• Elements of Faith
  • Elements of Faith
  • Elements of Faith
  • Elements of Faith

A Special Report from Medill News Service | Washington

According to a variety of ancient religious and philosophical systems, the world is composed of five elements: earth, air, fire, water and a heavenly, intangible ether.
For thousands of years, humans have used the first four elements to try to touch the fifth, to mark life’s most important moments and connect them with a divine power. Graduate students in Medill’s Washington program took a close look at this phenomenon — exploring the connection of people of faith to the natural elements.

Air

Wind advocates can see breath of Holy Spirit in the clean energy turbines provide
Wind advocates can see breath of Holy Spirit in the clean energy turbines provide

A increasing number of churches are harnessing the power of the sun and the wind.

Earth

Nuns in the Northeast are racing to keep sacred grounds out of developers’ reach
Nuns in the Northeast are racing to keep sacred grounds out of developers’ reach

A growing network of Catholic sisters have re-examined their connection with the earth.

Fire

In Hawaii, sacred beliefs are pitted against sustainability, conservation — and tourists
In Hawaii, sacred beliefs are pitted against sustainability, conservation — and tourists

A fight to preserve the environment from developers, tourists and even environmental groups.

Water

Religious leaders work toward preservation of world’s water supply
Religious leaders work toward preservation of world’s water supply

The green movement is going blue for many groups of different faiths.