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.
When 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.]
I’m glad to participate in an organization that is shedding light on this ethical atrocity and actively working to combat it. In my personal life, I take many deliberate steps to combat climate change because I know that every action counts. I’ve switched all bulbs in my apartment to LED. I compost and recycle. I choose to eat a plant-based diet because fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, and leafy greens use drastically less water and energy and create significantly fewer emissions than animal products. I use cold water in the laundry, hang my clothes out to dry, and use super-green cleaning products that don’t contain polluting chemicals. And I’m constantly trying to find more ways I can be a good global citizen and show that I care for the poor in developing countries who are hit the hardest by climate change.