Religiously based environmental organizations such as Earth Ministry organize service activities such as habitat restoration, often in cooperation with local conservation groups. Individual congregations have found many ways to heal and strengthen the web of life in their communities:
- Planting trees
- Picking trash from a local stream
- Providing a collection point for recyclable materials
- Cultivating community gardens to feed hungry neighbors
- Adopting a stretch of local highway to keep clean
- Sponsoring farmers’ markets in church parking lots
- Turning vacant lots into graceful spaces for spiritual refreshment
- Community education and organizing around environmental health issues
Environmental ministry is the logical extension of denominations’ social ministries. Hunger programs and international relief and development work have long recognized that healthy human communities require healthy environments. Supporting farmers and rural communities means respecting and caring for the soil and water from which they draw their life. Even in the inner cities, working with people to improve their lives cannot ignore their need for safe environments, beauty and contact with living things.
- Church World Service, an ecumenical relief, development and refugee assistance ministry of 36 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations, supports sustainable self-help development around the world.
- The Center for Theology and Land, a rural ministry program of the University of Dubuque and Wartburg Theological Seminary, addresses environmental concerns in relation to agriculture, food, and rural landscapes.
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Environmental Education program promotes urban gardening as a way of growing safe, fresh food with a minimum of expense and expertise.
- Relief programs such as Presbyterian Disaster Assistance respond to crisis situations such as floods, wildfires, and hurricanes and other storms — catastrophes which, though “natural,” can be exacerbated when human activities fail to respect environmental limits.