Trinity Episcopal Church Receives GIPL Grant

Trinity Episcopal Church in Statesboro was a awarded a GIPL Power Wise Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to support their in-house energy efficiency efforts. Following their energy audit in July 2016, they applied for a grant to install new WiFi thermostats in their church building. This should reduce annual energy costs by $1,850 with a simple payback of 1.6 years. Trinity Episcopal Church was awarded $595 to support half the project costs. GIPL’s Leeann Culbreath presented the the check to Jim Bastarache (former Junior Warden) and Rev. Joan Kilian (Rector). Continue reading

The Wisdom of Islam for Sustainability

This final Ramadan reflection consists of excerpts from “Conclusions and Recommendations of the First International Conference on Muslim Action on Climate Change” in 2010.

Islam has profound wisdom to offer the rest of the world. The holistic Islamic teaching of rahmatan lil alamin (the blessing of the universe) propagates that we share the world fairly with all mankind. The holistic Islamic concept rahmatan lil alamin (the gift or blessing of the universe) necessitates that we share the world fairly with all mankind.

Efforts for sustainable development should be based on both the Qur’an and the history of Islamic science and civilization. The Islamic World will in the future anchor its development in the Islamic teaching of a holistic ecological paradigm that balances the relationships between human beings and Allah (hablun min Allah), among human beings (hablun minannas), and between human beings and nature (hablun minal alam). Continue reading

Faith community stepping up on climate change

Susan Varlamoff, editThis guest column by Susan Varlamoff, GIPL Board Member and coauthor of ‘Laudato Si Action Plan’, was originally published in SaportaReport

Nature abhors a vacuum. With the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord, there is a void in global leadership on climate change that others are willing and able to fill it. Countries like China, Germany and France are stepping up. In the U.S., states, cities, universities, corporations, and even churches are voluntarily reducing greenhouse emissions in the spirit of the Paris climate accord.

Inspired by the Pope’s environmental encyclical Laudato Si – a plea to humanity to care for creation – an interdisciplinary group of University of Georgia scientists of various faiths created a Laudato Si Action Plan in November 2015.

As men and women of science and faith, they feel a moral and scientific imperative to sustain the earth for future generations. They believe in the “power of the pulpit” to transmit the Pope’s call to action in churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues. With the millions and even billions of people attending faith services, they expect their collective action can make a difference. Continue reading

How Muslims Know Allah

This guest reflection was written by Fairyal Halim, a public speaker with the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta

For Muslims, belief in one God/Allah is but one side of a coin where the other side is action. Belief to not be followed by action is an incomplete faith. Just like knowledge without application is incomplete, in the same way for Muslims: belief in Allah without the requisite accompanying actions is incomplete. When speaking of belief I’m not just talking about the practice that Muslims engage in like praying 5 times a day, or fasting during the month of Ramadan, but rather something that is more comprehensive. Something that encompasses all aspects of life on earth. Continue reading

Sightings from the Treehouse: Modern Day Book Burning

‘Sightings from the Treehouse’ is a new blog series on the environment from Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. See the first post, Fossil Fuel Industry Coup.

The destruction of Creation for power and greed is the moral issue of all time. Clergy everywhere need to take a leadership role on this moral issue and educate and prepare their congregations to care for Creation. The moral underpinnings of society’s impact on Creation offer many avenues to explore and can form the basis of future liturgy. In the meantime, the destruction of Creation is being blurred by conservative politicians, special interests and ignored by the media.

As early as 1896, Arrhenius presented a paper on climate change, On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air Upon the Temperature on the GroundThere was little follow up for more than a half century, until climate change was discussed publicly by President Johnson and others in the 1960s. During the 1970’s, Exxon Mobil (aka Exxon) conducted research on climate change and its potential impacts on the biosphere. By the 1980’s, the company recognized not only the deleterious effects from greenhouse gases on the planet, but also the deleterious effects on their future bottom line. At this point, Exxon chose deception over leadership and aggressively cast doubt on the science of climate change. Koch Industries joined the bandwagon in the 1990’s.

Continue reading

Donated Solar Array to Benefit DeKalb’s Refugee Community

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb has selected a DeKalb County nonprofit organizationSolarize Decatur-DeKalb as the recipient of a donated solar installation. GIPL has been a partner in the Solarize Decatur-DeKalb campaign, working to make solar more affordable and accessible.

