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Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light Responds to the Murder of George Floyd

Our brothers and sisters in the Minnesota affiliate of Interfaith Power and Light have issued a letter responding to the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Their letter speaks to the people of their state, but it also is a reminder to all people of faith that environmental justice is a part of the demand for justice for all. We join with our Minnesota friends in calling all people to stand up for justice for Mr.Floyd and the human rights of people of color as well as every marginalized group of human beings in our society. You can read MNIPL's letter here.

Action Alert Update

 

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Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) has gathered signatures on a thank you letter to Vermont's legislators expressing deep appreciation for their work in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging them at the same time to continue efforts to address the Climate Crisis. There is a significant relationship between these two issues, and Vermont Interfaith Power and Light is one of 41 groups, organizations, and businesses endorsing VPIRG's letter. In addition, 601 individual Vermonters added their names to the letter which is being delivered to the legislature today (May 28, 2020). Read the letter and check out the signers (groups at the top and individuals following the text) here:

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Earth Day Anniversary 2020

As a reminder of the spiritual foundation for our Creation Care and to honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we offer this sermon delivered by a member of our board, the Rev. Nancy Wright.

Follow this link: Earth Day Sermon _Pastor Nancy Wright

Update on the Climate Caucus

by VTIPL Board member Richard Butz

We Rise

The Climate Caucus convened a Zoom meeting on April 23 led by co-chairs Sen. Chris Pearson and Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas. The purpose was to hear from the NGO’s about their work and ideas regarding how to get “Climate” back on track as a legislative priority during this COVID-19 crisis.

  • COVID demonstrates our connection with each other and the global community.
  • It’s important to use resources that come forward to rebuild not what we had, but for sustainability, even though forces are actively working to tear down the environmental gains over the last fifty years.
  • Particular emphasis needs to be putting people to work, weatherization, investing in local agriculture and businesses, rethinking the supply chain, strengthening and making broadband available to all.
  • Additional emphasis is on infrastructure projects that are “shovel ready”, particularly those that build resiliency such as modernizing the grid, encouraging solar and wind, and building electrical storage capacity.
  • Can we utilize what we’ve learned about working and meeting from home to make much of our daily travel unnecessary?

Some comments from legislators:

  • Rep. Mary Hooper of the Appropriations Committee said people are beginning to compete for federal relief dollars to mitigate the hit to the economy so it’s going to be difficult to appropriate funds for climate initiatives.
  • Sen. McCormack said we are probably going to have to get back on our feet and “true-up” later.
  • Rep. Copeland-Hanzas said we need to be looking for opportunities and “asks” for ideas.

Take-away: We’re still in the middle of the storm and there’s great uncertainty. Legislators know the public’s focus is on getting back to work and financial struggles, not the climate. However, this crisis has unearthed weaknesses in our systems that will be present in any future emergency unless we become more resilient. Our messaging needs to make these connections: science-based planning, sustainable practices, and equal access should be key to any decisions moving forward. The advice is to keep writing to our leaders to make them aware that the Global Warming Solutions Act is a key to recovery.

Download the free Faith Climate Action Week kit here

Out of our love and care for our neighbors, and to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, faith communities are conducting their events virtually to stay connected. Join Faith Climate Action Week - the nationwide movement of people of faith and conscience acting on climate April 17-26 - by creatively using your digital networks and the Faith Climate Action Week resources to make your love visible.

This year's theme is "Love Made Visible: Engaging in Sacred Activism" to protect the people we love who are most impacted by climate change. The kit includes a Sacred Activism guide on the importance of people of faith taking part in civic engagement, suggestions for activism challenges, and a Sacred Activism Art Guide to create eye-catching banners and placards with faith-based messaging.

Go virtual with your Sacred Activism event by encouraging members of your congregation to post pictures of themselves with their placards with the moral call to act on climate to social media during Faith Climate Action Week using the hashtag #FaithClimateActionWeek and tag @interfaithpowerandlight. Find suggestions for messages and images from IPL leaders from across the nation in the kit.

