Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Faith Community & Environmental Stewardship

As increasing numbers of people have become aware of environmental problems and the need to take some sort of action, some have wondered what those in the faith community may be doing.  It would appear that there has been a long-running difference of opinion, at least among the Christian community, as to whether humans are to be stewards of the environment or have dominion over the earth and its inhabitants.

I was very pleased recently to learn about some proactive environmental programs in the faith community when I interviewed two people involved in them, Richard Edens, Pastor of the United Church of Chapel Hill, and Dr. Kathy Shea, Director of the North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light on my radio show, "Naturally Vibrant Living."  North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light is a chapter of a national organization, Interfaith Power & Light, which, as it turns out, was established specifically for the purpose of engaging the faith community in environmental stewardship and assisting churches and other religious institutions in establishing such programs.  Thirty-nine states in the United States have chapters in Interfaith Power & Light.

This, to me, is a very exciting trend.  This movement is definitely interfaith, and Dr. Shea asserted that it's not just Christian churches that are participating in environmental stewardship programs, but also the Jewish, Islamic, and other faith communities.  Pastor Edens said that all religious traditions view creation as something to be protected and that humans are part of and not separate from it.

With the division and polarization we see at large in our society and, more specifically, in politics, the faith community clearly has a role to play in protecting the environment.  Pastor Edens said that members of his congregation will not only engage in environmental projects at his church, but will also write their Congressional representatives about issues.

This is wonderful to see and another aid in protecting our environment and wildlife!

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