Stories from the Road reflection— Peter Dugas, inaugural rider

Peter Dugas was a charter PA IPL Board member of PA IPL, and one of three inaugural cyclists in 2012. He is an engineer who knows a lot about energy efficiency, and a fine musician, which both played a part in his community connections during that 2012 ride! Peter now lives in Maine.

Share a highlight of a past bike trip. 
I had the pleasure of being one of three cyclists on the inaugural (2012) PAIPL bike trip and have so many memories. I remember the send-off in State College with the 20-plus cyclists who agreed to ride the first few miles with us. I felt a bit over my head because everyone was wearing cycling gear and shoes and I was the jerk who didn’t know any better and wore chinos and loafers.

Sendoff after the blessing in downtown State College!
Made it! arrival at the national IPL conference at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Gallaudet University

How has the bike trip continued to impact or sustain you? 
I often remember the outreach we made to the kind folks along the way who opened their homes for us. No matter their opinion of climate action they were moved by our commitment, and we were moved by their hospitality.

In what ways are you continuing to reap inspiration and energy from your experience of the trip? 
I continue to lobby my national lawmakers for climate action and I will always carry with me the lesson I learned on that trip that caring for our common home is a bridge issue not a wedge issue.

Between appointments in Pennsylvania legislators’ offices on Capitol Hill.

What you are doing right now to support the work of PA IPL in raising climate change as a moral issue.
Though I no longer live in PA I continue to support PA iPL and enjoy reading about their recent outreach efforts and bike trips

What “call to action” would you encourage others to take regarding climate change at this time?
Call your Senators and Representatives, ask for specific policy like a carbon fee and dividend, invoke the climate stewardship messages from your faiths, share the En-ROADS Climate Simulator* with others and talk about climate care as often as socially acceptable!

Peter with the inner workings of the green Quaker Welcome Center across from the U.S. Senate.

*Note: The En-ROADS Climate Simulator is an online policy simulation tool that gives users the ability to explore the likely consequences of a variety of factors  that affect climate change, such as  energy, economic growth, land use, and other policies and uncertainties.

Friends, did you know?
PA IPL includes a “Discussion Hook” in every monthly policy call update. These are timely articles that provide an entry point for learning and conversation around climate impacts, climate justice, climate solution, and related policies. There is always a little intro, a link, and often a little excerpt. They are suitable for conversations with neighbors, friends, family members and even congregational study or action groups! For a sample, check out the discussion hook in the end-of-April summary here.

Climate scientist and climate communicator Katharine Hayhoe has said that talking about climate change is one of the most important things that anyone and everyone can do. If we’re not talking about climate change, we’re not talking about solutions, and our policymakers aren’t hearing about their constituents’ concerns or hopes.

Stories from the Road — isn’t that about a million miles?

Learn about August’s Stories from the Road, see how our donation tree is growing and help us meet our $30,000 fundraising goal to lift and support our faith-grounded work toward climate justice.

This week, listen as IPL founder, the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, reflects on greeting the 2013 group of PA IPL cyclists on the day they arrived in Washington DC, and what  their ride meant to those who had gathered from all over the country to learn and advocate as part of IPL’s annual National Conference.  

Listen to Sally’s reflection here…

Other voices from the road: “A bridge issue, not a wedge issue”

Read Peter’s full reflection – and catch more photos in this week’s blog post.

Take Action: Tips from Sally Bingham

Sally offers these suggestions for caring for the earth and maintaining hope during this time of uncertainty. (Hear it in her bonus reel here.)

  • Resist contributing to the waste being produced at this time by disposable masks, gloves, grocery bags. Sew masks, use reusable bags where they are allowed. And live in a way that respects and protects the life around you.
  • Connect with people that give you hope. For people living alone, like herself, she suggests getting off the computer and picking up the telephone to spend time with family and friends. 
  • Sally says she takes long walks outside to restore her soul. “It gives me the hope I need to get through all of this,” she says.
  • And if you’re finding yourself stuck at home, take the time to read about climate change and, listen to podcasts. Sally recommends the  weekly podcast Outrage + Optimism, co-hosted by Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac, and Paul Dickinson.

Turn to Prayer

In 2019 PA IPL supporters “paved the cyclists’ way with prayer”, submitting original prayers, poems and artwork to express the deep faith that underlies their commitment to climate justice and care. The cyclists shared a compilation of these prayers with elected officials in Washington, as part of their advocacy conversations. Each week we’ll feature a different prayer from the collection.

We ask that  you hold PA IPL and the work of climate justice and care in your prayers through the week.

Creator God, in this very divisive time, let us all work together to protect our Common Home. Open the hearts, eyes, and minds of those who do not see or care to see the damage we have done to your wonderful gift, the Earth. You have given us the knowledge in recent years to understand how we can better care for our planet.  Forgive us when greed and fear get in the way of us moving ahead to cleaner sources of energy. Give us all the courage to do the right thing. Amen.
—George Dempsie,  Huntingdon, PA, board member, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light

Save the date— Stories from the Road Live Celebration, Sept. 1

On Sep. 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, we’ll culminate our campaign with a live zoom-based Stories from the Road Celebration, featuring live music, prayer, storytelling, and a chance to share your own stories of climate work with people throughout the state. 

