groups, 101 Ways to Help Save the Earthwith 52 Weeks of Congregational Activities, and a video series Love the Earth andBe Healed. The Office of Environmental Justice has also made resolutions on energypolicy, genetic engineering, nuclear energy, and agriculture and rural policy. Groups of local churches work together as a district and are supervised by aclergy superintendent. These districts are part of an annual conference, thebasic unit of the denomination. The 68 UMC annual conferences roughly(though not exactly) conform to U.S. states; clergy and lay people go tomeetings of the annual conferences. Bishops are the institutional leaders of theUnited Methodist Church (formed into the Council of Bishops). Overall UMCpolicy is made by the General Conference, which convenes every four years.Call a local church and ask for the phone number of the local Bishop’s officeor for the phone number of the annual conference office that covers your area.Ask the Bishop’s or annual conference office for names of local eco-justiceactivists or GBCS members. Methodist clergy often use the title “reverend.” All creation is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it. Water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, animal life, and space are to be valued and conserved because they are God’s creation and not solely because they are useful to human beings. Therefore, we repent of our devasta- tion of the physical and nonhuman world. Further, we recognize the responsibility of the Church toward lifestyle and systemic changes in society that will promote a more ecologically just world and a better quality of life for all creation. United Methodist Church Social Principle, The Natural World2. Jewish OrganizationsCoalition on Environment and Jewish LifeMark X. Jacobs433 Park Avenue South, 11th FloorNew York, NY 10016-7322(212) 684-6950 x.210coejl@aol.comwww.coejl.orgOther Jewish environmental organizations:Jewish League of Environmental AwarenessJeff Auerbach3875 Telegraph Road, Suite A115Ventura, CA 93003(805) 647-7660Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 61 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 58. Teva Learning Center 307 Seventh Avenue, Suite 900 New York, NY 10001 (212) 807-6376 Washington Area Shomrei Adamah (Guardians of the Earth) 706 Erie Avenue Takoma Park, MD 20912 The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) was established in 1993 to enact a distinctively Jewish programmatic and policy response to the environmental crisis. A coalition of 29 national Jewish organizations, with members from all branches of Judaism, COEJL is housed by and maintains a close partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), a consen- sus building organization for 13 national Jewish organizations and 125 local Jewish community relations councils. Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life is a member of National Religious Partnership for the Environment. In addition to policy development and advocacy, COEJL sponsors regional affili- ates in communities across North America, publishes a wide array of program materials on Judaism and the environment, and organizes an annual Leadership Training Institute. COEJL has worked on the issues of environmen- tal health and justice, global warming and energy policy, sustainable develop- ment, genetic engineering, biological diversity, and forest protection. The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life has produced a number of resources specific to biodiversity, including several curricula: To Till and to Tend: A Guide to Jewish Environmental Study and Action (1994); Operation Noah: Texts and Commentaries on Biological Diversity: A Study Guide; Operation Noah: A Jewish Program and Action Guide to Defending God’s Endangered Creatures and Habitats; Biodiversity, Parshat Noah, and a Jewish Environmental Ethic: A Creative Arts Curriculum; a beautiful Operation Noah poster; and a Guide to Speakers on Judaism and Ecology (1999). For Jews, the environmental crisis is a religious challenge. As heirs to a tradition of stewardship that goes back to Genesis and that teaches us to be partners in the ongoing work of Creation, we cannot accept the escalating destruction of our environment and its effect on human health and livelihood. Where we are despoiling our air, land, and water, it is our sacred duty as Jews to acknowledge our God-given responsibility and take action to alleviate environmental degradation and the pain and suffering that it causes. We must reaffirm and bequeath the tradition we have inherited which calls upon us to safeguard humanity’s home. The Founding Statement of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (1992) A member of COEJL, the Jewish League for Environmental Awareness offers educational speakers and Jewish environmental rituals; they have also been instrumental in habitat protection projects. The Teva Learning Center is a national Jewish environmental education organization that serves rabbis, educa-Chapter IV: 62 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 59. tors, students, environmentalists, and youth. Their program for sixth graders,Shomrei Adamah (which is Hebrew for Guardians of the Earth), focuses onenergy flow, cycles, biodiversity and interdependence; students explore the Jewishconcepts of Bal Tashchit (the biblical injunction against wasteful behavior) andTikkun Olam (healing the world) in relation to current environmental issues.Teva Learning Center also offers resources such as authentic traditional sourcesand rituals, a curricula entitled Let the Earth Teach You Torah, a compilationof essays called Ecology and the Jewish Spirit (1998), and wilderness experiences.A handbook for “green synagogues” called The Green Shalom Guide: A How-toManual for Greening Local Jewish Synagogues, Schools, and Offices (1995) isavailable from the Washington Area Shomrei Adamah. To make contact with the local Jewish community, see or callthe COEJL office to see if there is a local contact. If there is not a local contact,either contact the national COEJL office to help you or contact the local“Jewish community relations council;” the latter is an umbrella body forJewish involvement in public affairs. If there is not one listed, try the “JewishFederation.” It is often best for a national Jewish office to contact an uninvolvedlocal community before a local environmental activist makes a contact. Jewishclergy use the title of “rabbi.” Don’t assume, however, that the leader of aJewish organization is a rabbi. Our religious heritage calls on us to serve as protectors and defenders of God’s magnificent creations. In a brief moment in the life of our planet, we have destroyed all but a remnant of the ancient forests. It is our duty —as people of faith, and citizens of our nation, our world, and our biosphere—to safeguard and weave together this patchwork of remnants as best we can as our legacy for generations to come…COEJL believes that public lands should be managed to preserve and restore biological diversity, and that government should not subsidize logging, mining, or grazing on public lands. Furthermore, we believe such activities should be immediately suspended in all old-growth forests and other threatened habitats on public lands. Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life’s Position on Protecting Forests (2000)3. Ecumenical, Interfaith, and Interreligious Organizations and CoalitionsEarth MinistryRev. Jim MulliganRev. Nancy Wright1305 NE 47th StreetSeattle, WA 98105(208) Founded in 1992, Earth Ministry is a Christian, ecumenical, environmentalnon-profit organization. Their programs and resources include: Earth Letternewsletter; curricula on voluntary simplicity entitled SimplerLiving/Compassionate Life; curricula on Food, Faith, and Sustainability:Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 63 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 60. Environmental, Spiritual, and Social Justice Implications of the Gift of Daily Bread; a study guide on Ecological Healing: A Christian Vision; a list of Recommended Curricular Aids and Church Resources; and the Handbook for Creation Awareness and Care in Your Congregation.The Earth is less National Council of the Churches of Christbeautiful and praise of Eco-Justice Working GroupGod diminishes, when Rev. Richard Kilmera species becomes 475 Riverside Drive, Room 812extinct. New York, New York 10115 (212) 870-2385From God’s Earth, Our or www.webofcreation/NCC/workgrp.htmlHome, “Protecting theDiversity of Life,”National Council of For ordering resources:the Churches of Christ Environmental Justice Resources National Council of the Churches of Christ P.O. Box 968 Elkhart, IN 46515 (800) 762-0968 The Eco-Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches (NCC) was created in 1983 to provide an opportunity for member Protestant and Orthodox denominations to work together to protect and restore God’s creation. The National Council of Churches is the nation’s leading organization in Christian unity, serving 35 denominations. The Eco-justice Working Group is a national leader in providing program ideas and resources to help congrega- tions as they engage in environmental justice and environmental stewardship. Resources and programs offered by the Eco-Justice Working group include: worship materials for Earth Day, God’s Earth, Our Home: A Resource for Congregational Study and Action on Environmental and Economic Justice, a Climate Change Information and Strategy Packet, a study guide called It’s God’s World: Christians, Care for Creation and Global Warming, the Energy Stewardship Congregations Program, and the Environmental Justice Covenant Congregation Program. National Religious Partnership for the Environment Paul Gorman 1047 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY 10025 (212) 316-7441 (800) 206-8858 www.nrpe.orgChapter IV: 64 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 61. The National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE) is a federa- Moral precepts whichtion of major American faith communities: the U.S. Catholic Conference, the could be drawn uponCoalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, the National Council of the in all environmentalChurches of Christ, and the Evangelical Environmental Network. The National messages:Religious Partnership for the Environment was formed in 1993 in response to • The sanctity of“Open Letter to the American Religious Community,” a letter written by 32 creation.Nobel Laureates and other scientists urging the faith community to take up • The intrinsic valueenvironmental causes. Their mission is to “seek to weave the mission of care for of all species andGod’s creation across all areas of organized religion, and to do so in such a way to contribute scope of vision, moral perspective, breadth of constituency, and • The ethical dutyendurance of struggle for all efforts to protect the natural world and human of stewardship.well-being within it.”20 They are instrumental in providing resources, trainings, • The inseparabilityand support to hundreds of thousands of congregations, and have documented of social justice andover 2,000 congregations who have engaged in environmental initiatives. environmental sustainability.North American Coalition for Christianity and Ecology • The responsibilitiesEarthkeeping News of private propertyElizabeth Dyson as measured with the greater good ofP.O. Box 40011 the common.Saint Paul, MN 55104(615) 698-0349 From Religious for the Environment website,North American Coalition for Christianity and Ecology www.nrpe.orgEarthkeeping Circles ProjectRev. Finley Schaef87 Stoll Rd.Saugerties, NY 12477(914) Begun in 1986, the North American Coalition for Christianity and Ecology(NACCE) is an interdenominational, ecumenical effort to raise the activitylevel of the Christian ecology movement. They host conferences and producea newsletter called Earthkeeping News. NACCE’s mission statement is to:address effectively the greatest moral issue of our time—the continuingdestruction of Earth; teach reverence for God’s creation, with the understandingthat humans are not separate from the natural world; bring Christians into aloving relationship with the Earth, facilitating the formation of regional earth-keeping ministries; and promote church partnerships with other organizationsconcerned with ecology and social justice. The Earthkeeping Circle Project is aprogram of NACCE for churches to advance ecological sensitivity throughstudy and action, consisting of four areas—the Bible, the bioregion, lifestyle,and local environmental actions.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 65 Chapter IV: Aspects of U.S. Religious Community
  • 62. The purpose of the North American Coalition on Religion and EcologyNorth American Donald ConroyConference on 5 Thomas Circle, NWChristianity and Washington, DC 20005Ecology is to: (202) 462-2591• Articulate the eco- logical dimension present in Chartered a decade ago, the North American Coalition on Religion and Christianity; Ecology (NACRE), and its global operating name, the International• Assist every church Consortium on Religion and Ecology, was established in Washington, DC, as to become a witness an ecumenical and interfaith non-profit organization. The mission is to educate to Christian ecologi- and engage the interfaith community on environmental issues. It does this cal understanding through three programs: Care for Creation, a five step process of discovery, and action; exploration, celebration, empowerment, and action projects; the Solar• Help every Christian Stewardship Initiative, a program designed to encourage energy efficiency, to become an renewable energy, climate change education; and the Earth Day 2000 ecologist; Campaign and related activities.• Work with people of all faith traditions to Web of Creation develop a global 1100 East 5th Street ethic as a basis for a just and sustainable Chicago, IL 60615 society on earth. Web of Creation is a web page maintained by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and is sponsored and endorsed by the Eco-Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and Theological Education to Meet the Environmental Challenge. This comprehensive website is an excel- lent resource, with information on ecology and religion for worship, religious education, congregational lifestyle, personal lifestyle, and public ministry and advocacy.Chapter IV: 66 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAspects of U.S. ReligiousCommunity
