On October 20, the GIPL team gathered with forty Creation care champions for the first ever Coastal Green Team Summit. The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Ayres from Candler School of Theology kicked off the gathering reminding us that we are “profoundly located.” And indeed, we were profoundly located at First Baptist Church Saint Simon’s Island. For that we are deeply grateful! Continue reading
Last week was a real doozy. I was just beginning to digest the intense news that came from the United Nations’ IPPC latest report on rising global temperatures and the fact that we have far less time to turn this ship around. Then came Hurricane Michael, delivering a catastrophic blow to people and places I love along the Gulf Coast & South Georgia. I join countless others now feverishly praying for those enduring the intensity of this massive storm. I am shaken by the profound vulnerability of the world in this moment.
Pema Chodron, Buddhist teacher & author, writes of the power of such vulnerability, “This tenderness for life [called bodhichitta] awakens when we no longer shield ourselves from the vulnerability of our condition, from the basic fragility of existence. It awakens through kinship with the suffering of others. We train so as to become open and take in the pain of the world, let it touch our hearts and turn it into compassion.”
Using the lens of this spiritual teacher, I now think it is quite possible to see the dire news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as an opportunity for the human family rather than a death knell. Our exposed vulnerability can move us towards hopeful action on behalf of G-d’s fragile planet.
I can attest through the hundreds of people and houses of worship with whom I connect through GIPL on a weekly basis that much of what is needed for course-correction by 2030 is already underway. And yet, we need to move faster. That’s the most important aspect of the report. We can no longer deny that the climate is changing rapidly and having negative impacts on vulnerable communities across the globe.
The collective actions required to keep us from warming the planet by another 2+degrees (Celsius) fall on industry and individuals, governments and NGOs. It’s not a matter of when, but HOW.
Fortunately, IPCC scientists didn’t just hit the panic button. They provided concrete steps forward for us. It’s as if Mother Earth called to say, “Install solar. Plant trees. Eat your veggies!”
Now I do not intend to make light of the IPCC report’s serious warning to us about our fate on this suffering planet. I do wish to highlight an encouraging word embedded in that historic document — our consumer choices matter. As people of faith, we must see ourselves as more than consumers. We are citizens of this world.
We are neighbors sharing a common home. All of the world’s major religions teach the value of showing care for our neighbors. Adopting the IPCC’s recommendations and embracing climate action shows love of neighbor.
Today, love of neighbor looks like:
– a new energy plan that provides affordable, renewable energy;
– a more sustainable, plant-focused diet that wastes less;
– planting trees one grove at a time; and
– engaging our elected officials to adopt climate action plans for all communities.
All of these climate actions can be practiced as individuals, as congregations, and as entire communities. GIPL has the resources to support you in making these changes – whether you join one of our Solarize campaigns, get serious about reducing food waste or support reforestation projects in Georgia or beyond.
Remember, “Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.” (with thanks to David Orr) In the wake of this game-changing climate report, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to hope!
(Connect with GIPL Team today and share with us ways that your faith community is responding to the United Nation IPCC’s call to action. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley is GIPL’s Executive Director and Chief Officer for Hope.
Today’s guest blogger is Bella Hoffner-Martin, a congregant of Congregation Bet Haverim in Atlanta, where she just celebrated her bat mitzvah last weekend. Bella now has become a full-fledged member of the Jewish community which includes embracing the moral responsibility for one’s own actions; eligibility to be called to read from the Torah and lead or participate in a minyan.
When young teens are presented for bat mitzvah in the Jewish community, it is customary that they write a reflection on a portion of the Torah. Last Saturday, Bella used the occasion of her ceremony to inspire the congregation gathered to live differently among G-d’s creatures. The GIPL Team thought her reflection was great inspiration for this Earth Day weekend! Continue reading
Gary Garrett is a GIPL Board member and attends Kirkwood United Church of Christ in Atlanta. In honor of Earth Day, the GIPL blog features Gary’s reflection on the impact of his own church’s commitments to stewardship and sustainability. Kirkwood UCC won the GIPPY Light award in 2014 for excellence in worship and education for implementing their denomination’s Mission 4/1 Earth program. Continue reading
Over the last several years, universities, foundations and the faith community have led the way in eliminating investments in the fossil fuel industry. They represent 54 percent of new commitments. Since December 2016, institutions with assets of 6 trillion dollars have made commitments to divest from fossil fuel investments. This includes 688 institutions and 58,000 individuals according to the Go Fossil Free website. Two notable organizations making commitments are the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the World Council of Churches. About 28 percent of the commitments are from religious institutions. Over half the commitments come from outside the USA. The fossil fuel divestment movement is the fastest growing divestment movement in history.
Atlanta’s first community-based solarize program officially launches Thursday, April 12, on Atlanta’s Westside at Monday Night Brewery’s Garage from 7 to 8:30pm. The launch follows months of work, and just in time for Earth Day, the Solarize Atlanta Coalition chose Creative Solar as the installer for all residential roof projects and Hannah Solar as the installer for all commercial roof installations. GIPL’s Executive Director Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley shared her excitement for this campaign, “This community-led initiative is working hard to bring solar to a diverse array of neighborhoods across the city of Atlanta, and ensure that clean energy is accessible to a cross-section of Atlanta’s residents, places of worship, nonprofits and business.” Continue reading
David Miron-Wapner shares a powerful message that was delivered at The Temple in Atlanta on March 23 during Shabbat service. David was in Georgia to attend the Eco-Symposium on Theological Education hosted by Columbia Theological Seminary. David is Board chair of The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development based in Israel.
As we anticipate Pesach, I offer you an eco-spiritual message that the story of Pharaoh and our liberation from Egypt parallels the situation facing humanity today in confronting the climate crisis. Continue reading
St. Mary’s Catholic Church and St. Mary’s Catholic School in Rome are two of 11 members of the Catholic Pilot Project. This project, whose full name is the “Laudato Si’ Action Plan Pilot Project,” came to life when the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta decided to run a pilot project to support this group of parishes and schools in making environmental improvements. “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home” is Pope Francis’ encyclical about caring for the earth and each other.
Riverstone Church Improves Sanctuary Lighting with LED
Riverstone Church of Kennesaw completed a Power Wise energy audit in 2017 which included energy conservation measures (ECMs) for LED lighting upgrades and WiFi thermostats. The 48,500-square foot facility’s annual energy savings could reach $11,055 should all ECMs be implemented. During this grant cycle, the church applied for their first GIPL grant to upgrade their sanctuary can lights with LED. They requested $6,108 (full cost $12,216) to replace 108 existing 250 watt incandescent lamps in the church sanctuary with 108 26 watt LED lamps, which will have an estimated $3,270 annual energy savings. The grants committee viewed the project favorably at their December 7, 2017 meeting and awarded the church their full request. Reverend Kate McGregor Mosley and Codi Norred from GIPL presented the award check to church leadership on February 1, 2018.
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Kennesaw is one of 11 members the Catholic Pilot Project. This project, whose full name is the “Laudato Si’ Action Plan Pilot Project,” came to life when the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta decided to run a pilot project to support this group of parishes and schools in making environmental improvements. “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home” is Pope Francis’ encyclical about caring for the earth and each other.