Relevant News About Our Actions Against Climate Change
OUR CURRENT NEWSLETTER & UPDATES
Read the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter Earth Care News her
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.
State Appoints Climate Council linked to Global Warming Solutions Act
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.
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.
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”
“‘Creation Is Groaning!’: Pope Francis Denounces Endless Growth, Humanity’s Assault on Nature”
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
Update from Montpelier
(by VTIPL Board member Richard Butz)
- 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.
- 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.
A Climate Council, comprised of 22 members, some appointed by the governor and some by the legislature, will develop rules to accomplish goals.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Recently Completed Events
Faith Climate Action Day a Big Success!
(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.
Additional information and more photos can be seen at: Faith Climate Action Day
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.
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
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:
Photos and reports on our Day at the Vermont State House on February 20, 2020 can be found here.
The Reverend Dr. Jim Antal and Middlebury College Professor Molly Anderson will be the Keynote Speakers at VTIPL's Annual Conference on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Middlebury Congregational Church. One of the conference workshops, about food systems and local agriculture, will be led by Professor Anderson. Another workshop will be led by Ruah Swennerfelt, who led a workshop on the Transition Movement at our 2017 conference. This time it will be about inner transition - the "heart change" people experience that leads to a commitment to work for a sustainable world. Details of the other workshops are being planned. More information will be in upcoming newsletters. Plan to come!
The Reverend Dr. Jim Antal and Middlebury College Professor Molly Anderson will be the Keynote Speakers at VTIPL's Annual Conference on Saturday, Oct. 26 at The Congregational Church of Middlebury, UCC. Rev. Antal recently retired from his position as President and Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ in Massachusetts. He now lives in Vermont, and continues his climate activism. Professor Anderson's focus and interests include sustainable food systems, food system resilience, the right to food (here and in other countries), and the transition to a post-petroleum food economy. For more details or to register, go to VTIPL Fall Conference.
The National Geographic documentary, Paris to Pittsburgh, will be shown on Monday, June 24, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, at All Soul's Church in West Brattleboro. There's a potluck supper at 6 pm for all who are interested. The film will be followed by a panel discussion on the climate action that's needed in the 2020 legislative session. This event is hosted by All Soul's Social & Environmental Action Committee and co-sponsored by VT Interfaith Power & Light and VT Climate & Health Alliance. It's free and open to all. Contact VTIPL to arrange a film showing in your community.
This report was recently released by Vermont's Public Service Department. The press release has more information.
In his Vox article, David Roberts summarizes the second package of climate policy proposals that Jay Inslee has released - the second of five or six climate policy packages Inslee is preparing. David Roberts describes the second package as being part of Inslee's Green New Deal -- providing detailed policies to flesh out the GND resolution that was brought to Congress.