  • 63. C H A P T E R F I V EV. Theological and Historical RootsA. Conservation Within the Jewish Community1. The Biblical Period Among AllAmong its many facets, the Bible is the story of people who cared about and Growing Thingsknew intimately the land around them. That knowledge is richly, even lavishly,reflected in the language of the prophets and psalmists, in the poetry of the Song Grant me the ability toof Songs and Job. Indeed, the extravagant use of natural metaphor suggests that be alone;a vocabulary drawn from the world of nature was accessible to all. May it be my custom Today, when we encounter God as a nesher, a griffin vulture (as we do in to go outdoorsDeuteronomy 32:11), we must pause to examine just what is intended by the each dayterm. But we may surmise that then, when people first encountered that way ofdepicting God, they knew that the reference was to God as a fiercely protective Among the treesparent, one who carries its young on its back to help them learn how to fly. and grasses,Similarly, when Isaiah compares Israel to a terebinth oak in the fall (6:11-13), his Among all growinglisteners could appreciate immediately the two-edged nature of his metaphor. The things,terebinth is most glorious just before all its leaves drop—but it is also among thehardiest of trees, even sprouting again from a cut-off stump. And there may I But nature was more than a metaphor. In the biblical period, the Israelites be alone,understood their relationship to the world around them—for they knew God as And enter into prayerSovereign of the Land, and, through such institutions as the Sabbatical year and To talk with the onethe Jubilee (Leviticus 25), they acknowledged God’s ownership. It followed that That I belong to.they had to treat the land well—not only to give it rest, but to respect and planttrees, keep water sources clean, create parks near urban areas, regulate sewage dis- Rabbi Nachmanposal, avoid causing pain to animals. And they understood intuitively as well the of Bratzla 34connection between their responsibility to care for the environment and justice.Since the land was God’s, not only should it be protected, but its rich produceshould be shared with the poorest of God’s children (Leviticus 19). We speak, then, of a time when people were possessed of an ideal vision ofharmony, of shlemut, wholeness and peace. No, it was not an idyllic time, forthey could not fully translate their vision into reality. No Eden, not any longer:the promised abundance had to be teased and more often wrested from the Earthby the sweat of the brow, and the seasons had a way of being fickle, not bestow-ing their appointed blessings. Hence work, hence prayer, hence, too, Shabbat, atime to rest from work, a time to remind themselves of God’s endless beneficence,a time to dream of a time yet to come, when the world will be entirely Shabbat.And in that final and endless time, the wolf will lie down with the lamb, andhumankind will be at peace with all of nature (see, e.g., Isaiah 65:21-25; Joel2:21-24.). In short, our ancient ancestors knew the wonderful reciprocity ofCreation: Creation’s sheer magnificence turns the heart towards its Creator (see,e.g., Isaiah 40), and the heart that has turned to God opens, inevitably, towardsCreation, towards the awesome integrity of the natural universe that is God’s gift.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 67 Chapter V: Theological & Historical Roots
  • 64. 2. The Era of the Mishnah and the Talmud During the period when the Mishnah and Talmud were developed (from the third century BCE to around 600 CE), although many Jews became dwellers in cities, our urbanization was far from complete. Farming, perhaps because a large percentage of Mishnaic sages were farmers, was considered the normative way of life. We read, for example, in Avot d’Rabbi Nathan (30:6) that “one who purchases grain in the market is like an infant whose mother is dry [and so needs to be taken to a wet nurse], while one who eats from what one has grown is like an infant raised at its mother’s breast.” The mystics of this period wrote hekhalot hymns, which visionary poets recited during their attempts to ascend through the “heavenly palaces.” These hymns evoked the majesty of God by reference to the wonders of the Earth, as did the prayers of the early paytanim (such as Yose ben Yose). Even into the late Talmudic era of the fifth and sixth centuries, our sages remained knowledgeable about the natural envi- ronment, and they wrote with great concern about it. One testament to their concern is the panoply of blessings they developed. Through these, the experience of the natural world, as well as interactions between people and nature, became sanctified. Not only the tasting of foods, but the fragrance of blossoms, the sight of mountains, the sound of thunder were to be blessed. Such blessings showed that God was author of the wonders of nature. And as to the work of human hands, such as the baking of bread, the rabbis understood that even such work was bound up in a sacred partner- ship of God and humanity, as given form in the bowels of nature. Most of all, the myriad blessings reflected and reminded those who recited them of the foundational belief: God owns everything in the world; we are but tenants in the garden, meant to till and to tend, to serve and to guard. But perhaps the most compelling gift of these sages is that they made their concerns concrete, translated ethical principles into codes of action. While Genesis Rabbah and Leviticus Rabbah, written at roughly the same time, express general concerns about the preservation of species and the sacredness of planting trees, the Mishnah and Gemarra set definite limits on the use of any one species and regulate in detail the planting of trees in urban areas. The Talmudic sages translated the general principle of Bal Tashchit (Do not waste or destroy) into a series of specific prohibitions against wasteful actions. Similarly, they developed extensive regulations on the disposal of hazardous waste, and they curtailed industries that might cause air pollution (see, e.g. Bava Batra, 25a.). Nor did they consider these matters to be secondary or delegate these concerns to others; the heads of the Bet Din themselves were to inspect wells (Tosefta Shekalim 1:2). Only through concrete acts such as these could the vision of the age of redemption become a reality. 3. Medieval and Renaissance Times The urbanization of Jews continued throughout the Middle Ages. In some cases, their land was seized, or they were forbidden to own land, or they were in other ways forced off the land; in others, economic pressures, ranging from prohibitive taxes to business restrictions, as well as shifting economic opportu-Chapter V: 68 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectTheological & Historical Roots
  • 65. nities, led Jews toward the cities. But not all Jews became urban. In Europe, How wonderful,through the 1400s, many Jews cultivated vineyards. In the Islamic world, Jews O Lord, are the worksplayed a vital role in agricultural life, first throughout the region, then, as they of your hands!were displaced from the land, along its periphery. The heavens declare From the beginning of this period, a number of important Jewish texts with Your glory,environmental sensitivities, such as the late collections of Midrash, EcclesiastesRabbah, Midrash Tankhuma, and Midrash Tehillim, were composed. Joseph The arch of the skyKimkhi, in his commentary on Genesis, wrote that the “us” in God’s “Let us displays Your handi-make humans” refers to God working together with nature and the Earth. work.And the expansion of Jewish mysticism and poetry created an abundance of In Your love You haveworks concerned with the environment. given us the power This concern was both practical and theological. Maimonides as a physiciansaw the ill effects environmental degradation could have on the health, and he To behold the beautyproposed regulations to counter them (see, e.g. his Treatise on Asthma). Joseph of Your worldCaro wrote about the responsibility of communities to plant trees (Tur, Hoshen Robed in all itsMishpat #175), while various responsa of Rabbi Yitzhak ben Sheshet (Ribash), splendor.of the early 14th century, deal with urban pollution issues, including noise pol-lution, and their effects on urban dwellers (see, e.g. Responsa, 196). The sun and the stars, But many of the sages of this period also viewed the beauty of the created the valleys and theworld in a broader sense, as a path towards the love and contemplation of hills,God. For example, the Jewish philosopher, Bakhya ibn Pekuda, wrote that Jews The rivers and lakes,should engage in “meditation upon creation” in order to sense God’s majesty all disclose Your(Duties of the Heart, 137). The vast number of Kabbalistic works developed presence.during this time took contemplation of nature a step further, for, according tothe Zohar, nature itself is a garment of the Shekhina. Perek Shira, a mystical The roaring breakers of the sea tell of Yourpoem from circa 900, has verses from all types of creatures singing God’s awesome might,praise. Abraham Abulafia began a tradition of Jewish mysticism that includedoutdoor meditation. And the mystics of Safed developed intricate Tu B’shvat The beasts of the field(New Year of the Tree) Seders, to celebrate the presence of God in nature. and the birds of the air The particularly intense concern for and involvement with nature we find Bespeak Youramong the mystics might suggest that nature was somehow outside mainstream wondrous will.concerns. That was not the case. On the contrary, we find an abiding involve-ment with and appreciation of nature among some of the most mainstream In Your goodness Yourabbis and poets. Some of the greatest Sephardic sages, for example, were also have made us able totalented nature poets. So, Moses ibn Ezra, in his poem The Rose, wrote, “The heargarden put on a coat of many colors, and its grass garments were like the robes The music of theof a brocade . . . at their head advanced the rose; he came out from among the world. The voice ofguard of leaves and cast aside his prison-clothes.” loved ones Judah Ha-Levi, perhaps the greatest poet of his age, in “A Letter to hisFriend Isaac,” wrote, “And now the Spring is here with yearning eyes; midst Reveal to us that Youshimmering golden flowerbeds, on meadows carpeted with varied hues, in are in our midst.richest raiment clad she treads. She weaves a tapestry of blooms over all.” A divine voice singsNahum, a 13th century Sephardi paytan, wrote, “Winter is gone, gone is my through all creation.sorrow. The fruit tree is in flower, and my heart flowers with joy. O huntedgazelle, [a reference to the Shekhina] who escaped far from my hut, come Jewish Prayer 35back. Trees of delight sway among the shadows.”Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 69 Chapter V: Theological & Historical Roots
  • 66. And Abraham ibn Ezra, one of the great Torah commentators, wrote in his poem, God Everywhere, “Wherever I turn my eyes, around on Earth or to the heavens/I see you in the field of stars I see You in the yield of the land/in every breath and sound, a blade of grass, a simple flower, an echo of Your holy Name.” All these poets saw nature as beautiful and worthy in and of itself—and also as a path toward the most beautiful and worthy of all, God. Another lasting contribution to an environmental ethic by these medieval sages is in the elaboration of the Mishnaic principle of “moderation.” They elucidated a principle of moderation opposed to both a hedonism that requires ever-increasing consumption in futile attempts to satisfy ever-expanding appetites, and to an asceticism that devalues the natural world, for, as Judah Ha-Levi wrote, “the holy law imposes no asceticism, but demands rather that we grant each physi- cal faculty . . . its due” (Kuzari, 2:5). Of all the medieval sages, Maimonides was the foremost exponent of moderation, writing that “good deeds are ones that are equibalanced between too much and too little” (Eight Chapters, 54), and that “the right way is the mean in each group of dispositions common to humanity. One should only desire that which the body needs and cannot do without. One should eat only when hungry and not gorge oneself, but leave the table before the appetite is fully satisfied. . . This is the way of the wise” (Hilchot Deot, 1). Nor was Maimonides the only sage promoting the “golden mean.” Ibn Gabirol wrote, “abandon both extremes and set about the right mean” (Ethics, 145). 4. From the Rise of Modernity to Today On the eve of the modern period came the rise of Hasidism. In villages throughout Eastern Europe, beginning in the 18th century and continuing through the 19th, the rebbes of this movement spoke, often ecstatically, about the importance of a close relationship with the natural environment. The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism, said that a man should consider himself as a worm, and all other small animals as his companions in the world, for all of them are created (Tzava’at ha-Rivash). Rabbi Schneur Zalman, the founder of the Chabad branch of Hasidism, taught that God is in all nature, a view he based on the fact that, in gematria (the numerical equivalents of Hebrew letters), the name of God—Elohim—is equivalent to ha-teva, nature. Rabbi Zev Wolf taught that the wonders of the soil and of growing are to be contemplated before blessing food; the Medibozer Rebbe said that “God placed sparks of holiness within everything in nature” (Butzina DeNehorah, 22); Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav, the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov and the Hasidic rebbe most closely attuned to nature, wrote that if we quest for God, we can find God revealed in all of creation (Likkute Mohoran, II, #12). Nachman prescribed to his followers daily prayer in fields, teaching that their prayers would be strengthened by those of every blade of grass (Sichot Ha-Ran, 227). With the dawn of the 19th century, a radical transformation of the Jewish circumstance commenced. It is doubtful whether, short of wartime, so much change in social circumstance was ever compressed in so short a period as the change Jews experienced in the 19th century. At the dawn of the century,Chapter V: 70 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectTheological & Historical Roots
