Relevant News About Our Actions Against Climate Change

 

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Earth Care News_November 2021

(Photo Courtesy of Donna C. Roberts)

Our June 2020 Newsletter has  material and resources around the reality of Climate Justice as Racial Justice. Check it out here

Earth Care News_June 2020

Photo courtesy Donna C. Roberts

VECAN logo

The Vermont Climate Council is seeking public input on the development of Vermont's Climate Action Plan. See the full schedule below, and RSVP here.

Help ensure this plan includes the suite of solutions needed to dramatically cut climate pollution across Vermont’s economy, and that it is equitable and fully funded. We urge you to attend one of these upcoming events to make your voice heard — and spread the word! This is a critical moment for climate action in Vermont.

Click here to learn more about these events, and what we would like to see in the Climate Action Plan

The following events are important opportunities for you to provide input on the Climate Action Plan:

  • Tuesday, September 21, 5:00-7:00pm: Elmore State Park Pavilion| 856 VT-12, Elmore
  • Wednesday, September 22, 5:00-7:00pm: Emerald Lake State Park Pavilion| 65 Emerald Lake Ln, East Dorset
  • Thursday, September 23, 5:00-7:00pm: Lakeside Park Pavilion| 32 Mill St, Island Pond
  • Sunday, September 26, 3:00-5:00pm: Airport Park Pavilion| 500 Colchester Point Rd, Colchester
  • Thursday, September 30, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event
  • Tuesday, October 5, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event for BIPOC communities
  • Wednesday, October 6, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event

 

All events are free to attend. Food will be provided at the in-person events, which will be held in outdoor shelters or pavilions to help ensure safety regarding COVID-19. All attendees will be asked to wear masks. You can click here for more details, to RSVP, and for links to the virtual events.

We hope you can participate in this important process that will help shape the future of our state!

Johanna Miller

Energy and Climate Program Director/VECAN Coordinator

Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC)

jmiller@vnrc.org

 

P.S: Want to know more about what we are asking for in the Climate Action Plan? Check out the latest Climate Dispatch! We are joined by Jared Duval, Executive Director of Energy Action Network, who provides a lay-of-the-land on the Council’s work — and highlights some inspiring energy transformation strategies outlined this week at their annual summit.

On September 27th at noon, VPIRG held a webinar/panel discussion with several members of the Vermont Climate Council, moderated by VPIRG’s Ben Edgerly Walsh, to discuss this process. You can view a recording of this at https://youtu.be/EABwP1g4EPY

Photos from Colchester Event September 26 (contributed by Donna C. Roberts)

The Vermont Legislative Season Winds Down - With New Federal Funding, We Must Act on Climate

May 2021 Update

 (by VTIPL Board member Richard Butz)

This has been a session of great promise and some progress, made more difficult by the uncertainties of the American Recovery Plan (ARPA), that has sent $1 Billion to Vermont. Governor Scott’s plan allocates most  of the money on large one-time projects such as Economic Development,
Climate Change, Water/Sewer Infrastructure, Housing, and Broadband/Telecom. The legislature’s Budget Bill, now in reconciliation, takes a different approach, but with many of the same priorities, and it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. It is difficult to allocate funds when the feds haven’t solidified all the regulations yet. And the possibility that more may be coming in the fall if the federal infrastructure bill passes, makes it even more difficult determine how to spent the funds already in hand. (For more see VT Legislature)

  • The Climate Council committees are up and running, preparing to submit the Climate Action Plan to the legislature by December 1. There is some concern that citizen input, particularly from those most affected by the plan, may not have enough opportunity for meaningful input as the committees work through the summer and fall. Stay tuned on this.
  • (S.20) would protect public health by banning toxic PFAS chemicals from certain consumer products including food packaging, firefighting foam, ski wax, and rugs/carpets. This bill will be sent to the Governor for signature.
  • (H.175) would bring Vermont’s bottle redemption system up to date by expanding it to include more beverage containers such as water bottles, hard cider, wine, and sports drinks. This bill passed the house by a 99-46 majority, against significant opposition from beverage industry groups and will move to the Senate in 2022.
  • The Transportation Modernization Package was incorporated into the Transportation Bill, H.433. This bill will provide assistance for low and middle income Vermonter to purchase high mpg and EV vehicles, expand  “Complete Streets” to make roads safer for non-drivers, and continue zero-fare public transit through 2022, and much more. Passed in both houses it is now in conference committees before being went to the governor’s desk.

