In a referendum held in 2008, three-quarters of the Zürich population voted in favour of achieving the 2000-Watt Society by 2050, making it the first city in the world to give these ambitious goals a democratic legitimacy and enshrine them in the constitution. You can view the CBS News Report here.
According to a recent phone conversation with Michael Rentz of Radolfzell, Germany, churches in Zürich have agreed to join in on this initiative. Mr. Rentz, an energy consultant, physicist and engineer, called me to discuss my experience with sustainability and churches. He was particularly interested in what strategies we had effectively employed in the past as well as the best ways to achieve such a lofty goal. I shared with Mr. Rentz about how challenging change can be for a religious organization and suggested that if might be a long process requiring patience, perseverance and lots of communication. I explained to him that while there are congregations that readily embrace environmental stewardship, such as the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, most congregations need time to start to understand the problems of excess energy consumption and what they can and should do about.
This led to a discussion of another interesting project that Mr. Rentz is involved with – sustainable preaching. Launched in 2005, this project ties together the scriptures with principles of sustainability and environmental stewardship. Their website includes suggestions for preaching with a sustainability bent. At the moment, it is only available in German but Mr. Rentz is looking for a partner in the US to help translate the texts and spread the word throughout the United States. If such a project interests you, please leave a comment below to that effect and Mr. Rentz or I will contact you about getting involved. I am hoping to stay in touch with Mr. Rentz while he works with the churches in Zürich on this new initiative to see how things go and what he and I can learn from this effort. I will certainly keep you, my readers, posted!