  • 67. Europe was home to 1.5 million of the world’s then 2.5 million Jews. In the Marvel at Life!course of that century, Europe was utterly transformed, and Jews along with it. Strive to know itsOld social, political, and economic structures crumbled; new possibilities ways!emerged, enticed. Educational and economic opportunities, new places andnew ideologies, beckoned. And people moved: In 1813, there were some 8,000 Seek Wisdom andJews in Warsaw; by 1900, there were 219,128. In 1789, there were 114 Jews in Truth,Budapest; by 1900, there were 166,198; in 1816, there were 3,373 Jews in The gateways to Life’sBerlin; by 1900, there were 92,206. mysteries! But even during this explosive time, significant rural populations remained.Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century, over 14 percent of Galician Jews Wondrous indeedwere still engaged in agriculture. Many Jews emigrating to both North and Is the evening twilight.South America farmed during their first generation in the New World. And,perhaps more significantly, this period saw the rise of the first movements Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro 36within Judaism advocating a return to the land, a reconnection with nature. In Europe, the Haskalah, the “enlightenment,” encouraged the establishmentof thousands of farms during the 19th century in central and southern Russia.The Haskalah sought to reinvigorate the Jewish spirit—and many of its writersbelieved that there was no better way to do so than through renewed contactwith nature. Several of Chaim Nachman Bialik’s poems reflect this contact,such as his At Twilight, “They [our fantasies] will soar to the heights rustlinglike doves, and sail along into the distance and vanish. There, upon the purplemountain ridges, the roseate islands of splendor, they will silently flutter torest.” But it was in the Zionist movement, particularly in elements of thekibbutz movement, that the return to nature found its strongest supporters.A.D. Gordon, the best-known of such advocates, wrote: “And when you, Ohuman, will return to Nature, that day your eyes will open, you will starestraight into the eyes of Nature and in its mirror you will see your image. Youwill know...that when you hid from Nature, you hid from yourself...We whohave been turned away from Nature—if we desire life, we must establish anew relationship with Nature” (Mivhar Ketavim, 57-58). For his part, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook saw the return to nature as part ofthe sacred task of the Jew in Israel, necessary to create “strong and holy flesh”(Orot, 171). Some of the Zionist poets directly tied their love of nature to thereturn to the Land; here, religion per se was abandoned, but the secularizedproduct was infused with spirituality. So Rachel Blustein wrote, in one of hermost famous poems, “Land of mine, I have never sung to you nor glorifiedyour name with heroic deeds/or the spoils of battle/all I have done is plant atree/on the silent shores of the Jordan.” Others, such as Leah Goldberg, in herSongs of the River, wrote of the beauty of nature in and of itself, apart fromany Zionist aspirations: “My brother the river, eternally wandering Renewedday by day, and changing, and one My brother the flow, between your banksWhich flows like myself between spring and fall.” There was an ideological point to such expression, for the early Zionistpioneers were taken (not to say obsessed) with the idea that the health of theJewish people depended on their reconnection with nature, from which theyhad been so radically cut off in Europe. From A.D. Gordon’s Religion of Labor,Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 71 Chapter V: Theological & Historical Roots
  • 68. The earth of his desire to “strike our roots deep into its [the land’s] life-giving substance,humankind contains and stretch out our branches into sustaining and creating air and sunlight,” upall moistness, until the extraordinary passion of contemporary Israelis to know the contoursall verdancy, of their land, endlessly hiking through it and learning its ways, we may discern the echoes of an ancient tradition.all germinating power. B. Conservation Within the Christian CommunityIt is in so many waysfruitful. As noted elsewhere, Christianity is not a newcomer to recognizing the impor-All creation comes tance of conservation. There is significant historical and Biblical support forfrom it. today’s Christian involvement in caring for God’s creation. The following, which is based on “The Greening of Religion” by Roderick Nash (professor ofYet it forms not only history, University of California at Santa Barbara), mentions just a few peoplethe basic raw material and concepts within Christian conservation history. For more informationfor humankind, about the Christian conservation movement, consult articles and books such as:but also the substance Roderick Nash, “The Greening of Religion,” in This Sacred Earth (Rogerof the incarnation of Gottlieb, ed. 1996); Roderick Nash, The Rights of Nature: A History ofGod’s son. Environmental Ethics (1989); Susan Power Bratton, Christianity, Wilderness, and Wildlife: The Original Desert Solitaire (1993); Sean McDonagh, TheHildegard of Bingen 40 Greening of the Church (1990); Loren Wilkinson, ed., Earthkeeping in the ‘90s: Stewardship of Creation (1991); Robert Booth Fowler, The Greening of Protestant Thought (1995).Praise be to Thee, my 1. Biblical and Theological BasesLord, for Brother Wind, Historically, Christianity has approached conservation from a variety of per- spectives, two of which are beliefs in stewardship responsibility and theAnd for the air and the capacity for all things to be recipients of God’s grace. The stewardship conceptcloud of fair and all is based on the understanding that all of creation belongs to God, and humanweather beings have been given the responsibility to care for God’s world. A ScriptureThrough which Thou passage often mentioned as a commandment to be good stewards is Genesisgivest sustenance to 2:15, where God placed “man” in the Garden of Eden “to till it and keep it.”Thy creatures. St. Benedictine’s writings from the 6th century reflect the stewardship responsi- bility, as do later writings by John Ray and Alexander Pope in the 17th century,St. Francis of Assisi 41 and Henry David Thoreau and John Muir in the mid and late 1800s. In 1939, Walter Lowdermilk, Assistant Chief of the Soil Conservation Service, proposed a new, Eleventh Commandment, which begins, “Thou shalt inherit the holy earth as a faithful steward, conserving its resources and productivity from generation to generation.” The belief that we are all “brothers and sisters in the family of God”37 can be traced, in part, to St. Francis of Assisi in the 1100s. In the mid 20th century, Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary professor Joseph Sittler set forth his premise that “all things,” not just humans, are potential recipients of God’s saving grace. This concept is reflected in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Basis for Our Caring statement: “Since we are saved, there must be a sense in which the environment is saved as well. Christian hope is not for human destiny only. The Creator of all things is also the Redeemer of allChapter V: 72 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectTheological & Historical Roots
  • 69. things.” In 1963-1964, the Faith-Man-Nature Group formed within the Therefore it is in theNational Council of Churches; this group advocated stewardship, but some nature of things,of its members also noted a sense of “the intrinsic worth of every part of the considered in itself,environment”38(“in the eyes of God nature has its own value, its own rights without regard tofor life and fulfillment”).39 our convenience or inconvenience, that gives glory to the2. Church Activities Creator…And so allAt both the national and congregational levels, for many years some U.S. nature’s substancesChristian churches have been involved in activities that recognize the impor- are good, becausetance of conservation. For example, for decades or even longer, a few denomi- they exist and there-nations have observed Rural Life Sundays and Soil Stewardship Sundays, fore have their ownwhich focus on our connection with the environment associated with agricul- mode and kind ofture. As Roderick Nash notes: being, and in their The dramatic exposure given soil erosion problems by the great dust fashion, a peace and storms that plagued the Middle West in the 1930s supported these harmony among tentative beginnings. In the 1940s, the National Catholic Rural Life themselves. Commission, based in Des Moines, Iowa, endeavored to bring the force of religion behind the careful use of land. In the 1950s the St Augustine 42 National Council of Churches launched a program called “A Christian Ministry in the National Parks,” which emphasized human appreciation of the beauty of God’s world.43 In the early 1970s, there were important Christian components to the forma-tion of today’s environmental movement. Richard Baer expressed hope thatreligious institutions could “draw into the conservation battle thousands, evenmillions, of committed churchmen.”44 In 1963-1964, the Faith-Man-NatureGroup formed within the National Council of Churches of Christ. This groupconvened at least annually and published a number of documents, until itdisbanded in 1974. Christian Century devoted its entire October 7, 1970,edition to “The Environmental Crisis.” Religious thinkers like Richard Baer,Paul Santmire, and John Cobb set forth ethical rationale. For example,Santmire wrote that “[n]ature and civilization are fellow citizens of theKingdom of God;” and Cobb said, “man will in fact care for the subhumanworld sufficiently to heal it and to adjust himself to its needs only if he views itas having some claim upon him, some intrinsic right to exist and prosper.”45Also in the early 1970s, there were a number of conferences and publications bythe religious community about environmental problems and ethics. This inter-est in the environmental movement by religious groups has continued in the1980s, 1990s, and the new millennium. New faith-based environmental groups formed in the 1970s, 1980s, and1990s: e.g., Berkeley-based Ministry of Ecology operated from 1973-1981; theNational Council of Churches of Christ Eco-Justice Working Group began in1983; the Eleventh Commandment Fellowship started in 1984; NorthAmerican Coalition for Christianity and Ecology held its first conference in1987; Presbyterians for Restoring Creation began in 1990; and several denomi-nations created eco-justice or environmental stewardship networks. In addition,Pope John Paul II’s 1990 World Day of Peace message was the first papalBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 73 Chapter V: Theological & Historical Roots
  • 70. Adam was put in the document devoted to environmental problems, and the U.S. Catholicgarden ‘to work and Conference’s Environmental Justice Program began in 1993.46 And organizedprotect it.’ The two evangelical support for the environment emerged. For instance, both thejobs are complemen- Evangelical Environmental Network and Christian Environmental Counciltary, but they are also formed in the 1990s, and the Au Sable Institute, with its academic emphasis oncontradictory. From both environmental science and Christian faith, has played a major role inwhat are we to protect legitimizing ecological Christianity within the evangelical community.47Eden, if not from ourown works? The morewe work the earth – 3. Larger Concerns about Justice and Ethical Obligations Must Include Natureby which I mean not In the final pages of “The Greening of Religion,” Roderick Nash points out theonly tilling but the connection between religious groups’ work for justice and conservation:whole spectrum of In the 1960s American churches became concerned with the rele-human meddling, from vance of their message for social problems. Civil rights, the war insetting grass fires to Vietnam, poverty, and women’s liberation claimed a major share ofsplitting the atom – the clerical attention. The concern of religion for the rights of non-more we are obliged human life and the earth in the 1970s and 1980s continued andto protect it. If we fail extended this pattern. The reinterpretation of the Christian traditionto do either, we fail to and a simultaneous renaissance of interest in Asian and Nativebe fully human. faiths acquainted many Americans with environmental ethics.Evan Eisenberg 49 Theologians and clergy became primary architects of the new idea that human ethical obligations must include nature.48Chapter V: 74 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectTheological & Historical Roots
  • 71. C H A P T E R S I XVI. Hebrew and Christian Scripture QuotesThe Bible contains rich description of God’s relationship with and care for thenatural world. The following are just a few quotations that illustrate this.(Note: Be aware that Bible translations are sometimes controversial, markingnot only demarcations between denominations, but igniting conflicts withinthose denominations. Before you use any quotes for a congregational meeting,determine which translation it uses and use quotes from that translation,though also be aware that many denominations use a variety of translations.)A. God Created the Earth, and Creation Belongs to GodAnd God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and letbirds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.” So God createdthe great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which thewaters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to itskind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:20-21 (Revised StandardVersion) The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness, The world and those who dwelltherein. For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon thewaters. Psalm 24:1-2 (New King James Version) O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all;the earth is full of thy creatures. Psalm 104:24 (Revised Standard Version) Thou dost cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for man tocultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden theheart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen man’s heart.The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon which heplanted. In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the firtrees. Psalm 104:14-17 (Revised Standard Version) I will open rivers in desolate heights, And fountains in the midst of the valleys;I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. Iwill plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, The myrtle and theoil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine And the box treetogether, That they may see and know, And consider and understand together,That the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.Isaiah 41:18-20 (New King James Version) Fear not, O land; Be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelousthings! Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; For the open pastures areBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 75 Chapter VI: Hebrew & Christian Scripture Quotes
