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Dear MIP&L members and friends,
While there is much to be done to address climate change and its impacts, the most immediate and measureable action a congregation can take is to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Eliot Church of Newton has been awarded a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star. Eliot's Energy Star rating of 91 means that it is more energy efficient than 91% of the houses of worship in the United States! When comparing years with similar numbers of heating degree days, Eliot is also saving more than $12,000 a year in energy costs.
Eliot's most recent upgrade was to replace existing lighting with long-lasting LED bulbs. Massachusetts utilities will usually subsidize 70% of the cost of such an upgrade through the Direct Install Program. For more about LED's read here.
Other actions taken by Eliot include:
Eliot is a charter member of Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light (MIP&L) which performed two Environmental Stewardship Assessments for Eliot and helped them to obtain Energy Star recognition. To learn how MIP&L can help your congregation save money and lower your carbon footprint go to www.MIPandL.org.
Massachusetts has more Energy Star houses of worship (HOWs) than any state in the nation except Michigan. The others are: All Saints Parish, Brookline (2002); First Parish in Needham, (2010); Winchester Unitarian Society (2010); Dennis Union Church, (2011); Islamic Society of Boston, (2011); and St. John's Episcopal Church of Franklin (2014). ENERGY STAR is a voluntary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program best known as the little blue mark on consumer products. Since 1992, EPA has also worked to transform the way that buildings and industrial plants use energy. For more about Energy Star go to: http://www.energystar.gov/buildings/sector-specific-resources/congregation-resources
LEARN HOW TO CUT ENERGY USE AND COSTS AT A SHOW WORKSHOP
Many faith communities want to lower their energy bills and their carbon footprints but don't know where to start. A good place to learn is at one of MIP&L's half day SHOW (Sustainable House of Worship) workshops. These informative, hands-on workshops will give you the tools and knowledge to evaluate four essential areas of the energy use and costs in your House of Worship:
Electricity – How to recognize the major energy hogs – and what to do about them.
Heat & Air Conditioning – Is it time for an upgrade?
Building Envelope – What tasks can make your congregation more comfortable and save you money?
Behavior – How simple actions can reduce your energy bill—and carbon footprint—by 10% or more.
SAVE THE DATES! Final arrangements are being made for 3 SHOW Workshops:
January 31st in Boston;
February 7 North of Boston; and
February 21 in Whitman
Cost: $10 per person. If you'd like to receive more information when details are finalized email vince@MIPandL.org.
BISHOPS PUSH FOR STRONG MEASURES AT LIMA CONFERENCE
Catholic Bishops at the Lima Conference urged the world's nations to limit increases in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a more ambitious goal than the current goal of 2 degrees Celsius. Monsignor Salvador Piñeiro García-Calderón, president of the Peruvian Bishops' Conference, said: "We bishops from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe . . . can see it's the poorest people who are impacted the most, despite the fact they've contributed the least to causing [climate change] . . . We see and feel an obligation . . . to protect creation and to challenge the misuse of nature . . . Lima is a milestone on the way to Paris, and Paris has to deliver a binding agreement." Read more here.
The US entered the conference with a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The high end of this range would put the United States on a path consistent with an 80 percent reduction in emissions by mid-century. The US also pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help developing countries move toward low-carbon growth.
The conference concluded with a compromise by which nations agreed to submit voluntary target reductions by March 31, 2015, and a framework for an agreement to be reached in Paris in December 2015. According to Gwynne Taraska of the Center for American Progress, "Although many of [the] issues are divisive . . . the negotiations ended with consensus, compromise, and importantly, a path toward an inclusive and strong international climate agreement in 2015." Read here for more.
by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
The lighting of the Hanukkah candles symbolize rededication. Doing so is a rededication to increase the light, the holiness, the positive energy, the goodness, in the universe. What do you want to have increase in magnitude through the eight nights of Hannukah? To what do you want to rededicate yourself?
Here's my list:
On the first night of Hanukkah, I rededicate myself to remembering that I am created in the image of the Holy One of Blessing.
On the second night of Hanukkah, I rededicate myself to remembering that I am created in the image of the Holy One of Blessing; and to eating organic, local food.
On the third night of Hanukkah, I rededicate myself to remembering that I am created in the image of the Holy One of Blessing; to eating organic, local food; and to speaking out about racism.
On the fourth night of Hanukkah, I rededicate myself . . . to speaking out about racism; and to maintaining my values in my finances.
On the fifth night of Hanukkah, I rededicate myself . . . to maintaining my values in my finances; and to writing to my representatives or local paper about climate change and social justice issues.
On the sixth night of Hanukkah, I rededicate myself . . . to writing to my representatives or local paper about climate change and social justice issues; and to supporting the hungry.
On the seventh night of Hanukkah, I rededicate myself . . . to matching my words and actions to my beliefs and values.
On the eighth night of Hanukkah, I rededicate myself to remembering that I am created in the image of the Holy One of Blessing; to eating organic, local food; to speaking out about racism; to maintaining my values in my finances; to writing to my representatives or local paper about climate change and social justice issues; to supporting the hungry; to reducing my gasoline consumption; to matching my words and actions to my beliefs and values; and to treating others as I want to be treated.
What does your list look like? Click here to view separate meditations for each night of Hanukkah, including a Litany of Harm to the Earth and a Climate Change Call to Action.
The Christian season of Christmas actually begins on Christmas Eve and lasts for twelve days, ending on January 6. The time before Christmas is Advent, a season of preparation for Christmas. It is a season of reflection and expectant waiting. Many Christians light a candle on each of the four Sundays of Advent concluding with a white candle on Christmas eve or Christmas day.
Advent colors feature purple and pink. Purple signifies seriousness and repentance. Pink points to the theme of joy. Making our lives consistent with the values needed to lower our energy use and at the same time fighting for system change is a serious business. As we make progress, our hope is sustained. When challenges arise we are reminded of the seriousness of the challenge. We are constantly moving from purple to pink and back to purple.
As advent comes to an end let us endeavor to move forward with renewed seriousness, while at the same time being always mindful of the joy that comes from knowing that with God all things are possible.
National Preach-In on Global Warming February 13-15, 2015
Mark your calendars to join Interfaith Power & Light's 5th annual National Preach-In on Global Warming, to be held over Valentine's Day weekend, February 13 - 15, 2015. This is expected to be our biggest Preach-In yet.
Each from their own place of worship, thousands of faith leaders of all major religions from across the country will join together with their members to express love for Creation and hope for the future.
Click here to pre-register for the National Preach-In on Global Warming.
Mass. Interfaith Power & Light works in collaboration with 40 other state affiliates across the country to provide technical expertise on energy efficiency and renewable energy, information on effective public policy solutions, and a connection to the teachings of our faiths that call us to care for creation.
Please help us carry out this critical mission by logging on to www.MIPandL.org, clicking on the DONATE button and making a secure, fully tax deductible donation.
If not us who? If not now, when?
Peace and blessings,
Your friends at MIP&L