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Our Annual Conference 2016 – Sunday, October 30th – in State College – Keynote Speaker Announced!

We are delighted that Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome will be offering the keynote presentation at our 2016 Annual Conference, ‘An Environment of Justice,’ Sunday, October 30th, in State College.   Dr. White-Newsome will be speaking on ‘Climate Change: The Path to Inner Resilience.’  jalonne_white-newsome-107_5x7 - Copyjpeg

Our conference this year celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Principles of Environmental Justice, and the growing awareness of the intersection of racism, economic justice, and care for our common home in a time of rapid climate change.

Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome is senior program officer at The Kresge Foundation, responsible for the Environment Program’s grant portfolio on sustainable water resources management in a changing climate. Jalonne also leads the foundation’s work addressing the intersection of climate change and public health.   Before joining Kresge, Jalonne served as director of federal policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a community based, environmental justice organization, where she was involved with leading national campaigns to help ensure that the concerns of low-income, communities of color were integrated into federal policy, particularly on clean air, climate change and health issues.

A native of Detroit, Jalonne earned a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan School of Public Health; a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Southern Methodist University; and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University. She currently serves on the board of US Climate Action Network and was recognized by Grist Magazine as “The 50 People You’ll Be Talking About in 2016.”  Jalonne’s career has spanned many sectors, private industry, government, non-profit, academia and now philanthropy.  She is a professional lecturer at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and an adjunct professor at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.

Jalonne is also an active member of her Baptist church, teaching Sunday school, and serving as a deacon.

Board Profile: Rachel Mark

Rachel MarkThis Board member profile is one of a series that will roll out from now through the early fall.  Board members are active PA IPL volunteers who live and serve across Pennsylvania.  Rachel Mark is a charter board member, and was re-elected to the Board for a second 3-year term in October 2014, and has previously served as board Secretary.


A panel discussion held at Unitarian Church of Harrisburg in 2007 was the event that sparked an interest that ignited an obsession about climate change. I began a ten-year journey of reading many books and articles, attending conferences and talks about climate change, an arrest (actually, a fine and release) in the Tar Sands civil disobedience event in D.C., attending multiple anti-fracking rallies and demonstrations, and volunteering with Gas Truth of Central PA, Citizens Climate Lobby, UUPLAN (Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network), and PA Interfaith Power & Light.

My concern about climate change and a growing awareness about the importance of interfaith work has led to my participation on the board of PA IPL. Working within an interfaith setting has allowed me to deepen my own understanding of what it means to act as a statement of faith.  My own faith and sense of the sacred comes from a naturalist framework, but it is no less deeply felt, and I have learned that the heart of all faith traditions carries a respect and reverence for creation.

The work of climate change (and any justice issue for that matter) Continue reading

Board Profile: Peter Winslow


peter winslow

This Board member profile is one of a series that will roll out from now through the early fall.  Board members are active PA IPL volunteers who live and serve across Pennsylvania.  Peter Winslow was elected to the Board for a 3-year term in October 2014.  He begins his profile with a meditation.

Buckminster Fuller
meditated repeatedly on the Lord’s Prayer and, in a process he described as “Ever Rethinking,” rewrote a version for himself each night. One rendition, from his book “Intuition” (6/30/71) is:

Oh god
Our father
Who art in he even
Is your identity.
You have given us
O’erwhelmingly manifestation
Of your complete knowledge, Continue reading

A Bright Idea Spreads

This June 29, 2016 blog post from The Pollinator, was written by Elizabeth Loser.  It is republished here with permission (and an added photo!)  Libby Loser and Bill Lochstet are members of the PennCentral Conference of the UCC’s Green Justice committee;  Bill is  also a PA IPL board member.  

The first goal of this mission project was to help families or individuals with little discretionary income to lower their electric bill and lower their carbon emissions by replacing their most used standard light bulb with an LED bulb, as well as to educate on Creation Care / environmental stewardship.  By our calculations, over 17,000 pounds of CO2 emission are saved per year by the use of these 160 LED bulbs. *

The second goal was to model for Penn Central UCC churches, a simple Creation Care action which any church could replicate in their own locale.  New Covenant UCC in Williamsport, PA is the first Penn Central Conference church to announce that it has already implemented “Bright Idea” in partnership with their United Churches of Lycoming County’s Shepherd of the Street.  Thank you New Covenant UCC!

This “Bright Idea” also demonstrates Penn Central’s support of the “Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy” resolution which Penn Central endorsed at its 2015 Annual Meeting and which General Synod 30 strengthened and adopted.

Partnering food banks were asked to distribute the bulbs to individuals or families in the way that worked best for their food bank with a few guide lines:



Board Profile: Barbara Donnini

This Board member profile is one of a series that will roll out from now through the early fall.  Board members are active PA IPL volunteers who live and serve across Pennsylvania.  Barbara Donnini was elected to the Board for a 3-year term in October 2014, after filling an empty seat for 5 months.

Barbara Donnini headshotWhen I was in college, I was seeking a new way to connect with faith and spirituality. I see the value and beauty in a weekly congregational meeting such as a mass or service, but wanted to go beyond what I already had experienced for many years of my life. College is typically a time that people explore their faith and other faiths more, so I was attracted to an ad from Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light for an intern. This is when the chapter was originally forming in State College, PA and I had the fortune of observing and participating in the exciting start-up phase. When I moved back to the Philadelphia suburbs, I took a break to start up my career and reconnect with old friends. Then a few years later when I was fully settled, I was notified that there was an empty board position, and was happy to accept!

Before joining, I didn’t know how many people were already directly suffering as a result of climate change.  I had never heard the term “climate refugee” and didn’t realize that my actions directly contributed to this growing problem. [2014 link on a range of impacts; 2010 link on public health — articles from the years when Barbara was beginning to learn more about climate change.] Continue reading

Board Profile: Barbara Ballenger

This Board member profile is one of a series that will roll out from now through the early fall.  Board members are active PA IPL volunteers who live and serve across Pennsylvania.  Barbara Ballenger was elected to the Board for a 3-year term in October 2015, and currently serves as board Secretary.

ballenger_photoBringing to the earth and her changing climate the same urgent compassion that I have felt for people in poverty, for the victims of war and violence and for those who are the victims of injustice is something that I have come to gradually.  Part of it has been in learning and understanding how climate justice intersects with all the issues that affect vulnerable people. And part of it has been the result of wiser people continuing to turn my attention to the complexities of climate change, when I wanted to wander off in directions a bit easier for me to understand.

My husband, Jess, is one of those people. I first got involved with the climate care conversation that ultimately produced PA IPL when I sat in for him on a local meeting to plan a climate change conference at Penn State University in State College. That’s usually how it begins for me — one meeting becomes another and another and I’m hooked. Maybe he secretly had that in mind.

The issue wasn’t new for me.  It resonated deeply with my professional work as a pastoral minister, first in the Catholic Church and then the Episcopal Church. Engaging and empowering people of faith in the religious obligation to “do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8)” pretty much sums up ministry for me.

So I worked with other people of faith in Continue reading