  • 72. springing up, And the tree bears its fruit; The fig tree and vine yield their strength. Joel 2:21-22 (New King James Version) All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. Leviticus 27:30 (Revised Standard Version) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made. John 1:1-3 (New King James Version) B. God’s Power Is Seen in Nature The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. Acts 17:24-25 (New Revised Standard Version) Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? Says the Lord, Or what is the place of My rest? Has My hand not made all these things? Acts 7:49-50 (New King James Version) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. Romans 1:19-20 (New Revised Standard Version) C. God Has a Special Relationship with All of Creation, and All of Creation Is Called to Worship and Serve Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yea, the world is established, it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord. Psalm 96:10-12 (Revised Standard Version) Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” Let the sea roar, and all that fills it, let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chronicles 16:31-34 (Revised Standard Version) Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they wereChapter VI: 76 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectHebrew & ChristianScripture Quotes
  • 73. created. He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decreewhich shall not pass away. Psalm 148:5-6 (New King James Version) I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparingwith the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eagerlonging for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjectedto futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, inhope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and willobtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that thewhole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only thecreation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardlyas we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:18-23 (NewRevised Standard Version) But ask the animals what God does. They will teach you. Or ask the birds ofthe air. They will tell you. Or speak to the earth. It will teach you. Or let thefish of the ocean educate you. Are there any of those creatures that don’t knowwhat the powerful hand of the Lord has done? Job 12:7-9 (New InternationalReaders Version) Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowingfrom the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street ofthe city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with twelve kinds offruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for thehealing of the nations. Revelation 22:1-2 (Revised Standard Version)D. God Calls for Respect for the EarthThen the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tendand keep it. Genesis 2:15 (New King James Version) Those who do what is right take good care of their animals. Proverbs 12:10(New International Readers Version) When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order totake it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them; for youmay eat of them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the fieldmen that they should be besieged by you? Deuteronomy 20:19 (RevisedStandard Version) Out of the smoke came locusts. They settled down on the earth. They weregiven power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not toharm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree. Revelation 9:3-4 (NewInternational Readers Version)Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 77 Chapter VI: Hebrew & Christian Scripture Quotes
  • 74. Consider the lilies of E. Human Humility Amidst the Grandeur of Creationthe field how theygrow; they toil not, When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars,neither do they spin; which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? PsalmsAnd yet I say unto you, 8:4 (King James Bible)That even Solomon inall his glory was notarrayed like one of And when the Lord your God brings you into the land which he swore tothese. your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you, with great and goodly cities, which you did not build, and houses full of all good things,Matthew 6:28-29 which you did not fill, and cisterns hewn out, which you did not hew, and(King James Bible) vineyards and olive trees, which you did not plant, and when you eat and are full, then take heed lest you forget the Lord. Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (Revised Standard Version) As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God . . . Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must foul the rest with your feet? Ezekiel 34:17-18 (Revised Standard Version) The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers; the heav- ens languish together with the earth. The earth lies polluted under its inhabi- tants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlast- ing covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth dwindled, and few people are left. Isaiah 24:4-6 (New Revised Standard Version) F. Warnings Against Materialism and Consumption Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth cor- rupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-24 (King James Bible) No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24 (New King James Version) And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Matthew 19:24 (King James Bible)Chapter VI: 78 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectHebrew & ChristianScripture Quotes
  • 75. C H A P T E R S E V E N Grandfather Great SpiritVII. Excerpts from Additional Religious Traditions All over the world the faces of living onesAs noted at the beginning, this Guide focuses on Christian and Jewish tradi- are aliketions. However, many other religions have significant conservation teachings, With tenderness theytheology, and activism. The following quotes provide a glimpse into some of have come up out ofthese traditions’ focus on conservation. the ground.A. Indigenous Traditions Look upon your children that they mayThemes which provide orientation for understanding the relations between Face the winds andindigenous religions and ecology are kinship, spatial and biographical relations walk the good road towith place, traditional environmental knowledge, and cosmology...[The] the Day of Quiet.awareness of the loss of natural harmony among indigenous peoples broughtwith it an awareness of fostering sustainable human-earth relations for future Grandfather Greatgenerations. Among the northern Algonkian hunters and trappers of North SpiritAmerica these relations were maintained by complex regulations for the Fill us with the Light.treatment of the bones of slain animals. Sensitivities to local regions and theirbiodiversity have been transmitted in strikingly diverse ways by indigenous Give us the strengthpeoples. The Proto-Malaysian peoples, for example, have transmitted into the to understand,present elaborate divination modes based on the flights and calls of birds. And the eyes to see.Spatial and biographical relations with place are also significant pragmatic andspiritual aspects of this environmental sensitivity. John A.Grim, “Indigenous Teach us to walk theTradition and Ecology” (2001), Forum on Religion and Ecology website, soft Earth as to all that live. Sioux Prayer 50 If anyone asked Indians what they thought about animals, trees, and moun-tains, they answered by talking about the powerful spiritual beings that werethose things...[T]he Indian attitudes—the Indian philosophy and religion, ifthose restrictive words can even be used to apply to the wholeness of Indian The sky is round, and Ithought—enabled the Indians to live in and to change the American environ- have heard that thement without seriously degrading it...It was not a wilderness—it was a com- earth is round like amunity in nature of living beings, among whom the Indians formed a part, but ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in itsnot all. There were also animals, trees, plants, and rivers, and the Indians greatest power, whirls.regarded themselves as relatives of these, not as their superiors. J. Donald Birds make their nestsHughes, from “American Indian Ecology,” in This Sacred Earth, 133 (Roger in circles, for theirs isS. Gottlieb, ed., 1996). the same religion as ours…Even the sea- When I was a youth the country was very beautiful. Along the rivers were sons form a great cir-belts of timberland, where grew cottonwoods, maples, elms, ash, hickory and cle in their changing,walnut trees, and many other kinds. Also there were various kinds of vines and and always comeshrubs. And under these grew many good herbs and beautiful flowering plants. back again to whereIn both the woodland and the prairie I could see the trails of many kinds of they were.animals and hear the cheerful songs of birds of many kinds. When I walked Black Elk 51Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 79 Chapter VII: Additional Religious Traditions
  • 76. To become human, abroad I could see many forms of life, beautiful living creatures of many kindsone must make room which Wakanda had placed here; and these were after their manner walking,in oneself for the won- flying, leaping, running, playing all about. But now the face of all the land isders of the universe. changed and sad. The living creatures are gone. I see the land desolate, and I suffer . . . loneliness. Omaha Indian elder, quoted in J. Donald Hughes, fromSouth American “American Indian Ecology,” in This Sacred Earth, 131 (Roger S. Gottlieb, ed.,Indian Saying 52 1996). Humility and respect for nature is a characteristic of the African world-view. Resources are given by God. For the African, this is a humbling experience. The processes of replenishing resources and cleansing the environment are not explained in scientific terms. And because God is in us humans and in nature, and we are a part of this nature, our life is seen as being sustained by natural resources as we also sustain them. This is the participatory nature of the world of which we are a part. Backson Sibanda, excerpted from a monograph entitled Environmental Policy: Governance, Religion, Traditional Practices, and Natural Resource Management in Zimbabwe (1998).May the wind blowsweetness, B. Hindu TraditionThe rivers flowsweetness, WHAT IS THE GREAT VIRTUE CALLED AHIMSA? SHLOKA 66 -- Ahimsa, or noninjury, is the first and foremost ethical principle of every Hindu. It isThe herbs grow gentleness and nonviolence, whether Physical, mental or emotional. It issweetness, abstaining from causing hurt or harm to all beings. Aum. BHASHYA -- To theFor the People of Hindu the ground is sacred. The rivers are sacred. The sky is sacred. The sun isTruth! sacred. His wife is a Goddess. Her husband is a God. Their children are devas. Their home is a shrine. Life is a pilgrimage to liberation from rebirth, and no violence can be carried to the higher reaches of that ascent. While nonviolenceSweet be the night, speaks only to the most extreme forms of wrongdoing, ahimsa, which includesSweet be the dawn, not killing, goes much deeper to prohibit the subtle abuse and the simple hurt. Rishi Patanjali described ahimsa as the great vow and foremost spiritual disci-Sweet be the earth’s pline which Truth-seekers must follow strictly and without fail. . . . Vedic rishisfragrance, who revealed dharma proclaimed ahimsa as the way to achieve harmony withSweet be our Heaven! our environment, peace between peoples and compassion within ourselves. The Vedic edict is: “Ahimsa is not causing pain to any living being at any time through the actions of one’s mind, speech or body.” Aum Namah Sivaya.May the tree afford Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, from “Dancing with Siva,” in Hinduism’sto sweetness, Contemporary Catechism, 195 (1993).The sun shine tosweetness, In March 1973, in the town of Gopeshwar in Chamoli district (Uttar Pradesh, India), villagers formed a human chain and hugged the earmarked The cows yield trees to keep them from being felled for a nearby factory producing sportssweetness – equipment. The same situation later occurred in another village when forestMilk in plenty! contractors wanted to cut trees under license from the Government Department of Forests. Again, in 1974, women from the village of Reni, near Joshimath inRig Veda I 53 the Himalayas, confronted the loggers by hugging trees and forced contractorsChapter VII: 80 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAdditional ReligiousTraditions
  • 77. to leave. Since then, the Chipko Andolan (the movement to hug trees) hasgrown as a grassroots ecodevelopment movement. The genesis of the Chipkomovement is not only in the ecological or economic background, but in reli-gious belief. Villagers have noted how industrial and commercial demands havedenuded their forests, how they cannot sustain their livelihood in a deforestedarea, and how floods continually play havoc with their small agriculturalcommunities. The religious basis of the movement is evident in the fact that itis inspired and guided by women...[B]eing more religious, they also are moresensitive to injunctions such as ahimsa. O. P. Dwivedi, Satyagraha for“Conservation: Awakening the Spirit of Hinduism,” in This Sacred Earth,160 (Roger S. Gottlieb, ed., 1996).C. Buddhist TraditionBuddhist environmentalists assert that the mindful awareness of the universality Today more than everof suffering produces compassionate empathy for all forms of life, particularly before life must befor all sentient species. They interpret the Dhammapada’s ethical injunction not characterized by ato do evil but to do good as a moral principle advocating the nonviolent allevi- sense of Universal responsibility, not onlyation of suffering, an ideal embodied in the prayer of universal loving-kindness nation to nation andthat concludes many Buddhist rituals: “May all beings be free from enmity; human to human, butmay all beings be free from injury; may all beings be free from suffering; may also human to otherall beings be happy.” Out of a concern for the total living environment, forms of life.Buddhist environmentalists extend loving-kindness and compassion beyondpeople and animals to include plants and the earth itself. Donald K. Swearer, Dalai Lama“Buddhism and Ecology: Challenge and Promise” (1998), Forum on Religion (Tenzin Gyatso) 54and Ecology website, [G]enerally speaking, all beings seem beautiful to us, beautiful birds, beauti-ful beasts. Their presence gives us some kind of tranquility, some kind of joy;they are like an ornament to our lives really. And then the forest, the plants,and the trees, all these natural things come together to make our surroundingspleasant. All are heavily interdependent in creating our joy and happiness, inremoving our sufferings. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, “A TibetanBuddhist Perspective,” in Spirit and Nature, 115 (Steven C. Rockefeller andJohn C. Elder, eds., 1992). [By Buddhist hermits] it is, precisely, undisturbed, unspoiled nature -- thewilderness -- that is usually regarded as the most favourable environment forspiritual progress and true happiness. This seems to imply an intramundane-positive evaluation, and what is positively evaluated here is not so much indi-vidual animals and plants, but rather the whole ambience. Primarily, to be sure,as a place of solitude and silence, but, at least occasionally (as in some verses ofthe Theragaathaa), also in its beauty, as the harmonious unity of landscape,plants and animals. This seems to coincide, to some extent, with what we call“nature” in the sense of an ecosystem, along with the species of animals andplants belonging to it. If this is correct, this strand would indeed furnish aBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 81 Chapter VII: Additional Religious Traditions
