Greening Sacred Spaces is a practical programme developed by Faith & the Common Good to assist faith communities with both the educational and spiritual dimensions of greening as well as the "how-to" side of audits, retrofits and generally reducing the faith community's footprint. We have developed a whole resource kit – with workshops, posters, music, and more– to help faith groups become community leaders in working towards a more sustainable future.
Many have named climate change as THE spiritual and planetary issue of this century. The science is clear that unless humans drastically reduce their emission of greenhouse gases and work to heal the biological well-being of the planet we will face increasingly perilous conditions. Rising ocean levels, droughts, floods, hunger, disease will be the consequence of our failure to change our polluting ways. Most scientists estimate that we have 5-10 years to seriously change our ways before calamities will begin to escalate with increasing severity. This sounds dire and alarming but the sooner we recognize this reality the more chance we have to change course and avert disaster.
Fortunately, the technology already exists to seriously address the problems and move to a post-carbon economy. With the rapid development of so-called alternative sources of energy, better conservation practices, and a major re-alignment of our values from a consumer to a conserver society then there is real hope for a better future. So the problem is not technological but the human will to change.
This is why it is fundamentally a spiritual concern. Core questions of who we are, our purpose in life, how we relate to each other and the natural world, and our vision of a healthy, peaceful, just and caring existence for all need to be understood and lived into if we are to achieve this sustainable future. Without the primary motivation to connect our purpose in life with the well being and goodness of the cosmos then there is often not the courage to change. Each of us needs to feel loved, inspired, and hopeful that we can contribute to making the world a better place.
Greening Sacred Spaces is programme to open us to these deeper spiritual quests and the practical ways to live into a new sacred balance with creation. We need to both heal the planet from our excessiveness and to learn new sustainable practices that are harmonious with the wonderously evolving web of life.
The organization behind this programme is Faith & the Common Good. It is an interfaith network of religious communities learning from, and appreciating each other, as we work together on issues of the common good. Founded in 2000 it has "networked" with a variety of faith communities, interfaith organizations, and many civil society organizations as we have sought to address current ethical issues and work towards the common good in Canada and globally. In 2008, Faith & the Common Good is incorporated and a registered charity.
The great spiritual and political leader of India, Mahatma Gandhi, said, "We must be the change we want to see in the world." Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." These quotes from two people who worked to change the world can encourage us all to take action as we re-envision and renew the world.
Faith & the Common Good has developed a wide range or tools & resources to assist faith communities in Greening Sacred Spaces.
Greening Sacred Spaces gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation for helping make this program possible.