My name is Courtney Godwin, and I am a Religion and Social Justice major about to begin my third year at Agnes Scott College. Growing up, I spent much of my time outdoors, whether it was in the backyard with my sister or camping and hiking with my family. My parents both inspired a love of nature in me from an early age which has stayed with me. This zeal for nature was a catalyst for my minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Continue reading
In 2017, GIPL was pleased to provide a seed grant through our Four Directions Fund to Georgia Mountain Unitarian Universalist Church. One of ten grant recipients, Georgia Mountain UUC has a vibrant Green ministry that engages people within and beyond the four walls of the church. This past year, the congregation collaborated with several local organizations to tackle an environmental issue close to their hearts. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of Chris Donaghue
When I first discovered Thomas Berry, world religion scholar and renowned author, my eyes opened wide as I felt a void being filled. Over the past 50 years, scientific findings about the creation of the universe, earth, life and consciousness have provided answers about our origins. Thomas Berry’s work culminated in the call for a new creation story, one based on scientific fact and not just faith. He urges us to move from a scientific-technological focus to one based on ecological principles; one founded on recognizing the intrinsic value of nature. The whole planet is one complex ecosystem all working in harmony and self-supporting, thus enabling the earth to maintain conditions suitable for life and its evolution. James Lovelock calls this the Gaia Theory. Everything is interconnected. Berry felt the old creation story for Christians, Genesis, served its purpose through history, but new scientific discoveries beg for a new creation story. Continue reading
Holy Comforter Episcopal Church has been a GIPL partner for over a decade, and received a pre-Power Wise energy audit in November 2007. The audit was conducted by Shane Totten of Southface and Woody Bartlett, GIPL co-founder. They were a former recipient of the GIPPY Trailblazer award. Holy Comforter applied for their first GIPL matching grant in 2009 and received $1,134 to upgrade T-12 fluorescent lights in the Parish Hall to T-5 fluorescents. This year, they applied for funding to upgrade their sanctuary lighting from 200 watt incandescent lights to 7 watt LED. The incandescent lights cost $770 annually to operate while the LED cost $32 annually. In addition, they will upgrade all their exit signs to LED. The grants committee recognized the merits of their grant application. The committee awarded Holy Comforter Episcopal Church $4,432 to help fund these energy conservation measures from their energy audit. Continue reading
GIPL partner, Roswell Community Masjid, celebrated a Green Field Day on April 28th as a part of their larger Earth Day celebrations. The event was open to the community and promoted sustainability through recycling and providing reusable water bottles. We are grateful for this reflection from RCM member Lubna Merchant:
We have been taught to believe that “If a Muslim plants a tree or sow’s seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.” (Bukhari) Continue reading
Mike Sizemore is a long-time GIPL friend and supporter. He reflects on some of what is wrong with Plant Vogtle. This article originally ran on May 6, 2018 in the Saporta Report.
By Guest Columnist MICHAEL M. SIZEMORE, founding principal of Sizemore Group and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects
What makes a good business decision? After running a successful architecture firm for decades, I’ve learned a thing or two about what guides good business judgment, and the importance of making sound decisions in the best interest of one’s clients. Continue reading
Are houses of worship prepared for the current and coming natural disasters caused by climate change? If not, they need to be. During 2017, the faith community was in the heart of the hurricanes in the east and the wildfires in the west. They provided comfort and support to their ravaged congregants and local communities. They need to be prepared to do more and not be lulled into complacency by lack of awareness or political bent. Continue reading
Peace and blessings,
I wanted to take some time to introduce myself. I am Michael Malcom and I am the newly appointed Environmental Justice Representative for the Southeast Conference. I am the Senior Pastor of Rush Memorial Congregational Church UCC in Atlanta, GA. I am also the Director of South Carolina Interfaith Power and Light. I consider myself an impassioned neophyte in manners of creation care. I heard, believe, and evangelize the message of creation care however I am new to the movement. This, for me, has placed me in the best position in this movement. I know just enough to follow the conversation yet; I am proficient enough in the novice language to interpret in a way that is manageable.
It is my passion to shape the language of creation care in a way that it calls all of our attention to the issue so that that the masses become environmentally conscious. I found myself drawn to this work through my experience with Sustaining Way which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that teaches about Sustainability and Creation Care. I found that the voice of the faith community (in particular, the African American faith community) is very sparsely represented in the conversation of Environmental Justice. I realized the importance of the voice of the Faith Community shaping the language of Environmental Justice to reach the masses and weave a message of hope throughout the language of Environmental Justice and Climate Care.
A reflection by Valerie Rawls
African-Americans developed what in modern terms might be regarded an environmental ethos long before the environmental justice movement, before the civil rights movement, and before they were emancipated and had citizenship rights conferred upon them.
– Mart A. Stewart, To Love the Wind and the Rain
Since 1987, the environmental justice movement has been trying to address inequalities that are the result of human settlement, industrial contamination, and unsustainable development. The United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice (CRJ) published a decisive report exposing the gross disregard for people of color as toxic waste landfills were sited in their communities throughout the nation. Toxic Waste and Race in the United States proved to be a critical foundation for the environmental justice movement that continues today. Continue reading
Earth Day 2018 was April 22, and we are thrilled that so many of you celebrated! GIPL invited congregations and houses of faith to share their plans for their Earth Day Celebrations. Over the coming weeks, the GIPL team will be sharing a few of those stories. The youth of Roswell Community Masjid reflect below on the interfaith Earth Day commemoration they hosted this year. Continue reading