 

National IPL Legislative Priorities

The following is taken from the May IPL Climate Advocate Captains Newsletter:

“Email your members of Congress and urge them to support a just and equitable infrastructure plan that cuts carbon pollution!

As Congress turns to rebuilding our economy, we urge you to support policies that will safeguard Creation, address the impacts of climate change on our most vulnerable siblings, and fulfill our moral obligation to leave a habitable world for future generations. Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, as well as low-income communities, have been hit the hardest by the triple health, economic, and environmental crises we face. The needs of these communities must be at the center of any infrastructure plan.

Furthermore, the devastating winter storms of February and the massive wildfires of 2020 demonstrate the urgent need to upgrade our infrastructure, including our electrical grid, power supply, and water infrastructure to withstand extreme weather events that are becoming the new normal.” (For more see National IPL Priorities)

Of Particular Note:

  • Modernize the grid, update water infrastructure, and expand clean, renewable energy sources

Sustainable infrastructure increases preparedness and builds community-level resilience to disasters, which benefits us all. We need to modernize our electrical grid, increasing its climate resiliency and ensuring it is prepared for an expansion of distributed renewable energy.

Too many communities, especially in low-income urban neighborhoods and in Indigenous communities, don’t have access to clean water. We must invest in lead pipe remediation, as well as programs like the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

  • The RECLAIM Act (Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More Act - HR 2156 / SB 1232 in the 116th Congress)

            ○  The RECLAIM Act will distribute $1 billion from the existing federal Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Fund to states and tribes across the country. The AML funds are already collected and ready to use to clean up abandoned coal mines and the lands and waters polluted by them. AML restoration will also promote economic diversification, targeting our neighbors in the most economically distressed coal communities across the nation.

            ○  States and tribes can use the money to develop strategic mine reclamation projects that are linked to development projects on the reclaimed sites. The
RECLAIM Act will assist communities struggling with job loss by diversifying their economies and creating jobs doing mine reclamation across the country.

 

  •  THRIVE Act

                        ○  This proposal, soon to be introduced as binding legislation, would invest $10
trillion over the next decade to facilitate a top-to-bottom clean energy economy.

                        ○  It would also ensure that half of that investment goes to the communities hurt the most by our current dirty fossil fuel economy.

                        ○  It would establish a national renewable energy standard, setting into law President Biden’s campaign promise of 100% clean electricity by 2035.

  •  Electrify transportation

                        ○  Incentivize electric vehicles—from light-duty passenger vehicles, to
medium-and-heavy-duty vehicles such as school buses, to commercial truck fleets and more. We must enact policies that lower barriers to buying clean vehicles, build charging infrastructure, and ensure they are affordable to all.

                        ○  Invest in battery technology and manufacturing.

                        ○  Invest in mass transit infrastructure and electrification. Nearly 3 million essential
workers depend on safe, reliable public transportation—by extension, we all do. If our transit systems don’t make it through this crisis, it will be a disaster for both our communities and our climate. Congress should provide emergency funding to keep systems running during the crisis as well as longer-term investment aimed at expansion and electrification of existing services.

 

Masthead

Green Mountains Blue Waters

Image courtesy of Donna C. Roberts

VTIPL Wishes You Happy Earth Day - Requests Timely Senate Action

On Earth Day, we ask you to act on behalf of Creation.

Today, we appreciate the natural world around us and recognize how much we have to be thankful for every day. On Earth Day, our IPL community remembers our interconnection with Earth and all of its inhabitants understanding that climate justice is intertwined with racial justice, health justice, and economic justice. We cannot deny that all is not as it should be. We're still in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of many loved ones; racial and environmental justice still feel elusive even with this week’s verdict in the Chauvin murder trial; and carbon emissions continue rising.

