Creating Equitable, Environmentally-strong Communities

This summer GIPL launched a new initiative that seeks to best serve African American churches in Georgia. The hope is that GIPL can learn how these particular faith communities can inform and participate in the shared responsibility to steward the earth through their particular cultural and theological perspective. We are excited to announce that Valerie Hill Rawls has joined the GIPL team to coordinate this initiative.  Continue reading

St Mark’s Episcopal Church Receives GIPL Grant

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in LaGrange was awarded a GIPL Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to fund a foam attic insulation project completed in March 2016. From the energy usage data already collected since the installation, the church is projected to have an annual energy savings of $600. St. Mark’s was awarded $2,748 for this energy efficiency project.

St. Mark’s incorporates Creation care into their weekly congregational prayers, and from that commitment, actively engages in other Creation care efforts. They recycle, encourage the use of reusable dinnerware, and open their facilities to environmental groups. The congregation has also committed to sharing cost savings with parishioners, and talking about how energy efficiency can save money and the environment both at home and church.

Congratulations to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on their insulation project, and we look forward to seeing what further Creation care and energy efficiency efforts come from this congregation! The next matching grant application deadline is November 15, 2017. If your congregation has not yet received a GIPL energy audit, visit our website today to sign up!

Sightings from the Treehouse: Elements of Climate Change – Ice and Permafrost Loss

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 firstsecond, and third blogs here. 

The most significant impacts of global warming are found in the polar regions, since temperatures are twice as high there compared to the global average temperature. Increasing ice and permafrost melt threaten our globe in a variety of ways. I hope you will read the previous blog on rising temperatures since it forms the basis of our further exploration. It is quite simple: temperatures increase, ice melts and sea levels rise.  The evidence is clear that global temperatures are rising and new records seem to be set each year. What is that doing in our polar areas, the earth’s natural air conditioner?

Ice Melt

Global temperatures have increased about 1.9 degrees F since pre-industrial times, but have doubled in the Arctic during the same period due to a phenomenon called Arctic amplification. In 2016, Arctic temperatures were 6.3 degrees F above 1900s levels. This increased heating due to amplification is leading to tremendous loss of Arctic ice, both glacial and sea ice. This is particularly evident during the summer. The rate of Arctic ice melt is about 13% per decade.  

The albedo effect is when white ice reflects the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere serving to cool the planet, but as ocean ice melts, the dark open water absorbs the sun’s heat and adds to the increased temperatures and thus sea level rise – a positive feedback. Note that “positive” does not mean good but that it simply amplifies rather than dampens (negative feedback) the force of the change. In this case, and with permafrost below, this is bad and could be catastrophic. Continue reading

The Future is Bright for First Baptist in Blakely

First Baptist Church in Blakely, Georgia, was awarded its fourth GIPL Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to upgrade their lighting to LED fixtures. Many energy efficiencies have been incorporated already at this historic church in South Georgia following their GIPL energy audit a few years ago. Now the church is upgrading the old lighting in their kitchen, office and foyer to energy efficient LED fixtures. They received $1,191 in order to implement these lighting upgrades.

First Baptist Church of Blakely has committed to an ongoing LED project to upgrade all of the lighting in the church buildings. Last year, the church converted all of their lighting in the sanctuary to LED fixtures. Their next step is to install LED lights in the education building, and this year to the office, foyer and kitchen. This church has received 3 GIPL grants in the past to help with insulation, LED lighting upgrades, and WiFi thermostats for their buildings. Continue reading

Catholic Churches Will Save Big After Energy Audits

Earlier this year, GIPL received a grant to provide direct support to selected parishes of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta for their Creation care efforts. A pilot project was developed to help nine parishes and three schools increase energy efficiencies and water conservations while helping to reduce their overall environmental impact by 25%.

This project is part of a larger effort by the Archdiocese to respond to Pope Francis’s 2015 Encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si.  In 2016, the Archdiocese published its Climate Action Plan as a hopeful response to the Pope’s encyclical. Continue reading

Jargon Busters: CCR (Coal Combustion Residuals)

Advocating for Gods Creation often requires wading through some thick jargon and decoding strings of acronyms that only an environmental policy maker could love. Jargon busters to the rescue! From time to time, well bustsome of this jargon to make your advocacy work a little easier. Let us know if you encounter words or acronyms that need some busting!

CCR (Coal Combustion Residuals)

No, this doesnt have anything to do with the legendary rock band, but sometimes CCR (Coal Combustion Residuals) is indeed rolling down the river. Continue reading

Sightings from the Treehouse: Elements of Climate Change – Rising Temperatures

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 first and second blogs here. 

Join me on my journey to do a “deep dive” on climate change. I spent many years as an environmental scientist, but recently began to research the topic of climate change to further my awareness of the latest climate science and projections. My primary goal is to develop a better understanding of the likely future and align my faith and actions to improve resilience in myself and in others.  

The first two blogs were about the current administration’s ties to the fossil fuel industry and efforts to obscure and hide the facts about our climate from the public. All of this is led by a few oil companies and the Koch Brothers, owners of America’s smokestack industries, and our current conservative government. The next series of blogs will detail the science and projections for four elements of climate change: rising temperatures, melting ice and permafrost, ocean changes, and ecological disruptions.  The final four blogs will examine opportunities and costs of climate change, our readiness to fight, and finally the role of the faith community.  Hopefully, you are ready to explore with me this real-time threat to humanity and the planet.  Please click on the hyperlinks, there is a lot of information available to swim through. Continue reading

Declaration of Interdependence: David Suzuki

The Declaration of Interdependence was written for the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro by the David Suzuki Foundation: David Suzuki is a Japanese-Canadian academic, science broadcaster, and environmental activist. 

 This we know

We are the earth, through the plants and animals that nourish us.
We are the rains and the oceans that flow through our veins.
We are the breath of the forests of the land and the plants of the sea.
We are human animals, related to all other life as descendants of the firstborn cell.
We share with these kin a common history, written in our genes.
We share a common present, filled with uncertainty.
And we share a common future, as yet untold.
We humans are but one of thirty million species weaving the thin layer of life enveloping the world.
The stability of communities of living things depends upon this diversity.
Linked in that web, we are interconnected — using, cleansing, sharing, and replenishing the fundamental elements of life.
Our home, planet Earth, is finite; all life shares its resources and the energy from the sun, and therefore has limits to growth.
For the first time, we have touched those limits.
When we compromise the air, the water, the soil, and the variety of life, we steal from the endless future to serve the fleeting present.
Continue reading

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