The following are ways you can put your environmental faith and care for God’s creation into action, both as individuals and as communities. Congregations and faith leaders, be sure to check out the ministry ideas. This eco-action list is one way we can live out the ideas shared in the Unbound Nov 2012–Jan 2013 issue, “Hope for Eco-Activists: Discovering an Environmental Faith“.
- Act now to protect God’s children: Safeguard today’s children and future generations from toxic chemicals and chronic illness. Sign the letter.
- Call for Environmental and Economic Justice for the Bristol Bay in Alaska. The world’s largest open-pit gold and copper mine is being set up at the headwaters of the world’s richest salmon-filled waters, despite opposition of Alaskan Natives. Click here to ask the EPA to save the Bristol Bay.
- Send a letter to your representatives calling for a faithful budget that chooses children over fossil fuel subsidies.
- Sign up for the PC(USA)’s Environmental Ministries Action Network and subscribe to .
- Get involved with the Enough for Everyone campaign.
- Design activities for your children and families to encounter nature and their role in it, using these helpful suggestions from author Richard Louv.
- Get involved with the National Park Service.
- Become a GreenFaith Fellow.
- Join the 350.org movement to solve the climate crisis.
- Join the campaign Mission 4/1 Earth, organized by the United Church of Christ offer more than ONE MILLION HOURS of engaged earth care, including clean up, advocacy, education, and behavioral changes that will impact the environment.
- Plan a “bio-blitz” for the children and/or adults of your congregation and community. Read Stan Adamson’s article for more information. Check out the National Parks’ bioblitz program.
- Plan an Earth Day Sunday.
- Organize an adult education class on the biblical and theological foundations for eco-justice. Download a single session guide, or a five session guide.
- Consider using an environmental curriculum for Sunday School written by the environmental ministries team at the Congregational Church of Weston Massachusetts, UCC; or consider the Lenten Bible Study on Creation from the Anglican Communion.
- Become an Energy Star congregation: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star for Congregations program provides churches with free information and technical support to lessen energy usage. The program’s website includes a guidebook for congregations to get started on energy stewardship.
- Become an Earth Care Congregation of the PC(USA). Or, go through the GreenFaith congregation certification process.
- Establish an Earth Stewardship Theologian position at your church.
- Organize sustainability groups: members implement a new environmental life-change each week (possibly using some of the individual action ideas below) and gather over meals of local produce to discuss the impact, challenges, and gifts of these changes.
- Make a plan to show and discuss the DVD, Renewal: Stories from America’s Religious-Environmental Movement. This is a powerful interfaith documentary about exciting and effective ways to engage people of faith, foster interfaith dialogue, and break down barriers between secular environmentalists and people of faith.
- Consider adding solar panels to your church, home, or office. Watch this video from Capitol Heights Presbyterian Church about their newly installed solar panels.
- Before going into the church building, walk around the land on which your church is built. How could this land bear witness to God’s call to build an environmentally sustainable world?
- Greening Congregations Handbook: Stories, Ideas, and Resources for Cultivating Creation Awareness and Care in Your Congregation. Available from Earth Ministry.
- 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth by Rebecca Barnes-Davies.
Individual Action Ideas
- Say no to bottled water and drink tap water. Buy a refillable, washable bottle to use instead.
- Get a home energy audit from your local utility company. Find out how you can save resources and money by making small, inexpensive improvements to your home. Find out more from NSTAR and Energy Star.
- Learn about current scientific thinking on how extreme weather events are caused by climate change. Read about it in Science Daily and The Washington Post.
- Reduce the number of plastic bags you use by getting a fabric or reusable bag for shopping.
- Think about greening your “final arrangements.” Visit http://www.greenamerica.org or http://www.greenburials.org for more information.
- Plant a tree. One tree will absorb about a ton of carbon dioxide over the course of its lifetime. Trees also provide shade that could reduce your air conditioning bill significantly.
- Choose not to eat meat at least one day a week. For hundreds of free vegetarian recipes, visit http://www.bestveg.com/.
- Dry your clothes on a clothes line instead of in an electric drier.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs or high efficiency fluorescent bulbs. Consider other alternatives.
- Reduce your use of household cleaning products, soaps, shampoos, hair care products and other items which contain chemicals. Replace them with products which are biodegradable. See http://www.greenlisted.org/personal-care.htm, www.originalmoxie.com, and http://www.greenlisted.org/cleaning-products.htm to learn about eco-friendly products.
- If you eat out, bring your own “to-go” container for left-overs.
- Reuse and recycle waste, and compost food waste to reduce the rubbish destined for landfill sites. If you don’t have one, consider buying or making a composter. For information about composting and buying composters, see http://www.composting101.com/.
- Buy food that’s being grown or produced locally, using local farms and local farmers’ markets where possible – See http://www.nofa.org/, http://theorganicfoodguide.com/, and http://www.massfarmersmarkets.org/.
- Reduce water usage in your home by fixing leaky faucets. Turn the tap off and on during shaving, washing hands, and brushing teeth. Only flush the toilet when absolutely necessary.
- Have a truly “Green” lawn and garden by avoiding use of toxic chemicals. Visit the National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns website for more information.
- Immerse yourself in the beauty of our national parks. Remember: gratitude and love are the best motivations for change. Watch Ken Burns’ series, The NationalParks: America’s Best Idea and discuss it at your church using the Religious Study Guides and Clips DVD available for $15 through Earth Ministry.
- Take a shower instead of a bath, and try to limit your shower to less than 5 minutes.
- Save paper today. Don’t print unless you need to and when you do, print double-sided onto recycled paper. Use paper, tissue, toilet paper and wood that is recycled or has been accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council.
- Unplug cell phone chargers, coffee makers, space heaters and other appliances and devices when not in use.
- End junk mail that wastes resources. Stop unwanted catalogs (CatalogChoice.org), credit card offers (1-888-5-OPTOUT), and other junk mail (DMAchoice.org.) You can even hire someone to do this for you (and buy a carbon offset in the process) at 41pounds.org.
Interfaith and Ecumenical Organizations
- Earth Ministry: Caring for All Creation
- Faith in Place, Illinois-based and part of Interfaith Power & Light
- GreenFaith: Interfaith Partners for the Environment
- Interfaith Power & Light: a religious response to global warming
- National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs
- World Student Christian Federation
- Church of the Brethren
- Episcopal Ecological Network
- Friends Committee on Unity with Nature
- Greek Orthodox Church in America
- Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods
- The Orthodox Fellowship of the Transfiguration
- Presbyterian Church (USA) Environmental Justice Office of Presbyterian Church (USA) and Presbyterians for Earth Care
- Reformed Church in America
- United Church of Christ
- United Methodist Board of Church and Society and Caretakers of Creation
- U.S. Catholic Conference’s Environmental Justice Program
- Unitarian Universalist Ministry for the Earth