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SEEDS Promotes Sustainable Living

seeds garden editOne of the important areas where seminary students, faculty, and staff participate in leadership is the campus Green-Team, known as SEEDS (Stewarding Earth & Environment Daily and Sustainably). SEEDS has been around since 2006 under the guidance of faculty member Dr. Lisa Dahill, and each new academic year participating students gather in the fall to generate goals and projects. This year has been no exception, as students uncovered many opportunities for work and service.

Students and faculty alike are asking important questions surrounding our participation in God’s mission to, in, with and under all of creation, as leaders and as fellow inhabitants of our local and global ecosystems.  At Trinity, we attempt to get to know and pray for our local watersheds, and for the most vulnerable members of our communities, whether they are human or “more-than-human.”  As research is continuing to show the devastating impacts of climate change throughout our world, it is empowering to be in conversation with others who are discussing theological, moral, and ethical implications of scripture, academic research, and scientific data.  

We also get our hands dirty! Whether it is a new community garden that is being planted in the backyard of the seminary-owned Dassel House, where President and Mrs. Barger reside, or addressing issues such as composting and recycling, SEEDS members are dedicated to working toward more sustainable living practices at the seminary. SEEDS is a great venue for students, faculty, and staff to learn and be challenged to live more sustainably themselves.  Every day, the seminary community is encouraged to bring reusable mugs for coffee and other beverages, and to recycle whenever possible. SEEDS sponsors occasional outdoor trips and hikes in the Columbus metro parks and other surrounding areas.

In addition to these daily goals and programs, Trinity this year began the process of becoming a GreenFaith certified Seminary. As a GreenFaith seminary, Trinity will incorporate environmental concerns into classroom curriculum, spiritual and leadership formation processes, and facilities operations at the seminary.  An important starting point for this process is a facility-wide energy audit which will be happening this Spring. SEEDS participants will be given an opportunity to participate in the audit process, and will be learning about various ways to improve sustainability practices in buildings such as seminaries and churches.

SEEDS partners with Ohio Interfaith Power & Light, a non-profit organization dedicated to offering a religious response to climate change. OH-IPL has helped to provide opportunities for SEEDS members to dialogue with local faith leaders, scientists, and activists to understand the multiple complexities of addressing climate change.  In October, SEEDS helped host an interfaith presentation by Dr. Lonnie Thompson, a world-renowned climate scientist at the Ohio State University Byrd-Polar Research Center.  Throughout the year, we have also helped to sponsor film presentations such as Do The Math about the work of’s Bill McKibben.  

For students who want to incorporate environmental concerns, ecological sustainability, or stewardship of the Earth into their theological, spiritual and leadership formation at seminary, Trinity continues to develop rich opportunities for participation.  As someone that believes that this work will become more essential for parish pastors and faith leaders, the experience of participating in the SEEDS Green-Team has been enriching for my vocational discernment and I am thankful for the fruitful partnerships that have emerged from being involved.

For more information, please feel free to contact Joel Rothe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Dr. Lisa Dahill at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

By Joel Rothe
M.Div. junior