5th Annual MLK, Jr. Day Tree Planting

The GIPL team was out in full force this past, very chilly, Monday morning.  On Monday, January 15, GIPL staff, board members, and friends & neighbors joined with Trees Atlanta to plant trees at the West End MARTA station and Dunwoody’s Brook Run Park.  More photos here!

Winter Solstice & the Plant Vogtle Decision

The shortest day of the year has just given us the longest-running nightmare of an energy project here in Georgia. On this Winter Solstice, the Public Service Commission voted unanimously to continue the Plant Vogtle nuclear project despite billiions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.

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Growing The GIPL Team

The GIPL Team is growing strong! This past month we welcomed two stellar new team members who bring a passion for faithful action in service to all of Creation. Their particular skills will ensure that GIPL’s mission has an expanding reach into more faith communities across Georgia. Through their service here at GIPL, allow us to help your own congregation expand its Creation care work in 2018 and beyond!

Whitney Brown, GIPL’s Newest Team Member

Whitney Brown, Staff Associate for Communications & Administration
Whitney just completed her first year at Candler School of Theology, where she is pursuing her Masters of Divinity. She was born and raised in Atlanta and grew up in the Baptist Church.  After a stint of exploring denominations, she landed in the Episcopal Church.  Whitney intends to utilize her seminary education to become a licensed social worker/counselor.  She has a passion for working with youth and young adults, college students exploring their faith, LGBT families, and the arts–specifically musical theatre as well as looking at connections between faith and the rest of our busy lives and world we live in.  When she’s not working, she enjoys attending concerts of all sorts, baking, hiking, and binge-watching crime dramas.

Having previously worked for Agnes Scott College, Whitney is putting to good use her creative talents by coordinating GIPL’s extensive communications efforts and helping to keep the GIPL headquarters organized. Whitney calls Holy Trinity Episcopal Parish in Decatur her current church home.

 

Codi is GIPL’s new Staff Associate for Programs & Policy.

Codi Norred, Staff Associate for Programs & Policy
Codi comes to GIPL with an array of experiences in local, national, and international non-profit and human rights organizations as well as a deep passion for environmental stewardship. He has been involved with environmental justice campaigns and the philosophy of sustainability since college. After working with environmental organizations such as Oakleaf Mennonite Farm and Emory’s Office of Sustainability, Codi began to see how our relationship and treatment of the environment intersects with broader systems of injustice. As a result, creation care and environmental justice are core values that stem from his faith. He believes that religious institutions have a unique ability and moral obligation to ensure creation’s continued flourishing, both for its own sake and for the sake of our global neighbors.

Codi holds a Masters of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University with concentrations in Justice, Peacebuilding, and Conflict Transformation (JPCT), Theology and Ethics, and Human Rights. Also holding a BA in Religion from Samford University, Codi is interested in working at the intersection of religion, human rights, ethics, and the environment. He’s excited to be working directly with congregations as a resource for a wide array of sustainability practices. When he’s not leading GIPL programs, Codi plays the drums on Sundays with the worship band at Park Avenue Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Come by the GIPL office to meet these fine folks. Or, in the least, make plans to meet them at one of GIPL’s big events in January!  

GIPL Grants Give Hope

Every year, GIPL awards grants to fund energy efficiency projects for faith communities across Georgia. To date, we’ve awarded close to $1 million dollars in matching grants and is having a huge impact on the reduction of energy footprints of sanctuaries, temples, mosques and religious schools statewide. This program intends to give hope to congregations embarking on the sustainability journey and inspire even bolder Creation care action.

This year, 23 grant applications were received totaling over $148,000! The GIPL Grants Committee met last week to review and make final decisions on the awards. Despite the large number of submissions, the committee was able to offer awards totaling $68,000 to 15 congregations and 2 religious schools. Most of the awards were for LED lighting upgrades, while some were for WiFi thermostats, insulation and re-commissioning of existing building automation systems. Continue reading

Sustainable, Sacred Hanukkah

hanukkah, sustainable hanukkah, eco-friendly hanukkah, green hanukkah

Hanukkah: a time of remembrance, and gathering with community around the light. In all that you celebrate, GIPL encourages us all to practice the  Four R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Return to the central meaning of the holiday for a more sustainable witness.

As you join with family and friends to celebrate, here are a few ways you can honor Creation:

From 8 Easy Tips for an Environmentally Friendly Hanukkah at haaretz.com:

• Burn olive oil, not petroleum. The commonly found rainbow Hanukkah candles are made from paraffin (petroleum). Keep the petroleum out of your menorah by burning beeswax or vegetable candles. Alternatively, be just like the Maccabees and burn pure olive oil.

• Go small, go local. Every food choice we make is an opportunity to fulfill our obligations to protect Creation. Industrial agriculture’s approach to growing food is oppressive and is treated like warfare: us versus them. The use of heavy pesticides and fertilizers destroys critical nutrients in soil, and pollutes the air and water. Dead soil is gone forever; it cannot be replenished. By buying produce from small, local farmers, you opt to protect and preserve local food systems and support foods grown without harmful chemicals that poison our air, water and health. Continue reading

From Darkness to Light

During this time of growing uncertainty, as climate catastrophe looms, and the inequality and dysfunction of social and political systems are exposed, it is more important than ever to be in a supportive community which inspires creativity, courage, and collective action. Continue reading

Holding Nations Accountable

MESSAGE By His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the UNFCCC COP-23 Session (Bonn, Germany, November 6-17, 2017)

The 23rd session of the United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change provides occasion to recall with introspection and reflect with integrity on the state of our world, but also on where we have come and where we are headed as a global community, especially in light of the urgent call of the Paris Agreement. Continue reading

Creation Care Champion: Garry Harris

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.

Garry A. Harris is the president of Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG), a consulting firm that provides diverse energy engineering and power generation technical services, sustainable communities planning and implementation, workforce force development, clean energy solutions, industrial and reliability engineering including research, policy and education services.

Mr. Harris is the Creation Care Ministry Leader: Environmental at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Under his leadership the church was awarded “Ministry of the Year” by Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and recognized on Nation Public Radio (NPR) and other media nationally. He was recently selected to the Advisory Board for the Emory University Chandler School of Theology CREATE program (Culture, Religion, Ethics, and the Environment). He was recently selected out a national pool of applicants for a Green Faith Fellowship (Creation Care). He was also selected to Green the Church National Council.

 

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: 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.
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Sightings From the Treehouse: Soft Landing or Runaway Train?

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


It is amazing the wide array of technologies available today to cut our fossil fuel emissions. Solar panels are getting competitive and battery technology is improving to store energy obtained through renewable sources. Wind power is abundant in the heartland. Electric cars are getting cheaper with greater ranges, and Volvo has indicated they will stop making gas-powered cars by 2019. Cities are moving forward on sustainability and millions of people are marching in the streets around the world to fight efforts to weaken support for clean air, water and a healthy planet.

Quite appropriately, as the current administration withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord, industry, cities and ordinary citizens are banding together to live up to the goals of the climate accord. Many city mayors (including Atlanta), governors and corporations are seeking a UN agreement vowing to meet the Paris Climate goals for 2025. Other companies indicated they are progressing on developing renewable energy and building sustainability into their operations. Fortunately, most of the technologies, behaviors, and actions needed to effectively fight climate change are in existence now. They just need to be implemented and scaled up globally. Continue reading