The event is free with a donation to PA IPL during the Stories from the Road campaign (June through August) Additional tickets can be purchased for $10. Seating is limited, so donate now!

July 2020 Newsletter-Join PA IPL this month and next

This post contains part 2 of our July 2020 newsletter. Part 1 is Executive Director Alison Cornish’s departing letter, offering encouragement, gratitude, and celebration.

  • Sustained Advocacy Policy Update calls happen on 4th Thursdays, 12:30-1:30.  Summaries come out about a week later and include positive news, a discussion hook (for policymakers, friends, family, or congregational study groups), a federal and a state action item, some background to keep current and build your base of knowledge, and our closing prayer or meditation. You need not attend the live call to get (and use!) the summary Sign up here.
  • Our celebration of connection, action, and hope, Stories from the Road, debuts
  • August 1st (Lammas Day), and concludes September 1st (World Day of Prayer for Creation) with a live (online) celebration.
  • National IPL board member, the Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, will speak at the funeral of Rev. C.T. Vivian at Providence Baptist Church in Atlanta on Thursday, July 23rd at 10:55 a.m. People in PA IPL’s networks are invited to view the livestream either at the PMBC Website or the PMBC YouTube channel.
  • Watch a film, and make a discussion group date with friends or family.
    • Cooked: Survival by Zipcode is available to view via PBS’s Independent Lens, and is relevant in this time of heat emergency.
    • Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek  — watch the video with an individual or a congregational “ticket” August 2-4, then tune in for the panel discussion on August 5.
    • We are working on distribution permissions for a 30 min film with Pennsylvania connections: Unbreathable: The Fight for Heathy Air.  Watch the trailer now, and watch for opportunities next month.

We are here to abet creation and to witness to it, to notice each other’s beautiful face and complex nature so that creation need not play to an empty house.
-Annie Dillard

Celebratory and Personal Letter of Goodbye from Executive Director Alison Cornish

Dear PA IPL Friends

At the end of this month, I will depart from my role as the Executive Director of PA IPL.  It has been an honor and privilege to serve in this capacity for the past five years – and what a time it has been! When I stepped into this position, Laudato Siwas hot off the presses at the Vatican; we were prepping to offer testimony for the Clean Power Plan; and PA IPL friends from around Pennsylvania were inspired by our annual conference keynote speaker, Keya Chatterjee, who offered us a vision of building an inclusive movement in support of climate action with organizations small and vast through the USCAN. The sense of urgency of action on climate change was becoming more palpable, more real, and people of faith were increasingly welcome at the table – in fact, sometimes at the head of it!

Now, five years later, the good news is that more people, across generations and identities, agree with the need to act now in the face of alarming news delivered nearly daily – new record high temperatures; more loss of species; increased drought in some places, while others suffer intense rain events; and so much more.  Yet this is set within an environment of rollbacks of environmental protections, the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, and enormous new subsidies to fossil fuel industries. 

In the past four months, during the interconnected world-wide events of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the call for long-delayed racial justice and equity, the needs before us have us both reeling and inspired, alternately energized and devastated.  Our work in this time has been so welcomed by you – our email missives of hope and inspiration, the Around the Spiral community of practice, monthly Advocacy Update calls, and soon – Stories from the Road reflecting on the inspiring experiences of PA IPL bike trip participants from the past eight years. 

What the past five years has taught me is that our movement grows in numbers and depth when we listen deeply to one another, so that we can meet one another where we are – not where we expect one another to be.  When there are ‘multiple points of entry’ into the work on climate, people are ready, willing and able to become involved.  This work is so huge, we cannot be afraid of failure, but must embrace it as a way to learn. Hard as it is, the work works best when we leave room for all the unspoken fears, sadness, and loss that people may be carrying, but also may be unable to articulate – or are even unaware of.  And perhaps most importantly, our work is most powerful when we ground our work in our faiths, not in the news cycle.

Thank you for the opportunity to do this work with you. I will continue to cheer on the work of PA IPL from my new home in Massachusetts, where I know there will be plenty of chances to continue to act on climate as the urgent moral issue it is.  I carry with me the presence of all who have welcomed me into circles of impassioned work, friendship and care in this state I have been so fortunate to call home for the last seven years. Please know you have gifted me with so much that I will carry with me into this next chapter.

June 2020 Newsletter-On the Horizon—

  • Practice with us!  Around the Spiral meets second and fourth Tuesdays: June 23; July 7 and 21. 
  • Advocate with us!  June’s Policy Update “call” will be summary only.  Have you submitted testimony to Pennsylvania’s proposed existing-source methane rule, or explored the Vision for Equitable Climate Action, laying out policies that would get us where we need to be?  If not, check out the May call summary.
  • Watch with us! An online screening and discussion of the critically-acclaimed film The Condor and the Eagle on June 28th. Learn more and register.
  • Celebrate with us! Our celebration of connection, action, and hope, Stories from the Road, debuts August 1st (Lammas Day), and concludes September 1st (Global Day of Prayer for Creation).  Invitations to join us are on their way!