No need to wait— the Paris Pledge

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11.

International leaders brought emissions-reduction commitments with them to this conference.  Those commitments are not yet binding, and they’re not yet enough to keep us under 2 degrees Celsius* of warming, but they’re working on it (keep those prayers flowing—they’re needed!)  We, however, don’t have to wait for an international agreement to make our own changes.  The  Paris Pledge is open to both congregations and to individuals; it is a promise to cut emissions 50% by 2030 and to zero by 2050.

Benedictines getting ready for the drive back to Erie after the Interfaith Moral Advocacy Training in Harrisburg in August 2015.
Benedictines getting ready for the drive back to Erie after the Interfaith Moral Advocacy Training in Harrisburg in August 2015.

One institution that signed on issued the press release that follows.  Thank you for your leadership, Sister Pat Lupo and the Benedictines of Erie!

NOTE: Both congregations and individuals may continue to add their commitments at the Paris Pledge website.  Signatures through last Wednesday have been added to a large scroll that is with the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham and Sister Joan Brown in Paris, which will be presented on December 11 at the conference, in the Blue Zone (that’s the zone with the international bigwigs).  Tune in tomorrow for the story of a congregation that has REACHED carbon neutral — including members’ transportation to church!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Benedictine Sisters of Erie Sign Paris Pledge

Erie, Pennsylvania – November 24, 2015 – Long known as environmental leaders in the Erie area, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie have taken a decisive step in their commitment to environmental sustainability by pledging to reduce their carbon pollution by 50% by 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2050. They along with 150 other Religious Organizations and 3,500 individuals have signed the Paris Pledge. A scroll with the pledge and all its signers will be presented at the international climate conference being held in Paris, France over the next several weeks. It is hoped that the 150 nations represented at CPO21, the 21st “Conference of Parties” will establish internationally agreed upon targets to curb ongoing Climate Change.

The Paris Pledge was developed by Interfaith Power and Light, an organization of 18,000 religious congregations and organizations located in 40 states throughout the US. Through this pledge they intend to lead by example and clearly state that Faith Leaders in the US are committed to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the impact of human activity on Climate Change.

“Care for the earth has been integral to the Benedictine Charism since our very foundation in the 6th century,” explains Sister Anne Wambach, Prioress. “The Erie Benedictines have consciously and deliberately included this responsibility in our community’s Corporate Commitment and have taken significant steps, both as community and as individuals, to deepen our understanding and take concrete and intentional actions toward sustainable living.”

Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si`, clearly lays out the crisis that our planet faces and calls all of us, all nations, all religions, all people, to a find a common solution to Climate Change. In his words: “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. . . .  Regrettably, many efforts . . . have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. . . . All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (14)

“We urge everyone to make his/her their own commitment to reduce carbon pollution through energy conservation, purchasing electricity from a ‘green provider,’ and making use of renewable energy products and sources,” Sister Anne continued. “If we expect nations to commit to significant energy policies, then we should do so ourselves, at home, in the workplace, in our churches, and in all the places that touch our lives.”

For further information regarding the Paris Pledge and practical ways to reduce carbon pollution, please contact Annette Marshall, OSB (572-8325) or Pat Lupo, OSB (490-3108).

 

*2 degrees Celsius never sounds like much.  It’s important to realize that that’s a global average.  The 20th century global average that is the baseline against which that change is marked is 13.9 degrees Celsius.  That means that a 2C increase for the Earth is proportionally the same as a 14 F increase in body temperature (for a deadly body temp of more than 112F) for a human being.  Perspective is everything!  

When I was cold, you warmed up my house.

Weatherization First is a project of PA IPL that started in Centre County in October 2013… less than a year ago.  We’ve now helped 18 homes, and some key leaders in other areas of PA are starting to figure out how to create similar projects in their areas.

After the Penn State chapter of PA IPL completed an internal storm window build, they went back to interview one of the recipients.  Cathie McLendon has generously given us permission to share her interview. Let the video inspire you to come out to our Weatheriztion First fundraiser at Ace Hardware of State College this Saturday (and check out the WJAC channel 6 story that ran on the 11:00 news on May 14, too). 

Keep the light burning.

