Mainstream Media Links Extreme Weather to Climate Change

350.org reports that the major news networks are finally linking current extreme weather events with climate change. This ABC news video that shows the devastation in Australia, Sri Lanka, and Brazil, with comments from representatives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).† Richard Somerville, Research Professor at Scripps USCD and IPCC scientist states, ďThis is no longer something thatís theory or conjecture or something that comes out of computer models. Weíre observing the climate changing. Itís real. Itís happening. Itís scientific fact.”

Exit Signs Can Be Energy Hogs

Pastors Tyler and Neal "basking in the glow" of the exit signs

Exit signs are just not something you think about, but exit signs run continually…that’s 365 days a year, 24 hours per day or 8760 hours a year.

Jonesville UMC’s energy audit recommended a simple, but effective way to save energy and money: change their exit signs from regular light bulbs (2 – 25 watt bulbs per sign) to LEDs (1 watt each).

Jonesville had 20 exit signs throughout the church, so this simple change was equivalent to turning off 19-50 watt bulbs. The change was as simple as unscrewing the old bulb and screwing in the new and took all of 2 hours to do the entire church!

This one simple change has a big energy stewardship impact:

  • fewer problems for people with asthma – prevents the emission of about 9 pounds of nitrogen oxide, the main ingredient in ozone or smog, which is especially harmful to people with asthma;
  • less acid rain – prevents the emission of about 27 pounds of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain; and
  • less mercury pollution – especially damaging to pregnant women and children
  • prevents global warming – prevents the emission of about 7 tons of carbon dioxide, the principal global warming gas.

And this translates to an annual saving of $900 a year – this year and EVERY YEAR FROM NOW ON!

They’re also labor-saving: the LEDs have a lifetime of 100,000 hours…therefore the next change is in 2015.

The cost of the LEDs was $12 each or a total of $240. And as a result of taking action on this recommendation, NYSERDA reimbursed Jonesville for the entire $200 cost of the Energy Audit (the cost of which has since been reduced). This is just one of seven cost-effective measures identified by the Energy Audit.

Hydraulic Fracturing Position Statement

Statement: New York Interfaith Power and Light (NYIPL) urges the EPA to use the Precautionary
Principle in a scientifically sound comprehensive study of the process and impacts
of hydrofracking.

NYIPL has serious concerns about the safety of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). Each drill
injects 50,000 to eight million gallons of water mixed with sand and chemical additives into a
geologic formation below the surface of the earth. The drilling industry has resisted revealing
exactly what chemicals are used in the fluid. The high pressure creates fracturing in the rock
which then releases the natural gas into the well. According to Environmental Advocates of New
York (eany.org), more than 1,400 cases of water contamination related to drilling have occurred
across the country. Recently the University of Buffalo has discovered that the process may cause
uranium that is naturally trapped within Marcellus shale to be released.

NYIPL questions the use of precious resources to mine yet another fossil fuel, especially one
with such potential dangers, and urges that no expansion of this practice should occur until such
concerns are resolved.

NYIPL: New York Interfaith Power & Light is a faith-based non-profit organization that serves
the state of New York. Our mission is to support congregations of all faiths in their actions to
curb global warming and protect the sacredness of the earth. We currently have 79 member
congregations, and regularly communicate with 900 people via our email list.

We are part of a national network of congregations of all faiths concerned about the effects of
global warming and power plant pollution.

Summary: The precautionary principle states that if a practice, such as hydraulic fracturing, has
a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, that the burden of proof that
it is not harmful falls on those promoting the practice. In this case that would be those entities
promoting hydraulic fracturing.

There are substantial potential risks to hydraulic fracturing. The concerns about possible water
and air pollution caused by hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale layer are well-documented.
Because the process was given an exemption from U.S. federal air and clean water regulations in
2005, we as a country have not done enough to formally assess the potential risks of
hydrofracking.

We should not go forward with this process operating out of ignorance. There are so many
people who would be affected if drinking water were contaminated that it would be negligent to
fail to study potential risks thoroughly. Furthermore, little is known about the effects of this
process on health of people near drilling sites, or on the local biota–including the eventual
disposal of the waste water that returns to the surface.

Our earth is sacred, and all that live in it. NYIPL calls on the EPA, along with our whole
community, to care for Godís creation by exercising the precautionary principle in relation to
hydraulic fracturing.

Contact: Janna Stieg Watkins, NYIPL Executive Director (315) 256-0078

Join the Carbon Covenant

Carbon Covenant LogoCarbon Covenant www.co2covenant.org – Connecting with faith communities on the front lines of climate change

This new Interfaith Power & Light project links up congregations and people of faith in the U.S. with faith communities on the front lines of climate change in the developing world and offers a way to help out.

