Create Beauty: Plant Trees and Reduce Waste

Every January, GIPL brings together interfaith friends in an act of hope. We dig holes in the cold, hard ground and plant trees. Together in partnership with Trees Atlanta, this work of re-foresting brings healing in many ways. It is an act of friendship with the earth and with one another as we create beauty together.
The many trees we plant in this annual ritual provide beauty at a hospital that cares for our country’s veterans. The trees we plant provide beauty for one of our city’s historic cemeteries where families gather to remember our loved ones who’ve gone before us.
“If one plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.” Imam Bukhari

And, the trees we plant provide education for our youth of faith who are growing in their understanding of stewardship of Creation. In 2016, GIPL participated in a bar mitzvah project that established a fruit orchard at the Marcus Jewish Community Center in Dunwoody. GIPL planted this suburban orchard in honor of our founding board members, whose work many years ago planted seeds of hope and vision for GIPL’s mission.
These trees are reminders that our work will remain across the generations and that GIPL is in this for the long haul. These trees show us how to be rooted firmly while we reach out to all people of faith across Georgia to join in the stewardship of this beautiful Earth.
“It is a tree of life to all who grasp it, and whoever holds on to it is happy; its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all it paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:17-18
Your support is like these trees we plant. And we have many more trees to plant, both figuratively and literally in 2017. Join us as we seek to create beauty as an expression of our faith and shared responsibility to steward all the gifts we have been given. And, mark your calendars now for GIPL’s Interfaith Tree Planting on MLK Day of Service, January 16.

There’s a 100-acre Episcopal retreat center located on Georgia’s beautiful coast with a biologically rich mix of wetland marsh and maritime forest ecosystems. Honey Creek hosts summer youth camps and retreats all year while dolphins, sharks, wood storks, herons, and manatees grace its creek and marshes. This is a place of immense natural beauty and peace. Yet, its coastal location is threatened by rising sea levels.

In response to this threat, Honey Creek has developed a strong commitment to caring for Creation as part of its culture. Young and old alike join in this work and fun always is incorporated into their efforts. One example of this is Honey Creek’s innovative food waste reduction program, “Reduce Bad Gas.” So unique, this program earned Honey Creek an award at GIPL’s 10th annual GIPPY awards held last April.
The program’s light-hearted name frames a serious effort to connect food consumption and composting to the reduction of greenhouse gases. Liquid waste has been used for a butterfly garden and compost is used for a garden on campus. Ultimately, the waste is used to create beauty at Honey Creek. Read more about their innovative efforts here.

“We are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good: they are instruments for good, in the hands of those who use them properly.” Clement of Alexandria
Honey Creek reminds us that we can serve God and create beauty through small acts. Like Honey Creek, GIPL cultivates awareness about the many gifts from God and our shared responsibility to steward these gifts. Like Honey Creek, GIPL inspires people of faith to take action in their own communities to combat environmental challenges. Our actions can protect the beauty of our natural world, and also empower beautiful expressions of community and faith.