I'm aware that our environmental issues are extreme; however, if you have a large organization such as the church pushing the cause to its congregants, I believe we will begin to see a difference in those who make conscious decisions that will attribute to the restoration of our environment. Targeting individuals and families through the media and ads are positive but I question how affective those streams of influence really are. I know that I have personally not given a lot of attention to, "Being Green.
The reason for that is because I don't really understand the importance of individuals making small changes towards these environmental issues, especially when you look at the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. It makes me want to ask why we are being targeted. It appears our efforts are useless when big corporations make destructive decision that affect the environment way more than me and my family ever could. I also know that right now my family can't afford to go out and buy energy saving appliances which is a huge expense in this depressed economy.
Also, most of the items you can buy that are “green” cost more. Cleaners, paints, materials can add up and really have negative affects on a person’s financial income if you are living on a budget. I have also heard so much controversy around the validity of global warming that I question if it is all a hoax or if there really is anything that can be done to help improve our environment. However, if churches began answering these questions to their attendees and began promoting environmental restoration, I believe we would see people become passionate to the point they start making more “go green” choices.
According to the US Census Bureau, there are approximately, 310,470,820 people in the United States alone. (Census Bureau, 2010) Gallup poll states that 43. 1% of Americans reported going to church weekly. (Newport, 2010) If the churches would rally around the environmental restoration cause, they could be influential to their attendees about taking care of the environment. According to Star Tribune, “The faith community has become one of the major players in environmental issues. Coming from the standpoint of morals, religious groups are able to address green issues from a different perspective than the political or socioeconomic juggernaut. (Strickler, 2008) There are several things that churches can do on a Sunday morning to persuade their attendees.
Many churches these days do video announcements that are very affective because they are visual. I think it would be an asset to incorporate visual examples of these individual churches making an effort to bring restoration to the environment. They could use these video announcements to educate their members, teach them the importance of conserving energy and lessening pollution and give their congregants specific tips on how they can save energy with updated appliances.
The churches could also speak with some appliance stores that may offer discounts to their church members in hopes that they would switch over to these energy saving appliances. Churches could avoid using paper as much as possible by using their website or phone tree to contact their congregants. They could also dedicate a wall within the church which displays information about environmental restoration as well as giving information on their website. Ricky Nolan of Minneapolis attended an earth day service at his church and he stated, "The religious world, 'brings a sense of responsibility' to the ecological debate. (Strickler, 2008)
Unlike the secular world, the church can emphasize the importance of taking care of the earth because God made it. Pastors can use scripture to explain God’s intent of being good stewards over His creation. Christians can stand together by good simple Christian stewardship and work towards a cause that will benefit not only our generation but several generations to come. Most people will listen to their spiritual leader with an issue such as environmental restoration because it is a good cause and because they are very good at endorsing worthwhile causes.
They know how to make their listeners take personal responsibility. Pastors already have a level of influence; why else would 43% of people in America take time out of their busy schedules to attend church. Pastors could use this influence to evoke passion; once these spiritual leaders have made their members zealous about the cause; I believe that excitement would automatically spill over into their individual communities. So you might ask why it is necessary for our churches to get involved since there is so much information already spreading about being environmentally conscious.
I personally don't believe that most people really care enough to change their lifestyle. However, if a repetitious announcement is being made weekly in a place that people choose to be apart of, the probability is higher that people will catch on and begin to embrace the cause. I believe our Christian churches can make a difference because we represent a large number of Americans. Churches already have great influence; just imagine what we can do if we used that influence to remind God's children about the world He created and how it is crying out right now for some love and attention.