Bringing Water Issues To the State Capitol

Last Wednesday, GIPL friends joined over 175 Georgians at the State Capitol for a day of advocacy on behalf of our state’s precious waterways and for all those whose lives depend on clean, safe water across Georgia. Capitol Conservation Day, held annually by the Georgia Water Coalition (GWC), is an opportunity to tell our state representatives and senators that we value water for our families, our economy, our health, all of creation and future generations. Continue reading

In a Sea of Uncertainty, Focus on Local Water

Reflection written by The Rev. Dcn. Leeann Culbreath, GIPL Outreach Coordinator for South & Coastal Georgia. 

All politics is local,the saying goes. While this is only partially true, its important wisdom as the national political scene stirs up multiple controversies daily. Many of us, including me, are spending more time than ever in front of screens and on phones responding to sweeping changes on the national landscape. This is important and needed work, but we might end up missing the trees for the forest.

Or rather, we might miss new opportunities to protect clean water in Georgia amid a sea of global uncertainty.13713018604_73ab81df09_b

In recent weeks, state and local leaders have made important strides to protect our communities, especially communities in South Georgia, from coal ash pollution. Coal ash is the toxic byproduct ofcoal burned for electricity and contains arsenic, mercury, lead, radioactive elements and over a dozen other heavy metals. These toxins can contribute to cancer, neurological problems, birth defects, and other health issues.

For decades, coal ash has piled up in unlined “ponds” or lagoons near Georgia’s waterways, wells, and communities, and above our pristine aquifer, the drinking water source for many Georgians. Continue reading

16 Congregations Receive GIPL Matching Grants

GIPL is excited to announce the 16 congregational recipients of our Power Wise Energy Efficiency Matching Grants. This grant cycle was one of our most competitive, with 21 applications received and over $140,000 in requests! The $55,000 in matching grants will go towards projects across Georgia aimed at reducing energy bills and carbon emissions. More than 50% will fund LED lighting upgrades, and almost 25% will fund installing attic insulation. Look for future blog posts highlighting each faith community! Continue reading

Serving the Environment, Our Communities

The magnitude of environmental challenges often feels overwhelming, even on our best days. We know that massive cultural and political changes are ultimately needed to make significant impact. And yet, we still recycle. We bike to work. We buy fair-trade goods. We perform ritual acts of resistance and hope every day, and these actions alter us. There is power in our individual and collective action.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”MLK Jr.2017 Street Team Tables 13_resized

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, GIPL friends participated in two service projects in Atlanta – statements of our ‘infinite hope’. While we know that that planting trees and distributing light bulbs won’t solve the larger problems, they are pieces of a movement towards healing. They indicate what we are about: hope and action. Continue reading

In Gratitude for 2016

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

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. Continue reading

Write Our Senators: Reject Scott Pruitt’s Appointment

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

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

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

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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