There is also good news. Today, during his virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, President Biden committed to cut U.S. emissions by 50-52% by 2030!

We need this kind of bold action. And we are asking you to act today.

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR STATE SENATOR

Our friends at Vermont Natural Resources Council remind us that this is a critical moment for climate in Vermont, and your State Senators need to hear from you today about the importance of investing in climate action that creates jobs and protects public health.

This Friday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on the state’s budget, putting their mark on how Vermont should invest the $1 billion in federal American Rescue Plan funds destined for State coffers. As we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a moment to ensure we make investments that help Vermonters now and into the future. As the Legislature considers many worthy proposals for the use of these funds, please make clear to your Senators that significant investments into money-saving climate strategies can lay a solid foundation for a more equitable and resilient future.

Please contact your State Senators ASAP and urge them to dedicate at least $200 million of American Rescue Plan relief dollars to climate and energy efficiency strategies. Contact your Senator. Read about the Plan.

Last year, the Legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act establishing mandates for cutting climate pollution. A $200 million investment in climate strategies like weatherization, clean heat, grid modernization, transportation efficiency, and other recommendations of the new Vermont Climate Council will help ensure that this important effort is successful.

We know efficiency and clean energy are proven job creators, and that climate-beneficial strategies can help reduce vulnerable Vermonters' energy burdens, foster greater equity, and build more resilient communities now -- and into a warming future.

As people of faith and conscience, we at VTIPL pledge to make a difference in how we live, work, and worship in order to live into a vision of justice in the world. We invite you to do the same.

Thank you so much for your interest in and support of our work!

We couldn't do it without you!

©2021 Vermont Interfaith Power and Light | PO Box 3095, Burlington, Vermont 05408

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download a pdf of this news update at

Earth Care News_Earth Day 2021

Governor Scott Announces Vermont Economic Recovery and Revitalization Plan

Ben Edgerly Walsh, the Climate and Energy program Director at Vermont Public Interest Research Group, distributed Governor Scott’s “Proposed Investment of American Recovery Plan Funds, dated April 6, 2021.

Some highlights taken from the document

  • Of the $2.7 billion aid package sent to Vermont, more than half is to be allocated to federal agencies, individuals, local governments, education institutions and others, leaving $1 billion for the state to expend over the next four years.
  • The proposal outlines 5 major Buckets: (Numbers in millions)
    • Economic Development $143
    • Climate Change $200
    • Water/Sewer Infrastructure $170
    • Housing $249
    • Broadband Telecom” $250
  • The document stresses that “This is about foundational and transformational change, and resists the temptation to use one-time dollars to fund programs”, and the document states that “the Governor hopes the legislature will work with the administration to create a single ARPA budget, wait on expending these dollars in anticipation of more federal guidance, and use general fund and Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) first when crafting budgets and legislation”
  • Examples of categories receiving funding: (Numbers in Millions)
    • EV Infrastructure $25
    • Weatherization$21
    • Fuel Switching/Electrification Incentives $29
    • Stormwater Retrofits $75
    • CSO Abatement/Elimination$30
    • Dam Safety $15
    • Increased Shelter Capacity $12
    • Rapid Housing for the Homeless $90
    • Expediting Affordable/Mixed Income Housing $90
    • Broadband Deployment $225

A copy of the document can be obtained by going here:

Governor Scott's Economic Recovery and Revitalization Plan

Johanna Miller of Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) asks:

Will you take a moment to call Governor Scott at 802-828-3333 to thank him for proposing these meaningful climate investments and urge him to support ongoing action and investments at the scale we need to address the climate crisis?

Watch www.vtipl.org for additional reactions from legislators and Vermont NGO’s.

Statehouse Photo November 2020

VTIPL Advocates for an Equitable Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI)

VTIPL has joined a group of 200 organizations in support of an equitable Transportation Climate Initiative in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region signing on to a Memorandum of Understanding to governors and mayors.

