Launch of PA IPL Southwest PA Chapter

PA IPL is launching the Southwest PA Chapter TODAY at 5:00pm! We look forward to seeing everyone at the City of Pittsburgh Rhododendron Shelter in the Highland Park neighborhood to unite existing PA IPL PGH Chapter members with new PA IPL members from around the region.

We are basing the SW PA Chapter Launch on three fundamental concepts:

  1. We are spiritual beings with ties to the earth.
  2. We must recognize this and the impact that we have on the earth and other human beings, particularly those in Climate Justice Communities.
  3. As people of faith, we must organize, plan and complete projects that will reduce our impact and increase equity across the Commonwealth.

Highlights of this meeting will include a potluck dinner and a Cosmic Walk. Inspired by Thomas Berry’s work, Sister Miriam Therese MacGillis, created the Cosmic Walk ritual at Genesis Farm, New Jersey, in the mid-1980’s. Thomas Berry was a monk, cultural historian, author, teacher, and mystic who linked spirituality with ecology.

PA IPL will provide refreshing water to drink. This will be a Zero Waste Event! Please consider bringing your own plates, knives, forks, and spoons to help us achieve our goal. PA IPL will provide compostable tableware for those who cannot bring their own. New and existing members should bring their favorite dishes to share in this opportunity for increased fellowship. Portable restrooms are available at the Shelter.

Bring your friends, family, congregational members to experience the Cosmic Walk and build our PA IPL SW PA Chapter!

Now Available: Video of September 19 Meeting in Partnership with JEA!

Video of our latest meeting in partnership with Jewish Earth Alliance is now available! Click here to view.

Topic: No More Tax Breaks for Fossil Fuels
Speaker: Rob Altenburg, Senior Director for Energy & Climate for PennFuture

A discussion of the report Rob and PennFuture wrote about subsidies for fossil fuels.

Recognizing that the time is now to pass far reaching climate actions by the federal government, the Jewish Earth Alliance and Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light formed a coalition to advocate for climate actions with our federal elected officials. Each month we hold an informational session where we discuss a specific topic relating to environmental sustainability/environmental justice and then help people write letters to their senators and representative on this topic. The Jewish Earth Alliance provides the topic, background information, and template letter to customize.

Now Available: Video of September’s PA IPL Philadelphia Chapter Program!

Cleaning Up Pennsylvania’s Electric Generation – Pushing RGGI Across the Finish Line!

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI – pronounced “Reggy”) is Governor Wolf’s effort to begin cleaning up the Commonwealth’s electricity generation. RGGI is a “cap and trade” mechanism for putting a price on CO2 emissions from power plants. States in New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions that have been part of RGGI for years have reduced their CO2 emissions significantly and have generated major revenue that has been invested in clean energy and other programs to address climate justice. In Pennsylvania RGGI has cleared several major hurdles toward implementation but still faces significant opposition.

At our September PA IPL Philadelphia Chapter program we had several participants who have been following RGGI since its introduction in Pennsylvania and are very familiar with its provisions and what remains to be done to ensure RGGI’s success:

  • Bill CozzensPA IPL Board member and climate activist with several organizations will be introducing the panelists, providing some background information on RGGI, and moderating the audience discussion and Q&A period
  • Nora Elmarzouky, a climate justice organizer working for POWER Interfaith. Nora is the staff person supporting POWER’s RGGI Advocacy team and its Public Utility Commission Working Group.
  • Liz Robinson, former Executive Director of the Energy Coordinating Agency Philadelphia, is currently serving as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Solar Energy Association. Liz is an active member of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Eco-Justice Collaborative: Quakers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware promoting clean energy and economic, racial, and social justice. Liz has been actively supporting RGGI since its introduction.

RGGI is a complex regulation with lots of components. During our meeting Liz and Nora unpacked some of the complexity and helped us understand the benefits and current status of RGGI in Pennsylvania and what we can do to help push RGGI across the finish line.

Topics covered include:

  • How RGGI works and what impact it is likely to have on electric generation and costs
  • Benefits: reduction of CO2
  • Benefits: Funds available for clean energy and investments in environmental justice communities. How should funds be allocated?
  • Current status of approval
  • Opposition to RGGI
  • Steps we can take to move RGGI forward

L’Shanah Tovah!

L’Shanah tovah to all our Jewish friends on the start of this high holy festival (New Year) that lasts through September 8.

As our Jewish members, friends, and supporters mark the high holy day of Rosh Hashanah, we invite others to reflect on how we might each rededicate ourselves to the wellbeing of our world, God’s creation. To help us reflect on the importance of healing our planet and renewing our shared community both in love and in faith, see this holiday message from Rabbi Meryl Crean to bring in the Jewish new year 5782.

May 5782 be filled with health, happiness, and sweet moments for you and your family.

Now Available: Video of August’s PA IPL Statewide Monthly Meeting and Program!

Video of August’s PA IPL Statewide Monthly Meeting and Program is now available! Click here to view.

August’s PA IPL Statewide Meeting and Program focused on the life of Thomas Berry and the film “Thomas Berry: The Great Story.” Thomas Berry was a monk, cultural historian, author, teacher, and mystic who linked spirituality with ecology. In addition to our regular conversation, the program featured talks by Karen Bernard and PA IPL Board Member Wanda Guthrie who are experts on the life and work of Thomas Berry.

Registration is now open for PA IPL’s September Statewide Monthly Meeting and Program.
This month’s meeting will focus on solar arrays. Solar is growing by leaps and bounds and congregations are keeping pace by installing solar at an ever increasing rate all over the country. They are financing it through a variety of creative options but the many financing options, their pros and cons, and what is best is often confusing.

Are you thinking of going solar at your congregation? Are you interested in solar for yourself?
September’s meeting will bring together solar experts who can answer all of your questions from different perspectives. Join us on Monday, September 20th at 7:00pm and explore how you can install solar on your property, on your congregation’s property, or otherwise participate in the growing solar sector to combat climate change.

Interfaith Power & Light has a new Solar Financing Guide for Congregations!
Read our informative overview on financing options first. Find the Guide and check out all our Solar Resources here.

RGGI Passes in PA with 3 to 2 Vote!

Today the PA Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) voted to approve PA participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in a 3 to 2 vote. Now, PA can join neighboring states in cutting CO2, creating jobs, and helping communities in need of support.

The passage of the RGGI is significant because in Pennsylvania, a substantial energy-producing state, over 70% of voters in recent polling called for solutions to cut carbon pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants.

The RGGI is an established multi-state cap-and-invest program that seeks to slash carbon emissions from the power sector while generating proceeds that can be invested in cleaner energy generation including solar, wind, and nuclear. The RGGI program proceeds have also buttressed energy efficiency efforts in participating states and according to ACEEE, every dollar invested in efficiency in low-income households through the Weatherization Assistance Program results in $2.53 in energy and non-energy benefits for a community. These are real benefits for Pennsylvanians in frontline communities that have long borne an inordinate pollution burden.

It is critical that we take action on climate change now and a program like RGGI is positioned to provide immediate benefits to both our environment and the economy. PA citizens are rightly concerned about what the future will look like for their children and families if we don’t meaningfully address planetary warming right now. Having Pennsylvania link to RGGI in early 2022 is very much in the public interest, which is why we are thrilled to announce an affirmative vote for this rulemaking from the commissioners today.