Father Dimitrios Moraitis, St. Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Church, Greenlawn:
While the church does not have a specific Earth Day celebration, Earth Day is brought up within the context of our Sunday school classes and youth ministries. The church established a Green Team Ministry, which has instituted a recycling program. We're working with LIPA to put in a different system to use less power during peak energy-use periods.
In our upcoming building project, we will be installing solar panels to produce enough energy to power seven homes. We have only two full-time clergy here at the church. Fortunately, there are a lot of dedicated lay people [at the church], many of whom are members of our parish council, who are talented, insightful and passionate. They're researching and implementing many of these programs. They glorify God through their willingness to share their gifts with the church.
Al-Haaj Ghazi Khankan, director, The Voice of Al-Islaam and an Islamic marriage officiant, Long Beach:
From an Islamic perspective, "Earth Day" should be every day, if the world is to avoid an environmental catastrophe. According to The Holy Book, Al-Quran, the primary source of Islamic teachings, God Almighty/ Allah "created the heavens and the earth and all what is in between them," made them "subservient" to humanity, appointed humans as vicegerents/trustees on earth and warned them "not to make mischief on earth" through corruption or pollution. Therefore, it is our duty to take good care of Allah's earth and preserve it for future generations, without pollution or damage.
Unfortunately, many countries, under the guise of progress, continue to abuse the trust and keep polluting the earth, its water resources and its air. Locally, I urge mosque leaders to plan "Earth Day" programs to educate their congregations about the importance of such activities as tree plantings, organic vegetable gardens, water source protections and toxic cleanup, as the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury is planning. Members perform neighborhood cleanups, and they have an organic garden that donates part of its produce to charity.
Swami Adrish Anandn, Hindu Community Center, Hicksville:
We celebrate and talk about the spiritualism of ecology. We talk about how to save the planet, the animals, the plants. We even talk about cruelty to plants and animals. We also do some programs to inspire people and awaken them to the importance of the environment. In the Hindu religion, when we pray, we include a prayer for the plants.
On a more local scale, we recycle here at the center. We collect bottles and papers, and a member of the temple takes them to be recycled.
I'm from California and came here in November. For Earth Day there, we would go to the ocean and clean along the beachfront.
We have a process called shramdaan in Hindi, where you give one day of labor as an inspiration. You go to parks, along roads and other places and clean. We will do that here. We may clean the temple or the area outside. You also can donate blood to help save lives as part of shramdaan.
The Rev. Lynn Sullivan, Garden City Community Church:, Garden City:
Two years ago, my husband, Mark, gave me "The Green Bible" for Christmas. It highlights in green any passage that reflects our mother earth. In the forward, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he shares, "What my reading of the Bible disclosed is that creation care is at the very core of our Christian walk. Take for example, the biblical view of trees. The Bible begins with a tree - The Tree of Life. . . . It is my prayer that readers of 'The Green Bible' will begin in earnest the work of protecting and serving God's beautiful creation."
We established a Green Team Committee to address caring for our environment. Reports are e-mailed instead of printing and mailing numerous copies; and members can opt to receive our newsletter via the Internet. Recycle bins are around our church for cell phones, batteries, sneakers, eye glasses, glass, plastic and paper and Kashi products.
Members of our Board of Outreach teamed up with Boy Scout troop 45 and planted a vegetable garden in the Garden City Bird Sanctuary, sending more than 100 pounds of produce to the Mary Brennan INN soup kitchen in Hempstead. We are finalizing plans to add a bicycle rack.
Our cleaning products around the church (including nursery school) are made of all-natural ingredients. We also only purchase paper products that are recycled. While we are proud of what we are doing to protect and serve God's beautiful creation, we know we are at the very beginning of a journey that will take many generations.