  • 78. We live by the sun viable basis for ecological ethics including active protection and even restitutionWe feel by the moon of ecosystems. Lambert Schmithausen, “The Early Buddhist Tradition andWe move by the stars Ecological Ethics,” 4, Journal of Buddhist Ethics (1997).We live in all thingsAll things live in us Imagine a city that has only one tree left. People there are mentally disturbed, because they are so alienated from nature. Then one doctor in the city sees whyWe eat from the earth people are getting sick, and he offers each person who comes to him the pre-We drink from the rain scription: “You are sick because you are cut off from Mother Nature. EveryWe breath of the air morning, take a bus, go to the tree in the center of the city, and hug it for fif-We live in all things teen minutes. Look at the beautiful green tree and smell its fragrant bark.” . . .All things live in us If you are a mountain climber or someone who enjoys the countryside or the forest, you know that forests are our lungs outside of our bodies. Yet we haveWe call to each other been acting in a way that has allowed millions of square miles of land to beWe listen to each other deforested, and we have also destroyed the air, the rivers, and parts of theOur hearts deepen ozone layer. We are imprisoned in our small selves, thinking only of some com-with love and fortable conditions for this small self, while we destroy our large self. If wecompassion want to change the situation, we must begin by being our true selves. To be our true selves means we have to be the forest, the river, and the ozone layer. If weWe live in all things visualize ourselves as the forest, we will experience the hopes and fears of theAll thing live in us trees. If we don’t do this, the forests will die, and we will lose our chance for peace. When we understand that we are interdependent with the trees, we willWe depend on thetrees and animals know that it is up to us to make an effort to keep the trees alive. Thich NhatWe depend on the Hanh, “Love in Action,” in The Soul of Nature, 130, 131 (Michael Tobias andearth Georgianne Cowan, eds., 1996).Our minds open withwisdom and thought The early Buddhist community lived in the forest under large trees, in caves, and in mountainous areas. Directly dependent on nature, they cultivated greatWe live in all things respect for the beauty and diversity of their natural surroundings. In the Sutta-All things live in us Nipata, one of the earliest texts, the Buddha says: “Know ye the grasses and the trees . . . Then know ye the worms, and the moths, and the different sortsWe dedicate our of ants . . . Know ye also the four-footed animals small and great, the serpents,practice to others the fish which range in the water, the birds that are borne along on wings andWe include all forms move through the air . . . Know ye the marks that constitute species are theirs,of life and their species are manifold.” Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, “Early BuddhistWe celebrate the joyof living-dying Views on Nature,” in This Sacred Earth, 148 (Roger S. Gottlieb, ed., 1996).We live in all things D. Islamic TraditionAll things live in us Muslims are reflecting on their fundamental and enduring religious teachingsWe are full of life and discovering theological and moral bases for an environmental ethics thatWe are full of death have been present, whether explicitly or implicitly, both in their sacred textualWe are grateful for traditions and in their habits of heart, thinking, public administration, andall beings and daily life since Islam’s founding. A common conviction among Muslims in thiscompanions discourse is that nature is not independently worthwhile but derives its value from God. The earth is mentioned some 453 times in the Qur’an, whereas skyStephanie Kaza 55 and the heavens are mentioned only about 320 times. Islam does understandChapter VII: 82 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAdditional ReligiousTraditions
  • 79. the earth to be subservient to humankind, but it should not be administered Unity, trusteeship andand exploited irresponsibly. There is a strong sense of goodness and purity of accountability, that isthe earth….Muslims envision heaven as a beautiful garden which the Qur’an tawheed, knalifa anddescribes in many places. If life on earth is preparation for eternal life in heav- akhrah, the three cen-en, then the loving care of the natural environment would seem to be appropri- tral concepts of Islam. They constitute theate training for the afterlife in the company of God and the angels in an envi- basic values taught byronment that is perfectly balanced, peaceful, and verdant. Frederick Denny, the Qur’an.“Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust Inviting Balanced Stewardship” (1998),Forum on Religion on Ecology website, Abdullah Omar Naseef 56Muhammad said: “When doomsday comes if someone has a palm shoot in hishand he should plant it.” This hadith encapsulates the principles of Islamicenvironmental ethics. Even when all hope is lost, planting should continue forplanting is a good in itself. The planting of the palm shoot continues theprocess of development and will sustain life even if one does not anticipate any Land is immortal, for itbenefit from it. Mawil Y. Izzi Deen (Samarrai), “Islamic Environmental Ethics, harbors the mysteriesLaw, and Society,” in This Sacred Earth, 169 (Roger S. Gottlieb, ed., 1996). of creation. Anwar El-Sadat 57Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 83 Chapter VII: Additional Religious Traditions
  • 80. Endnotes 1 Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Decline of Social Capitalism in America, 68 (2000). 2 Bill McKibben, The End of Nature 176 (1989). 3 Id. At 72. 4 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Question 47. 5 Fred Krueger, A Cloud of Witness, A Collection of Writing from Saints and Seers, Mystics and Reformers that Contribute to a Christian Theology and Ethic of Creation, 143 (198). 6 Id. At 143. 7 Sefer Ha-Hinukh, #515 of the 613 Mitzvot. 8 His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, “A Tibetan Buddhist Perspective,” in Spirit and Nature, S. Rockefeller and J. Elder, eds., 115 (1992). 9 Lambert Schmithausen, “The Early Buddhist Tradition and Ecological Ethics,” 4, Journal of Buddhist Ethics (1997) (quote retrieved from internet, 10 Qu’ran, “The Chapter of the Merciful (LV. Mecca.),“ in The Sacred Books of the East, E. H. Palmer, trans., F. Max Muller, ed., 258 (1970). 11 Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, “Dancing with Siva,” Hinduism’s Contemporary Catechism, 195 (1993). 12 Betty Tso, PanTheology Magazine, 3 (Aug. 1998). 13 Susan J. Clark, Celebrating Earth Holy Days: A Resource Guide for Faith Communities, 126 (1992). 14 Terry Tempest Williams, “Testimony,” Wild Earth, 6-7 (Winter 1995). 15 Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Decline of Social Capitalism in America, 70 (2000). 16 Belden & Russonello and R/S/M, Human Values and Nature’s Futures: American Attitudes on Biological Diversity, December 1996. 17 Belden & Russonello and R/S/M, Human Values and Nature’s Futures: American Attitudes on Biological Diversity, December 1996. 18 Schultz, P.W., L. Zelezny, and N.J. Dalrymple, “ A multinational perspective on the relation between Judeo-Christian religious beliefs and attitudes of environmental concern,” in Environment and Behavior, Vol. 32 No. 4, 576 – 591 (2000); this article is also a good source of references for other sociological studies that have looked at religious beliefs, environmental attitudes and behavior. 19 Susan J.Clark, Celebrating Earth Holy Days: A Resource Guide for Faith Communities, 107- 108 (1992). 20 From the NRPE website, 21 From the NRPE website, 22 Tom Crider, A Nature Lover’s Book of Quotations, 8 (2000). 23 Id. At 203. 24 From the NRPE website, 25 Herbert Schroeder, “Spirit of the Forest: Integrating Spiritual Values into Natural Resource Management and Research,” in Dialogues with the Living Earth, James Swan and Roberta Swan, compilers, 294-306 (1996). 26 Susan J. Clark, Celebrating Earth Holy Days: A Resource Guide for Faith Communities, 122 (1992). 27 Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, eds. Earth Prayers From Around the World, 175 (1991). 28 Because the U.S. Census does not ask questions regarding religious affiliation, it is difficult to obtain accurate numbers of current membership of religions and denominations. There is also a difference between numbers of self-identified membership versus affiliated membership that organizations report. For a discussion about religious demographics, see; see also Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches: Religious Pluralism in the New Millennium, Eileen Lindner, ed., and National Council of the Churches of Christ, (2000). 29 World Almanac and Book of Facts (1999). 30 Encyclopedia of American Religions (5th ed., 1996). 31 Glen Lauder, “Ecology and Spirituality,” and Jan Kassahn Keeler, “Spiritual Activism and the Environment,” in Christian Science Journal, Volume 118, No. 7, 5, 7-9 (July 2000). 32 For more information about Evangelicals see the websites Barna Research Online,, and 33 Description of parachurch organizations is from Peter Illyn, Christians for Environmental Stewardship, VII: 84 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity ProjectAdditional ReligiousTraditions
  • 81. 34 Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, eds., Earth Prayers From Around the World, 103 (1991).35 Id. At 57.36 Id. At 371.37 Roderick Nash, “The Greening of Religion,” in This Sacred Earth, 202 (Roger Gottlieb, ed., 1996).38 Id. At 206.39 Id. At 206.40 Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, eds., Earth Prayers From Around the World, 46 (1991).41 Tom Crider, A Nature Lover’s Book of Quotations, 246 (2000).42 Sean McDonagh, The Greening of the Church,168 (1990).43 Roderick Nash, “The Greening of Religion,” in This Sacred Earth, 203 (Roger Gottlieb, ed., 1996).44 Id. At 20645 Id. At 208, 210.46 Sean McDonagh, The Greening of the Church, 190 (1990).47 Id. At 17,18.48 Roderick Nash, “The Greening of Religion,” in This Sacred Earth, 220 (Roger Gottlieb, ed., 1996).49 Evan Eisenberg, “The Ecology of Eden” in Our Land Ourselves: Readings on People and Place, Peter Forbes, Anne Armbrecht Forbes, Helen Whybrow, eds., 111 (1999).50 Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, eds., Earth Prayers From Around the World, 184 (1991).51 Tom Crider, A Nature Lover’s Book of Quotations, 201 (2000).52 Id. At 255.53 Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, eds., Earth Prayers From Around the World, 175 (1991).54 Tom Crider, A Nature Lover’s Book of Quotations, 52 (2000).55 Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, eds., Earth Prayers From Around the World, 16-17 (1991).56 Tom Crider, A Nature Lover’s Book of Quotations, 184 (2000).57 Id. At 201Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 85 Chapter VII: Additional Religious Traditions
  • 82. T I P S F O R O U T R E A C HI. Ten Hot Topics1. THE “religious community”Perhaps the most basic mistake in outreach to religious groups is the assump-tion that such groups are all the same, all agree with each other, or all have theability to speak for each other. Religious communities are as diverse as anyother communities—often more so. Approach each group as its own entity—recognizing that even churches from the same denomination in the same townmay be strikingly different from one another.2. Evolution/CreationOne aspect of the religious community’s diversity is the variety of approachesto evolution. Many congregations and religious leaders fully accept evolution;for others, the very term is an anathema. Many congregations talk about“caring for God’s Creation”—but they may mean very different things bythat term. Find out what is and is not acceptable for a given congregation—understanding at the same time that groups all across the evolution/creationspectrum may still be supportive of biodiversity, though for different reasons.3. Interfaith Coalitions and New Age/Pagan IssuesAnother aspect of the diversity of religious life is the broad spectrum of reactionsto interfaith coalitions. Some communities—especially the Jewish community—prefer to work in interfaith coalitions. Others—especially Evangelical churches—typically prefer to work independently. It is important to respect thesedifferences and to encourage participation that is appropriate for a givencongregation or leader. Some congregations and institutions worry that envi-ronmental groups or interfaith coalitions around environmental issues might beassociated with “New Age” or “pagan” religious practices; other congregationswelcome dialogue with earth-based traditions or new religions. If you areworking with communities where this is a concern, groups like the EvangelicalEnvironmental Network can supply you with materials that explain biblically-based reasons for “caring for creation.” You need to make sure not to pressurereligious community members to work publicly with any individuals or groupsthat might compromise their religious beliefs.4. Pro-Life ConcernsReligious groups also have a variety of stances about abortion, birth control,and other family planning issues. While discussions of population issues and theirrelationship to biodiversity should not be considered off-limits, such discussionsare sensitive and probably should wait until trust has begun to build in yourrelationships with religious leaders. In some cases, religious leaders will wantto address environmental concerns as part of a broader “pro-life” agenda, anargument that can be extremely persuasive. It is important, however, for suchBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 87 Tips for Outreach
