The Chicago Muslims Green Team, a nonprofit organization promoting a sustainable lifestyle based on Islamic teachings, started recruiting for the Downtown Islamic Center Green Team on Friday.
The group wants to transform the Downtown Islamic Center, 231 S. State St., into a model of eco-friendliness for the city. Caroline Williams, the founder of Chicago Muslims Green Team, said the first step is to reduce the center’s energy consumption.
“We can start with simple things such as changing light bulbs, having switch sensors to save energy and, then, as the last step, we can install solar panels,” Williams said.
The Islamic Center team will follow the steps and the agenda suggested by Faith In Place, a nonprofit that provides resources to people of faith to advocate for more sustainable communities.
Faith In Place started training the Chicago Muslims Green Team in 2019. Isioma Odum, energy and climate change coordinator for the nonprofit, has coached the group on the best ways to make the Downtown Islamic Center more sustainable.
Faith In Place also awarded the Chicago Muslims Green Team a $10,000 grant for its work. The rest of the funding will come from grants, fundraising events and donations.
The Downtown center is the pilot of a much more ambitious project: the Green Mosque Program, which aims to make Islamic places of worship throughout Chicago more sustainable.
Every mosque will have its own Green Team and its own coach, providing resources for a sustainable transition and supporting the city of Chicago Green Recovery Agenda.
The Chicago Muslims Green Team is committed to this project also because of its deep connection to some of the pillars of Islam, which calls for people to live life in balance with nature and other forms of life.
“One of the concepts of Islam is sadaqah, which means charity,” Williams said. “But charity is also planting seeds, because by doing that a tree will grow and it will then feed the animals. So taking care of the environment fulfills our commitment to charity.”