God created the earth, and it is sacred. As Psalm 24:1 proclaims, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it.” Therefore we are called to stewardship of the earth. When we work to protect creation, we are answering God’s call to till and keep the garden (Genesis 2:15). In the face of deepening ecological crises caused by the earth’s warming, our call to act as earth’s caretakers takes on more meaning. Our efforts will curtail the shrinking of sacred waters, the endangerment of living creatures of every kind, and the vulnerability of our brothers and sisters in developing countries. Read more on biblical principles for environmental stewardship.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has identified food, transportation, and home energy as the three key areas that need action to help stem climate change. Below, you can find links to learn more about these issues, get ideas on how to take action, and access theological reflections below in order to help your congregation care for God’s creation.
Read the PCUSA policy "The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming"
Read the "Guide to Going Carbon Neutral" that accompanied PCUSA policy in 2006.
Recent statement to EPA from J. Herbert Nelson on carbon emissions.
- The Hunger Program’s Just Eating? Practicing Our Faith at the Table curriculum helps congregations make connections between food and faith by exploring food’s impact on our health, the earth, and humanity. The curriculum is available for middle school students or high school students and adults.
- Search Local Harvest for places to buy local food near you.
- The Thoughtful Christian offers several study sessions on issues related to food and the environment, including Local Food: Global Good and How to Eat Responsibly.
- Car owners, check out the Go Green section on CarCare.org and read the latest tips for preserving the environment through your personal transportation choices.
- Learn about the Cool Congregation Campaign that Stone Church in San Jose, California promotes in its congregation. Each month the congregation has a new challenge to reduce carbon emissions. The April 2009 challenge surrounded issues of transportation.
- Visit HopStop.com to find out more about mass transit routes in many of America’s larger cities.
- Host an Alternative Transporation Sunday, encouraging members to safely walk, bike, take public transportation or carpool to work. Use this worksheet to estimate carbon emissions saved!
- View a powerpoint that was the basis for a December 2013 webinar with EPA ENERGY STAR for Congregations staff person Jerry Lawson, as well as two PCUSA Earth Care Congregation representatives who have worked with the EPA Portfolio manager tool: click here for the pdf.
- Visit the Energy Star for Congregations Web site and get a guide for obtaining an energy audit for your church and steps on how to make your church more energy efficient.
- Web of Creation offers many resources on faith and ecology; including “The Environmental Guide for Congregations, Their Buildings, and Grounds,” a holistic look at how congregations impact the environment with steps to reduce this impact.
- Visit the Regeneration Project and Interfaith Power and Light Web site and get a wealth of resources on energy efficiency issues.
Calculate your household carbon footprint and learn steps to lessen the impact on this EPA web site.
- Some utility companies offer free home energy audits. Contact your utility company today to see if this applies in your area. Visit the Lower My Monthly Electrical Bill site for a list of ways to save on energy use.
- Learn more about how to perform an energy audit of your church through PC(USA)’s Electric Stewardship Program.
- Find a “Do It Yourself” energy audit from Kansas Interfaith Power and Light to calculate the carbon footprint of your church.
- The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program’s Sacred Spaces and an Abundant Life: Worship Spaces as Stewardship includes sermon starters, discussion topics and more reflection on energy use in houses of worship.
- The Enough for Everyone Program has developed the Green Living guide, which includes three sections on Green Consumption, Green Transportation and The Green House Effect (greening our homes). Living green means practicing our faith through caring for the creation. Learn more about how living green is an important part of just living on the Just Living Web site.
- The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program has a wealth of resources on many aspects of climate change and other environmental issues available for download on their Web site.
- Learn about the Enough for Everyone program and find out how to purchase fairly traded coffee and other products, Eco-Palms and Sweat Free T-shirts.
- The Regeneration Project has posted several sermons related to global warming.
Presbyterian Church policies on environmental issues
- Read the PC(USA) policy brief on environmental issues from the Washington Office, which outlines policy statements arranged by environmental topics.
- Download “The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming” that was passed in 2008 at the 218th General Assembly.
- We Are What We Eat, a 2002 General Assembly resolution with accompanying report and study guide, encourages people everywhere to join the agricultural revolution and to support a moral food system.
- In 2006 the General Assembly passed a resolution urging all Presbyterians to become carbon neutral. Read Presbyterian Women’s “Justice and Peace Links” on Becoming Carbon Neutral and learn how to make your home and church carbon neutral.
- Find other policy statements on environmental issues on the Presbyterian Social Witness Policy Compilation.
Linked to you through appalachiancarbonpartnership, but am at GA right now, I am a water chemistry and technology scientist In Chicago Presbytery. Would like to explore ways to support GHG reduction through algae-farming having both for-profit and not-for -profit implications.