The letter begins as follows:
“We, the 200 undersigned transportation, health, environment, business, labor, and community groups and regional and state coalitions, write to express our collective position on the proposed regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) program that Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and D.C. have been developing since 2017, and for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) committing to the program is expected later this year.
We support an ambitious and equitable TCI program that includes strong safeguards and guarantees for overburdened and underserved communities as an important part of our shared efforts to combat the climate crisis, protect public health, and address inequities in the transportation sector. We urge TCI jurisdictions to move forward with such a program, consistent with the principles and criteria we outline below, while continuing to work.”

What is the TCI? The TCI is a proposed regional collaboration of 12 states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy, and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. Participating states are negotiating details of the collaboration. In Vermont, transportation generates 44.5% of Vermont's greenhouse gas emissions, so participation in TCI could have a significant effect on our carbon footprint.

Read the full letter and learn more about TCI.

 

State Appoints Climate Council linked to Global Warming Solutions Act

As a result of the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act, a Climate Council has been appointed by Vermont’s Speaker of the House and Committee on Committees. This means that the Council can begin meeting and begin the process of rule-making.  VTIPL and our partner climate coalition members are pleased with the following appointments:

  • Johanna Miller - Vermont Natural Resources Council, serving as a member of a statewide environmental organization
  • Lauren Oates - The Nature Conservancy, serving as a member with expertise in the design and implementation of programs to increase resilience to and respond to natural disasters resulting from climate change:
  • Jared Duval - The Energy Action Network, serving as a member of a VT-based organization with expertise in energy and data analysis.

The legislation at a glance.  The Global Warming Solutions Act:

  1. Gets us back on track and requires action to strengthen communities. The bill requires that we do our part to address climate change by cutting carbon emissions 80% and achieving net zero by 2050. The bill also requires action to build healthy and resilient communities.
  2. Ensures a just transition. Climate solutions must reduce energy burdens and minimize negative impacts on rural and marginalized communities.
  3. Centers science and brings the best solutions forward. The bill ensures solutions that are guided by science and grow the economy while protecting public health. It creates an open, inclusive process that gives everyone, from farmers to builders to communities, a voice in crafting the state’s path forward.
  4. Uses natural systems to fight the climate crisis. The bill promotes the use of natural systems and working lands to capture and store carbon, protect against severe weather events, and build community resilience.
  5. Holds the State accountable. The bill sets deadlines for climate action and requires regular progress reporting. It also allows Vermonters to hold the State accountable through the courts if the climate pollution requirements are ignored, with remedy of required additional action by the state to hit the targets.

VERMONT PASSES THE GLOBAL WARMING SOLUTIONS ACT

Vermont Interfaith Power and Light joins other members of our coalition in expressing thankfulness to members of both houses of the State Legislature for their action in passing this historic act and in joining together to override the Governor's veto. This act will ensure that Vermont continues to be at the forefront of efforts to combat climate change and address the crisis that human behavior has created. VTIPL pledges to continue its efforts to educate, advocate, encourage and support the people of our state and our nation in working toward a healthier environment for the future of our planet.

(photo by Richard Hibbert)

A Message from Johanna Miller, Energy and Climate Program Director/VECAN Coordinator
Vermont Natural Resources Council 

First, a sincere THANK YOU to each of you, the organizations, people and constituencies you represent and all of those you helped rally to help cement this outcome. This was a collective victory — and true Coalition effort — and I’m grateful for and feel very privileged to work with such good people. I hope everyone can take some time to breathe, celebrate and recognize the importance of this moment.

That said, and I hope you do take some time! we also know there is no time to waste. To that end, I wanted to follow up on a few things to set in motion next steps.

First, if you haven’t already, please, personally, or if you can, organizationally, send thank you’s to the legislators who brought this victory home and overrode Gov. Scott’s shortsighted veto. Here’s how House members voted (103-47). Here’s how Senate members voted (22-8). And, if you are able, a special thanks to Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe along with any House/Senate members who voted to, finally, make climate progress, would be great.

 

Second, it’s time to reconvene the Coalition; unpack the news of what the GWSA means for our work and begin to explore ways we might collaborate again on shared priorities, help stand up and ensure the success of the Solutions Act and more...

