Today on Planet 100: Top 5 Green Houses of Worship (Video)
Though the Muslim community center planned for New York City has created controversy because of its proximity to Ground Zero, the original goal of the LEED certified building is to communicate the deep connections between Islam and environmentalism.
Of course, this now-famous building is not the only house of worship that has made an effort to also worship the planet. Around the world and across faiths and denominations, religious buildings have begun to embrace green building and sustainable living not only as a means of reducing their impact on the earth but of educating their communities as well.
Today, Planet 100 counts down the top five houses of worship:
5. Green Mosque
In at number five, a new mosque, to be erected just two blocks from Ground Zero, would become the country's first LEED certified "green mosque."
Re-named Park51, the new name will showcase the intricate—yet widely unknown—connection between Islamic teachings and environmentalism like the fact that Islam calls upon its people to be "stewards of the Earth".
4. Recycled Buddhist Temple
In at number four, a jaw dropping Buddhist temple in Thailand is made entirely from recycled beer bottles. One million of them to be precise.
The spectacular structure uses green Heineken Beer bottles and brown Chang Beer bottles, which is not only eye catching, but serves as a reminder of the benefits of recycling and environmental conservation.
3. No plastic Hindu Temple
The world's richest Hindu temple doesn't just ban plastic bags, it bans plastics all together.
India's Sri Venkatesware temple, with some 60,000 daily visitors, will be a plastic-free zone by the end of the month. Vendors at the 1700 year old hilltop temple will ditch plastic bags for jute ones and swap plastic cups with reusable ones.
2. LEED Jewish Congregation
The Jewish Reconstructionalist Congregation in Illinois is one of only a handful of LEED certified congregations in America.
The synagogue used reclaimed wood from barns for exterior cladding while the interior cabinets were made out of sunflower husks—making it the only religious building to receive the highest LEED rating from the USGBC.
1. Edinburgh Eco Commandments
In at number one, a Presbyterian church in Edinburgh, Scotland is so serious about the environment, the church has issued its own 10 Eco Commandments.
South Leith Parish has a very committed Green Team which has been very effective in raising awareness about environmental matters. They also support a girl's school in Zambia to help it become self sustaining in food and water supplies.