Interfaith Power & Light recently hosted a call about the Paris Pledge, and how congregations can reach 50% carbon reductions and higher. The call was recorded on June 24, 2015, and featured a number of Cool Congregations that have already achieved very impressive cost and carbon savings. We hope the call inspires your congregation to sign the Paris Pledge. We are seeking 500 congregations to take the Paris Pledge, and we plan to bring that list of congregations with us to Paris and COP21 in December to show global leaders what’s possible. Click the blue button to listen to the hour-long call.
Host: Andree Duggan Community Engagement & Programs Director, Interfaith Power & Light
Guests: on the call included several IPL Cool Congregations that have successfully completed extensive energy efficient and renewable energy projects:
Than Hitt from Shepherdstown, West Virginia — told us about Sherpherdstown Presbyterian’s community-supported solar, a first in West Virginia.
Carolynn Belle-Tuttle from Honolulu, Hawaii — shared tips on how Central Union UCC grew from a small green team, to a robust effort that saves $65,000 / year and cuts 138 tons of CO2/year.
Rev. Julie Carson from St. Andrew’s in Framingham, Massachusetts — explained how her Carbon neutral congregation generates three times the energy that they need.
David Gill from Arkansas — shared details of Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center’s green to deep green energy efficient straw bale eco center project.
-IPL plans to bring to the UN Paris Climate Talks a scroll bearing the names of 500 congregations that have pledged to reduce their carbon footprint by 50% by 2030, and by 100% by 2050. To take this pledge, visit Parispledge.org.
-The Central Union Church in Honolulu, established in 1924, is participating in this pledge. Within this church, a Green Team was established in 2007, holding the aim to use religious conviction and mindfulness to serve the environment. With this religious mindfulness, Central Union analyzed their use of energy within their buildings, asking how they could reduce this usage. After resolving how to finance a retrofit of their system, they managed to cut their energy usage by 50%.
–Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church, based in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, is also participating in this pledge. Shepherdstown has long understood the necessity of going solar; their local area relies heavily on cola power, and they see clearly how this poses a public health and environmental threat. Additionally, Shepherdstown understood that an energetic retrofit needed to be done with the aid and participation of their local community, rather than done by a small group of individuals. To involve their community, they installed a network of solar water heaters in local homes – the energy savings brought from this wide network of solar water heaters were then used to fund the church’s more large-scale energetic retrofit.
–Ferncliff Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center, based in Arkansas, is also participating in this pledge. Ferncliff established an eco-center, with the aim of going “deep green.” Most all building on campus are geothermal, vehicles are electrically run – additionally the camp cultivates a garden and makes use of compost. Most recently, Ferncliff constructed an eco-center out of sustainable resources, with the aim of going “deep green.” The 5300 square foot eco-center is made of straw-bales; it is floored with recycled objects, such as stones and bottles, paper-machet and used conveyor belts. The structure is used for environmental education.
–St. Andrews Church, in Framingham, Massachusetts, is also participating in this pledge. St. Andrews, hoping to go solar, got in touch with Interfaith Power & Light’s Massachusetts division. The church, bearing large a south-facing rooftop, proved to produce more solar power than needed – as a result, St. Andrews sells their extra power to other churches within the area, helping to cultivate an environmental mindfulness within their larger religious context.
–Question and answer for the panel: How can the Encyclical access christian religious groups counter to Catholicism and the Pope? The Pope’s call was not the first of its sort; many others within the Christian hierarchy have spoken the same message, some long before the Pope – in that sense, the Encyclical’s message is one already upheld by other Christian denominations.
–Question and answer for the panel: Can an environmental movement within a congregation be an effective way to reincorporate young people into a church? The panelists have seen that environmental action within a congregation does tend to attract those who may have not previously come to the community – both young and old.
–Question and answer for the panel: How were church solar panels managed financially? Central Union manages this by leasing their roof space to a solar company, who then sells back to them the electricity at a reduced rate.