Third, the Energy Action Network Summit is coming up on October 1st  and several of our Coalition partners have been leading on (RAD, VTCHA among them) or participating in some of the “pitches” that will be put forward as ideas to transform our energy system — swiftly, strategically and equitably. If you are able, I encourage you/others on your team to attend. This will be a great way to get an overview of some big policy ideas and potential approaches Vermont might embrace for needed climate action/Solutions Act implementation. Some of these big ideas (which you can see here, on their registration page) might be priorities we’d want to explore as part of a potential collective climate action platform for 2021...

Thanks again for all you do! Please do share further thoughts, ideas etc on any of the above — or beyond — as we continue our collaborative efforts to make long overdue climate progress in Vermont.

Johanna Miller email on GWSA

80e56105-486c-445c-a521-8829be7d4cf8

Pope Francis’ Message for
the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Shared from the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

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Pope Franis will address the United Nations General Assembly online in mid-September and will convene an online assembly on the Global Compact on Education on October 15.

Dear Forum colleagues,

We are delighted to share a special message by Pope Francis.

Since the publication of Laudato Si’ five years ago, September 1st has been celebrated by Christians as World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and the beginning of the Season of Creation (September 1 - October 4), whose theme this year is “Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope.”

On this day, Pope Francis reflected on the Biblical significance of Jubilee in light of restorative justice. We encourage you to read his message here.

As the Pope writes in his message, “In some ways, the current pandemic has led us to rediscover simpler and sustainable lifestyles. The crisis, in a sense, has given us a chance to develop new ways of living. Already we can see how the earth can recover if we allow it to rest: the air becomes cleaner, the waters clearer, and animals have returned to many places from where they had previously disappeared. The pandemic has brought us to a crossroads. We must use this decisive moment to end our superfluous and destructive goals and activities, and to cultivate values, connections and activities that are life-giving. We must examine our habits of energy usage, consumption, transportation, and diet. We must eliminate the superfluous and destructive aspects of our economies, and nurture life-giving ways to trade, produce, and transport goods.”

Please also see these two related news articles:

“Pope: peace with Creator, harmony with creation”
By Vatican News. September 1, 2020.

“‘Creation Is Groaning!’: Pope Francis Denounces Endless Growth, Humanity’s Assault on Nature”
By Andrea Germanos. Common Dreams. September 1, 2020.

Warmly,
Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim

 

 

Climate Change, Our Faith Values, and 2020:

A Conversation Between Dr. Katharine Hayhoe and Rev. Susan Hendershot

September 14th at 3pm ET

Hotter temperatures, rising seas, and extreme weather events are a few of the climate impacts we can expect to worsen in years to come. At its core, climate change is profoundly unjust. It exacerbates hunger, poverty, and even political instability, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable people of the world, the very ones we Christians are called to love and care for. 

Climate scientist and evangelical, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, will join Rev. Susan Hendershot to discuss the latest outlook on climate change, and how to communicate the climate message effectively, from a position of shared values.

Hayhoe is a climate scientist at Texas Tech, where she co-directs the Climate Center. She is also an evangelical Christian and the wife of a pastor in Lubbock. She has been named to a number of lists including Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Thinkers, FORTUNE magazine’s World’s Greatest Leaders, and Christianity Today as one of their 50 Women to Watch.

Join the webinar and learn effective ways to talk to your faithful friends and colleagues about the importance of caring for Creation and voting our values. 

Register here: https://bit.ly/Sept14Hayhoe

Hosted by Interfaith Power & Light, Catholic Climate Covenant, and Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

Statehouse

Update from Montpelier
(by VTIPL Board member Richard Butz)

 

  • VT Signs Multi-state Agreement to Electrify Trucks and Buses
    Vermont joins 15 states and the District of Columbia in signing an agreement to electrify medium- and heavy- duty buses and trucks, calling for 100% of all sales of such vehicles to be zero emission vehicles by 2050. The timeline is significantly later than many of us would like. The transportation sector accounts for 44% of VT's total greenhouse gas emissions; medium- and heavy-duty vehicles make up 14% of the on-road sector total.
  • Global Climate Solutions Act Passes the Senate
    The bill was sent back to the House for final action on some minor changes and is expected to pass in August/September when the legislature returns. Because the bill passed both houses with more than a 2/3 majority, it is expected to survive any vetoes. Passage of the Transportation Climate Initiative, Electric Utility Efficiency and Act 250 reform are uncertain, though there is strong support for eventual passing.
  • Achieving Justice with the Global Warming Solutions Act
    VT Sierra Club held a conversation on July 15 featuring Steve Crowley, VT Sierra Club, Lauren Oates, the Nature Conservancy, and Jenny Rushow, VT Law School.