In addition, Earth Vision Institute is providing the feature film for this year’s Faith Climate Action Week – The Human Element – and they have decided to offer a link to view the film for free online during Faith Climate Action Week to all Interfaith Power & Light congregations, organizations, and individuals. For more information check out our VTIPL News & Events page.

 

Faith and Care for Earth in Times of COVID-19 

As we all face such uncertain times, including social distancing, isolation – self-imposed and otherwise - we at VTIPL want to reach out to our treasured community to share some words of inspiration, and links to meaningful activities and information with which you may wish to engage. We encourage you to worship in your homes, in nature, to connect with friends and loved ones virtually, and to reach out to those who may be especially vulnerable during times of disconnection. A phone call for reassurance can make a world of difference in helping people feel less isolated. Look on our Resources page for the first installment, and check back regularly for updates.

Be a Faith Climate Voter

Interfaith Power and Light, as part of its Faith Climate Action Week campaign, is inviting member faith communities to collect Faith Climate Voter pledges to vote with the climate in mind from members of their communities through IPL's Faith Climate Voter campaign. Individuals can sign up at Faith Climate Voter Pledge . When they have signed up they are encouraged to print a postcard that says, "I'm a Faith Climate Voter" (download the postcard here Faith_Climate_Voter_Pcard )and post a photo of themselves holding the postcard to social media with the hashtag #FaithClimateVoter

 

Another Way to Make Your Voice Heard

Visit this site to design a postcard which they will send to your senators, representatives, and the governor, urging them to move our state to 100% renewable energy.

https://rev.ilovemy.solar/

Faith Climate Action Day February 20

A resounding Thank You to all who came out and made this day

an amazing experience and successful call

for Climate Action in Vermont

A video of the morning's Press Conference can be viewed at https://youtu.be/QvEiNvm2uK8

For photos and future updates, go to faith-climate-action-day

Welcome to Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL)

A Faith-Based Organization Taking Action on Climate Change

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) works to help members of Vermont's faith and spiritual communities understand that the climate crisis, which is threatening the world, is, at heart, a spiritual crisis. This spiritual crisis demands recognition that Earth is a precious gift; global climate change is a moral challenge; global climate change is disrupting the natural balance; we live our faith through our actions; and there is no peace without a planet.

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) seeks to empower members of faith and spiritual communities to advocate for our Earth and future generations. Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) helps people take action in their houses of worship, homes, and workplaces to conserve energy, use it efficiently, and increase the use of renewable energy.

Vermont Interfaith Power and Light is affiliated with the national organization, Interfaith Power and Light. Information about their work and connections to other state affiliates can be found on their website at

https://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/

A flyer describing several IPL initiatives is available for your information and use:

IPL Programs

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL)’s Watershed Manuals

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) has created two manuals, one with a Christian emphasis, “Congregational Watershed Discipleship Manual: Faith Communities as Stewards of the World’s Waters (1st Christian Edition)” and another with an interreligious emphasis, “Congregational Watershed Manual: Religious Communities as Stewards of the World's Waters (1st Interreligious Edition).”

In 2018, Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) joined with local organizations to create a model for watershed stewardship based on the experience of Ascension Lutheran Church in South Burlington, Vermont. The Reverend Dr. Nancy Wright, pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church, and Richard Butz, a member of the church, are co-authors of the manuals.

If you'd like to order one or more copies online, you can do this through the website of the organization, Voices of Water for Climate (VOW). These are high-resolution print copies, spiral-bound to lie flat conveniently. VOW is working with Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) to take orders and distribute printed copies of the manuals. Donations to VOW for printed copies will cover costs incurred, including shipping and handling.

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The Katy Gerke Memorial Program

The Katy Gerke Memorial Program has been established to honor the memory of Dr. Katy Gerke and to help Christian churches in Vermont and twelve New Hampshire towns in the Upper Connecticut River Valley* to improve the energy efficiency of their church buildings. Funds from this program can be used by churches to obtain professional energy audits of their buildings and to undertake projects, such as building or equipment improvements that will reduce the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of their church building. All grants for energy audits, energy efficiency improvement, or renewable energy projects require that churches provide matching funds for each grant request.

