Green Pastors January 22, 2010 : 6:47 PM

The environmental and religious communities have long been allies in the fight to save our planet. This trend is increasing in the Northwest where churches are finding environmentalism can help fill their pews:

"A study released in December by the Barna Group, which more typically studies trends among evangelicals, said that older, mainline churches faced many challenges but that their approach to environmental issues was among several areas that "position those churches well for attracting younger Americans.""

""We actually encourage it as a way to get people into the churches," said Lee Anne Beres, the executive director of Earth Ministry, a Seattle group founded in 1992 that has guided many area congregations through environmental upgrades over the past decade but has recently emphasized more direct political action for pastors and parishioners. "That is what people are interested in, and I don't see anything Machiavellian in that.""

"It's fertile ground," Ms. Beres said, "and these are issues that people are predisposed to care about here in the Northwest."