Vermont Interfaith Power & Light’s

2021 Climate Justice Series

In this time of COVID-19, an in-person Conference is not possible. So, in a new venture for Vermont Interfaith Power & Light, we began a special series of events focusing on Climate Justice. Three events were held in the fall of 2020. We give thanks to all who helped provide these experiences and to all who participated. Look below for more information, photos and videos of this series.

We are pleased to continue our Climate Justice Series in 2021. The first event of this year's series was

A Just Transition for All: A VTIPL Virtual Climate Justice Conversation

which was held on Thursday, January 14.

That was followed by a film and discussion for Black History Month

Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil narrated by Alice Walker

which was held on February 23

Information can be found in the event descriptions below.

Contact VTIPL's Coordinator Donna Roberts at for more information.

A Just Transition for All

A VTIPL Virtual Climate Justice Conversation

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) held its first event of 2021 on January 14, exploring how faith and labor leaders can work with local communities toward a Just Transition for all.

Since the 1970s, the environmental movement’s relationship with labor has sometimes been tense, often because of the common false dichotomy of “jobs versus the environment.” Nevertheless, it has always been the case that environmental degradation involves the health and well-being of human communities. Now, more than ever, our increasing awareness of environmental injustice, coupled with the growing climate crises has made the interdependence of human and planetary health even more apparent. The task before us is to seek mutually beneficial solutions. Organized labor recognizes that climate change threatens our economy and job security, and environmentalists understand that ethical solutions must promote equity and incorporate labor concerns. Join us as we explore what it means to create a just, equitable and ecologically vibrant future for all.

Panelists include:

David Van Deusen, Pres. of VT State Labor Council AFL-CIO; Rev. Jim Antal, United Church of Christ, climate activist/author; Kate Logan, Dir. of Programing and Policy for Rights & Democracy VT.

Moderator: Prof. Rebecca Gould, Middlebury College, VTIPL Board member.


A video of this Zoom event is now available at A Just Transition  To access it, please use the Passcode: ^V31YE?2 

A flyer containing this information can be downloaded Here:

A Just Transition VTIPL Jan. 14 Climate Justice Event

Moderator and Panelists

Rebecca Gould

Our Moderator

Dr. Rebecca Kneale Gould is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, where she co-directs the “Religion, Philosophy and Environment” focus within the Environmental Studies program.  Professor Gould holds a doctorate in The Study of Religion from Harvard University with American Religious History as her primary area of study. She is the author of At Home in Nature: Modern Homesteading and Spiritual Practice in America and of numerous articles and book chapters on Thoreau, simplicity and religiously-based environmental activism. Her article, “The Whiteness of Walden: Reading Thoreau with Attention to Black Lives” is forthcoming in the spring of 2021.  She is co-creator, with director Phil Walker, of the 2013 documentary film The Fire Inside: Place, Passion and the Primacy of Nature (


Jim Antal

The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal

Special Advisor on Climate Justice to UCC General Minister and President

Author: Climate Church, Climate World Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2018

[retired Mass. Conference UCC Minister & President] 


Dvid Van Deusen

David Van Deusen

President, Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Dave was elected President of the Vermont AFL-CIO on September 15th, 2019. He is a union rep for Vermont AFSCME members, previously a VSEA Union Rep, and still a Writer, and Harley Rider.

Kate Logan, MA/ABD
Director of Programming and Policy

Rights & Democracy (VT + NH)

Kate is a feminist social and political theory scholar, specializing in family policy, participatory democracy, and human rights, as well as a having a background in labor and community organizing and nonprofit management. Working for Rights & Democracy gives her the opportunity to put all of these passions and skills to use in helping to build a more just and sustainable future. You can reach her at

VTIPL’s Black History Month Event a Success! 

VTIPL Film & discussion

Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil narrated by Alice Walker

Yemanja Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil
people gathered on a beach shore
Festival of Yemanjá as celebrated each February in Bahia, Brazil. Photo by Gerald Hoffman

Nearly 60 friends gathered for our virtual event on February 23 to view and discuss the film Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil. Narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, the film explores the Afro-indigenous spiritual tradition of Candomblé in Bahia, Brazil, often called the religion of nature. Unique in traditional African religions, many of the most revered Candomblé communities are led by elder Afro-Brazilian women.  The film’s director, VTIPL Coordinator Donna Roberts, introduced the film offering some background on the project’s long evolution commencing during her first trip to Brazil in 1997 (for the Rio+5 Forum on Sustainability.)