As part of this successful Solarize campaign’s community solar program, Global Growers has been selected by the Solarize coalition to receive a solar array that will provide power to Bamboo Creek Farm, one of their farming locations in DeKalb County. Continue reading

Ramadan: The Power to Change

This guest reflection was written by Arshad Anwar, Imam of Roswell Community Masjid, a mosque that was awarded a GIPL Power Wise grant to support their environmental stewardship efforts.

The first few days are the toughest. Giving up eating and drinking for around sixteen hours is not easy. Your body feels week and your mind keeps thinking, “Why are you doing this to yourself?” It’s not just the hours of fasting that affect your body, it’s also staying up late at night for prayer and still waking up before dawn to have a meal. These drastic and sudden lifestyle changes happen while your daily schedule barely shifts. You still have to go to work, run errands, take the kids places, etc.

However, something amazing happens after these first few days. Your mind and body, which are used to an entirely different year’s long routine, suddenly adjust to your new habits and it all becomes a little easier. That amazing feeling and your inner voice now telling you, “You can do it!” is the push you need to finish off the remaining days of fasting. If there is one thing you really learn through the practice of fasting in Ramadan, it’s that if you really want to make a change in your life, you certainly can do it. You are in charge and even though you’ll feel uncomfortable in the beginning, you will adjust and find ways to keep going. Continue reading

St. Lawrence Catholic Church Receives GIPL Grant

St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Lawrenceville was a awarded a GIPL Power Wise Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to support their in-house energy efficiency efforts.  Following their energy audit in October 2016, they applied for a $5,000 grant to recommission their existing building automation system to better manage their energy usage. Recommissioning the BAS should reduce annual energy costs by $4,200 with a simple payback of 1.2 years. In addition, they also wanted to upgrade their campus lighting to LED. GIPL contributed $1.500 to the $31,590 project costs. Estimated annual energy savings should be $3,402 and a simple payback of 9.3 years. The total award was $6,500 and the church will supply a similar amount to complete the projects. Continue reading

Eco-Friendly Vacation Bible School Program

This blog was originally published on Southeast Green by Beth Bond, GIPL Board Member. 

If Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs have one thing in common, it is to teach children the joy and love God has for each individual child. Years ago VBS included lots of homemade crafts and songs that every generation knew. Over the years VBS became more scripted, grander, shinier and convenient. Somewhere along the way these highly produced programs which meant well, lost their way.  The programs started to feel like kids’ real creativity was being taken away as their crafts became snapped together plastic things. Plastic trinkets from China were given out to help children remember their Bible verses. Elaborate sets were made of throwaway Styrofoam and yards of plastic sheeting. Like everything else it was accepted as the new norm. They weren’t intentionally trying to be wasteful. It just happened.

Beth Bond was a set director for several VBS programs. However, she never bought into using the disposable Styrofoam because she was on a path of Creation Care. She had an epiphany about how out of control it had all become when she saw the closet at her church at the time, full of large garbage bags full of what she calls “CPJ” (cheap plastic junk) ready to be dispersed to over 200 children. All of it imported from China with no attention paid to the distance, materials used, or even who had made it all.

It was then that Beth approached her Mother to help create an eco-friendly VBS program. Beth’s mother, Rev. Dawn Bond, is a pastor in South Alabama with the United Methodist Church. Rev. Bond helped with lessons, daily bible verses and music selections. Beth focused on games, crafts, daily themes, and the educational background for why the eco-friendly program chose to do things the way they were presented. The program is called Our Beautiful Little Blue Planet.

Our Beautiful Little Blue Planet has several distinct differences from traditional VBS programs – creativity, reuse of materials, healthier snacks, and eliminating a lot of the purchased items.  Sets include plants that can be planted after the week on church campuses. The program can be used for age groups from Pre-K to 6th Grade. There are many more options for daily programming. VBS Directors can plan according to their individual needs because of the diversity of options.

Since the program is received by the Director in a collection of PDFs and Excel spreadsheets, there are very little costs. Beth and Dawn wanted a program that really was accessible to all congregations big and small. The price is $5.00 per child. Half of the proceeds will be donated to One More Generation. An organization founded by two teens that work on environmental issues.

For more information about Our Beautiful Little Blue Planet, please visit this website.