by Allie English
Religious nonprofit organizations pursue a variety of goals and often offer programs that extend beyond religious teaching. They are recognized as leaders in their community for encouraging education, helping alleviate poverty, and meeting the various needs of their communities. This ethic of caring and providing for the needs of others exhibited by faith based organizations can also be extended to include the environment through the idea of Creation Care Theology. Creation Care is the idea that the earth and all that lives on it: animals, plants, and people, were made by a God (no matter which one you believe in) to be loved, enjoyed, and protected. Interfaith Power and Light, a group which exists to mobilize a religious response to global warming, explains: “Every major religion has a mandate to care for Creation. We were given natural resources to sustain us, but we were also given the responsibility to act as good stewards and preserve life for future generations.” Environmental changes will have far-reaching effects on creation, and faith-based nonprofits seeking to better the lives of others should make caring for the earth a central priority.
It is painfully apparent that selfishness, materialism, and greed have caused a great deal of damage to our world. Forty six to fifty eight thousand square miles of forest are lost each year which means there are fewer trees to absorb carbon dioxide and less habitat for certain species of animals. Over the past 30 years, populations of mammals, birds, and fish have decreased by 58% due to climate change, habitat loss, ove-rexploitation, and changing food systems.
As more greenhouse gases are created due to the burning of fossil fuels, the earth continues to warm, ice continues to melt, and ocean levels continue to rise. Farmers around the world struggle to raise crops as weather patterns change drastically which has led to greater poverty and food insecurity in many already impoverished countries. Current environmental issues are a very real threat to the well-being of humanity and the world we inhabit, and people of all faiths should take seriously the need to love creation and restore the damage done to our planet.
One of the easiest and most fiscally responsible ways religious organizations can care for the environment is by choosing to switch to solar energy. Solar electrical systems are effective in reducing pollution and minimizing mankind’s carbon footprint because they use the power of the sun to replace a system that would otherwise be powered by coal burning and fossil fuel based electricity plants. By switching to solar, faith communities help decrease human dependence on fossil fuels, one of the major causes of global warming. Solar energy is completely renewable and is the cleanest source of energy available. It is also reliable and secure because it uses energy from sunlight which is always readily available. Solar energy also saves money for those who use it by significantly lowering energy bills. Solar is an increasingly popular form of energy. Implementing solar energy is a simple and practical way that faith communities can improve the life of God’s creation.
However, one of the barriers which nonprofits encounter when seeking to switch to solar energy is their tax exemption status. Because they are tax exempt, nonprofits are unable to take advantage of the tax credits which the government awards to for-profit companies and residential homes for using solar energy. CollectiveSun is eliminating that barrier. CollectiveSun is the only company in America that exclusively helps just nonprofits fund solar projects nationwide by offering creative proprietary funding options. With the optional CrowdLending platform provided by CollectiveSun, supporters of nonprofit ministries are able to provide funds for the solar project that the ministry will pay back over time at a much lower interest than a traditional bank loan. This means that people who already care about the mission of the nonprofit will be helping them achieve greater financial freedom and make a positive impact on the environment. CollectiveSun is also able to lower the cost of every solar installation by 15% by applying tax credits for solar projects which would otherwise be unavailable to the nonprofit. By using their considerable engineering, project management, and contractual expertise to equipe nonprofits with solar power, CollectiveSun not only helps these faith-based organizations lower their operating costs, but also enables them to more effectively live out Creation Care Theology.
Many religious organizations and faith-based nonprofits are already leaders in their communities, but they can also become leaders in environmental conservation with the help of CollectiveSun. Solar power is a growing and increasingly affordable option for providing energy and improving the lives of the people, plants, and animals which inhabit the world. CollectiveSun makes it easy for faith communities to positively impact the earth and practice Creation Care Theology by providing access to clean, renewable energy in an affordable way.
Bio: Allie English is a lifelong writer, bookworm, and language lover who is passionate about the power of words to influence, inform, and inspire. She has worked in education, the nonprofit sector, and publishing, and is fueled by her faith to seek social justice and show the love of the Lord to others. She is a freelance writer for CollectiveSun.