Starting a Green Team

What is a Green Team?

A Green Team can be called many different things, but basically it a group of individuals within a congregation who are committed to environmental responsibility and creation care.

Starting a Green Team in your own faith community is a way to begin to make changes, while finding the support from others as you work to make a difference.

Here are some steps to consider when forming a Green Team in your House of Worship:

Develop the interest:

  • Explore the spiritual guidance that your denomination may give around the environment. A good place to start would be our website page on Religious Teachings. Explain how being good environmental stewards helps you live out your beliefs.
  • With energy efficiency and conservation comes potential money savings that could be used for other ministries.
  • A Green Team has the potential to strengthen your community by bringing your congregation together. Worshiping together, learning together, solving problems, and creating something new as a community; discussing, debating, even arguing (respectfully, of course) to arrive at collective decisions; putting your time, energy, and skills to work for a better world–these practices reinforce the bonds that hold your congregation together and strengthen your capacity to change.
  • A Green Team can encourage collaboration and relationship building. A Green Team can give you the experience of the effectiveness of collaborative relationships and the hope that emerges when you know you’re not alone. The work gives us satisfaction, but the relationships bring us joy.

Invite Members to join the team:

  • Formally invite folks who are current or past members of relevant committees, such as religious education, worship, communications, building and grounds, finance, hospitality, or social justice.
  • Make sure you invite people with great networking skills or a special knack for synthesizing different viewpoints and seeing the “big picture.”
  • Members need to have enough diversity of experience in congregational life to connect with the entire congregation.

Form a charter/purpose/mission for the team:

  • A well-written charter or purpose statement clarifies that the role of this team is to organize and facilitate the work.
  • The entire community, not the team alone, is responsible for being engaged in environmental work.
  • The team leads the effort by conducting the assessment, planning projects, providing resources and logistical support, and communicating with other leaders and staff.
  • A key role of the team is to encourage participation in the program. In a sense, they are the congregation’s environmental cheerleaders.
  1. “The newly formed Christ Lutheran Church Earth Justice Advocates is a group of church members who are dedicated to promoting the care of the earth which God has created.  Some of the ways we are exploring to do this within our church community are through educational programs for youth and adults, energy audits, purchasing resources for use by church groups, encouraging practices of conserving and using energy-saving measures in our church buildings and programs.  We welcome anyone who is interested to join us at our monthly meetings which will be announced in the church bulletin.” – from Christ Lutheran Church’s  Sunday bulletin

Involve the faith community:

  • Hold information sessions to talk with the community about what the Green Team is doing and how others can be involved.
  • Invite feedback and suggestions for projects from the community.
  • Work collaboratively with other committees and staff.
  1. We recycled over 152,040 plastic caps through the Aveda Company – that is equivalent to saving about 23MM BTUs or 185 gallons of gasoline.  (Caps are not recycled by Rumpke so this also reduces material going to landfill) Over 1,000 pounds of plastic were kept out of the landfill.  Little Blue Me-an original “book” about plastic caps was written and available for children to illustrate. The parish also recycles batteries, pharmaceutical pill vials, ink jet cartridges, plastic bottles, glass jars, aluminum cans used in the Catholic Center and paper used in the office.  The sacristan team one year recycled all of the left over candle wax and shared it with an artist and sold the metal parts from the candles to a scrap dealer.–from St. Monica-St. George Parish Newman Center-Living the St. Francis Pledge

Do you have a good news story about a Green Team in your House of Worship? Share it with us so we can pass along your ideas to others.

The Steps to Green Teams excerpted from Robin Nelson, Environmental Stewardship Manager, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)

Other resources about Green Teams:

[The Episcopal Ecological Network]  http://eenonline.org/educate/GTFAQ.htm