A printable brochure containing a description and an outline of the program, and grant application forms are available. For more information, please contact Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) Coordinator, Betsy Hardy, at (802) 434-3397 or email info@vtipl.org.

*New Hampshire Towns: Bath, Charleston, Claremont, Cornish, Hanover, Haverhill, Lebanon, Lyme, New London, Oxford, Piermont, and Plainfield

Our work continues in 2020

 

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light has been working with individuals and their congregations throughout the State for the past fifteen years, inspiring them to take action on the climate crisis.  Your donations and support have made the  work possible, and we are deeply grateful!

 Your generous support made it possible in 2019 for VTIPL to

  • hold a very successful conference in October with two outstanding Keynote Speakers and excellent workshops;
  • hold six events - from St. Johnsbury to Bennington - in collaboration with Vermont Climate & Health Alliance, to show the documentary Paris to Pittsburgh followed by engaging panel discussions with state legislators and leaders; 
  • publish and give presentations on two congregational watershed manuals  (Christian edition and Interreligious edition) that address the importance of clean water, the problems affecting water, and the impact climate change is having;
  • advocate for action, as part of a coalition working to pass strong climate bills;
  • help congregations make their buildings more energy efficient; and
  • speak out at public events and in congregations for climate action now!

All of this, and more, happens because of your generosity.  There is much for us to do in the year ahead. We are grateful for your continuing support of our work and witness. Donations are appreciated year round. Please consider supporting Vermont Interfaith Power & Light using the Donate Now button at the top of this page.

Thank you!

A Full and Challenging Fall Conference

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL)’s Annual Conference was held on Saturday, October 26, in Middlebury with the theme:

Envisioning & Acting for the World We Want

The Congregational Church of Middlebury, UCC, was our gracious host. We are thankful to all of our sponsors, listed on our Fall Conference page VTIPL Fall Conference, and to all of our presenters and participants.

To see photos of the day, go to VTIPL Gallery and click on Fall Conference 2019.

You can also watch videos of portions of the day, including the two keynote speakers and two of our workshops at

https://bobthegreenguy.com/vtipl19/

To receive our monthly newsletter and keep informed about our work and upcoming events, sign up by emailing info@vtipl.org.

Fall Conference Keynote Speakers

Professor Molly Anderson

Molly Anderson is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Food Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont.  She is interested in multi-actor collaborations for sustainable food systems, food system resilience, human rights in the food system, the right to food in the US, and bridging interests and concerns of academicians and community-based activists.  She participates in Vermont's Farm to Plate Network; the Food Solutions New England network; the national Inter-Institutional Network for Food, Agriculture & Sustainability; and the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food).  She earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Systems Ecology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal

 Jim Antal is a denominational leader, climate activist, author and public theologian.  He serves as Special Advisor on Climate Justice to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.  Antal's book, Climate Church, Climate World was featured on Earth Day in the Chicago Tribune (2018) and in Christian Century Magazine (2019).  From 2006 - 2018, Antal led 350 UCC churches in Massachusetts as their Conference Minister and President.  Antal is a graduate of Princeton University, Andover Newton Theological School, and Yale Divinity School, which recently honored him with the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice.  In 2019, Antal was honored as recipient of the UCC's social justice prophet award.

Climate Change and Health Documents

Changes to the website of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have raised concerns about the availability of educational materials related to the impact of climate change on human health. To be sure that they remain available, we have downloaded the documents and made them available. Below is a list of available pdf files that you can download.

Energy Assessments

One of the ways Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) helps congregations is by providing energy assessments of houses of worship and other religious buildings. The service is free to congregations that request this assistance. Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) asks each participating congregation to commit to using the recommendations to guide their ongoing efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their religious building. Send an email to info@vtipl.org for more information.