The environment and the call to be the stewards of the Earth is present in almost every faith. Appreciation for the world around us is deeply rooted in faith, as we learn to acknowledge, and thus care for, Creation. With this South Halton Peel Chapter has created a monthly eco-challenge and invites all faith communities to participate!
Eco-Spirituality is a concept that connects ecology and spirituality; though it’s a relatively new term, the notion of caring for and respecting the Earth has been present in cultural and spiritual practices for centuries. It is through recognizing the human connection with the environment that we begin to learn how to properly care for the Earth, what our part in nature is, and how to connect with others and the environment.
Deepening our connection with nature reveals the relationship between the individual and the environment, and helps to strengthen the desire to be eco-friendly. The involvement of faith communities in educating and addressing the challenges that we are faced with is essential; you begin to quickly see how ecology and spirituality go hand in hand.
And connecting with nature is of great value not just for the environment, but it also positively affects our physical health, as well as our mental and spiritual well-being.
We can begin to revitalize our connection with the land by reflecting on our lifestyle, emerging ourselves into nature, developing ecological awareness, and connecting with others to create a healthier, more sustainable community.
Curious how different faiths begin to interact with nature and the environment? Here’s a beginning glimpse:
- Buddhist: What needs to be ‘managed’ is not forests but human nature.
- Catholic: “The gravity of the ecological situation reveals how deep is the human moral crisis”ÂÂÂ Pope John Paul II.
- Jewish: The Earth is not our possession; it belongs to God. We are not meant to dominate the Earth, but to care for it.
- Hindu: “Live simply so that others may simply live.” Mahatma Ghandi
- Islam: “When doomsday comes, if someone has a palm shoot in his hand, he should plant it.” The Prophet (pbuh).
- Sikh: God is the cause of all and is the primary connection between all existence
Greening Sacred Spaces works to encourage faith communities and individuals to do just this – connect with the environment, and take action. Through our dedication to the environment, we are ‘challenging’, and now rewarding, faith communities who demonstrate greening initiatives in their community through an engaging monthly challenge.
GSS Halton – Peel Challenge: January’s #GSSChallenge – Simplify!
Our monthly #GSSChallenge has the new year shining the light on a famous Mahatma Gandhi quote “Live simply so others may simply live”! This month we challenge you to reduce consumption.
As we enter into a New Year, we tend to make resolutions that will help improve our daily lives – eat better, exercise more, give up a bad habit, or get organized. This year, challenge yourself to help improve someone else’s life. With the recent deaths in the news, attention has been drawn to the homeless, who are experiencing the bitter cold through the day and night. Consider donating your time or money that would otherwise be wasted on television, excessive entertainment, or shopping for items that will only be used for a short time. If you cannot help on this level, donate clothing, coats, shoes, or food to help improve someone else’s living situation.
On a faith community level, there are many things you could organize:
- Hold a community swap to exchange items – no cash allowed.
- Collect clothing, especially jackets, mittens, hats, scarves, boots, and blankets, that will be donated to a charity or members of your faith community in need
- Host a book or children’s toys and clothing exchange.
- Set up a toy library in your Faith Community for families to share items
- Set up the opportunity for members of your community to volunteer at a soup kitchen
And entering the challenge is now as easy as ever. You may email South Halton-Peel GSS Coordinator Christina Read, firstname.lastname@example.org, call 905-815-6185 ext. 2, or simply share with @GSSHaltonPeel on twitter what you are doing for that month’s theme, with the hashtag #GSSChallenge. We can help promote your event and you will be entered into a draw to win cash prizes for your faith communities greening and social justice actions!
Visit www.greeningsacredspaces.com/halton for a list of the upcoming monthly challenge topics.
Article by Josie Di Felice and Christina Read