August 29, 2008
The documentary Renewal shows religious people saving the world.
Why do people care about the environment? Critics often dismiss ecoconcern as something irrational - as in the derogatory label tree hugger. But for religious believers (whether Christians, Buddhists, Jews, or Muslims), there are reasons that are deeply rooted in their belief systems.
Renewal (4 stars) is a 90-minute DVD featuring eight stories of religious groups taking environmental action. The documentary leads off with a group of evangelicals drawing attention to the impact of "mountaintop removal" mining operations on poor residents of Appalachia. Most memorable are scenes at a Jewish environmental summer camp where campers weigh their collective food scraps after each meal as they learn to cut down on waste - a value shared by Jews and Christians (at least Puritans and Mennonites). Groups that want to use the DVD for discussion purposes can learn more at the Renewal website.