Tree of Life is a scaffolded eco-actions program for members of our Faith Community Network! It is also a creative and organic way to visualize the progress that your faith community is making on climate solutions and to share your journey with like-minded faith communities. For each action you take, your faith community grow a tree part, leaf, or flower. You will watch your Tree flourish with good works, and when you reach enough actions, you will be designated as a Tree of Life faith community.
Tree of Life is designed for communities of all faiths existing at all levels of exploration and action in addressing the climate crisis. Even a small community can plant the seed of an effective climate action program using the FACS Tree of Life model.
If your faith community has an existing sustainability, earth stewardship, creation care, or green sanctuary program, you will find it easy and rewarding to apply your actions to the Tree of Life model and continue building off of your impact.
Resources: FACS provides resources and structure for new and growing sustainability programs.
Recognition: The Tree of Life page on our website and updates on our social media channels will recognize participating faith communities as they grow their Trees. This helps us connect with each other, inspire each other, and create a picture of our shared impact. Each June, those who have grown to the Tree of Life stage will be recognized at our Climate Showcase.
Connection: Tree of Life provides a standard way of tracking climate actions. This allows different faiths, different programs, and separate actions to have a common structure for sharing ideas and progress. The tools, resources, and events make it easier for faith communities to connect with each other.
Impact: The visualization of your growing Tree helps your faith community see their progress and inspires increased participation and opportunities for celebration. As more participants join the program, our shared impact is amplified and creates a forest of actions helping to reduce carbon, lower pollution, and educate our communities.
When you register, we will send you a survey about your community’s past current environmental stewardship activities. This will help us determine what stage your Tree is at!
If you’re ready to take the survey, you can access it here.
Meet to determine where energy exists to take action. Consider a targeted track such as Net Zero, or simply create a sustainability plan. This grows a branch!
Email us if you would like to discuss forming a team, setting goals, or making a plan with a FACS representative. You can be connected to experts, practical advice, financing mechanisms, and model faith communities.
Share your progress with FACS! Let us know how your faith community is progressing and how we can help. If you are undertaking a new project, upgrade, or event, send us details and pictures so that your action can be featured in our newsletter and serve as an inspiration to others.
Share your actions directly with your own network on social media! Feel free to download our Fairfax to Zero Social Media Toolkit for digital assets and sample messaging. Tag FACS in your social posts so that we can share them and extend your network.
Download the Tree of Life Flyer to share with your congregation and grow support.
Sprouting Seed: Join the Network
A solid trunk and stable branches are the foundation for future growth:
Trunk: Form a Green Team
Branch: Create a Strategic Plan
Branch: Survey your Green Team
Leaves don’t just provide shade and windbreaks that reduce your energy costs; they soak up sunlight and convert it into energy to feed your tree! Start filling in your foliage with these eco-actions:
Leaf: Start a Sustainability Project
Leaf: Invite FACS to your faith community
Leaf: Bring Climate or Creation Care into the Service
Leaf: Bring Climate & Sustainability into Religious Education Classes
Leaf: Attend a FACS event
Leaf: Follow FACS on Social Media
Leaf: Sign Up for our Monthly Newsletter
Leaf: Watch a Video or Webinar
Leaf: Play the Carbon Footprint Game (or equivalent) – Instead of calculating your carbon footprint on a spreadsheet, this fun game involves children and adults from the whole faith community. A big cardboard footprint is transformed as participants cover it with stickers of actions they have taken to reduce emissions.
Flowers aren’t just beautiful; they support animals, pollinate other trees, and before you know it, they bear fruit! Earning flowers takes you beyond individual growth and magnifies your impact as part of a larger ecosystem.
Make the Net Zero Commitment
FACS has called upon communities of faith to join in a commitment to bringing their campuses to carbon-neutrality in advance of the UN Conference on Climate Change goal of 2050. We will work with you directly—providing resources, toolkits, and seminars—to set realistic goals for emissions reduction and energy cost savings.
Attend a Board of Supervisors Meeting or Meet with Public Official
Citizens are invited to voice their views on pending matters once every six months during the public comment period of the Fairfax BOS meetings. As part of our Advocacy Team, you will be informed of upcoming issues and FACS talking points.
Join an Advocacy Team
FACS is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that supports specific policies needed to move Fairfax County to a net-zero emissions community. Our extremely effective advocacy is based on personal relationships at the local level. We visit and communicate with our representatives from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and our School Board Representatives. This team-based model helps you enjoy this important part of citizenship.
Encourage your members to sign up for Energy Masters
Members of your congregation or Green Team can apply to become Energy Masters volunteers, receiving specialized training from Eco-Action Arlington to deliver hands-on conservation upgrades and community education in affordable housing residences in Northern Virginia. Applications open in June each year, so plan ahead!
Become a designated Green Sanctuary (or equivalent)
Many faith traditions already have programs in place to support their commitment to care for the earth, stewardship and respect. These programs can walk you through a certification process for your buildings, grounds, and individuals.
Donate to help FACS continue our work
Our power is in our volunteers and participating faith communities, but nothing happens without resources. When your faith community makes a donation or takes up a collection for FACS, our work and your Tree each flower.
Each of your actions will contribute to the growth stage of your Tree, from seed to sapling and finally to a Tree of Life.
When ready, complete a survey covering actions your community may already have taken. This will determine the current stage of your Tree. When you send us updates on your progress, your Tree grows. It is our goal that every faith community will reach the Tree of Life stage as they engage with FACS and advance their commitment to caring for the earth.
If your Green Team so chooses, you can designate an area of special focus by selecting a Track. While all actions taken contribute towards growing your Tree, some will also count within your chosen Track, and you will receive additional support in this area. Upon reaching the Tree of Life stage, participants who have also completed a Track will be recognized for their targeted impact and are encouraged to plant a native fruit tree on their campus in partnership with FACS. Your community, having devoted time and energy to the Tree of Life program, will be able to watch—and taste—as your actions bear fruit.
Branch off onto a Track!
Net Zero Commitment
benchmark your footprint and make a reduction plan
Join Solar Sanctuaries
make a plan to upgrade your campus to a resilience hub
Zero Waste Commitment
audit your waste and make a Waste Reduction Plan
Minimum Two Leaves In-Track
Host Energy Justice Workshop
Watch Solar Webinar
Plan Energy & Climate sermon or class
Play the Carbon Footprint Game
Energy Efficiency Project or Upgrade
Host Energy Justice Workshop or Advocacy Training
Plan Climate Justice sermon or Class
Encourage members to join Energy Masters
Replace gas-powered equipment with electric
Watch Solar Webinar
Watch Zero Waste Webinar
Plan Zero Waste sermon or class
Waste Reduction Project or Upgrade
Plan sustainability workshop, class, activity
Minimum One Flower In-Track
Sponsor an Energy Masters workday
Renewable Energy or Electric Vehicle initiative
Join an Advocacy Team!
Conduct an Energy Audit
Attend Advocacy Event or VA Climate Action Forum
Renewable Energy with Battery Backup Initiative
Join an Advocacy Team!
Sponsor an Energy Masters workday
Stormwater, Garden, or landscaping Project
Obtain LEED or other sustainability certification for your campus
Join an advocacy team!
Conduct a Waste Audit