Last year cities took the lead in the U.S. response to climate change. These leaders include several Texas cities that have joined Climate Mayors or the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. The City of Houston has been part of Climate Mayors since 2014, and last year Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner was named co-chair. Houston is now striving to be an international leader, as they compete in the global Reinventing Cities competition, sponsored by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
Texas Interfaith Power & Light’s regional team in Houston is an active part of city’s response to climate change. Many members of TxIPL’s regional team are also members of the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston. This group formed in 2017 as a coalition of people of faith and environmental non-profits. Lisa Brenskelle, TxIPL regional liaison and one of the founders of IENoH, sees value in these groups working together.
“Greater Houston has more than 150 environmental non-profits, but prior to the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston, there was no voice of the faith community on environmental issues. We are filling that gap.” - Lisa Brenskelle
Working with IENoH, TxIPL’s regional team equips people of faith to act and advocate for climate adaptation and resilience in Houston. A key component of their work is sharing information through email blasts and monthly gatherings. Many of their gatherings feature a guest speaker and are livestreamed via the internet. Recent topics include Reducing Waste Generation in Houses of Worship, Advocacy Workshop – Telling Your Story, and Making Houston a Resilient City – How Houses of Worship Can Help. These topics emphasize the responsibility of congregations to act and advocate for the change they want to see in Houston.
IENoH’s action and advocacy takes many forms. Twice a year they sponsor a hands-on stewardship event that makes a visible difference in Houston’s environment. Recently, they hosted a Solarize Houston event, to help places of worship convert to solar power. On April 17, 2018, nine members of IENoH advocated for climate adaptation and resiliency initiatives during the Public Speaker portion of the Houston City Council meeting. At events throughout April 2018, regional team members provided opportunities for people to participate in TxIPL’s letter writing campaign for solar power and to write advocacy letters and postcards to elected officials.
TxIPL’s regional team in Houston is an example of the difference a faith-based, grassroots network can make in a community. To get involved in Houston, contact Lisa Brenskelle. To learn more about regional teams, go HERE or contact Katrina Martich.