Most people who consider themselves at least somewhat spiritual, regardless of their religion or set of beliefs, have realized that caring for the earth is imperative to their spirituality. Here are four tips for aligning your inner life with your green life.
1) Green Your Place of Worship: The places where people pray, meditate, or simply stop to have moments of peace vary vastly - but you can make sure that your place of worship isn't causing environmental damage. If you go to a church, temple, mosque, or other organized place, ask your congregation's leaders to emplace green measures like reducing energy use, water use, and waste. You can even volunteer to head recycling efforts or organize carpools. If a corner of your home is your place, make sure that room is as planet-preserving as possible. If where you connect to the spiritual realm is outdoors, remember the "leave no trace" commandments.
2) Read What's Written: The deep connection between spirituality and the environment is all in the scripture: Christians and Jews can refer, among other passages, to Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The Buddhist Sutta Nipata instructs: "Within yourself let grow a boundless love for all creatures." Hindus reading the Dakshinamurti Upanishad pray: "Let there be peace in my environment." Muslims are instructed by the Qur'an (2:60): "Do not commit abuse on the earth." The Wiccan Rede says, "Heed the flower, bush, and tree." Atheists, many of whom revere Darwin's writings, hold that humans should refrain from destroying the earth of their own accord. For more about religion and the environment, read these books.
3) Green Your Holidays: Religious holidays are some of the most memorable times of the year, but they can also be some of the most environmentally degrading. Check out our tips about how to green your Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, and Lent. Whether you celebrate these holidays or others, try to keep consumption to a minimum (experiences, lessons, or homemade items as gifts, are always most memorable anyway), to choose simple and natural decorations, and to remember the charities closest to your heart.
4) Be an Evangelist: Many religions have always been about spreading the good word, and the environment could use that same type of help. If you passionately believe in preserving the planet, tell the world! It's best to refrain from being too preachy, but a few well-targeted comments and messages could make the difference. A few ideas: Don't be afraid to apply a bit of peer pressure with someone who doesn't, say, recycle or turn off lights. Slap a bumper sticker on your car, or throw on a shirt that broadcasts your faith in saving the environment. And sign up for -- and tell your friends about -- the Green Life blog's daily green tips.
Share your tips: How have you connected your spiritual life to preserving the environment?