Green Your House of Worship: Tend the Grounds

Church Garden Pic

  1. Pick up trash, especially loose plastic bags (not a good meal for birds and small animals)
  2. Plant trees to the south and west to provide summer shade. Also think about positioning trees to block wind.
  3. Plant native species instead of imported ones. It’s called xeriscaping, and it uses less water.
  4. Skip the pesticides and weed your gardens and lawns by hand. (It’s easier after watering or after a good rain.)
  5. Discourage car idling in the parking lot. (Two minutes of idling = the amount of energy it takes to drive one mile)
  6. Plant a community garden and donate to a local food program.
  7. Plant a sky garden if you have a flat, strong roof. (It reduces storm-water runoff and increases green space. (See
  8. Set aside a place for a compost pile. (Reduce your reliance on petroleum-based fertilizer).
  9. Set aside a part of the lawn to grow wild. Mow it just once a year. (Birds, butterflies, insects and small animals will thank you.) More info on “living churchyards” at Alliance for Religions and Conservation).
  10. Replace traditional asphalt with porous pavement. Asphalt prevents storm water runoff from filtering into the ground, which disrupts the local water cycle. Pervious concrete (yes, that’s the term) uses course materials such as rock and gravel pasted together to allow water to filter through.

Source:  Rebekah Simon-Peter, 7 Simple Steps to Green Your Church (Nashville:  Abingdon, 2010), 127-132)

Photo:  Gexydaf, 4.28.2011.  Flickr Creative Commons.


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