  • 83. themes to be raised by religious leaders rather than by secular environmental groups. 5. Diversity Within Environmental Groups Many religious communities have long-standing commitments to diversity in their own leadership, reflecting the great diversity within their pews. Such groups are particularly sensitive to criticisms of the environmental movement as an elitist concern held by upper-class white males. Be sure to show the diversity of your leadership to religious leaders—and if your group and leaders are not diverse, you might think about asking for help from religious leaders to increase your diversity. 6. Tax Status/Church-State Issues This pitfall, while by no means limited to environmental concerns, is often raised by religious leaders who are relatively new to social justice activism. Many denominations publish very clear guidelines on activism, tax status, and church/state concerns for their congregation. Though you should not give detailed legal advice to religious groups, you can point out that religious leaders speaking out on environmental issues in no way threatens their tax status—the only activity they must avoid is the endorsement of political candidates. Similarly, if a religious leader is concerned about crossing church/state bound- aries, you can point out that, as long as they do not try to establish a religious test for public office, speaking about how their religious values relate to modern policy questions does not intrude on church/state separation. 7. The “Enemy” Especially in the present political climate, it is easy to fall into habits of demo- nizing one’s political opponents. It is important to remember, however, that in a given congregation, one may find business leaders as well as environmental leaders, property rights activists as well as biodiversity activists. If religious leaders feel that they can’t speak about environmental issues without directly attacking members of their own congregation, they may avoid the subject altogether. You can help by giving religious leaders the tools they need to express concern about environmental issues without ignoring legitimate questions about the consequences of environmental regulations. And, once trust has been established, you may find that religious leaders can help bring other sectors to the table ready to work with you. In other cases, a trusting relationship may enable a religious leader to actively condemn practices by congregants that do need condemning. 8. Baggage Sometimes, the environmentalists approaching religious groups bring more than one agenda with them. Sometimes, in addition to environmental outreach, they want to discuss their own religious issues—anything from questions about God to old baggage from a mean religious schoolteacher. While at least some of these questions might be appropriate once a trusting relationship is built,Tips for Outreach 88 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 84. they often can block the building of that relationship if they become tooprominent too early on, especially when they take on negative tones, denouncingreligion as patriarchy or the like. Make sure that the person making the initialoutreach connection to religious groups approaches them with an open mindand with only one item on the agenda—building a working relationship onenvironmental concerns.9. OverwhelmingReligious leaders are very busy—and they may not have previously given muchthought to environmental concerns, especially biodiversity. Don’t overwhelmthem initially either with reams of background information or with hugedemands on their time. Make sure your initial contacts are about a time-limited,specific project. Once you have successfully worked together, you can moveon to more complicated aspects of biodiversity and/or more long-term, time-intensive projects.10. Two-Way RelationshipsFinally, no one likes to be used, especially someone who already may feel overlybusy with too many demands on her/his time. Clearly show what you have tooffer in this relationship—not only solid information about important subjects,but exciting possibilities to make a difference on critical issues. And you canrelate anecdotes about how environmental activities have brought new energy,excitement, and people, especially young people, to other congregationsengaged in caring for creation. Finally, don’t underestimate the value of helpingprovide interesting topics for sermons or religious school classes. The more youcan offer, the more likely it is that religious leaders and groups will want towork closely with you.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 89 Tips for Outreach
  • 85. T I P S F O R O U T R E A C HII. Summary of Some Key “How To” PointsItems Secular Groups Can Offer Their Religious Community PartnersIn part, secular environmental groups can offer the religious community thefollowing:• Exciting possibilities to make a difference on critical issues;• Substantial, well-documented, and accurate ecological and economic infor- mation, which can be used for various activities and in religious education settings; and• Assistance as religious groups reach out to policy makers and the media.Tone in Outreach to Members of the Religious Community• Keep in mind that the religious presence has always been part of the larger conservation movement.• When making choices about outreach efforts, make those that will strengthen the relationship, and if necessary choose maintaining positive relationships over completing short-term tasks.• Treat every individual as a VIP.• Avoid debates that compare values of humans versus flora and fauna.• Have a sincere respect for religious beliefs and people motivated by them.• Be careful not to write off people because of religious, class, or education differences.Some Internal Religious Community Concerns and Pressures• Clergy and other religious community leaders are very busy. Be scrupulous about respecting the time constraints of your religious partners.• Think about people’s personal and broader needs.• Understand the current pressures with which congregational leaders are coping, including diminishing numbers in some cases.• Show the diversity of your leadership to religious activists.Communication Tips• When making an initial call, step back and ask yourself, “What would I be thinking if I had never before considered doing anything pertaining to biodiversity issues?”• Make sure the tone is not, “you’d be useful to me,” but “maybe we can partner on this to accomplish something.”• Avoid strident-sounding tones.• Do not “put down” your opponents as people.• Reach out to lay members of the religious community as well as clergy.• Make a connection with issues on which individuals already are working, e.g., showing the relationship between biodiversity and social justice.• Emphasize the many reasons biodiversity is important, including species’Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 91 Tips for Outreach
  • 86. inherent value and biodiversity’s importance to people. • Limit your message to conservation issues only. • Stress that the involvement of the religious voice often makes a big difference. Issues Important to Denominations and Other Religious Groups In part, learn about religious community issues through the following: • Religious community magazines, newspapers, and newsletters; • Denominational or organizational web pages; and • Reading the Saturday religious page in city newspapers. Working with Individuals • There’s a temptation to want to get everyone on board. Instead, spend your energy where it is most fruitful, finding a few who are already inclined to partner with you. Partnering to Influence Policy Makers • When you contact religious community individuals about attending meetings with policy makers, you are offering to partner with religious community individuals on a relatively risk-free, time-limited task. • It is a good idea to end the meeting with policy makers with suggestions for how to continue the dialogue. • When religious community individuals meet with their policy makers, you and others in secular environmental groups can provide a number of crucial services. For example, you can help schedule meetings, provide ecological and economic background information and policy analyses, and perhaps attend the meetings. Partnering to Reach the Media • Be careful when encouraging religious conservationists to do media work. By their very nature, media activities are not private. • Almost all religious communities have publications, often at the regional or national levels, and these publications may publish articles. • Religious community members who are communicating with policy makers or the media should only be asked to speak from their own areas of expertise. • Do not tell religious community individuals what their religious community message should contain, but share information from your own areas of expertise that may be helpful as the spiritual message is crafted. Reaching Others in the Religious Community • Secular environmental groups can be helpful as religious community conser- vationists reach out to other religious community members. For example, the secular organizations can supply fact sheets and speakers, co-sponsor events and conferences, or provide trainings.Tips for Outreach 92 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 87. Diversity of the U.S. Religious Community• Probably the most basic mistake in outreach to religious groups is the assumption that all are the same, all agree with each other, or all have the ability to speak for each other. Even within seemingly similar parts of the religious community, there can be significant differences.Finding Religious Community PartnersThere are a number of places to take the first step to find religious communitypartners, including the following:• Within your own environmental organization;• Through checking the yellow pages of the phone book;• Through web searches (A good place to start is the Web of Creation website at, or the National Religious Partnership for the Environment website at;• Through calling denominational regional offices;• In social justice and conservation groups within denominations;• At colleges and universities affiliated with denominations;• Through interfaith and ecumenical groups.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 93 Tips for Outreach
  • 88. G L O S S A R YDefinitions are from Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1981)unless otherwise noted.Born-again: person who has had a conversion experience of knowing JesusChrist and sensing the Holy Spirit, and has accepted Jesus Christ as theirpersonal savior (From a body of religious officials or functionaries prepared and authorizedand ordained to conduct religious services or attend to other religious duties,such as ministers or rabbisEcumenical: of, relating to, representing, or governing the whole body ofchurches, promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unityEvangelical: of, relating to, or being a religious group emphasizing salvation byfaith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, theauthority of scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted to ritualFaith-based: individuals or organizations that have belief in, trust in, and loyal-ty to a supreme being or God; please note that not all religions believe in asupreme being or God (e.g. Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism)Fundamentalism: a conservative movement in American Protestantism originatingaround the beginning of the 20th century in opposition to modernist tendenciesand emphasizing the literal interpretation and absolute inerrancy of the Bible,the imminent and physical second coming of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth,physical resurrection, and substitutionary atonement (From members of a church who are not formally ordained for ministerial positionsInterdenominational: occurring between or among or common to differentchurches or denominationsInterfaith: occurring between or among people or organizations of differentreligious faiths or creedsInterreligious: existing between religionsParachurch: special interest groups that work with churches to serve specificpopulations or to champion specific causes (From Peter Illyn, Christians forEnvironmental Stewardship)Religious: 1) relating to that which is acknowledged as ultimate reality;2) committed, dedicated, or consecrated to the service of the divineSecular: of or relating to the worldly or temporal, as distinguished from thespiritual or eternalSpiritual: of or relating to religious or sacred mattersBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 95 Glossary
  • 89. B I B L I O G R A P H YThe following items are just a few of the many publications and resources thatdiscuss the spiritual-conservation connection. For an excellent annotated bibli-ography, see Earth Ministry’s Handbook for Creation Awareness and Care inYour Congregation (, Alan Hunt, Dharma Gaia: A Harvest of Essays in Buddhism andEcology. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press, 1990.Bakken, Peter, Joan Gibb Engel and J. Ronald Engel, Ecology, Justice andChristian Faith: A Critical Guide to the Literature. Westport, CT: GreenwoodPress, 1995.Bassett, Libby, ed., Earth and Faith: A Book of Reflection for Action. NY:Interfaith Partnership for the Environment, United Nations EnvironmentProgramme, 2000.Berry, Thomas, The Dream of the Earth. San Francisco, CA: Sierra ClubBooks, 1988.Berry, Thomas, and Brian Swimme, The Universe Story. San Francisco, CA:HarperCollins, 1992.Berry, Thomas, The Great Work: Our Way into the Future. NY: Bell Tower, 1999.Berry, Wendell, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. SanFrancisco, CA: Sierra Club Books, 1977.Berry, Wendell, What Are People For? San Francisco, CA: North Point Press, 1990.Bouma-Prediger, Steven and Virginia Vroblesky, Assessing the Ark: A ChristianPerspective on Non-Human Creatures and the Endangered Species Act.Crossroads Monograph Series, 1997.Bratton, Susan, Christianity, Wilderness and Wildlife: The Original DesertSolitaire. Scranton, PA: University of Scranton Press, 1993.Callicott, J. Baird, Earth’s Insights: A Survey of Ecological Insights from theMediterranean Basin to the Australian Outback. Berkeley, CA: University ofCalifornia Press, 1994.Carroll, John E. and Albert LaChance, Embracing Earth: Catholic Approachesto Ecology. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press, 1994.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 97 Bibliography
