Igniting a Fierce Green Fire – How Faith Can Inspire the Change We Wish to See

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Values cannot be justified by the intellectual process alone. Faith must be involved.

– Professor Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman, speaking to the Global Agenda Council on the Role of Faith (26 October 2015)*

Recently, I spent some time with a colleague at workshop on best practices used to protect the marine environment (including whales, dolphins, fish and sea turtles) while developing offshore wind energy in the mid-Atlantic.   A common thread of our informal conversations was the blending of faith and science and the urgent need to help people reconnect to themselves and the natural world to support a shift to just, living economy.

First, here’s the back story behind our discussions. I was raised a Catholic in Arlington, VA. My colleague Barbara was raised a southern Baptist in Charleston, SC. However, both of us were originally trained as geologists, scientists who study the Earth. Geologists, as earth science detectives, are trained to think across large expanses of time and space and seek to understand how different forces and systems interact to make world that was, the one we live in today, and our future world.

For a variety of reasons, both of our career paths have evolved toward policies and technologies that seek to harmonize economic, social and environmental goals, especially in the fragile interface between the land and the sea known as the coastal zone. Both of us had come to the same conclusion over the course of our careers: the wonders of science only reinforced our belief in God and the beauty and elegant design of our home Mother Earth. Further, both of us are convinced that our faith communities must play a pivotal role in helping the world shift toward a restorative and sustainable path to the future.

But why is engaging faith communities so important to meeting today’s challenges?  According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, there a four important reasons:

First, to address global and systemic challenges requires not only innovations in policy and practice, but also a commitment to certain values that make the needed policy, economic and changes sustainable.

Second, faith and faith communities can be part of the solution to each global challenge as well as provide helpful perspective on the issues.

Third, as highlighted in the article “Religion holds women, back. Or does it?”, an important factor that facilitates the positive contributions of faith is “freedom of religion or belief.”

Fourth,  faith is on the rise as a global force.

Be sure to check out the report to learn more about how faith communities can help ignite a fierce green fire to bring the healing, hope and restoration the world desperately needs today.  Contact me today if you want to figure out how faith communities might support your work.


* Excerpted from World Economic Forum’s report The Role of Faith in Systemic Global Challenges (June 2016).

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