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Greenness May be Next to Godliness
Church leaders are adding their voices to the choir of people calling on Americans to become greener. In synagogues, cathedrals, and chapels, sermons are being preached about Jews’/Christians’/​Muslims’/Insert-your-affiliation-here religious obligation to be better stewards of all God’s creations and all God’s people. Religious leaders say protesting deforestation, reducing pollution, and buying fair trade products are faith-based behaviors their followers should embrace.

The Unitarian church has launched an educational program called, “Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice” and the Presbyterian church is teaching middle school groups with a curriculum, “Practicing Faith at Our Table,” that connects food choices with personal impact on the earth, and illustrates points with bible stories.

Organized religion’s focus on sustainability---called Eco-theology in some circles---has moved beyond sermon topics and education. The Jewish community plans to launch an Eco-Kosher symbol next year, which they say will be a “God-Housekeeping seal of approval.” It will have much more stringent guidelines than the traditional Kosher certification, requiring that food manufacturers prove they are taking very good care of employees, animals, and the earth.

Religious groups have shown that they can rally believers behind social causes, and make a huge impact on America’s direction. It will be interesting to see if churches can convince their members to convert to sustainable living.

We should think about...
  • How will religious groups becoming involved in sustainability change consumers’ attitudes and actions?
  • How do we tap into this trend without crossing the dangerous line of mixing business and religion, and potentially offending people?
Sources: Los Angeles Times 2009; 2009; 2009
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