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Natural Awakenings Jacksonville-St. Augustine

People of Faith Find Deep Connection to the Environment

Illustration of tree with hand and arm as trunk

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Most of the world’s organized religious sects contain a doctrine or reference to preserving the environment. Abrahamic religions view humans as stewards that have a unique responsibility to care for the planet. Other faiths like Buddhism, Hinduism and many Indigenous traditions believe that while people need to take care of the planet, they are just one part of the larger ecosystem. The creation stories in Genesis call upon humans to be caretakers of creation and tenders of the garden. 

Nona Siegel grew up in Montana, where she became aware of several mining projects. She notes that one of Judaism’s core beliefs is that the land belongs to the divine, and cites the Jewish ideal of tikkun olam, which means healing the world. Tempe, Arizona, Community Christian Church pastor Doug Bland, wearing a cardboard box painted brown, invites people to confess their ecological sins in a ritual he calls “ecofessionals”. Some participants say they fly too much on airplanes. Others say they don’t appreciate the environment enough. He is the executive director for Arizona Interfaith Power and Light, an organization that works to bring a spiritual response to the climate crisis with about 100 congregations of churches, mosques and synagogues. It’s one of 40 chapters nationwide calling for faith leaders and communities to get involved.