A Lutheran Bishop who has participated in interfaith Earth Day recycling projects for three years in a row encourages people of all faiths to get involved and help protect the environment.
Interfaith environment projects like the EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge will help ensure a better future for all humans, according to Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes of the Northern Great Lakes Synod (NGLS) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
The challenge involves about 40 projects in hundreds of communities across eights states including recycling electronics (e-Waste), properly disposing of pharmaceuticals and everyday poisons (called Household Hazardous Waste - HHW), and cleaning up communities across the Great Lakes basin.
The U.S. Environmental Projection Agency has provided grants to some of the cities and to the Earth Healing Initiative to help reach a goal of one million tons of electronics and one million pills.
The interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, based in Marquette, MI, is helping promote the challenge and coordinate interfaith volunteers and participation in some of the Great Lakes Basin cities.
Bishop Skrenes is among 10 faith leaders who have signed the northern Michigan Earth Keeper Covenant pledging to actively participate in environment projects, build bridges with others faiths, and reach out to Native American communities.
The ongoing project involves the congregations of over 150 churches and temples representing ten faith communities - Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Bahá'í, Jewish, Zen Buddhist and most recently the Religious Society of Friends - commonly known as the Quakers.
The Upper Peninsula Earth keepers set up collection sites across a 400-mile area of northern Michigan on Earth Day 2005-2007.
About 15,000 residents turned in over 320 tons of e-Waste, 45 tons of HHW including car batteries, oil-based paint, pesticides, liquid mercury, and other common poisons and over one ton of pharmaceuticals including $500,000 in narcotics.
Bishop Skrenes said the interfaith clean sweep is an example for other communities in the world because it shows like-minded people with good hearts can make a real impact in their communities when tackling environmental problem that seem daunting or too big for the average person to really make a difference..
Bishop Skrenes hopes everyone across the Great Lakes Basin will participate in their local project.
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Background: Earth Healing Initiative and the Michigan Earth Keeper Initiative
The Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) co-founded the interfaith Earth Keeper Initiative in Michigan's Upper Peninsula that works closely with ten faith traditions on a wide range of environment projects that include college students, at-risk teens, American Indian tribes and others.
The CTI Earth healing Initiative is developing the same relationship with the same faith communities in northern Michigan and others across the Great lakes.
The faith communities include Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Baha'i, Jewish, The Religious Society of Friends (commonly known as the Quakers) and Zen Buddhist.