Goals:
- keep global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius;
- reduce our carbon footprint 26% below 1990 level by 2025;
- reduce our carbon footprint 40% below 2005 level by 2030; and
- reduce it by 80% below 2005 level by 2050.

·       Mechanism:
A Climate Council, comprised of 22 members, some appointed by the governor and some by the legislature, will develop rules to accomplish goals.

·       Enforcement:
Citizens can bring action against the State if goals & timetables aren't met.

·

The House bill specified a $1M budget over two years for staff. The Senate Finance Committee removed funding until the final budget is decided in Aug./Sept. as was the case with other bills. Lauren stated that VT is coming late to the game. We are the highest carbon dioxide emitter per capita in New England with our numbers increasing. The major culprit is transportation, as we use much imported hydro for electricity. Jenny said that while Vermont is late, the bill is informed by previous climate bills in CA and MA, and is a major improvement over those bills in its enforcement clause. The general consensus is that the bill is a good step forward. Though the audience expressed concern that it’s not fast enough given the severity of the impending climate.

  • Pandemic Impact
    A legislator has commented that the state could be facing a 22% budget cut due to lost revenue, seriously impacting everything.
  • What Can We Do?
    Plan to contact you legislators and Governor Scott toward the end of August to let them know you want the Global Climate Solutions Act passed this Fall.
  • A Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Environmental and Social Justice was held on June 17 co-sponsored by Vermont Sierra Club, 350VT, and Vermont Conservation Voters. In case you missed it, view it here.

While Vermont Interfaith Power and Light does not endorse political parties or specific candidates, we do encourage people of faith to be aware, study the issues and evaluate the candidates seeking their vote on the basis of their positions, particularly considering the impact of politicians' actions on Earth and its Climate.

This film from Vermont filmmaker Anne Macksoud is an invitation to do that.

VOTE 

AS IF LIFE ON EARTH DEPENDED UPON IT

BECAUSE IT DOES!

You will see why this is true when you watch

ROLLBACKS, AN ASSAULT AGAINST LIFE ON EARTH

A powerful 30-minute film which is being offered free of charge.

Watch it - Post it - Send it to Friends and Family...

We think it has the potential to change voters' minds.

Here's the link: www.olddogdocumentaries.org

"This is a powerful film" 

Bill McKibben

Congregational Watershed Manual Presentations

When life returns to a new normal, we will resume these programs.

When gatherings are again allowed, VTIPL will visit any interested congregation (at no charge) to give a presentation of our Congregational Watershed Manual - either the Christian edition or the Inter religious edition. You can view the manuals at VTIPL's website homepage. The pdfs are attachments near the bottom of the page. Please be in touch if your congregation is interested. Contact VTIPL to make arrangements.

A Renewed Opportunity to View

The Human Element

Interfaith Power & Light is excited to kick off our summer film series with a return of a free online screening of The Human Element, followed by a webinar with renowned filmmaker James Balog.

Over 7,000 people viewed The Human Element during Faith Climate Action Week earlier this year, and to meet the continued requests from the IPL community, the filmmaker has generously offered the film again.

“What an incredible film. It is beautiful and hopeful and eloquent. We protect what we love - what a great way to inspire us to make change to protect our Earth's air, fire, water and land.” 

Patty McGrath, Potomac, Maryland

View the film at your leisure between June 8 and June 17. Then join IPL for a 45-minute webinar with filmmaker James Balog on June 17, 8pm Eastern/7pm Central/6pm Mountain/5pm Pacific.

Click here to view a preview, sign up to view the film, AND register separately for the webinar.

