Peachtree City Church Receives GIPL Grant

GIPL Board Chair Mark Douglas presents check to Rev. Morgan Hay


First Presbyterian Church of Peachtree City, has received a GIPL Power Wise Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to begin their energy efficiency efforts.  After completing an energy audit with GIPL, the church decided that they needed assistance replacing T-12 florescent light bulbs with LED bulbs.

47a3da35b3127cce98548929df8900000080100Cat27Fu0bNtA check of $2,975 was presented last month to the church to help with the lighting upgrades.  First Presbyterian Church of Peachtree City enrolled in the Power Wise program in order to reduce their energy consumption and engage with their community in energy conservation.  As a continuation of their conservation efforts, the congregation collects recycling from church members to ensure that the recyclables are being disposed of in the right way.

This church also is taking steps to get a Creation Wise certification.  Church leaders are incorporating Creation Care initiatives into their planning with the goal of achieving Creation Wise certification through GIPL by 2018. The congregation also hosted two educational classes on the biblical foundation for environmental stewardship in January as taught by Columbia Seminary’s Dr. Mark Douglas and Dr. Stan Saunders.

Congratulations to First Presbyterian Church of Peachtree City on their matching grant! We are excited to see their continuing conservation and energy efficiency efforts and hope this inspires other congregations in Peachtree City to join GIPL’s Power Wise program as well.

The next matching grant application deadline is November 15, 2016. If your congregation has not yet received a GIPL energy audit, visit our website to sign up today!


A Most Special Tu B’Shvat

From L–R: Jim Hartzfeld, Mark Douglas, Renee Kastanakis, Woody Bartlett, Noah Levine, Garry Harris, Ruth Menter, and Carol Bartlett

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.

On Sunday, January 24, just before sundown, volunteers gathered outside the Teen Center of the Marcus Jewish Community Center in Dunwoody, Georgia. From age 8 to 80, volunteers were eager to plant an orchard of apple, pear, fig and persimmon trees. This orchard was the brainchild of Robby Astrove, a lover of trees, and founder of Fruit Forward Orchards of Atlanta. Creating edible landscapes that last generations is Robby’s passion.

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Seeking a meaningful way to honor past Board members, GIPL became involved in this project to offer labor and financial support for the establishment of this particular orchard.  Once established and bearing fruit, this orchard will supply fresh foods for the Jewish Center’s outreach programs that feed the wider community.

Prior to our digging our shovels into the cold ground, we gathered for the Tu B’shvat blessing. Many of the volunteers, including a large group of Israeli Scouts, did not know the full origin of Tu B’shvat. This was the chance to educate them about the Jewish New Year of the Trees and share in a special blessing together.  (see the Hebrew prayer above) We were invited to plant with intention, being mindful of our connection to adamah, the earth, the soil from which humans have been created. We were here to do more than plant a few trees. We were here to feel more connected to the earth, to one another, and to our Creator. Continue reading

A Modest Proposal: Three New Year’s Resolutions for Our Organizations


An invitation to pursue our green ends through slightly greener means.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye
and pay no attention to the plank in your own?” Luke 6:41

I am standing in line outside the EPA on a weekday morning, waiting with dozens of environmental advocates to go in and testify on behalf of the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution. All down the long line, in almost every hand, is a single-use disposable coffee cup. Inside the hearing room, four earnest EPA employees receive our testimony, from behind a row of plastic water bottles and disposable cups. At a press conference organized that afternoon by a major environmental organization, volunteers pick up box lunches provided by the organization, many with ham and beef sandwiches.

A group of national environmental groups trying to stop the Keystone XL pipeline gathers for a meeting at a table (strewn, again, with disposable cups), and plan a “fly-in” of people from across the country to testify against the pipeline.

There is a row of disposable cups, too, at the opening panel at a state governor’s climate conference, in front of a panel including a climate activist, a scientist, and the governor himself. For lunch, attendees are treated to a lunch including bacon-wrapped meatloaf.

Does any of this matter?

Of course, we know disposable cutlery and bottled water produce garbage and disinvest the public from public water sources. We know eating lower on the food chain reduces our carbon footprint, and that air travel and other fossil-fueled transit is warming the climate.

But our organizations have so much work to do and so few people to do it in such a short time. We just try to get our work done as cheaply and conveniently as possible, and tell ourselves that our organizations’ direct day-to-day contribution to environmental problems is small. Continue reading

Good Things Come in Trees


January is a time of new life and renewal, and we’re excited to greet this first month of a new year with our hands in the soil!

We have three tree-planting opportunities coming up in the next two weeks. Please join us for one (or all!):

January 18MLK Day Interfaith Tree Planting at historic Southview Cemetery

January 24Tu B’shvat Tree Planting in Kirkwood

January 24Orchard Planting in partnership with Fruit Forward Orchards at Marcus Jewish Community Center honoring GIPL’s founding board members

Winter is the best time for planting trees—and planting promise. Trees give us beauty while restoring balance to the earth for generations to come.

