In Gratitude for 2016

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GIPL has so much to be thankful for from 2016. We were humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters during end-of-year giving. Because of you, we can continue doing this work in 2017!

Here are a few more reasons why we give thanks today: 

  • $55,000 in energy-efficiency grants awarded in 2016 to help 17 congregations reduce their carbon footprint and save money on their energy bills.
  • 75 solar installations on homes and businesses completed during the Solarize Athens campaign. (800,000 lbs of CO2 pollution avoided!)
  • 75 classes & presentations led by GIPL staff & volunteers.
  • 300 GIPL friends and counting who made financial gifts to fund our mission.
  • Ten years of GIPPY Award celebrations and four GIPPY Awards given to faith communities to recognize their exemplary work in faithful environmental action.
  • 65 signed up for Solarize Decatur-DeKalb thus far, and more will come through January 31, 2017!

We also launched our Green Team Registry as part of our larger efforts to bring together Creation Care congregations across the state. Register your congregation today and stay connected! There is much about which to be thankful in spite of the environmental challenges we face still in Georgia. We are committed to ongoing efforts to ensure a sustainable future for Georgia, powered by clean energy. We are grateful to be on this journey with you and are ever-more energized by the momentum of the faith-based environmental movement here in Georgia.

Pursue Justice this Winter Solstice

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Today’s Winter Solstice marks the turning of the seasons towards winter and the longest night of the year. In its turning, the days begin to lengthen, and we look again expectantly forward, towards light.

This time of year beckons us to celebrate the return of the sun as a symbol of hope, that life will return to the landscape. Hence, Winter Solstice celebrates the “birth of the sun.” But let’s not forget the gift of the darkness and ponder its meaning this night of nights.

In the darkness, much of Creation seems to pull inward, covering itself for colder days and less light. It must “turn in” in order to prepare for renewal through new growth. We can take cues from Creation during the winter and pull inward ourselves, looking closely at what keeps us from being connected to the Earth’s rhythms. We can begin to notice what might be growing within us that beckons to be summoned by the light to come.

Here at GIPL, some days are enveloped in the darkness of environmental injustice and destruction of Creation. But even in the midst of darkness, we believe in justice. Always, in faith, we look towards the light. The Winter Solstice offers a special opportunity for reflection on this tension.

May your own exploration of the Winter Solstice be enriched by the following reflections and help you to consider the meaning of this year’s Winter Solstice for your Earth-honoring journey:

Blessings for the Longest Night
All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night…
Read more here.
© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com

“But winter darkness has a positive side to it. As we gather to celebrate the first turn from winter to spring, we are invited to recognize and honor the beauty in the often unwanted season of winter. Let us invite our hearts to be glad for the courage winter proclaims. Let us be grateful for the wisdom winter brings in teaching us about the need for withdrawal as an essential part of renewal. Let us also encourage our spirits as Earth prepares to come forth from this time of withdrawal into a season filled with light.”
-Excerpt from “A Celebration of Winter Solstice”, Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr Read more here.

“If we see Hanukkah as intentionally, not accidentally, placed at the moment of the darkest sun and darkest moon, then one aspect of the candles seems to be an assertion of our hoep for renewed light. Just as at Sukkot we poured the water in order to remind God to pour out rain, perhaps one reason for us to light the candles is to remind God to renew the sun and moon.”
-Rabbi Arthur Waskow Read more here.

Happy Winter Solstice from all of us at GIPL!

Write Our Senators: Reject Scott Pruitt’s Appointment

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Please join GIPL in appealing to our U.S. senators to vote against the appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt has a long history of opposing this federal agency that administers national standards for ground, water, and air pollution – regulations that are designed to keep us all safe from dangerous toxins for generations to come. At GIPL, we believe our quality of life is improved because of the work of the EPA.

In spite of this appointment, we remain hopeful and believe that action, not despair, is a mark of our commitment to the environment and to our communities. As people of faith, we understand the shared responsibility to protect and conserve the gifts given to all of us. That is why we appeal to you today, as a GIPL friend, to join our letter-writing campaign to stop Mr. Pruitt from becoming the next EPA chief.

