January 2018 newsletter: Greening and Growing in the Dark

Photo credit: Darlene O’Neal, Bellefonte PA

somehow, in some way,
it has managed to survive –
pampas grass in the snow

— Matsuo Bashō, 17th c, Japanese

It is winter – and it is 2018 – and so it’s understandable that we seek evidence of ‘survival,’ perhaps against all odds.  At Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light we know that surviving – even thriving– is most fully realized when we can reach for meaningful action, companions in the work, the sense of fullness that comes from prayer, ritual and meditation, and always, always, generative hope.  Here are some ways we are cultivating all of these around the state right now – we hope you’ll join in!

One Thousand (Sermons, Teachings, Prayers, Studies)
We have invited faith communities to join us in supporting a landmark case, Juliana v. U.S., in which twenty-one courageous youth have filed a lawsuit against the United States government for its role in causing climate change, and violating their rights to life, liberty, and property.  The original court date of February 5th has been postponed, but that simply gives us more time to use all our creativity to express our support and care for these youth and young adults, ranging in age from 10 to 21, and their voices calling for a moment of moral reckoning for our nation.  Read or listen to some sermons already delivered; preach or teach your own, and let us know so that we can share!

Clean Power Plan.
Soon after being appointed as EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt initiated the process to halt implementation of the long-awaited Clean Power Plan. After a sole public hearing held in West Virginia in December, it became clear there was widespread opposition to abandoning the CPP.  Three more public hearings have been scheduled, and the period for written comments has been extended to April 26th.  Check out past comments submitted by PA IPL (CPP, climate pollution limits) then write your own, submit them, and share with us!

Learn more about climate-linked policies at the state and federal levels by signing up for PA IPL’s monthly Policy Update calls (part of our Sustained Advocacy work).

Earth Hour – March 24th – is coming up in just two months.
This global marking of illumination and darkness is celebrated in big and small ways the world over.  In past years, the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House have gone dark – turned off all their lights – while at the same time small groups have gathered in intimate, candlelit house parties.  At any scale, Earth Hour offers the opportunity to reflect on the power of … power in our lives.

This year, our Philadelphia group will host a reflective service at Summit Presbyterian Church; the State College group will again gather at Webster’s Bookstore Café for nibbles, music and silent auction; in Harrisburg, there’s a potluck supper, film and discussion; and in Pittsburgh, a first-ever gathering of the local PA IPL Chapter. Watch our Events page for details in each spot.  Each event will be shaped by the local participants, and each will support the work of PA IPL through raffles, silent auctions and donations.

Though we’re all over the state, we still might not be close to your neighborhood, so feel free to put together your own event.  Perhaps a dinner in your worship community with the opportunity to support PA IPL and also to share, by candlelight in a darkened church hall, fears and hopes, based in faith, about climate change. Perhaps small dinners in private homes.  And, please feel free to hold the event on a night other than March 24th – think ‘Earth Hour Fortnight’ – 7 days to either side of spring equinox!

Resources for Holidays and Holy Days
Looking ahead, there are lots of holidays and holy days that offer perfect opportunities to draw climate change into the life of a congregation – and your own family.

As always, share what’s energizing you — we, too, draw energy for this work from the glimpses of green beneath.