April Happenings

by | May 6, 2024 | Uncategorized

Read on for a review of some of the ways we’ve been keeping busy during Earth Month 2024.

Lancaster, PA

Faith and community leaders gathered at East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church (ECSMC) on Tuesday April 9th to talk about cleaner transportation and highlight the installed Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations at the church. We were glad to convene with many local partners including Mennonite Central Committee, Global Shapers – Lancaster Hub, The Common Wheel, Sierra Club – Pennsylvania Chapter, and RegenAll.

Renika Weimer, Advocacy and Outreach Manager with Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light shared,
It’s really important that we see these historic investments be protected, and that no cuts are made. It’s important that our communities are given adequate resources and funding to move toward a clean and just transportation system. As we’re about to see, our collective voice generates immense community benefits! And as you’ll hear from our speakers today, clean transportation is not just the future, it is the now! Faith communities have a critical role to play in our transition to cleaner energy, and we are excited to uplift the stories of communities doing just that.

Eric Sauder, Executive Director and Founder of RegenAll shared,
“The Inflation Reduction Act created a host of incredible financial incentives. Households can access significant rebates and tax incentives for electric vehicles, heat pumps, appliances, and renewable energy. For more detailed information on exact amounts of incentives, an organization called Rewiring America has put together a helpful calculator that utilizes zip code and household income to determine what incentives are applicable. The opportunities aren’t limited to households, either. Businesses can also access unprecedented resources to facilitate their energy transitions.”

Through their innovative church gas tax and help of a state grant back in 2018, ECSMC was able to install EV charging stations. These serve folks like Pastor Dave Bushnell who invested in an EV last year and was able to take advantage of the tax credits available through the Inflation Reduction Act to do it. Other speakers spoke to the power of what further investments in biking and walking infrastructure, clean energy credits, and public transportation can do for our communities as we commute towards cleaner futures. Lancaster, Pennsylvania has some of the dirtiest air in the country, so the time to make these investments is now.

The event was featured in Lancaster Online. We are so grateful to all our community partners and to ECSMC for hosting us!

Pittsburgh, PA

Katie Ruth, Executive Director, came to visit South-West Pennsylvania in mid-April. They were really inspired by the incredible work that is happening on the ground in Somerset County, Allegheny County, and Beaver County. Katie’s Prius was affectionately re-named as the “Blueberry Mobile” as we set off to distribute blueberry shrubs to our community partners. We fit almost 50 blueberry shrubs in the trunk of the vehicle! We also hosted a blueberry shrub giveaway at Baden Earth Day, hosted by the Sisters of St Joseph. They are long-time supporters of PA IPL and we are grateful for their ongoing partnership.

You can hear from some of our partners about the value of the Pittsburgh Blueberry Project and the work they are doing for and with their communities in this short video.

As part of our ongoing grant work with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, we hosted multiple education programs in April with some of faith-based after-school programs that are serving youth in Pittsburgh. We had a particularly fun time exploring renewable energy with youth and parents at The Pittsburgh Project. We had a solar-powered bubble machine and an energy hand crank. It was a great time! We continue to offer these educational programs this Summer with our community partners.

The 2024 Pittsburgh Blueberry Project was made possible through Duquesne Light Community Impact Grant and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Education Grant.

Chester, PA

We are grateful to Blessed Tomorrow for convening folks around the country for the inaugural National Forum for Faith and Climate in April! United Church of Christ East Goshen partnered with us to offer an in-person watch party for the event. Our small group had lively conversation and enjoyed the various speakers. One theme that highlighted significantly for us is how congregations can play an important role in building community climate resiliency.

Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light is now a partnership member of  One Home, One Future. You can learn more about this coalition here.

Philadelphia, PA

In the Philadelphia neighborhood of Germantown, a tree planting project was created 8 years ago by the local chapter of PA IPL through the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Tree Tender program. In the 8 years since its creation, Germantown IPL Tree tenders has planted almost 250 trees. Tree Tenders plants street trees that are free to schools, faith groups, residents,and businesses. Urban residents have a chance to connect and learn about the benefits of caring for creation and with the importance of trees to reduce CO2, absorb pollution, filter water, and cool neighborhoods. PA IPL has been an ongoing recipient of a grant from the First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) for the last few years. More recently, a portion of the grant from FUMCOG has been specifically designated for the Germantown IPL Tree Tender project. Grant money has been used to purchase shrubs, extra trees, tools, and for the creation of specific Germantown IPL tags for each tree planted. We are grateful to Mark Smith for his leadership on this project!

PA IPL is a network of people of faith and conscience across the state who want cleaner, accessible, and just transportation options in our communities. We are committed to building partnerships to help make that future a reality and highlighting the stories of communities who are doing exactly that.

Do you have a story to share? What are Pennsylvania’s best kept secrets in the faith-based environmental landscape? Let us know and perhaps we will feature you in an upcoming Happenings Highlight!

Does this work inspire you? Consider making a one-time gift or recurring donation so we can keep offering programming like this for years to come!

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