In the same way, December’s gathering in Paris of 190 world leaders to address climate change plants hope for generations to come. As GIPL’s Environmental Justice Coordinator Demarius Walker recenly shared in his reflection on COP 21: “It is the hope of many religions that the world should find peace through restoration of harmony.” Read more from his blog here.

More work is to be done with regards to the outcomes of the Paris climate agreement, no doubt. But planting trees and planting policies that support a sustainable future for our common home, that is what GIPL sets about as our work in 2016. We hope we can count on your support!

Make a New Year’s Resolution to Watch Your Waste

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The end-of-year holiday season is a time of great generosity, but it’s also a time of great excess.

According to the EPA, the volume of household waste in the United States increases 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That’s 1 million extra tons of trash in our landfills.  

We can do better! And we are. You can join us in our efforts to rein in our refuse by taking part in our free Waste Wise program. Through Waste Wise, your congregation will receive a waste audit to see what’s going in your dumpster, tips on how to better recycle, reuse, and repurpose your resources, and greater insight on the connection between our trash and our faith. Continue reading

COP 21 and The Search for Common Ground


In his work, The Search for Common Ground, writer, philosopher, and mystic Howard Thurman probes biology, psychology, religion, and even political philosophy trying to understand the origins of community. One of his most intriguing insights may be found in a chapter titled “The Search in the Prophet’s Dream.” He writes,

“Community as it is experienced in the far-flung hopes of men in all ages finds its greatest fulfillment in a picture of what the collective life of man would be like if it functioned in keeping with man’s high destiny.”

I struggle to find a better picture of community than COP21 — 190 countries coming to an agreement in hopes of saving the common planet they inhabit from the results of climate change. Continue reading

Words of Reflection for the Winter Solstice


After the one extravagant gesture (of the beginning),
the universe has continued
to deal exclusively in extravagances,
flinging intricacies and colossi
down eons of emptiness,
heaping profusions on profligacies
with ever-fresh vigor.
The whole show has been on fire
from the word go.

I come down to the water to cool my eyes.
But everywhere I look I see fire;
that which isn’t flint is tinder,
and the whole world sparks and flames.

-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker’s Creek

Solar Surges in Georgia as COP21 Makes Climate History

Photo credit: Benoit Tessier / Reuters

GIPL joins with faith groups everywhere in hopeful celebration of the historic climate agreement made this weekend in Paris at COP 21. Representatives from 195 nations signed a pact that holds them to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Though much more needs to be done, it is a huge step toward bringing the globe together in the name of climate change reduction.

IPL President Rev. Sally Bingham says:

“This is a historic moment. For the first time in human history, 196 nations have agreed that we are in a climate crisis and we can no longer delay action. The strong presence of civil society and the moral voice of faith traditions have been essential in pushing the negotiationsn forward … The Paris COP is a moral call for a safe climate for our children and grandchildren adn a critical step forward. There is much work to do to reach this goal, and U.S. faith communities will continue to advocate for stronger action from our government and financing for the most vulnerable.”

We cannot rest on our laurels. Everyone has a role to play. Not sure what to do? Click here to learn “Six Steps Every Person Must Take” in the wake of COP 21.

Here in Georgia, our efforts toward a clean energy future are picking up momentum! GIPL is part of a coalition that is bringing affordable solar power to Athens, Georgia. 

This Thursday, Solarize Athens kicks off at an official launch party at UGA’s Presbyterian Campus Center at 7:00 p.m.

Solarize will help make solar affordable for Athens-Clarke and Oconee County businesses, organizations, places of worship, and residences alike. Come out to meet the solar installer Alternative Energy Southeast, and be among the first to sign up for the program.

For more info about the event, click here.

And remember—projects like these are possible because of your generous support. Consider a donation to GIPL today. Your gift is matched through the end of the year! Donate here.


Alternative Energy Southeast Chosen for Solarize Athens

solarize athens, solar power in Georgia, GIPL solar project

Saturday, December 5, 9:00 AM

Colleen McLoughlin,, (o) 404-370-1764, (c) 908-675-3154

Alternative Energy Southeast chosen for Solarize Athens

On Friday, December 4, Alternative Energy Southeast (AES) was chosen as the contractor for Solarize Athens. Solarize Athens aids residents and businesses in going solar at a reduced cost; by buying from the same installer in the same time period, participants see savings of up to 30 percent.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for my company to be selected as the Solarize Athens installer,” said Montana Busch, founder and president of AES. “I lived there for five years and it’s still one of my favorite places to visit. The members of my crew who live in Athens currently are equally enthused.” Continue reading