Solar energy is being used by an unlikely sect. Liberals tend to be staunch proponents of global warming; whereas conservatives tend to cast a skeptical eye towards the environmentally concerned. Readers may therefore be surprised to note that solar energy is being utilized by religious communities. What is perhaps more interesting is that religious communities are embracing solar energy for reasons that are both intrinsically theological but no less practical. The utilization of solar power by the religious sect is a wonderful illustration as to how their can be deep concord, rather than conflict, between science and religion.
The hubris that tends to be found within religious doctrines is that humanity is the pinnacle of creation. Yet this is merely one way to interpret some of the world’s greatest religious doctrines. With great gifts come great responsibilities. As such, some religious communities are becoming environmentally inclined based upon “creation care.” Creation care is the view that the environmental has been gifted to humanity by God in the same way a leasing agent would lease a house to a dear friend. Just as a leasing agent would expect the caretakers to properly take care of the house, so too does God expect humanity to take adequate care of creation.
Yet there are practical reasons for why solar energy is being utilized by religious communities as well. Many religious communities are purchasing solar panels to power buildings where religious activity takes place, such as the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration located in Tuscan, Arizona. Furthermore, solar panels may be able to pay for themselves in the long run. Also, if their was ever a shortage of electrical energy within the surrounding community, the religious community could either donate or sell the power acquired from the sun to nearby neighborhoods and businesses.
There are a host of other religious communities that are jumping on board the environmental bandwagon. Another admirable religious community that is utilizing solar energy are the Mount St. Mary’s Abbey nuns located in Wrentham, Massachusetts. The nuns needed an immediate source of income that could fund their increasingly fragile population. By leasing 500 acres of land and installing solar panels, the nuns were able to successfully fulfill the financial needs of their community, while simultaneously preserving both their environmental and religious values.
Another religious group that has embraced solar energy are Buddhists. Buddhism belief system that has long emphasized reverting back to basic, organic needs that can regularly be found in the environment. In spirit of this belief, the Rumtek Buddhist Monastery joined forces with the Sacred Earth Program and installed solar hot water heaters. In addition, the Buddhist monks contributed to developing and implementing strict environmental guidelines for religious communities located in the Himalayas to follow.
In an era of nuclear weaponry, global warming, genetic engineering, land degradation among many other concerns, a practical concern for the environment is necessary for human survival. It is important to recognize that humanity too is part of the environment and to try to act accordingly. Thus, by thinking globally and acting locally, solar energy is being utilized by religious communities for a healthier tomorrow.
By Nathan Cranford
Tech Investor News