Sightings From the Treehouse: The Eleventh Commandment: Thou Shall Not Destroy Creation

Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read all the posts from the blog series here


The destruction of Creation, as we know it, is the moral issue of all time. This growing ecological and human catastrophe exists for power and greed by the few who continue to foster a consumption-based economy dependent on fossil fuels. They knew about this evolving disaster almost 50 years ago, but chose deception instead of truth. They sustain their control with political contributions, obstruction and misinformation campaigns. The public does not get off the hook either, since they have a huge responsibility to be informed voters and consumers driving government and business to innovate. Not to let them drive decision-making and reinforce unsustainable habits. We all share some blame. Continue reading

Sightings from the Treehouse: Preparing and Adapting to Climate Change in Georgia

Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read all the posts from the blog series here


Georgia is feeling the pinch of climate change.  Tides are rising along the Georgia coast, temperatures are on an uptrend, plant and wildlife species and their habitats are threatened with a resultant loss of ecosystem services. There are a wide range of activities by a wide range of non-profits, business and governments to mitigate or adapt to climate change.  An important player in implementing actions to reduce their carbon footprints is the faith community.  There are 15,000 houses of worship in Georgia, a few hundred are making strides in reducing their energy use, others are actively divesting from fossil fuels companies in their financial portfolios, and a few have full blown Creation care programs. Continue reading

Creation Care Champion: Myrtle Lewin

BOUTIQUE BLOOMS FLOWER SHOP

GIPL is excited to announce a new initiative to share the stories of individuals who have been our partners, allies, and inspirations in this work of caring for creation.  These “Creation Care Champions” have worked diligently in their communities drawing the connection between environmental concerns and their various faith traditions, revealing a common appreciation for the community of life, justice, stewardship, and awe. We hope that you are inspired by their stories and learn from their journeys.

Myrtle Lewin has lived in Atlanta for over 30 years, working as a math professor at Agnes Scott College. She has lived in the mid-west, rural New York, Israel and her native South Africa. These diverse environments have each contributed to the development of her environmental sensibilities. Since retiring, she has invested her energies in a number of local greening/environmental projects, as she has learned a great deal about Judaism’s deep environmental roots. This has provided a focus for her work, as she attempts to understand the connections between environmental issues, poverty, hunger and other social problems. She has worked with GIPL to put together three interfaith tree plantings on MLK Day, with Trees Atlanta, one of her favorite  non-profits.

GIPL believes that by sharing our stories about the setbacks as well as the victories large and small, we can support, inspire, and grow the community of individuals who understand and respond to the call to care for creation. If you know a Creation Care Champion (even if it’s you!) whose story should be told, please send their contact information to info@gipl.org or just fill out the form below.

Sightings from the Treehouse: Work with Creation, Not Against It – Part 2

Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director Bob Donaghue. You can read all the blogs from the series here.
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Is there a comprehensive, strategic approach to reverse or stall climate change? Not according to Paul Hawken, author, entrepreneur, and environmentalist. The author of Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest and a coauthor of Natural Capitalism has recently edited a book containing a compilation of over 100 strategies to reverse global warming. Continue reading

Christ Episcopal Church Receives GIPL Grant

The Rev. Dcn. Leann Culbreath presents the grant check to Senior Warden Nikki Yarbrough (left) and Rector Rev. Dave Johnson (center).

Christ Episcopal Church in Valdosta was awarded a GIPL Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to support in-house energy efficiency upgrades. After receiving a GIPL energy audit, the congregation learned that there was significant energy loss in one of the oldest and most used buildings on campus. By adding insulation to the attic, the congregation is expected to save $1,000 per year in energy costs, and the payback time of the project will only be two years. Christ Episcopal was awarded $1,000 to complete the insulation upgrades.

The matching funds for this project were raised from church pledges, and the parish pledge drive dinner served as an opportunity to begin discussing Creation care as a means of expressing love of the Creator. The congregation hopes that this project will provide a concrete way to continue this discussion. In addition to the insulation upgrades, Christ Episcopal minimizes disposable dinnerware products, supports the development of a diocesan ecology center, and has dedicated green space with public access.

Congratulations to Christ Episcopal Church on their commitment to energy efficiency and Creation care! We look forward to seeing this congregation continue to grow in their efforts. The next matching grant application deadline is November 15, 2017. If your congregation has not yet received a GIPL energy audit, visit our website to sign up today!