In this riveting and visually rich drama, blending art and science, we follow environmental photographer James Balog of Chasing Ice fame as he explores the impact of wildfires, hurricanes, sea level rise, a struggling coal mining community, and our changing air.  With rare compassion and heart, The Human Element highlights Americans who are on the front lines of climate change, inspiring us to re-evaluate our relationship with the natural world.

Click here to receive the link to view the film and register separately for the webinar.

Download a free screening guide at the same link with faith-based discussion questions, promotional images, sample newsletter article, and more.

Watch for information about the rest of the powerful films in Interfaith Power & Light’s summer series in upcoming newsletters.

If you enjoyed this film earlier and wished you could have shared it with others - this is your chance! Consider hosting an online discussion with members of your congregation after viewing the film, and bring your questions to the webinar.

Join me as I moderate this conversation with James Balog about his inspiring film.

Blessings,

Rev. Susan Hendershot

May 16-23 is “Laudato Si Week”

This week celebrates the 5th anniversary of the release of the Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si'.  Several activities and readings provide an opportunity to explore the key ideas of integral ecology where “The Cry of the Earth, the Cry of the Poor” are seen as unified.

Here is a video in which Pope Francis invites us to celebrate Laudato Si week. (Shared by the Global Catholic Climate Movement.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHlzOWp8ZQY&feature=emb_logo

 

 

 

A Reflection on Thomas Berry & Pope Francis

VTIPL Board member, Pastor Nancy Wright, presented a paper entitled "Knowing Who and Where We Are Among the White Lilies: The Vision of Thomas Berry and Pope Francis" at a conference at Georgetown University. We are sharing a downloadable pdf of that paper, along with a link to a video of the event where Pastor Nancy read her paper.

Pastor Nancy 0n Laudato Si and Thomas Berry Georgetown U.-10-2019.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XghG7UrPZwc

 

Recently Completed Events

VTIPL’s Black History Month Event a Success! 

VTIPL Film & discussion

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

 

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. Dr. Boaz has worked on intolerance against African Diasporic religions for over a decade, focusing in recent years on Brazil because, “things have gotten so bad there.”  Most of the violence takes place in Rio vs. Bahia where the film was made, but where it also exists. Bishop Shannon pondered a connection between intolerance/violence targeting Candomblé practitioners and the fact that many of the houses of worship are women-led.  Pr. Nancy commented on the connections and common plight of women and nature, as cited by ecofeminists, especially in a patriarchal culture like Brazil with the fragile Amazon being decimated with little to no protection by the government. Rev. Rachel spoke of her interest in how to become more indigenous to a place inspired by the knowledge of plants demonstrated by one woman in the film.

When asked how we can support work to transform the awful situation with violence against practitioners of African religions, Dr. Boaz said, “the most important thing to do at this time is to raise awareness about what is happening. The Brazilian government needs to feel the pressure to do something about this violence; so far, there is not enough outrage from outside Brazil….” Dr. Boaz believes this film also provides “a powerful opportunity to help" raise awareness.

She has an article on religious intolerance in Brazil coming out this summer in the Journal of Africana Religions.  Her book, Banning Black Gods, will be available in hardcover next month.

The film Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil is available OnDemand or DVD via www.yemanjathefilm.com

Additional resources related to Candomblé:

  • Dr. Boaz’s website: https://www.religiousracism.org/brazil
  • International Commission to Combat Religious Racism Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/africanareligiousfreedom
  • A Refuge in Thunder: Candomblé & Alternative Spaces of Blackness, by Rachel E. Harding. 2000. Indiana University Press.
  • Women and Religion in the African Diaspora: Knowledge, Power, and Performance. Eds. R. Marie Griffith & Barbara Dianne Savage. 2006. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Sacred Leaves of Candomblé: African Magic, Medicine, and Religion in Brazil,Robert A. Voeks. 1997. University of Texas Press.
  • An open access article Dr, Boaz recently published about the evangelized drug traffickers in Rio attacking Afro-brazilian religious communities. https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/11/12/640?type=check_update&version=2

Faith Climate Action Day a Big Success!

