Walmart placed an ad in the New York Times stating, "every company has a responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases as quickly as possible." Walmart recently began green retrofits of hundreds of older buildings and is incorporating wind turbines, wildflower meadows, and many other techniques in new stores.
They are not alone. In fact, many of the world's 500 largest corporations want to build and occupy real estate reflecting environmental care and sustainability.
Three key reasons include market demand, financial return, and corporate responsibility. Churches should consider parallel motives for going green.
Market demand / Cultural relevance
Years ago corporations realized customers frustrated by pollution, sprawl, and traffic were open to marketing messages conveying some level of environmental responsibility. For example, hotels found they could avoid replacing and laundering towels daily by mentioning reduced water consumption and chemical use.
More recently, The National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education indicated homebuyers will pay a premium of 16 percent to live in a "New Urbanist" community which preserves open space by increasing density and decreasing house/lot size.
As the debate on global warming shifts from "if" to "how fast," a staid politician has become a rock star (Al Gore) and rock stars have dabbled in politics (Bono, among others—U2 concerts combine rock and roll, church, awareness of the AIDS crisis in Africa, and Greenpeace calls to action).
Because environmentalism has been identified with both the New Age Movement and the liberal left, evangelicals tend to respond with suspicion, ambivalence, or both. We may be losing evangelistic opportunities by placing yet another unnecessary barrier between culture and Christ. Pursuit of sustainable church design not only helps the planet, it lends credibility to the Christian message.
Continue reading "The Green Wave" at our sister site BuildingForMinistry.com.
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