  • 90. Carroll, John E. and Keith Warner, OFM, eds., Ecology and Religion: Scientists Speak. IL: Franciscan Press, 1998. Carroll, John E., Peter Brockelman, and Mary Westfall, eds., The Greening of Faith: God, the Environment, and the Good Life. NH: University Press of New Hampshire, 2000. Chapple, Christopher Key and Mary Evelyn Tucker, eds., Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky and Water (Religions of the World and Ecology Series). MA: Harvard University Press, 2000. Christiansen, D. and W. Grazer, eds., And God Saw That It Was Good. United States Catholic Conference, 1996. Clark, Susan J., Celebrating Earth Holy Days: A Resource Guide for Faith Communities. NY: Crossroad Publishing Co., 1992. Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, To Till and to Tend: A Guide to Jewish Environmental Study and Action. NY: Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, 1993. Crider, Tom, ed., A Nature Lover’s Book of Quotations. CT: Birch Tree Publishing, 2000. Dowd, Michael, EarthSpirit: A Handbook for Nurturing an Ecological Christianity. Mystic, CT: Twenty-third Publications, 1991. DeWitt, Calvin B., Earth-Wise: A Biblical Response to Environmental Issues. Grand Rapids, MI: CRC Publications, 1994. Forbes, Peter, Ann Armbrecht Forbes, and Helen Whybrow, eds., Our Land, Ourselves: Readings on People and Place. San Francisco, CA: The Trust for Public Land, 1999. Foltz, Richard C., “Mormon Values and the Utah Environment,” Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion, Volume 4, Number 1, Spring 2000. Fowler, Robert Booth, The Greening of Protestant Thought. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1995. Goldsmith, Edward, ed., “The Cosmic Covenant: Re-embedding Religion in Society, Nature, and the Cosmos,” The Ecologist, Volume 30, Number 1, January/February 2000. Gottlieb, Roger, ed., This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment. NY: Routledge Press, 1996.Bibliography 98 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 91. Grim, John A., ed., Indigenous Traditions and Ecology: The InterBeing ofCosmology and Community (Religions of the World and Ecology Series). MA:Harvard University Press, 2001.Hargrove, Eugene, ed., Religion and Environmental Crisis. Athens, GA:University of Georgia Press, 1986.Hessel, Dieter T., Theology for the Earth Community: A Field Guide.Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996.Hessel, Dieter T. and Rosemary Radford Ruether, eds., Christianity andEcology: Seeking the Well-Being of Earth and Humans (Religions of the Worldand Ecology Series). MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.Hyde, Orson, “Instructions Concerning Things Spiritual and Temporal,”Journal of Discourses, President Brigham Young, Volume XI, 1867.Ignatius, Keith, Our Only Home: Planet Earth. A Bible Study Based on theEcology Policy Statement of American Baptist Churches U.S.A. PA: AmericanBaptist Church, 1990.International Bible Society, Heaven and Earth: Creation Devotional Booklet:30 Bible Readings That Exalt God Through Creation; available from IBS at(800) 524-1588;, Stephanie and Kenneth Kraft, Dharma Rain: Sources of BuddhistEnvironmentalism. Boston, MA: Shambala Press, 2000.Kellert, Steve, Kinship to Mastery: Biophilia in Human Evolution andDevelopment. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1997.Kellert, Steve and Timothy Farnham, eds., The Good in Nature and Humanity:Connecting Science, Spirit, and the Natural World. Washington, DC: IslandPress, Forthcoming 2002.Kemper, Kristen, ed., Caring for God’s World: Creative Ecology Ideas for YourChurch. Brea, CA: Educational Ministries, Inc., 1991.Kempton, Willett, James S. Boster, and Jennifer A. Hartley, EnvironmentalValues in American Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996.Kinsley, David, Ecology and Religion: Ecological Spirituality in a Cross-Cultural Perspective. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995.Kirk, Janice and Donald Kirk, Cherish the Earth: The Environment andScripture. Herald Press, 1993.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 99 Bibliography
  • 92. LeQuire, Stan, ed., The Best Preaching on Earth: Sermons on Caring for Creation. Judson Press, 1996. Lindner, Eileen, ed., and National Council of Churches of Christ, Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches: Religious Pluralism in the New Millennium. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2000. McDaniel, Jay, Of Gods and Pelicans: A Theology of Reverence for Life. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1989. McDaniel, Jay, With Roots and Wings: Christianity in an Age of Ecology and Dialogue. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995. McDonagh, Sean, To Care for the Earth: A Call to a New Theology, NM: Bear & Co., 1987. (out of print) McDonagh, Sean, The Greening of the Church. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1990. McFague, Sallie, The Body of God: An Ecological Theology. MN: Fortress Press, 1993. McKibben, Bill, The End of Nature. NY: Anchor Books, 1989. Nash, James A., Loving Nature: Ecological Integrity and Christian Responsibility. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1991. Oelschlaeger, Max, Caring for Creation: An Ecumenical Approach to the Environmental Crisis, CT: Yale University Press, 1994. Posey, Darrell Addison et al., eds., Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity. London, UK: Intermediate Technology Publications, United Nations Environment Programme, 1999. Roberts, Elizabeth and Elias Amadon, eds., Earth Prayers from Around the World. NY: Harper Collins, 1991. Rockefeller, Steven and John Elder, eds., Spirit and Nature: Why the Environment is a Religious Issue. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1991. Santmire. H. Paul, The Travail of Nature: The Ambiguous Promise of Christian Theology. MN: Fortress Press, 1985. Schultz, P.W., L. Zelezny, and N.J. Dalrymple, “A multinational perspective on the relation between Judeo-Christian religious beliefs and attitudes of environ- mental concern,” Environment and Behavior, Volume 32 Number 4, 2000, 576 - 591.Bibliography 100 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 93. Schut, Michael, ed., Simpler Living Compassionate Life: A ChristianPerspective. Seattle, WA: Earth Ministry, 1999.Spring, David and Ellen, Ecology and Religion in History. NY: Harper andRow, 1974.Swan, James and Roberta Swan, compilers, Dialogues with the Living Earth,IL: Quest Books, 1996.Tielhard de Chardin, Pierre, The Phenomenon of Man. NY: HarperCollins,1965, 1980.Thomashow, Mitchell, Bringing the Biosphere Home. Cambridge, MA: MITPress, Forthcoming 2001.Tobias, Michael and Georgianne Cowen, eds., The Soul of Nature: Celebratingthe Spirit of the Earth. Plume Press, 1996.Tucker, Mary Evelyn and John Grim, eds., Worldviews and Ecology: Religion,Philosophy, and the Environment. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press, 1994.Tucker, Mary Evelyn and Duncan Ryuken Williams, eds., Buddhism andEcology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds (Religions of the Worldand Ecology Series). MA: Harvard University Press, 1998.Tucker, Mary Evelyn and John Berthrong, eds., Confucianism and Ecology:The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth, and Humans (Religions of the World andEcology Series). MA: Harvard University Press, 1998.Union of Concerned Scientists, Keeping the Earth, Religious and ScientificPerspectives on the Environment (27-minute video and discussion guide), 1996.Warshall, Peter, “There is a River: Judeo-Christian Faiths Face the Earth inCrisis, An Interview with Paul Gorman,” Whole Earth Review, Winter 1997,13-23.Wilkinson, Loren, ed., Earthkeeping in the 90’s: Stewardship of Creation.Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1991. (out of print)Williams, Terry Tempest, “Testimony,” Wild Earth, Winter 1995, 6-7.Williams, Terry Tempest, William B. Smart, and Gibbs M. Smith, eds., NewGenesis – A Mormon Reader on Land and Community. UT: Gibbs SmithPublishers, 1998.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 101 Bibliography
  • 94. R E S O U R C E SFaith-Based Organizations Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit River of Life campaignChristian Denominations and Organizations Steve Spreitzer 305 Michigan AvenueBaptist Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 237-5906American Baptist ChurchNational Ministries Columbia River Pastoral Letter ProjectP.O. Box 851 www.columbiariver.orgValley Forge, PA 19482-0851(800) ABC-3USA ext. 2400 Church of the Church of the BrethernFor resource information: www.nationalmin- David Shantilal Bhagat 1451 Dundee AvenueCatholic Church Elgin, IL 60120 (800) 323-8039 ext. 227National Conference of Catholic Bishops/ www.brethern.orgUnited States Catholic ConferenceOffice of Social Development & World Peace Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science)Walt Grazer3211 Fourth Street, NE The First Church of Christ, ScientistWashington, DC 20017-1194 175 Huntington Avenue(202) 541-3160 Boston, MA (800) 288-70990Portion of website pertaining to conservation: Exploring Practical SpiritualityFor resource information and ordering: 235-8722 Christian Science MonitorNational Catholic Rural Life Conference www.csmonitor.comBob Gronski4625 Beaver Avenue Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsDes Moines, IA 50310 (Mormons)(515) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 47 East South Temple StreetCatholic Conservation Center Salt Lake City, UT 84150 (801) 240-1000 Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 103
  • 95. Episcopal Church Christians for Evangelical Stewardship Peter IllynThe Episcopal Church Center P.O. Box 877Martha Gardner La Center, WA 98629Jack Winder (360) 574-8230815 Second Avenue illyn@aol.comNew York, NY 10017(212) 867-8400 Au Sable Institute(800) 334-7626 Peter Bakken, Cal Au Sable Institute Outreach OfficeEpiscopal Power and Light 731 State StreetRev. Sally Bingham Madison, WI 53703c/o Grace Cathedral (608) 255-09501100 California Street outreach@ausable.orgSan Francisco, CA 94108 Evangelical Lutheran ChurchEpiscopal Diocese of MinnesotaMinnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Evangelical Lutheran Church in AmericaCommission Hunger Education and Environmental StewardshipHoly Trinity Church 8765 W. Higgins RoadBox 65 Chicago, IL 60631-4190Elk River, MN 55330 (800) 638-3522 ext. www.elca.orgEvangelical For resource information and ordering: ELCA Distribution ServicesEvangelical Environment Network (800) 328-4648Rev. Jim Ball680 I Street, SW Lutheran Office for Government AffairsWashington, DC 20024 554-1955(800) 650-6600 Community Lutheran Hedgerow Habitat Trail 21014 Whitfield PlaceChristian Environmental Council Sterling, VA, (703) 430-6006Target Earth Mennonite ChurchGordon Aeschliman990 Buttonwood Street, 6th floor Mennonite Environmental Task ForcePhiladelphia, PA 19123 722 Main Street, P.O. Box 347(215) 236-4340 Newton, KS (316) 283-5100 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 96. Mennonite Central Committee Presbyterian Resource Services21 South 12th Street, P.O. Box 500 (800) 524-2612Akron, PA 17501(717) 859-1151 Presbyterians for Restoring Bill Knox P.O. Box 70170Orthodox Churches loiusville, KY 40270 Orthodox Archdiocese of America8-10 East 79th Street Christian Environmental Studies CenterNew York, NY 10021 Montreat College(212) 570-3500 310 Gaither Montreat, NC 28757 (828) 669-8012Orthodox Church in America www.montreat.eduEducation and Community Life MinistriesP.O. Box 675 Quakers (Society of Friends)Syosett, NY 11791(516) 922-0550 Friends Committee on Unity with Nature (FCUN) Ruth Swennerfelt 179 N. Prospect StreetEcumenical Patriarchate Bartholomew I Burlington, VT (802) 658-0308environment. htm www.fcun.orgGreen Orthopraxy: Orthodox ChristiansConcerned with Creation Reformed ChurchP.O. Box 7238Cumberland, RI 02864 Reformed Church in America Rev. John PaarlbergPresbyterian Church 475 Riverside Drive, Room 122 New York, NY 10015Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (212) 970-3020Bill Somplatsky-Jarman (800) 722-9977100 Witherspoon Street, Room 3069 jpaarlberg@rca.orgLouisville, KY 40202 Unitarian Universalist AssociationPresbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office Unitarian Universalist AssociationDouglas Grace 25 Beacon StreetAssociate for Domestic Issues Boston, MA 02108110 Maryland Avenue, NE (617) 742-2100Washington, DC 2002 543-1126Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 105
  • 97. Seventh Principle Project Jewish Coalition on Environment and Jewish LifeThe Circle of Simplicity Mark X. 433 Park Avenue South, 11th Floor New York, NY 10016-7322United Church of Christ (212) 684-6950 x.210 coejl@aol.comUnited Church of Christ (UCC) www.coejl.org700 Prospect AvenueCleveland, Ohio 44115 Jewish League of Environmental Awareness(216) 736-2100 Jeff 3875 Telegraph Road, Suite A115 Ventura, CA 93003United Church of Christ (805) 647-7660Justice and Peace MinistryRev. Adora Iris Lee Teva Learning Center110 Maryland Ave. NE 307 Seventh Avenue, Suite 900Washington, DC 20002 New York, NY 10001(202) 543-1517 (212) www.tevacenter.orgNetwork for Environmental and EconomicResponsibility Washington Area Shomrei 706 Erie Avenue Takoma Park, MD 20912For resources information and ordering(800) 325-7061 Earth-Based ReligionsUnited Methodist Church Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve P.O. Box 219General Board of Church and Society of the Mt. Horeb, WI 53572United Methodist Church (608) 924-2216Jaydee Hanson circle@circlesanctuary.orgVirginia Gill www.circlesanctuary.org100 Maryland Avenue, NEWashington, DC 20002 Indigenous Environmental Network(202) 488-5650 P.O. Box 485(800) 251-8140 Bemidji, MN (218) 751-4967 www.alienearth.org106 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 98. Covenant of the Goddess Ecumenical, Interfaith, and InterreligiousP.O. Box 1226 Projects, Organizations, Coalitions, &Berkeley, CA 94701 NationalReclaiming [Goddess/Pagan] Cathedral Films & VideoReclaiming Quarterly magazine The Greening of Faith: Why the Environment is AP.O. Box 14401 Christian Concern (video & study guide)San Francisco, CA 94114 P.O. Box Westlake Village, CA (800) 338-3456Eastern Religions Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility Patricia WolfBuddhist Peace Fellowship 475 Riverside Drive, Room 566P.O. Box 4650 New York, NY 10115Berkeley, CA 94704 (212) 870-2295(510) 655-6169 National Council of the Churches of Christ Eco-Justice Working GroupSoka Gakkai International - U.S.A [Buddhist] Rev. Richard Kilmer606 Wilshire Boulevard 475 Riverside Drive, Room 812Santa Monica, CA 90401 New York, New York 10115(310) 260-8900 (212) or www.webofcreation/NCC/workgrp.htmlZen Environmental Studies InstituteP.O. Box 24 National Council of the Churches of ChristMt. Tremper, NY 12456 Environmental Justice Resources(845) 688-7240 P.O. Box Elkhart, IN (800) 762-0968 National Religious Partnership for the Environment Paul Gorman 1047 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY 10025 (212) 316-7441 (800) 206-8858 www.nrpe.orgBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 107