After the film screening, we were joined by panelists, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wright of Ascension Lutheran Church, and The Rev. Rachel Field of Mission Farm/St. Thomas and Grace Church.  An unexpected guest was lawyer and prof. of Africana Studies Dr. Danielle Boaz of University of North Carolina, an expert in religious intolerance and violence in Brazil which she prefers to call religious racism.

The film Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil is available OnDemand or DVD   Read more about this event on our News & Events page.



Earlier Events in This Series

Rooting Out Structural Racism in American Agriculture

Please view this video recording of our recent November 12 event Rooting Out Structural Racism in American Agriculture. Special thanks to our Series partner Sierra Club of Vermont and its Conservation Program Manager Robb Kidd who kindly tutored us on Zoom and assisted with video editing. VTIPL deeply appreciates this generous gift of time and talent!






November 12, 2020 

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light was pleased to host this panel discussion on embedded racism in the law, originally offered in a live stream broadcast by Vermont Law School on September 3, 2020.

This event included a presentation of Rooting out Structural Racism in American Agriculture organized by the Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems which examines historical and contemporary issues linked to racism in farming and agriculture in the U.S. Webinar and discussion. A time for conversation followed the viewing. The panel features Monica Armster Rainge, Stephen Carpenter, Sherri White-Williamson, and is moderated by Emily Spiegel. At their website, Vermont Law School has a page dedicated to this concern: Vermont Law Center for Agriculture and Food Systems




Kiss the Ground


Kiss the Ground  Film Event

October 18 - 5:00 - 7:00 pm In-person Screening 

The second event in our Series was a virtual and in-person film screening event at Mission Farm, in Killington, hosted by VTIPL Board member The Rev. Rachel Field of Mission Farm and co-sponsored by VTIPL. The film shows how the health of our soil is directly connected to the health of the planet, humanity, social and racial justice, and is an important part of solutions addressing global climate change. “At Mission Farm, we know the power of regenerative agriculture to provide that hope for our healing and for the healing of the Earth." Some individuals were able to join the regenerative agriculture movement and went to the farm on October 18 for a screening of Kiss the Ground, a documentary showing how regenerative farming techniques can provide abundant food, sink carbon into the soil, and heal landscapes rendered biological wastelands due to mechanized farming practices. The event took place outside and folks were encouraged to bring a folding chair or plan to remain in vehicles for the showing. Masks and social distancing were required to attend. Up to 40 persons could attend on-site at the Farm, physically-distanced (in chairs and in cars). Others watched the film on Netflix. The suggested donation was $5/person or $20 for a family. A trailer and resources are on the film website.


Photos from the On-site "Kiss the Ground' Film Screening

(thanks to Gerald Lee Hoffman, photographer)



The first event in our series, a webinar titled A Creation Justice Conversation, was held on October 11. A recording of the event can be viewed at

At that site, you will need to enter (DO NOT copy and paste)

a Passcode: #AR0+1eG  to view the recording

A Creation Justice Conversation

Sunday, October 11 - 4:00 p.m., ET

“For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.” (Is. 25:4)

Pastors Nancy Wright and Arnold Thomas presented on climate justice, including toxic exposures, health, water, and the responsibility of spiritual leaders to respond to this crisis/challenge. There was also a “slide presentation” of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Our event took place during this weekend designated as a worldwide 24 Hours of Reality - Countdown to the Future.  A time for questions and conversation followed the presentations.

The webinar was sponsored by the Green Team of the New England Synod of Lutherans Restoring Creation and was the first in the Climate Justice Series created by VT Interfaith Power and Light.

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wright serves as Vermont Interfaith Power and Light's Vice-President. She is Pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church, S. Burlington, VT, and author of Ecological Healing: A Christian Vision, several articles on environmental justice, and (with her congregation) the Christian and interfaith Congregational Watershed manuals

The Rev. Dr. Arnold Thomas is a former Board member for Vermont Interfaith Power and Light. He is Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Jericho, VT. Dr. Thomas is in demand as a speaker and organizer in responses to injustice and coordinator of a series of lectures on justice in VT. Previously, he served as VT Conference minister for the United Church of Christ.

Special Thanks to Our Co-sponsors for This Series