Sightings from the Treehouse: Work with Creation, Not Against It, Part 1

Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read all the posts from the blog series here


Creation has evolved over billions of years and has formed ecosystems that contain both living and non-living components that interact as a unit. The late Dr. Eugene Odum, the father of modern ecology, taught at the University of Georgia where he developed the collaborative approach of systems ecology. Continue reading

Athens First United Methodist Church Receives GIPL Grant

Athens First United Methodist Church was awarded a GIPL Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to support lighting upgrades in the sanctuary to LED fixtures. They received $3,964 for these upgrades. This project will save approximately $1,000 per year in energy savings, and more when factoring in the savings on light bulb purchases.

After receiving a GIPL energy audit in the summer of 2016, Athens First UMC decided that upgrading their lighting fixtures would allow them to have more money to serve the community and church members. They also applied for a Georgia Power Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate to help fund the project. The congregation is hopeful that these upgrades will demonstrate the financial and environmental benefits of using less energy.

Congratulations to Athens First UMC on their commitment to energy efficiency! We look forward to seeing how this congregation continues to increase their Creation care and energy efficiency efforts. The next matching grant application is November 15, 2107. If your congregation has not yet received a GIPL energy audit, visit our website to sign up today!

Creation Care Champion: Bobby Mclendon

BOUTIQUE BLOOMS FLOWER SHOP

GIPL is excited to announce a new initiative to share the stories of individuals who have been our partners, allies, and inspirations in this work of caring for creation.  These “Creation Care Champions” have worked diligently in their communities drawing the connection between environmental concerns and their various faith traditions, revealing a common appreciation for the community of life, justice, stewardship, and awe. We hope that you are inspired by their stories and learn from their journeys.

Bobby Mclendon is a life-long member of The First Baptist Church of Blakely and continues to be a fierce protector of the environment in the sometimes hostile territory of South Georgia.

GIPL believes that by sharing our stories about the setbacks as well as the victories large and small, we can support, inspire, and grow the community of individuals who understand and respond to the call to care for creation. If you know a Creation Care Champion (even if it’s you!) whose story should be told, please send their contact information to info@gipl.org or just fill out the form below.

Sustainability Concert Returns for Second Year

Decatur-area churches are coming together once again to offer this free community concert that celebrates Creation and our shared efforts to care for it. Co-hosted by Holy Trinity Episcopal Parish and its Green Team, this special event to be held on Saturday, September 30, is filled with spoken word and song so as to inspire reflection and action for the sake of the Earth and all inhabitants.

People of all ages from across the community are welcome to this free event to be held in the Nave of Holy Trinity Parish in Decatur. Talented students from Agnes Scott College, as well as folks from Decatur First UMC, First Baptist-Decatur and North Decatur Presbyterian churches, will be sharing their gift of music or spoken word.

Last year’s inaugural concert drew over 150 attendees enjoying over ten performances, including local singer/songwriters and acclaimed church choirs. The sanctuary was filled with the sounds of congregational song as well. This second annual gathering is sure to not disappoint. Come to be inspired and to sing along with new and old friends like!

Learn more about this event here!

Sightings from the Treehouse: Elements of Climate Change – Ecosystems on the Move

Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read the firstsecondthirdfourth, and fifth blogs here. 


Nature has evolved over billions of years by adapting to changes in its environment. As life evolved, it filled niches in both the water and then on land. Those species that could not adapt went extinct, such as the dinosaurs, opening up opportunities for mammals to fill many new niches and expand their range, numbers and types. This is known as survival of the fittest, the keystone of evolution. The changes that are occurring on our planet are presenting similar opportunities for species better able to adapt and resulting in decreasing numbers and extinction for those that cannot.  

Ecosystem changes are global in extent and are occurring now. According to the report, Ecological Impacts of Climate Change by the National Academies, two types of ecological impacts are being seen as a result of climate change: shifts in species range limiting where they can survive and reproduce, and changes affecting the timing of biological activities such as breeding or blooming times. They indicate over 40 percent of wild plants and animals that have been studied are relocating to adjust to changing climate conditions. Those plants and animals that cannot migrate, such as polar bears, will decrease in numbers and become extinct.  Seasonal changes are happening 15-20 days earlier for many species, resulting in migratory birds arriving sooner, butterflies emerging earlier and plants blooming earlier. Some other changes include variations in bird migration, and shifting of ocean phytoplankton and fish from cold water to warm water habitats. Over 70 percent of tree species in North America are already migrating with beech, maple, and birch trees expected to be gone from the Northeast by 2100.       Continue reading