  • 99. North American Coalition for Christianity Partners for Environmental Qualityand Ecology Donald HaberstrohEarthkeeping News 27 Tallmadge AvenueElizabeth Dyson Chatham, NJ 07928P.O. Box 40011 (973) 635-6067Saint Paul, MN 55104 Spirit in Rev. Paul Bortz P.O. Box 253North American Coalition for Christianity 464 E. Main Streetand Ecology East Middlebury, VT 05740Earthkeeping Circles Project (802) 388-7244Rev. Finley Schaef www.spiritinature.com87 Stoll Rd.Saugerties, NY 12477(914) 246-0181 Local, State, or Regional – Interreligious Sustainability Project forNorth American Coalition on Religion and Ecology Metropolitan ChicagoDonald Conroy Center for Neighborhood Technology5 Thomas Circle, NW Rev. Clare ButterfieldWashington, DC 20005 2125 W. North Avenue(202) 462-2591 Chicago, IL (773) 278-4800 x.125 clare@cnt.orgReligious Campaign for Forest Protection www.cnt.orgFred Krueger409 Mendocino Avenue, Suite A Metropolitan Organizing Strategy for EnablingSanta Rosa, CA 95401 Strength(707) 573-3162 9520 Detroit, MI 48227 (313) 838-3190Local, State, or Regional – East Jertoj@aol.comInterfaith Coalition in Energy Minnesota Earth Sabbath TeamMetropolitan Christian Council of Philadelphia River Friendly Congregations Program7217 Oak Avenue Sister Gladys SchmitzMelrose Park, PA 19027 170 Good Counsel Drive(215) 635-1122 Mankato, MN 56001-3138 (507) 389-4114108 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 100. Local, State, or Regional – South Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns Ecumenical Ministries of OregonEarthCare, Inc. Jenny HolmesP.O. 23291 O245 SW Bancroft Street, Suite BChattanooga, TN 37422 Portland, OR 97201(423) 697-2560 (TN) (503) 244-8318(706) 278-3979 (GA) Partnership for Religion and the EnvironmentThe Sabbath Project The Wilderness Society—NW Region10 Briar Branch Road Thea LevkovitzBlack Mountain, NC 28711 1424 4th Avenue, Suite 816(828) 771-3749 Seattle, WA (206) 624-6430 x.224 Tlevkovitz@twsnw.orgTangier Watermen’s Stewardship for theChesapeake Spiritual Alliance for EarthP.O. Box 242 United Religions InitiativeTangier, VA 23440 Bill Sadler P.O. Box 29242Local, State, or Regional – West San Francisco, CA 94129 Sadler22@pacbell.netEarth Ministry www.uri.orgRev. Jim MulliganRev. Nancy Wright1305 NE 47th StreetSeattle, WA 98105(208) 632-2426emoffice@earthministry.orgwww.earthministry.orgEco-Justice MinistriesRev. Peter S. Sawtell400 S. Williams StreetDenver, CO 80209(303) 715-3873ministry@eco-justice.orgEnvironmental MinistriesRev. Peter Moore-Kochlacs7579 Blue Lake DriveSan Diego, CA 92119(619) 465-7951PeterEco@aol.com Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 109
  • 101. Educational or Academic Organizations, Harvard University’s Center for the StudyProjects and Programs of World Religions Religions of the World and EcologyALTERNATIVES for Simple Living publications seriesP.O. Box 2787 42 Francis Avenue5312 Morningside Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138Sioux City, IA 51106 (617) 495-4486(712) 274-8875 821-6153 (Religions of the World and Ecology series is also available through University Press, (800) 448-2242)American Academy of Religions Harvard University’s Pluralism ProjectReligion and Ecology Group 201 Vanserg Hall825 Houston Mill Road, NE 25 Francis AvenueAtlanta, GA 30329 Cambridge, MA 02138(404) 727-3049 (617) Institute for Global EthicsAmerican Scientific Affiliation 11 Main StreetP.O. Box 668 P.O. Box 563Ipswich, MA 01938 Camden, ME 04843(978) 356-5656 (207) 236-6658 or (800) The Murie CenterEcology, Religion and Culture P.O. Box 399Research Focus Group Moose, WY 83012Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (307) 739-2246University of California, Santa Barbara www.muriecenter.orgForum on Religion and Ecology Theological Education to Meet theMary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim Environmental ChallengeDepartment of Religion 2001 L Street, NWBucknell University Washington, DC 20037Lewisburg, PA 17837 (202) 778-6133(570) 577-1205 on Religion and Ecology University of Creation SpiritualityP.O. Box 380875 2141 BroadwayCambridge, MA 02238 Oakland, CA 94612(617) 332-0337 (510) www.creationspiritulaity.com Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 102. Whidbey Institute Environmental Organizations, Projects andFritz and Vivienne Hull ProgramsP.O. Box 57Clinton, WA 98236 Center for a New American Dream(360) 341-1884 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite Takoma Park, MD (301) 891-3683 newdream@newdream.orgEarth Literacy www.newdream.orgCenter for Sacred Ecology Center for Respect of Life and EnvironmentEarth Literacy Web Earth Ethics newsletterSue Levy 2001 L Street, NW111 Fairmont Avenue Washington, DC 20037Oakland, CA 94611 (202) 778-6133(510) 595-5508 Earth Charter USA CampaignGenesis Farm 2001 L Street, NWSister Miriam McGillis Washington, DC 2003741A Silver Lake Rd. (202) 778-6133Blairstown, NJ 07825 362-6735 Earth Charter USA CampaignSaint Mary-of-the-Woods College Institute for Ethics & MeaningSister Mary Lou Dolan 2109 Bayshore Blvd., Suite 804Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN 47876 Tampa, FL 33606(812) 535-5160 (813) 254-8454 or (888) Earth Day Network 811 First Avenue, Suite 454 Seattle, WA 98104 (260) 876-2000 Endangered Species Coalition Allied Voices Workshop for the Religious Community Suellen Lowry (707) 826-1948Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 111
  • 103. Environmental Protection Agency United Nations Environment ProgrammeEnergy Star Congregations Earth and Faith: A Book for Reflection and ActionCenter for Energy and Environmental Education DC2-803, United NationsUniversity of Northern Iowa New York, NY 10017Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0293 (212) 963-8210(319) 273-2573; (800) 288-1346 uneprona@un.orgEPA Energy Star Hotline: 1-888-STAR YES The Wilderness SocietyEnvironmental Protection Agency 1615 M Street, NWEnvironmental Justice Programs Washington, DC 20036 (800) 843-9453 www.wildernesss.orgGlobal Action PlanP.O. Box 428 The Wilderness SocietyWoodstock, NY 12498 Stories of the Land website(914) 679-4830 World Resources Institute EcoStewards newsletterSoil and Water Stewardship Week 409 Mendicino Avenue, Suite ANational Association of Conservation Districts Santa Rosa, CA 95401P.O. Box 855 (707) 573-3160League City, TX 77574 825-5547 ext.28 World Wildlife Fund and Alliance of Religions andNational Wildlife Federation ConservationBackyard Habitat and NatureLink Programs Sacred Gifts for a Living PlanetEducation Outreach Department Leesburg PikeVienna, VA 22184(703) 790-4483www.nwf.orgUnion of Concerned ScientistsKeeping the Earth video and discussion guideTwo Brattle SquareP.O. Box 9105Cambridge, MA 02238(617) 547-5552www.uscusa.org112 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 104. Publications Comprehensive Web SitesEarthLight: Magazine of Spiritual Ecology – Religious and Church StatisticsLauren de Boer, editor www.adherents.com111 Fairmount AvenueOakland, CA 94611 American Religion Data Archive(510) 451-4926 Beliefnet: The Source for Spirituality, Religion,Orion: People and Nature and Morality195 Main Street www.beliefnet.comGreat Barrington, MA 01230(413) 528-4422 or (888) 909-6588 Encyclopedia of Religion and (Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, edited byOrion Afield: Working for Nature and Community Bron Taylor and Jeffrey Kaplan, is to be195 Main Street published in 2003 by Continuum International)Great Barrington, MA 01230(413) 528-4422 Harvard Pluralism & Spirit: Connecting Science, Religion and Ethics NewsweeklyReligion, and Life Derryberry, editorP.O. Box 269 Web of CreationGeneva, IL 60134 Environment, Culture, ReligionBrill Academic Publishers112 Water Street, Suite 400Boston, MA 02109(800) 962-4406YES! The Magazine of Positive FuturesP.O. Box 10818Bainbridge Island, WA 98110(800) 937-4451yes@futurenet.orgwww.yesmagazine.orgBuilding Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 113
  • 105. Catholic Retreat and Education Centers EarthLinks Betty Ann Jaster, OP and Cathy Mueller, SLThese are just a few retreat centers in the U.S. that 623 Fox Street, Suite 101offer celebrations for the earth, host environmental Denver, CO 80204education programs, and model sustainable land (303) 389-0085use practices. Genesis Farm and Saint Mary of the Connect@EarthLinks-Colorado.orgWoods offer academic programs in Earth Literacy. www.EarthLinks-Colorado.orgSisters of Earth is a networking organization ofwomen involved with earth spirituality, many of An experiential earth education organization thatwhom have started ecology programs and centers. reaches out to inner city residents with garden pro- grams, nature hikes, local journeys and regionalBenedictine Sisters, Monastery of St. Gertrude explorations.Sister Carol Ann Wassmuth, OSBHC 3 Box 121Cottonwood, ID 83522-9408 Ecozoic Monastery(208) 962-3224 Sister Gail Worcelo P.O. Box 146Promotes responsible stewardship through forest Weston, VT 05161stewardship, environmental education, and sustain- srgail@together.netable living. Is in the process of designing a monastery that will include earth liturgy and celebrations, a chapel madeThe Bridge-Between of natural materials that will include the UniverseEarth Friendly Garden Story and the Christian story in its design, vegetarian4471 Flaherty Lane food, and community supported agriculture.Denmark, WI EverGreenSinsinawa Dominican ministry that practices land Sister Barbara O’Donnell, HMstewardship and certified organic gardening. P.O. Box 206 Villa Maria, PA 16155-0206 (724) 964-8920 ext. 3350Crown Point Ecology Center BODonnell@humilityofmary.orgP.O. Box 4843220 Ira Road Conducts celebrations of the Universe Story, educa-Bath, Ohio 44210 tion on sustainability and simple living, and advo-(330) 668-8992 cacy for the health of the Earth and humanity.cptfarm@aol.comOffers programs in science, faith and ecology, youth Franciscan Earth Literacy Centereducation, and organic gardening and farming. 194 St. Francis Avenue Tiffin, OH 44883 (419) 448-7485 A model program for practicing Earth Literacy that includes a master plan that addresses spirituality,114 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 106. natural resources, organic farming, wildlife preser- La Casa de Mariavation, waste and water resources, energy and 800 El Bosque Roadtransportation issues. Santa Barbara, CA 93108 (805) 969-5031 Fax: (805) 969-2759Franciscan Sisters of AlleganySt. Elizabeth Motherhouse Interfaith retreat center with certified organic115 East Main Street orchards.Allegany, NY 14706(716) 373-0200 Marianist Environmental Education CenterSupports a Community Supported Agriculture proj- 4435 East Patterson Roadect that employs biodynamic and organic farming Dayton, Ohio 45430-1095practices. (937) 429-3582 Fax: (937) 429-3195 meec@udayton.eduGenesis FarmSister Miriam McGillis Sponsors research and ecological restoration proj-41A Silver Lake Road ects, awareness programs and presentations, andBlairstown, NJ 07825 skills development to promote the preservation,(908) 362-6735 restoration and enhancement of our landscapes,(Tuesday - Friday, 1:30pm - 5:00pm) and their life sustaining Dominican retreat center that models Earth Michaela FarmLiteracy in practice—includes sustainable housing, P.O. Box 100a Community Supported Agriculture project, Oldenburg, IN 47036organic farming, and a 12-week graduate certificate (812) 933-0661program. Serves as a center for organic food productionIMAGO through a Community Supported Agriculture3208 Warsaw Avenue project, hosts environmental education workshopsCincinnati, OH 45205 in permaculture and sustainable building practices,(513) 921-5124 etc., and is a center for spiritual renewal.www.imagoearth.comSponsors workshops and seminars, and is develop- Prairiewoods: Franciscan Spirituality Centering a model for sustainable urban living. 120 East Boyson Road Hiawatha, IA 52233-1206 (319) 395-6700 Fax: (319) 395-6703 Invites people of all faiths to experience the beauty and healing of the woods and prairie.Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project 115
  • 107. Saint Benedict Center Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College4200 County Highway M Sister Mary Lou DolanMiddleton, Wisconsin 53562-2317 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN 47876(608) 836-1631 (812) www.smwc.eduBenedictine center with nature trails, wetlands and Offers a Master of Arts degree in Earth Literacy.prairie restoration projects, and ongoing discussionsin ecospirituality. Shepherd’s Corner 877 N. Waggoner Rd.Saint John’s Arboretum Blacklick, OH 43004-9505John Geissler shepcorner@juno.comNew Science Hall 106Saint Johns University Serves as a place for connection with the naturalCollegeville, MN 56321 environment, self, humans, and the Creator who(320) 363-3133 made them all.jgeissler@csbsju.eduBenedictine site that preserves native plant and Sisters of Earthwildlife communities, models practices of sustain- Sister Kathy Erardable land use that provides opportunities for educa- 707 East Sienna Heights Drive, Apt. 16tion and research, and makes accessible a natural Adrain, MI 49221environment which invites spiritual renewal. (517) 263-1376 kerard@tc3net.comSaint Mary-of-the-Woods A networking organization that began in 1993,White Violet Center for Eco-Justice Sisters of Earth now has over 200 members, womenSister Ann Sullivan, Director who are involved in earth spirituality and many1 Sisters of Providence who have started ecology centers and programs.Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN 47876(812) 535-3131 ext. 525wvc@spsmw.orgwww.spsmw.orgThe White Violet Center for Eco-Justice offersEarth Literacy education in the preservation,restoration and reverent use of all natural resourcesthrough organic agriculture practices, beekeeping,Community Supported Agriculture, wetlandsrestoration, eco-justice education programs, andsocial advocacy.116 Building Partnerships with the Faith Community from The Biodiversity Project
  • 108. The Biodiversity Project214 N. Henry Street, Suite 201 Madison, Wisconsin 53703 (608) 250-9876 (608) 257-3513 fax