What is your concept of a green community?

This was one of the questions posed at a roundtable discussion of Canadian Muslim environmental leaders and activists held on Sunday, March 18 at the University of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Centre.

The event titled Think Green: Creating Sustainable Communities brought together community activists to discuss what it means to green the Muslim community, as well as, how to identify and implement environmental initiatives within a diverse community.

“While there has been some success in practicing the Islamic teachings surrounding the environment, there lacks a central forum among Canadian Muslims for the exchange of ideas and recognition of our community’s accomplishments,” Muaz Nasir, one of the organizers of the roundtable, told IQRA.

Nasir is the Publisher of the ecological website, Khaleafa: A Sacred Trust (www.khaleafa.com), which spearheaded the event along with the Muslim Students’ Association, University of Toronto-St George and the Muslim Presence Network; IQRA.ca was the media sponsor.

The roundtable participants engaged in a lively discussion that was framed by three questions: 

1) What is your concept of a Green Community? (mosques, community centers, educational institutions, workplace, etc.)

2) What projects or initiatives would you like to see implemented in your community?
3) What are potential/experienced limitations that might exist within our community?

The organizers hope that the input from the roundtable would provide the basis and impetus for moving forward with a green agenda for Canadian Muslims.

The program included a presentation by Asma Ali, another organizer of the roundtable and a representative of Greening Sacred Spaces.

Ali outlined some of the programs that are being offered by Greening Sacred Spaces to Faith communities.

Ali told the gathering that Greening Sacred Spaces is a practical program to assist Faith communities with both the educational and spiritual dimensions of greening as well as the “how-to” side of audits, retrofits and generally reducing the faith community’s footprint.

Muaz Nasir also spoke briefly on some practical actions that can help in creating sustainable communities – through water conservation, waste reduction and protecting natural resources.  

He hopes that Muslims can highlight the contributions Islam can bring to environmental awareness.

“Many Muslims are revisiting their faith in an effort to identify the contributions Islam can bring in promoting greater environmental awareness,” he said.