Members of our group meeting with Senate President Tim Ashe

(Review by VTIPL Board Member and Faith Climate Action Day organizer Richard Butz)

On February 20, 2020, more than 50 members of Vermont Interfaith Power & Light, and Vermont Interfaith Action (VIA) spiritual communities gathered at the State House in Montpelier to meet with our lawmakers to urge them to support the Global Warming Solutions Act.

The day was an amazing experience beginning with policy briefings and tips on talking to our legislators led by Sen. Chris Pearson and Vermont Conservation Voters’ Lauren Hierl. That was followed by a press conference, then group and one-on-one meetings with legislators including Chris Bray, Chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, and Senate President pro tempore Tim Ashe.

A highlight of the day was the press conference in the historic Cedar Creek Room where The Right Rev. Thomas Ely, Rev. Jane Dwinell, Rev. Daniel Cooperrider, Harris Webster (representing VIA), Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, and UVM student Morgan Dreibelbis spoke from the perspectives of their traditions and their hearts. Morgan’s comments, a member of the generation that will inherit the climate we’re leaving behind, are now posted on our website. Other speakers’ remarks will also be posted there soon.

The icing on the cake was the vote on the bill - the Global Warming Solutions Act. Expected to garner around 95 votes, the bill passed with the veto-proof majority of 105 - 37 and a voice vote on the second reading the next day. What a victory that we can share! We filled the capitol with our energy and it was noticed.

This is just the beginning. The bill must pass the Senate and then on to the governor. There are three more bills to follow if we put the entire suite
together, so expect more emails and calls to action as we work together to stand up for God’s Creation. Together, we can do this! Special thanks to our co-sponsors VPIRG and Vermont Interfaith Action, as well as retired VTIPL Coordinator Betsy Hardy, new Coordinator Donna Roberts, VTIPL President Ron McGarvey, and Rev. Dick Hibbert for all their work to make this happen.

UVM Student and member of Ascension Lutheran Church of South Burlington Morgan Dreibelbis addressing the Press Conference

Additional information and more photos can be seen at: Faith Climate Action Day

Join IPL's Love Made Visible Climate March online!

Out of our love and care for our neighbors, and to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, IPL invites you to share your climate march sign on social media during Faith Climate Action Week April 17-26 to continue bringing awareness to the climate crisis.

Faith Climate Action Week's theme is "Love Made Visible: Engaging in Sacred Activism" to protect the people we love who are most impacted by climate change.

People are more vulnerable to COVID-19 in communities where there are high levels of air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels. We need to continue to fight for clean air especially in light of the present pandemic.

So we urge you to creatively use your digital networks to take part in the Love Made Visible Climate March. Invite all members of your congregation to take part! Post to your congregation's social media channels, and to your own as well.

STEP ONE: Make your sign. Find inspiration in the faith-based messages and images from IPL leaders from across the nation who took part in last September's Climate March in the Sacred Activism Art Guide. Or download and print a simple black and white sign with the Love Made Visible logo to decorate.

Download both here.

STEP TWO: Take a photo of yourself with your sign.

STEP THREE: Post to social media with the hashtag #FCAW or #FaithClimateActionWeek, and don't forget to tag @interfaithpowerandlight on FB and @interfaithpower on Twitter


Download the Sacred Activism Art Guide and sample signs here.

If you don't have access to sign making materials, choose from the beautiful "For Love of..." social media images made by NC IPLer Sarah Ogletree to post to your social media with #FCAW or #FaithClimateActionWeek between April 17-26.

During this time of crisis, let's remember that we have the power to create awareness and advocate for change that will benefit all life.

Weybridge Church in Seven Days

One of our member churches, the Weybridge Congregational Church, and their pastor Daniel Cooperrider, were the focus of a profile in Vermont's weekly newspaper "Seven Days." The article highlighted their climate action work and discussed faith responses to climate change (including a reference to Vermont Interfaith Power and Light.) The article can be accessed by following this link:

https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/weybridge-church-aims-christian-lens-at-the-climate-crisis/Content?oid=29750925

Past Events

Newsletter Archives

This archive contains the newsletters for Vermont Interfaith Power & Light for the past two years. Each row will open a link where you can download that month's edition.