Faith Climate Action Week

With Earth Day coming rapidly on April 22, NYIPL joins with other IPL chapters to celebrate the entire week of April 15-24 as Faith Climate Action Week. You can start right away by downloading resources here and here. Despite the greed and short-sightedness that is widespread, we can be still be good stewards of God’s creation.

Hudson River Presbytery

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The Hudson River Presbytery is a judicatory of 82 Presbyterian churches spread across eight counties in the Hudson River Valley. Included in this presbytery are NYIPL member congregations White Plains Presbyterian (above), Holmes Presbyterian Camp, and Huguenot Memorial. The Hudson River Presbytery is very active on earth care issues. They have a group called the Food Justice Corps which is five young people who come together regularly who explore food justice issues. The group is not just educational but also a leadership development program: The corps members will develop their own projects to bring back to their congregations next spring.

Welcome, Hudson River Presbytery and White Plains Presbyterian!

Solar Energy Growing in New York State!

Governor Cuomo announced that the growth of solar in New York State increased more than 300 percent from 2011 to 2014! This is more than double the rate of U.S. solar growth overall.  A total of 314.48 megawatts of solar electric was installed across the state, equivalent to powering more than 51,000 homes.

The substantial growth is attributed to a combination of factors, including the NY-Sun initiative, a decline in solar electric component prices, and an increase  in the number of installer businesses marketing solar electric directly to consumers.

Also contributing to the increase are the state’s Solarize programs, which allow consumers to take advantage good prices by purchasing in bulk.  Check out New York’s Solarize projects.

Is your congregation ready to explore energy efficiency?

Here are five things you can do.

  1. Get the right team together. Make sure you have someone with the necessary business acumen on your sustainability team to help assess financial opportunities associated with energy efficiency.
  2. Understand your energy use. This could be as simple as a spreadsheet for tracking electricity, gas, oil and/or propane use based on utility bills and invoices.
  3. Schedule an energy audit from NYSERDA. This is available at no cost for eligible faith communities.
  4. Prioritize your energy reduction plan in this way:
    Low-cost, easy fixes: swap out conventional light bulbs for CFLs or LEDs, upgrading exit signs for LED exit signs, and filling holes that allow warm air out or cold air in
    Upgrades that will cost some money: lighting upgrades and new efficient Energy Star appliances
    Capital improvements: a new boiler, insulation, window replacements
  5. Go solar. Energy efficiency upgrades prepare your organization for solar or another renewable energy system. By optimizing your use of electricity through steps 1-4, you are able to choose a smaller, correct size system, responsibly utilizing the treasure of your congregation. If you are interested in solar power, contact only those that are certified through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Visit the NY-SUN solar website for NY State information on incentives and installers, or simply click here to find a qualified installer.
    Even if you can’t install solar or green power on-site, you can explore opportunities to purchase green power through your energy provider. Look at your organization’s electric bill to determine if you are on a residential or commercial electric rate* then, go here to learn more about your options.

Need help? Call us at (315) 256-0078! And don’t forget to check out the other resources here at nyipl.org!

*Some utilities allow religious organizations to be on a residential rate instead of a small commercial rate. Your bill will describe which rate your building(s) have.

Free Encyclical Climate Action Kit

Interfaith Power & Light and the Catholic Climate Covenant have teamed up teamed up to bring you our Pope Francis’ encyclical Climate Action Kit – a guide for communities of all faiths. As noted in the kit, “Putting the ecological encyclical into action can be simple. You’ll receive a step-by-step guide to understand and apply the encyclical, shrink your carbon footprint, and advocate for policy change.”

In the kit you’ll be guided through these 5 steps to take climate action:

1. Understand the encyclical
Find and select quotes for your use from the Pope’s 184-page encyclical on ecology. Additionally, find links to the encyclical news coverage and analysis.

2. Talk about it
Use sample Creation and Climate sermons, social media graphics and sample tweets. Find guidelines for hosting a discussion and submitting letters to the editor.

3. Stand with Pope Francis
Stand with Pope Francis by adding your name to pledges provided by
Catholic Climate Covenant and Interfaith Power & Light.

