The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


August 24, 2007

Green 101

These days college students are heading back to campus. And across the country—from the University of New Hampshire to the University of California at Berkeley—the required subject for many will be environmental sustainability. The Chicago Tribune round-up report opened with the project at my alma mater, Northwestern University, that is providing students with a 21-ounce water bottle sturdy enough to last a year. The idea is to re-fill and keep plastic consumption down. Other schools are offering tips on energy efficiency in dorm rooms, including using compact fluorescent light bulbs. There’s even a backpack with removable solar panels that can charge mobile phones and MP3 players. And a number of schools are creating positions for sustainability coordinators.

We’re gearing up here at the Lutheran Center, too, with an environmental stewardship committee looking at all our activities, from recycling to choice of caterers to “creative reuse.” Watch this space for an up-date this fall.

At my congregation, we’ve made it a new responsibility for our congregational life committee to suggest better energy use (and non-use) in our life together and in our homes. We getting ideas from Faith in Place, an organization with the mission: “We give religious people the tools to become good stewards of the earth.” It’s a Chicago-area initiative, but the ideas you could glean from the web site could be adapted in your town.

David Rhoads of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and director of the Green Congregation Program will lead a training workshop in Metropolitan Chicago Synod in October, with an emphasis on practical, hands-on guidance for introducing care of creation into congregations. Ideas from this ELCA program are also portable.

What are you doing to learn more about how to live green?  It's certainly a continuing education course we all need to sign up for.

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