GIPL has drafted a letter urging Senator Johnny Isakson and Senator David Perdue to reject Pruitt’s nomination and work to find a new administrator. Please join us in this act of hope. Let your voice heard at this time and write to our senators. You can download the letter here. Thank you for putting your faith into hopeful action.

Create Beauty: Plant Trees and Reduce Waste

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Every January, GIPL brings together interfaith friends in an act of hope. We dig holes in the cold, hard ground and plant trees. Together in partnership with Trees Atlanta, this work of re-foresting brings healing in many ways. It is an act of friendship with the earth and with one another as we create beauty together.

The many trees we plant in this annual ritual provide beauty at a hospital that cares for our country’s veterans. The trees we plant provide beauty for one of our city’s historic cemeteries where families gather to remember our loved ones who’ve gone before us.

“If one plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.” Imam Bukhari

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Our Small Blue Planet

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Within my mind
I live on a small blue planet.
Everyone seems far away,
No one seems close.
Everywhere is blackness,
Yet abundant life consumes each moment.
I wish and hope
Everyone could see this blue fragile life
Floating in the blackness—
Next time they miss the bus,
Next time they forget to look and smile.

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Embracing Sustainable Celebrations

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Americans collectively throw out one million tons of trash every week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That’s 25% more on average than any other week of the year. We desire to spend this time gathering with loved ones to remember with gladness and thanksgiving the goodness that fills our collective life. Yet, our cultural experience of this festival season more aptly reflects a time of frenetic activity marked by overconsumption, over-spending and over-reaching boundaries.

GIPL has consolidated some sustainable tips so that we can return to what matters most this time of year: celebrating the goodness found in our relationships with others and with our Earth.

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Inspiration from Voices for the Earth

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Rev. Woody Bartlett, GIPL Co-Founder and current Board Member, wrote this text for Holy Trinity Parish‘s Voices for the Earth event on November 5th. Please enjoy these inspiring words and view more event photos here


The 18th Century English hymnist, Isaac Watts, states as well as anyone that God is everywhere present in the Creation. God is behind the mountains, the stars, the creatures, everything. “Everywhere that I could be, thou, God, art present there.” Let us sing together one of Watts’ most compelling hymns, “I sing the almighty power of God”.  

But our present day experience is far from the awe-inspiring vision of Isaac Watts. We humans have often had a crushing impact upon the Earth. Just take Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, as it is described by John Prine in “Paradise”.

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Join the Green Team Registry

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Does your congregation have a Green Team? A Sustainability Committee? A Creation Care Team? Whatever the name, GIPL wants to know all about it!

We are creating a registry of Green Teams from congregations across Georgia. This registry will help us better understand the needs of Georgia’s faith communities as we strive to create programs and resources addressing sustainability and stewardship. Green Teams on the registry will connect with the growing network of sustainably-focused faith communities to share ideas and support!

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A Prayer of Awe & Thanksgiving

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O God of all that is and was and is to come, you have placed us in a Universe of Wonder,

From wildly spinning galaxies in the night skies
To oh-my-gosh sunsets seen from the back porch
From the intricate webs of spiders in the nearby forest
To the busy order of ants going about their business in our front yards.

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GIPL is Launching a Green Team Registry!

Thomas Torbit, center, gets some help from his brother Michael Torbit, left center, and grandson Dylan, right, as he pulls the Red Oak tree from the pot, as grandson Tyler Torbit, left, looks on and grandmother Sharlene Torbit holds her youg grandson Joesph, during the tree dedication at Eden Mill in memory of the boys' mother, Amanda Torbit, who died in 2012.

Does your congregation have a Green Team? A Sustainability Committee? A Creation Care Team? Whatever the name, GIPL wants to know all about it!

We are creating a registry of Green Teams from congregations across Georgia. This registry will help us better understand the needs of Georgia’s faith communities as we strive to create programs and resources addressing sustainability and stewardship. Green Teams on the registry will connect with the growing network of sustainably-focused faith communities to share ideas and support!

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