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Archive for the ‘Faith in Place’ tag

CPWR Chair Urges Interfaith Cooperation on Water Security

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, the Council’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, championed interfaith collaboration as one of the greatest forces for water conservation, protection and positive consumer change.  Imam Mujahid was among the speakers for the United Nations’ World Water Day Conference in Chicago, hosted by the Office of the Governor.

World Water Day has been observed on March 22nd since 1993 voted by the United Nations as “a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.”  This year’s theme was “Water and Food Security: the world is thirsty because we are hungry.” Food security and water access are linked, as the UN projects that by 2025, over two-thirds of the world population could be living in conditions of water-scarcity or under water-stress. Further, 70% of the world water supply is used for food production, which is not sustainable, and climate change is a direct impact of overconsumption and ineffective consumption. Mujahid reminded his fellow religious leaders that America is indeed a religious nation, so by harnessing that collective religious responsibility, religious Americans can have a direct impact on water, food, and fuel usage. With 15% of all food in the US going to waste, Mujahid urged all present to reinforce the message “consume less, share more,” and to “share a message of hope”, in order to create a more sustainable future for water usage and food production, and to fulfill a collective responsibility as people of faith to use our given supply responsibly.

Trustee Emeritus Swami Varadananda, long-time Parliament organizer and manager of the Vivekananda Vedanta Society in Chicago, reflected on how CPWR had highlighted these issues at past Parliaments in Cape Town (1999) and Barcelona (2004), where lack of water accessibility and food insecurity in relation to sustainability were addressed.

The Dr. Robert Henderson, Vice-Chair for the Council and also an elected member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, spoke to the group about building awareness around clean water access and food insecurity, especially with youth in religious communities. He suggested as well the importance of recording and sharing local initiatives to aid the hungry with the interfaith community at large to maintain momentum and education.

The second half of the meeting was hosted by members of Faith in Place, a Chicago-based interfaith organization that advocates “stronger congregations for a sustainable world.”

In the spirit of CPWR, this meeting brought together people of faith to discuss and work toward action around vital issues that impact people locally and globally.

Zoroastrians Practice Ancient Traditon of Being Good Stewards of the Earth

by Cyrus Rivetna
Faith in Place

About 3,000 years before “green” became a term for sustainable living, Prophet Zarathushtra taught that man must live in harmony with Nature. In keeping with those teachings, Zoroastrians today revere all elements of nature—Fire, Sun, Earth, the Waters, Plants and Animals. Ours is not a stagnant worship of nature’s beauty, but rather a reverence for what provides the necessities for life on Earth. From a young age, Zoroastrians are taught conservation and cleanliness, with injunctions against pollution of earth, body, mind or soul. Traditional Zoroastrian fire temples in India and Iran reflect these beliefs. These buildings defy notions of massive religious monuments; small and eco-friendly, they use passive solar techniques that keep the hot sun out while letting in natural light and wind. Their primary purpose is to house the continuously burning, consecrated fire. However, temples include all elements of nature—a garden has fruits and flowers for rituals, a well provides water for washing, animals are represented by a white bull; and respect for Man, God’s highest Creation, is reflected in the temples’ modest, human-built scale. Together, the elements harmonize to create a peaceful, prayerful environment in front of the Fire burning in the inner sanctum of every temple.

Zoroastrians have migrated to all parts of the world and are building centers that continue the tradition of eco-conscious living, including the Zoroastrian Center of Chicago in Burr Ridge. There, the architect isolated the “wet” areas (kitchen/bathrooms) and put water pipes over 3ft deep under the dry areas—thus allowing the whole building to be minimally heated when empty without freezing any pipes.

With support from Faith in Place, the Zoroastrian Center is incorporating new techniques to lighten their impact on this wonderful Earth that is our home. We replaced light bulbs and roof insulation with more efficient versions. When people were forgetting to turn the furnace off, we installed an automatic timer for the thermostat. We recycle and use biodegradable dishware whenever possible. This year a “Green Committee” was formed. They’ve built two container gardens where our youth planted vegetables. Next a composter was built, so it’s now common to see people come to the Center carrying a bag of their week’s compost!

Webinar: Greening Your Religious Community

Parliament Webinar Series

Rev. Dr. Clare Butterfield

Rev. Dr. Clare Butterfield

Greening Your Religious Community

Register Now Wednesday, May 11, 2011
10:00am U.S. Central Time

Rev. Dr. Clare Butterfield, the Executive Director of Faith in Place, will provide training in basic approaches to organizing your religious community to be more sustainable in its own practices and to promote sustainability in the homes of members and in the public square. The webinar will offer basic tips for how to begin a greening program with your religious community, and how to advance one if you’ve already started, based on the experience of Faith in Place with over 700 religious and spiritual communities throughout Illinois. Specific topics will include energy conservation, organizing a green team, incorporating a sense of place into worship and practice, supporting local and sustainable farming through the religious community, learning about water, and more.

Rev. Dr. Clare Butterfield is the Director of Faith in Place, an interfaith environmental ministry in Chicago that gives religious people tools to become better stewards of Creation. Faith in Place congregations and groups work together to support renewable energy, conserve energy, build markets for local sustainable agriculture and fair trade products, and train the next generation of stewards of the earth through urban agriculture with youth. Rev. Dr. Butterfield is an ordained Unitarian Universalist community minister.  She has a D.Min. from Chicago Theological Seminary (2008) with a focus on faith and the environment. an M.Div. from Meadville Lombard Theological School (2000), a J.D. (University of Illinois College of Law, 1983) a B.A. in History (University of Illinois 1980).

Title: Greening Your Religious Community
Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/656483982