Green The Church is an initiative designed to tap into the anchor institutions in the Black community to explore and help expand their role as centers for environmental and economic resilience. Developed in partnership with Pastor Ambrose Carroll (a Green For All Fellow), GTC will work to empower church leadership and lay people to develop practical solutions to economic and environmental issues in the Black community. This initiative will role out in partnership with Black churches throughout the country, and will act as a testing ground for how anchor institutions in low income and communities of color (religious and otherwise) can be centers for community resilience.
The GTC campaign will take place along two simultaneous tracks of development. One track will focus on engaging with and providing support for church leadership to take action. One track will focus on engaging with and providing support for laypersons within the church.
Communities of color are often hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change. One of the most critical roles Green For All has played in the past has been to engage folks who would otherwise not be involved in the climate movement, and to advocate for the communities hit hardest by climate change and pollution.
African American churches have always been agents of community change. Now they’re taking on a new challenge—our ecological crisis.
The Green the Church campaign has been created to assist in creating resilient communities that are not only preparing for the effects of climate change, but also mitigating its impacts through the adoption of clean energy infrastructure, such as solar and energy efficiency. GTC also offers the opportunity to connect with church communities about how a commitment to sustainability and our environment is a clearly stated tenant of Christianity. We will work to better prepare church leaders to integrate this into their sermons and general communication and planning.
- Expand the Green For All base in the Black community
- Increase sustainability efforts at churches and throughout the church community
- Design and develop tools, resources and engagement strategies that can be replicated in other non-religious community settings.
- Highlight Churches as centers for resilience in the African American community
- Earn media with our message of resilience leadership in the Black community
Overall Messages to highlight:
- African American churches have always been agents of community change. They’ve always been centers for economic support. Now, in addition to this work, they’re taking on a new challenge—our ecological crisis.
- Churches around the country are going green—you can too!
- Communities of color are affected first and worst by climate change and our extractive economy. We must call on our largest institutions to lead the way toward solutions.
- Economic message – solar panels, energy efficiency savings, save church $ so you can use it for other work. How can your church community better support each other through sharing economy models?
- Church leaders
- Church members
- New (non-green) African American audiences
Benchmarks: How do we measure our success?
- Introducing GTC churches in at least 3 regions of the US. (West/ California, East/New York and the South/ Georgia)
- We will recruit 50 churches to join GTC at some level by end of 2014
- 20+ Media hits for GTC through end of 2014 (2 national media outlets cover GTC, 10 radio spots for GTC, 10 local newspaper/TV spots for GTC)
- Confirm 5 prominent National church leaders as supporters of GTC
- Develop and distribute GTC branded materials to GTC participants.
Green The Church will focus on 4 main areas of action and will be organized by engagement level to allow any and all Churches and church members to participate.
Get church members to commit to being a part of one of the three arms:
- Soldiers: those who agree to stand in solidarity by signing up for GTC and receiving tools and resources.
- Servants: those who elect to engage in webinars/calls and recruit individuals to sign up as well.
- Saints: Those who pledge to take concrete action to make their church more sustainable through energy audits, solar panels etc. for their churches.
Pillars of Action:
‘Green the Building’ – Bay Area, New York (NYSERDA), GA/Southeast (NRPE)
- Inform churches of how to access Energy Efficiency Audit. This could be in partnership with local utilities and/or non-profit energy raters.
- Help churches build Solar Panel Installation (financing, capital development, storing energy (for times of disaster), selling energy back to the grid)
- Highlight storm Water Collection and other water related investments
- Help churches implement or expand recycling & reusing in their buildings (have bins donated)?
- Development of culturally relevant theological resources for environmental teachings that will explain churches moral obligation to have a part in the work of environmental justice in the world (one paragraph with scripture references). Use Faith-Rooted Organizing as a guide.
- Create/ organize a handy tool-kit that will serve as a guide for churches to refer to.
- 4 week sermon series will be crafted by Ambrose for pastors to reference from and build the campaign with.
- Ask churches to make “Green The Church” a priority within their congregation.
- Give churches the option of formulating a green committee/ leadership team that will implement and enforce green tips in bulletins etc.
- Have an oral/written contest for church youth to get involved. “t?”
Centers for Resilience – Designated Disaster Relief Centers
- Prototype in the Bay Area
- Convene leaders from churches in all three regions to discuss what held true during their climate events to develop ‘best practice”
- Intentionally identify churches with national arms with big picture disaster relief.
- Churches commit to sharing spaces more often for functions, events services to build community and conserve energy
- Funding structure development
- Churches commit to being hubs to discuss and shelter from disaster (economic & environmental)
- Thought Leadership
- Thought Leaders and Best Practice Practitioners from the faith communities are lifted up through media efforts
- Explore opportunities to keynote and organize workshops at upcoming National and regional gatherings
- Prioritize the pursuit of radio opportunities
- Convene the community at a National Gathering (in Oakland) to discuss aligning around the GTC vision.