The most vulnerable among us – who’ve done nothing to create the climate crisis – and the planet are suffering. Governments, extractive industries, and financial institutions continue to destroy the fabric of life.
Around the globe, local GreenFaith members and Circles are rising together to end the era of extraction and exploitation and to create bold transformation.
Because the Earth and all people are sacred and at risk, GreenFaith is building a worldwide, multi-faith climate and environmental movement.
Together our members create communities to transform ourselves, our spiritual institutions, and society to protect the planet and create a compassionate, loving and just world.
We envision a world transformed, in which humanity in all its diversity has developed a shared reverence for life on Earth.
Religious and spiritual communities everywhere generate a moral awakening to the sacredness of Earth and the dignity of all people.
Together, we are building resilient, caring communities and economies that meet everyone’s needs and protect the planet. The era of conquest, extraction, and exploitation has given way to cooperation and community.
The good life is one of connectedness—with each other and all of nature. It is a world of flourishing life that replaces despair with joy, scarcity with shared abundance, and privilege with justly distributed power.
We share beliefs and principles that shape our work and guide our relationships:
ROOTED IN SPIRITUALITY
We are centered and inspired by our faiths and revere the sacredness of Earth and all people.
INCLUSIVE BY NATURE
We collaborate with persons richly diverse in culture and backgrounds.
MOVED BY COMPASSION
We act out of love and a deep will to end the suffering of people and the planet.
PASSIONATE FOR JUSTICE
We strive to end all forms of oppression and bring forth an equitable and healed world.
RESPONSIBLE IN PRACTICE
We lead by example and seek to embody integrity, transparency, and accountability.
BOLD FOR GOOD
We show courage in taking risks and creativity in our actions.
THEORY OF CHANGE
Around the globe, GreenFaith is building a multi-faith grassroots community through outreach events, contextualized eco-theology education and organizing/campaigning skills training.
These efforts empower our base to campaign against new fossil fuel/extractive projects and related financing and in support of a just transition, green jobs, and loss and damage commitments for climate-vulnerable regions.
GreenFaith was founded in 1992 in the USA. Our founders attended the Rio Earth Summit and awakened to our sacred duty to protect the planet.
Today we have staff and grassroots members in GreenFaith Circles in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.
GreenFaith was founded in 1992 as a local, volunteer organization in New Jersey in the United States of America. Our founders attended the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and realized our human responsibility to revere and protect the planet. That original awakening and commitment to grassroots religious leadership still energizes and guides us today.
Our work in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s focused on educating people of diverse religions in New Jersey about the moral, spiritual basis for environmental protection, greening religious facilities, and advocating for clean air in urban communities. Three religious themes – spirituality, stewardship, and justice – lay behind our work. We conducted energy audits, organized financing and installation of solar arrays at religious facilities, and advocated for legislation to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In these early days, religious awareness about climate and environmental issues was miniscule. We believed that by raising awareness and explaining how religions value the environment, promoting sustainable living by and within religious communities, and advocating for state legislation, we could help lay the groundwork for national climate legislation in the US.
Word about our work spread across the US. In 2005 we launched the GreenFaith Fellowship Program, a national leadership development program. Soon after, we created the GreenFaith Sanctuary Program, enabling places of prayer and worship to green their rituals and religious education, their facilities, and their social outreach.
But as time passed, and after the failed Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, we saw that culturally, politically and economically powerful forces were staunchly opposed to real climate action. Deeply concerned, we began to commit more of our efforts into activist campaigning because we believed that when people of diverse faiths take part in peaceful public campaigns and direct action, this helps transform society.
We became an early leader in the fossil fuel divestment movement. We organized thousands of people of faith to join the People’s Climate Marches and co-led Our Voices, an international, multi-faith campaign calling for a climate agreement at COP21. We supported global Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist climate statements and initiatives, and helped launch the Shine Campaign, which supports universal access to clean energy, and the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, which mobilizes religious support for rainforest protection and Indigenous rights in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We organized Living the Change, a global initiative to promote climate-friendly living.
By the late 2010’s, religious awareness of climate change had become more widespread, though many within the religious sector still did not prioritize it. At the same time, climate impacts were worsening while governments, industry and financial institutions continued to pour massive sums into new fossil fuel and deforestation projects, with a heavy dose of greenwashing on top. Knowing for certain that the religious sector could still substantially increase its support for climate justice, in 2019 we committed further to a multi-faith, grassroots, international, campaigning approach to our work known as distributed organizing. With partners in 13 countries, we also launched the GreenFaith International Network as a partner network for religious organizations around the globe.
Through our approach to distributed organizing, our global Board approves our campaigning priorities, which reflect a combination of staff’s strategic priorities and inputs from our grassroots base, including those directly impacted by climate change, GreenFaith International Network partners, climate justice movement allies, donors, and other key stakeholders. We build our base by developing relationships with local religious people and religious leaders around the globe. Together, we organize GreenFaith Circles, whose members participate in education and training, deepening their commitment and developing public leadership skills. Our individual members and Circles go into action together, wielding influence and power for the good of the planet through our priority campaigns and taking action that reflects what is possible given political, security, and cultural considerations in different countries. Today, our members and Circles are opposing new fossil fuel projects and related financing and calling for an equitable transition to a future with renewable energy for all, and millions of green jobs to lift people out of poverty.
We have more than 100 Circles total in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America, grassroots religious partners in 40+ countries and a global headquarters in New York City. We also have legally incorporated offices in Kenya and Germany and staff in the US, Germany, France, Kenya, Brazil, Indonesia and Japan. While we have come a long way from our humble beginnings as a local organization, we believe more than ever that it is a fundamental religious and moral duty to seek harmony and justice in relation to the Earth. Our commitment to organizing local people of diverse religions and spiritualities, burns brightly wherever GreenFaith Circles and members are found.