Asheville faith congregations are going green
“Unfortunately, a lot of this has become lost on people.” The Creation Care Alliance of WNC, a network of people of faith communities, formed in 2012 to work on practical solutions for protecting the earth, or caring for creation.
Some are instituting trash recycling and food waste composting, updating HVAC systems changing out old incandescent lightbulbs to the more energy-efficient LED bulbs, planting vegetable gardens or even installing solar panels to reduce the reliance on coal plants for electricity.
“Doing these things for environmental justice as a congregation strengthens that, the community, the parishioners, and the earth.” Some faith communities are just getting started in environmentally friendly practices, since the first Earth Day in 1970.
Hardin-Nieri said environmental awareness has been slow in part because faith communities are involved in so many aspects of life.
“I am seeing more congregations engage us through that lens.” Jane Laping, a retired research scientist and member of First Presbyterian Church on Church Street downtown, said the “Green Team started about eight years ago.
They started a community garden eight years ago in front of the church, for all passersby to see.
Last month the church started working with McDonald’s to compost their coffee grounds to use in the garden.
These gardens contain wetland, bog and water-tolerant plants and in the lower gardens they have planted drought-resistant plants to lessen the need for watering.
He called for an “ecological conversion” for the faithful.
In the first year, using renewable energy from the sun, the church generated $6,912 worth of electricity, 30 percent of its yearly bill.