#GivingTuesday is a little strange — it feels oddly commercial fordanielmenorah an expression of the widely-held desire to return our collective focus to the values and wonder of the season, but here we are, and the work of PA IPL has never been more needed.  Please do use today to support our work financially, and reach out tomorrow to find out how to increase your participation. And, of course, pray for success greater than the sum of the parts. Nurture hope in the darkness. Lean toward the Light.

What are we up to?

Positively Green: A Service Day Alternative to State Patty’s Day

On February 23, 2013 Penn State students hold the third annual Positively Green day of service.  Last year, 30 students, faculty and staff undertook a two-hour training session, and then went out into the community, helping State College neighbors make their houses more energy efficient.

We began at 10:30 am, with a full day of activities:

10:30 AM  Training in the Frizzell Room of the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center (corner of Curtain and Allen on campus, right across from the libraries)

12:00 PM  lunch!

12:30 PM  move to local worksites to begin energy efficiency work in low-income homes

3:00 PM   regroup at Pasquerilla (with cookies!)

4:00 PM   adjourn

image10911ith financial support from the Rock Ethics Institute and generous donations from our corporate sponsors (Lowe’s and Wal-Mart),our students changed light bulbs, installed weather-stripping, and upgraded homes with low-flow shower heads and hot water pipe insulation (see more pictures here). Students also learned how to discuss energy usage and encourage folks to make lifestyle choices that save energy and protect our planet.

 

 

 

Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light is proud to sponsor the first student IPL in the nation—thanks, Penn State students, for being part of the climate change solution!

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Congratulations to Cool Congregations 2012 Pennsylvania Honoree

For immediate release December 12, 2012                           
Also posted online right here!

For more information: (contact Cricket Eccleston Hunter at chunter@paipl.org/814.876.2597)
Pennsylvania congregation wins national honors
Faith communities lead the way on saving energy, addressing climate impacts
                                
In a year marked by increasing climate disruption, a Johnstown congregation has been honored for its participation in the 2012 Cool Congregations Challenge.  St. Paul’s United Church of Christ has received an Honorable Mention for its efforts in Engaging Congregants and Communities, and is among more than three dozen congregations honored this year by Interfaith Power & Light, a national organization mobilizing a religious response to global warming.
 “This year, we have witnessed the catastrophic impacts of global warming, from Superstorm Sandy to widespread drought, floods and wildfires,” said The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, founder and president of Interfaith Power & Light. “As people of faith, we know that it’s not enough to talk about climate impacts. We need to take action now, and these congregations are leading the way with their creative and meaningful projects.”
St. Paul’s UCC’s interim pastor, Rev. Bill Thwing notes that as a result of their outreach work, St. Paul’s decided to became a “Creation Care Church.” In the process, they have gained new regular worship attenders.  Members of the congregation have stepped forward and taken initiative to share the congregation’s work; many congregants see their creation care work as part of the congregation’s effort to become a “mission-based church rather than a membership-based church.”
Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light helps Pennsylvania faith communities save energy and advocate for clean energy policies. Learn more at www.paipl.org.
For more information on the Cool Congregations Challenge, including success stories and congregational and individual carbon calculators, see www.coolcongregations.org. 

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards

Advocate for Efficiency!

We wrapped up our mini-campaign to educate individuals and congregations and to push our senators to act in September, 2010. The project had three parts:

First, we held events at congregations in Scranton, Meadville, Pittsburgh, State College and Harrisburg in July and August to talk about PA IPL and to promote Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS).

Second, together with our friends at PennFuture, we developed a postcard, urging our senators to include EERS in legislation; we have already collected over 400 of these postcards!

Third, we took our postcards and our message to the Senators themselves. We already met with Senatorial staffs in Bellefonte and Philadelphia to tell them about our campaign, and at the end of August Joy Bergey took her godchildren to Washington D.C. to present these cards to Senators Casey and Specter.

What are Efficiency Resource Standards?

A complicated name, but a simple idea: national standards for energy efficiency, just like we have in Pennsylvania (Act 129). Like mileage requirements for cars, industry actually wants national standards instead of various state standards, and we want them because waste and inefficiency make up a huge part of our carbon footprint. For commercial buildings, like most houses of worship, the EPA estimates that 30% of the energy is wasted. Power plants also waste a tremendous amount of energy.

As in Pennsylvania, national EERS can be combined with support for more renewable energy as part of a comprehensive approach to reduce our carbon footprint.