The four projects featured on the Carbon Covenant website are faith communities in the developing world taking the initiative to mitigate climate change and protect their communities. All of the projects address the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the developing world: deforestation. In Cambodia, Buddhist Monks aim to protect a remote community forest from illegal logging by ordaining and patrolling the area. In Ghana, the Presbyterian Church is teaching alternative, sustainable livelihoods, from snail farming to bee keeping. In Cameroon, an interfaith project is fighting desertification through tree planting. And on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, a Lutheran bishop is making tree planting a condition of confirmation in the church.

For more information, visit the Carbon Covenant website at www.co2covenant.org.

Rev. Sally Bingham Wins the Purpose Prize

This video features Rev. Bingham and is also a good introduction to the IPL movement and goals. The Purpose Prize honors an inspiring new group of role models for “engaged retirement.” Unwilling to stuff envelopes or go off quietly to the sidelines, these change-makers are taking matters into their own hands and fashioning a new vision of the second half of life, one in which the expertise and talent of a lifetime is refocused on finding solutions to challenges in our communities, our country, and the world. They are living proof that aging does not equal stagnation and decline, that later life is a time of innovation, productivity, and creativity as rich as the younger years.

If you want to make a difference, too, take action on global warming in your congregation and community!

Pick Your Paper Wisely

If your office is like most, you probably use a lot of paper – and paper is not cheap. But equally important, our use of paper directly affects our health, our forests, and global warming.

Why do our choices matter?

  • The U.S., with 5% of the world’s population, consumes 30% of the world’s paper.
  • Producing a ton of virgin paper requires 17 trees and 7000 more gallons of water than a ton of 100% recycled paper.
  • Chlorine is often used in the bleaching process, releasing the carcinogenic chemical dioxin and other toxins
  • Producing recycled paper reduces air pollution by 74%, water pollution by 35%, and energy consumption by 60-70%
  • Follow the links in the left hand feature box for more information.

Some solutions

  • Purchasing choices
  • Conserving
  • Advocating
  • Follow the links in the left hand feature box for more information.

Purchase post-consumer recycled, chlorine-free paper

  • Buy “processed chlorine free” (PCF) or “totally chlorine free” (TCF) paper with high post-consumer recycled content. IMPORTANT: Note that “elementally chlorine-free” paper is not the same as PCF or TCF; this process still produces dioxins.
  • Spread the word by putting a note at the bottom of the paper indicating that you’re using process chlorine-free, post-consumer recycled paper. Let people know that churches are good stewards of God’s creation. It might give them the idea to take this important action, too!

Use less paper

Conserve paper and you conserve trees, energy, and water! And since buying chlorine-free, post-consumer recycled paper can sometimes be more expensive, you can reduce the total office paper expenses just by using less.

Here are some ideas for reducing your use of paper:

  • Use a software program such as FinePrint which allows you to easily print two (or more) pages on a side, print on both sides, delete unwanted pages before printing, print in booklet form as well as many other printing tricks. You can save a lot of paper, ink, and money by investing in this type of software, and it’s very affordable.
  • Try decreasing the size of margins, using single space or 1 1/2 space instead of double spacing, or using a slightly smaller font. With a little care, you might get the whole document on one page instead of two.
  • Use both sides of the paper.
  • If the document fits on one side of a page, try formatting it as two columns and then print the same document on the other side. Cut it in half so that half of the text is on the front of the half-sheet and the rest is on the back. You have just reduced your paper use by half!
  • Format text in columns. It often takes less space and can be easier to read.
  • Save leftover copies that are blank on one side and reuse them. If it’s not crumpled, many printers work just fine using this “pre-used” paper.
  • The easiest way to save paper is not to use it at all. Does everything really need to be printed out? Perhaps an announcement at the beginning of the service or a poster displayed at the door will spread the word as well as or better than that extra sheet of paper stuffed in the bulletin. Maybe people at committee meetings really don’t all need (or want!) every piece of information printed out. Do you print out your email before even considering whether it’s something you need? Think before you print!

Paper and global warming: The faith community is taking action

According to the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change (October 2006), 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation. If the book publishing industry increased its average use of recycled fiber from 5% now to 30%, it would conserve 524 million pounds of greenhouse gases-equivalent to keeping 45,818 cars off the road each year. And religious publishing remains one of the fastest growing segments of book publishing.

Faith community leaders are participating in a Green Press Initiative to encourage the religious press publishing industry to use recycled paper. Visit the Green Press Initiative for more information.

Join the National Preach-In on Global Warming

The Valentine’s Preach-In is off to a great start! We’re excited to begin 2011 with a national event that will educate our congregations about global warming and get the word out to our legislators that people of faith love Creation and love our neighbors, particularly those who are affected by climate change. It’s all happening this Valentine’s Day weekend, February 11-13. Are you registered yet?

We have everything you need to host an event. Preach-In materials include:

  • Outlines for sermons, messages, and devotionals categorized by faith
  • Free DVDs and discussion guides for a film screening
  • Free bulletin inserts and Valentine’s Day postcards for your congregation to send to your senators urging them to love Creation and protect the climate

Register for the Preach-In today to receive these great resources.