4. Start a team, go green
Find inspiration and tips for forming a green team, cutting your carbon footprint, and saving money that can be used to advance your mission.

5. Take action
Participate in advocacy to ask Congress to support the Green Climate Fund to help the nations suffering most from the effects of climate change.

Thank you for helping to amplify Pope Francis’ call to action! Get your free Climate Action Kit today.

Muslim Leaders Issue Statement on Climate Change

Earth Wrapped in a Leaf

This week, Muslim leaders and experts from 20 countries issued a strong statement urging Islam’s followers to address the threat of climate change.

“We are in danger of ending life as we know it on our planet,” the statement says. “This current rate of climate change cannot be sustained, and the earth’s fine equilibrium (m?z?n) may soon be lost.”

The eight-page declaration was signed by 60 leaders, including the Grand Muftis of Uganda and Lebanon. The statement urges world leaders to phase out fossil fuels and transition to 100% renewable energy “as early as possible,” in order to keep the global temperature from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius.

“We particularly call on the well-off nations and oil-producing states to lead the way in phasing out their greenhouse gas emissions as early as possible and no later than the middle of the century,” it says.

The statement follows the Pope’s encyclical, and a Rabbinic letter signed by 403 Rabbis on climate change. Our friends at the Shalom Center have published the entire texts of all three documents. Click here.

At New York Interfaith Power & Light, we celebrate these statements by faith leaders and look forward to increased awareness of climate change by the world’s peoples.

More good news for NY! NYSERDA Releases Clean Energy Fund.

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NYSERDA (the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) has released its proposed Clean Energy Fund, a $5B, 10-year plan to “animate and sustain” the energy marketplace to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas reductions and energy use.  The plan provides a detailed description of NYSERDA’s intended approaches along four primary initiatives: Market Development, Innovation & Research, NY Green Bank, and NY Sun.

Under the NY Public Service Commission’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” master plan, NYSERDA will become the state’s lead agency in engaging the private marketplace for energy innovation and use, while the New York Power Authority will act as a lead agency in innovative energy use in the public building sector.

Read more here.

Looking to Go Solar for your home?

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Create change in your own community, starting with your rooftop! Here are three easy ways for you to get more information.

  1. Check out our NYIPL partnership Sungevity. Get a free iquote from Sungevity. If you sign up for solar through our partnership, you’ll receive a $750 off your costs and NYIPL will receive a $750 contribution.
  2. To explore other solar opportunities, go to www.ny-sun.ny.gov. Click on “Get Solar”, then from the links on the left, choose “Find a commercial and industrial installer.” You can then click on your county for a list of certified firms.
  3. There are too many Solarize programs in New York to list! Find your community’s Solarize program here.

Fossil Fuel Divestment Act in NY State

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State Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz recently announced the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act (S.5873/A.8011), which would require the New York State Comptroller to divest the Common Retirement Fund (CRF) from fossil fuel holdings by 2020. The bill was endorsed by New York Interfaith Power and Light as well as many other environmental, faith, and community organizations.  Bill McKibben, well-known writer, activist and founder of 350.org, and Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, & Mary) were among the many advocates joining them in the announcement.

“I’m proud to be the sponsor of a bill that would require the New York State pension fund to divest from fossil fuels by 2020,” said Senator Krueger.  “It is critical that we send the message that we are no longer going to invest our public funds in activities that do enormous damage to our environment, not just in New York, not just in the United States, but throughout the world. It’s 2015 – we’re already decades behind where we need to be in addressing climate change.  Divestment is not a silver bullet, but it is one important step among many, and I urge all of my colleagues to support us in passing this bill and demonstrating that New York State can be at the cutting edge of the fight to stop catastrophic climate change.”

“Bold action is needed now to mitigate climate change,” said Assembly Assistant Speaker Ortiz.  “If we miss this opportunity to enact clean energy laws today, our children may face serious consequences.  The Fossil Fuel Divestment Act sends a strong message that New York should not invest in companies whose profits depend on damaging our climate. Our investment strategies should mirror the state’s public policies. That is why I wholeheartedly sponsor this bill to take the state’s pension fund monies out of the pockets of those who profit from fossil fuels.”

Learn more here.